Journal of Captain Nathaniel J. Wyeth's Expeditions to the Oregon Country
First Expedition - 1832
[The book containing the journal has been mutilated. There are traces of the removal of four pages describing the early stages of the expedition. In its place, statements from a letter which Wyeth addressed to J.G. Palfrey in December, 1847 have been added, describing this part of his travels.]
On the 10th of March 1832 I left Boston in a vessel with 20 men for Baltimore where I was joined by four more, and on the 27th left to Rail Road for Fredrick Md from thence to Brownsville we marched on foot, and took passage from that place to Liberty Mo. on various steamboats, which place we left for the prairies on the 12th of May with 21 men, three having deserted, and on the 27th of May three more deserted.
[June 6th, 1832.] gray and my face like a plumb pudding the skin is entirely bare entirely bare [?] of skin is off one of my ears On the bluf[f]s the ghnats are equally troublesome but they do not annoy us much except in the day. Geese appear here mated and I have seen some broods of gooselings. Some rain last night. still barren and grass bad our horses about the same our men troubled with the relax toward night found buffaloe killed one which made a scanty meal for all hands for supper made 25 miles
7th Started out hunting killed two antelope about 10 saw a herd of Buffaloe crossing the River waited til they rose the Bank and commenced slaughter killed 3 and wounded many more these afforded a timely supply to the party and we ate hearty. Saw today the first appearance of muskrat since leav the settlements also Pelicans. Last night in cutting a tree for fuel caught two young grey Eagles one of which we ate and found it tender and good also a Badger saw some rattlesnakes and some other kinds not known to me the men [horses?] appear a little better the men [horses?] about the same Thr. 90 deg. wind S.E. my face so swelled from the musquitoes and ghnats that I can scarce see out of my eyes and aches like the tooth ache
9th I date this the same on abc of a mistake of a day hertofore made 30 miles and yesterday 25 arrived at the Chimney or Elk Prick the Indian name this singular object looks like a monument about 200 feet high and is composed of layers of sand and lime stone in layers the sand blowing out lets the lime rock fall down and this action has in time reduced what was once a hill to a spire of nearly the same dimensions at top and bottom it looks like a work of art and the layers like the ranges of stone it is scituated about 3 miles from the river. Rain and thunder at night wind strong S. E. river as muddy as ever the bluf[f]s for the last 20 miles have occasionally a few stinted trees apparently Pitch pine and cedar the small streams that here empty into the Platte are frequently dry near the river during the day while above they are running free while at night there is running water entirely to the river Party in better order Horses about the same we now judge ourselves within 4 days march of the Black Hills
10th 28 miles, 2 Buffaloe
11th 30 miles, 6 Buffaloe
12th Nothing remarkeable crossed Wild Horse Creek coming in from the S.
13th Came in sight of the Black hills and crossed Larrimee fork of the Platte in getting over one of my rafts broke the tow line the raft went down stream lodged on a snag and upset wetting most of the goods on it and loosing two Horse loads as it lodged in the middle of the river and the stream very rappid the goods were with difficulty passed ashore here an alarm was occasioned by the appearance of 4 men on the bluf[f]s behind us and an attack was expected every moment which would have been bad as our party was much scattered in crossing They However proved to be a part of a party of 19 men in the employ of Gant & Blackwell. They last winter lost all but 3 of their animals and in going to Santa Fee got enclosed by snow in the mountains and nearly starved to Death, and at first they were hard to tell from Indians or devils they are now in good health having felt well for some time all of them joined Mr. Fitzpatricks party and proceeded on foot with us to the mountains. Killed an antelope
14th started late and left the river at which we had encamped and proceeded 16 miles killed one antelope and one elk
15th went out for game killed one antelope, 2 deer 2 Buffaloe made this day 20 miles and passed the first of the Black hills the country is now thinly wooded with Box Elder ash Pitch pine cedar and cotton wood and a variety of small shrubs among which are the cherry, currant and thorn wild sage here almost covers the country and is a plant of many years groth arrived in camp found the company had killed plenty of Buffaloe and were encamped on a small stream coming in from the S. 20 miles.
16th Warm in mng. cold and rainy in the afternoon a little hard snow on the Peak of the Black hills a white Bear was seen this day Black ones for some days past. The lime rock still continues primitive peb[b]les in the streams and on the knols the hills pointed up very sharp from the same cause as the Chimney the country appears desolate and dreary in the extreme no one can conceive of the utter desolation of this region nevertheless the earth is decorated with a variety of beautifull flowers and all unknown to me hard travelling disenables our botanist to examine them we have on the whole meat enough but the supply is too unsteady. There are here two kinds of Rabbits the largest weighing about 15 lbs ears 6 inches long plover and other marsh birds a[re] common and some 2 or 3 kinds of Gulls. Struck the Platte river again here about 100 yds wide the water high and rapid we here find a small kind of Parsnip the blossom yellow root about 5 inches long 1/2 inch thick of more than one years groth the men appear better Horses about the same made this day 20 miles
17th Wind high N.W. Ther 40 a drear[y] and cheerless day made 25 miles killed 3 buffaloe 1 antelope 1 Deer crossed 2 small streams from the Black hills running into the Platte saw some rabbits & white bears Hops.
18 reached the place for fording the platte
19th Passed over my goods during a severe wind without accident
20th Mr. Subblettee (sic) passed over his goods and at night mooved on about 3 miles
21st Made a long march of 30 miles during which one of my Horses gave out killed this day 3 Buffaloe and fired at a white bear arrived at camp at 11 ock at night. I have ommitted one day on the other side of the Platte I date this right we arrived at Rock Independence at noon after a march of 15 miles
23 Yesterday we left the Platte and struck the Sweet water on which this rock stands it is scituated in a gorge within 30 feet of the stream and is granite today is warm last night frost and the two last days cold and disagreable from this time to 2nd July frost each night and snow once our course lay in various directions from S.W. to N.W. following the Sweet water and leaving the first snowy mountains on the right hand on the 29th we crossed on to the head waters of the Colorado during all this time we found abundance of Buffalo the travelling good but the grass poor the streams all fordable but rapid five streams have been crossed to this time and we are now encamped on the 6th all running into the Colorado trout are found here also some beaver Some of my men talk of turning back and I give them all free liberty many of my horses have given out and the rest are failing fast and unless we soon come to better grass they will all die and leave me on foot the waters running into Lewis river are not more than 8 miles distant, on the creek where we are there are pine trees in shape lik[e] a Balsam tree leaves like a pitch pine Bark rough yellowish and scaly The mountains in this region are not conspicuous are isolated and admitting free passage between them in any direction the creeks are sufficiently numerous for watering but feed is poor the 1st July we rested all the afternoon a respite quite acceptable to our weary legs Our average during these days about 20 miles but in some cases quite circuitous White bears are seen but none have been killed. Wolves and antelopes plenty, King fishers Our hunters have just brought part of 4 Buffaloe At night encamped on the same creek that we passed this mng. and soon after were visited by 6 men from Dripps & Fontenelles concern who with 13 others are encamped 5 miles from this place. This night at about 12 ock. we were attacked by Indians probably the Blackfoot. They approached within 50 yds. and fired about 40 shots into the camp and some arrows they wounded three animals got 5 from Mr. Subblette One from an Independent hunter and 4 which I left out of camp for better feed mine were all poor and sore backed and useless
3rd Decamped and in company with the men above mentioned proceeded to their camp and passed on to our route which lay W. This night encamped on the waters of the Colorado 25 miles
4th Decamped and at noon crossed the divide and drank to my friends with mingled feelings from the waters of the Columbia mixed with alcohol and eat of a Buffaloe cow made this day 30 miles and 25 yesterday The snow clad mountains now entirely surround us the streams this side increase rapidly. One bear seen this day the grass much better and some fertile land here the earth in some places was frozen snow yesterday and today Three of my men are sick and I have no spare animals for them.
5th We passed along a wooded River and through a very difficult road by its side so steep that one of my Horses loosing his foothold in the path was rooled down about 100 feet into the river he was recovered but so much injured as we had to leave him shortly after. Made this day 20 miles
6th We marched early and at 2 ock stoped on Lewis river and within 20 miles of the Trois Tetons three very conspicuous snow covered mountains visible in all this region this river here runs nearly S. and is divided over a bottom about 2 miles and into 8 streams very rapid and difficult these we forded which consumed the time until night and encamped after making 18 miles on the W. bank with no grass. in the morning of the 7th we proceed up a small brook coming from a gap of the mountains due south of the Trois Tetons and passed the range of mountains of this range without much difficulty it is a good pass for such a range and fresh animals would have no difficulty in passing through it On the highest point we had snow accompanied with heavy thunder and being out of meat fed upon the inner bark of the Balsam trees a tree similar if not the same with the Eastern Balsam At Night we encamped at the foot of the pass on the western side and at the commencement of a large valley with several streams running through it into Lewis River surrounded with high and snow clad mountains The weather is here warm in the day time but frost every night the grass is good the land ordinary. On the 8th we proceed into the plain and after a march of 10 miles arrived at the rendezvous of the hunters of this region here we found about 120 Lodges of the Nez Perces and about 80 of the Flatheads a company of trappers of about 90 under Mr. Dripps of the firm of Dripps & Fontenelle connected with the American Fur Co. Many independent Hunters and about 100 men of the Rocky Mountain Fur Co under Mess Milton Sublette and Mr. Frapp [Fraeb]. I remained at this encampment until the 17th during which time all my men but 11 left me to these I have such articles as I could spare from the necesities of my own Party and let them go. While here I obtained 18 Horses in exchange for those which were worn out and for a few toys such as Beads Bells red and Blue cloth, Powder and Balls fish hooks vermillion old Blanketts We also supplied ourselves with Buffaloe robes we have now a good outfit and here we found plenty of meat which can be had of the Indians for a trifle On the 17th we put out and stered S.E. in direction to a pass through the same mountains by which we entered the valley these Mts. run E. & W. and the pass I refer to is the next E. of the one refered to and through it the waters of this valley reach Lewis [Snake] River which is on the S. side of this range at night we encamped within about 8 miles of the commencement of the pass On the 18th we did not leave camp when near starting we observed 2 partys of Indians coming out of the pass about 200 in number with but few horses after securing our camp our riders went out to meet them and soon found them to be Blackfeet a little skirmish ensued one of the Blackfeet was killed and his Blankett and robe brought into camp on this the Indians made for the timber the women and children were seen flying to the mountains at this time only 42 men being the party of Mess Milton Sublette & Frapp mine and a few Independent Hunters were in sight and the Indians were disposed to give us their usual treatment when they meet us in small bodies but while the Indians we[re] making their preparations we sent an express to camp which soon brought out a smart force of Nez Perces Flatheads and whites the Indians finding they were caught fortified themselves in a masterly manner in the wood. We attacked them and continued the attack all day there were probably about 20 of them killed and 32 horses were found dead They decamped during the night leaving most of their utensials lodges &c and many of the dead we have lost 3 whites killed 8 badly wounded among which is Mr Wm. Sublette who was extremely active in the battle about 10 of the Indians were killed or mortally wounded of the Nez Perces and Flatheads in the morning we visited their deserted fort they had dug into the ground to reach water and to secure themselves from our shot It was a sickening scene of confusion and Blood[s] head one of our men who was killed inside their fort we found mutilated in a shocking manner on the 19th we removed back to our former ground to be near our whole force and to recruit the wounded and bury the dead.
We think that 400 lodges or about 600 warriors of the Blackfeet are on the other side of the pass and if they come they must be met with our whole force in which case the contest will be a doubtful one. We have mad[e] Horse pens and secured our camp in as good a manner as we can and wait the result this affair will detain us some days. On 24th we again moved out of the valley in the same direction as at first viz about S.E. and encamped at night in the gorge of it during the march I visited the scene of our conflict for the first time since the battle the din of arms was now changed into the noise of the vulture and the howling of masterless dogs the stench was extreme most of the men in the fort must have perished I soon retired from this scene of disgusting butchery On the 25th we proceeded through the pass which is tolerably good and in a direction of about S.W. by S. and encamped 15 miles on Lewis River (here concentrated into one rapid stream) and about 30 miles S. of where we crossed it in going into the valley we are now employed in making bull boats in order to cross it One Buffaloe and some antelope killed today 26 crossed the river in a bull boat without accident in 4 hours and moved on in a westerly direction about 4 miles when we struck into a deep ravine with a little water in it this ravine is bordered by high presipices on each side and is small 3 miles up this we encamped for the night this stream is called Muddy as there is several of this name it is requisite to distinguish this by the cognomen of Muddy that falls into "Lewis"
26th we moved up the Muddy until we found the forks of it then followed the Right hand say 3 miles then took a south direction and struck another stream (small) and running in the opposite direction this we followed about 5 mil[e]s making 15 this day and encamped
27th We moved down the stream until its junction with another called Grays creek which we crossed and assended a high bluff and travelled an average course of S.W. and encamped on a small creek making 15 miles this day 2 days since I first this side the mountain met with the prickly pear and since leaving the valley of the Rendezvous the fruit that was green one day is ripe the next. The nights are still frosty but the days are very warm as in N.E. at this time fruits we have 3 kinds currants one of gooseberry all different from those of the U.S. and Service berrys all the first are sour the latter sweet the country through which we have travelled for these two days past has a strong volcanic appearance the streams occupy what appear to be but the cra[c]ks of an over heated surface the rocks are blown up in blubbers like a smiths cinders some rocks ten feet through are but a shell being hollow. A substance abounds like bottle glass of about the same weight not so transparent about as brittle the fracture is smooth and glossy with the exception of the cracks as above the country is tolerably level for a mountainous country but excessively dry. During our first days march from Lewis River beside the ravine above mentioned we passed three craters of small volcanoes (as I suppose) and I am told there is a boiling spring near the same place We here find buffaloe plenty and fat and entirely different from those met with in the Spring on the Platte it is preferable to the best beef. Our party have taken lice from the Indians they are a great trouble as well as the Musquitoes these last trouble us in the day but the frost seals their wings at night when the first relieve them until morning.
On the 28[th] we moved in a direction about S.W. and during the march took the bearing of the Trois Tetons which was N.E. by E. and I think 75 miles we made 7 miles and encamped on a little stream meandering through a valley of about 100 acres of fine Black land with the grass as good as the buffaloe and the cold weather could admit of. Here we found plenty of cows and more Bulls 13 of the first were killed they were fat and we stopped to make meat these cows were killed by running them down which is a dangerous method expensive in horses and Requiring much skill in Riding We of course were obliged to employ help for none could be got by approaching while they were Running them
29th We remained all day making meat with a hot sun this morning sent 3 men down the creek fishing they caught 21 Salmon Trout and returned at 10 this afternoon it rained hard and during the storm the squaw of one of the party was delivered of a Boy in the bushes whither she had retired for the purpose it[s] head was thickly covered with Black hair it was as white as is usual with the whites in less than an hour afterwards the squaw made her appearance in camp as well and able for a days travel as usual it continued raining all night and until 8 of the 30 on which abc. our march was defered for the day which was afterward fine and our meat dried well. 4 Beavers were caught from about 12 traps last night during this day one of the party saw an indian which must have been a Blackfoot as otherwise he would have come to camp yesterday and today we had Thunder & Hail as well as rain.
1st. Augt I date this the 1st on abc. of having missed a day in the time past. This day we made about 15 miles in a S.W. direction and most of the way in a deep valley and encamped on a small creek running into one called Blackfoot this latter is the second stream we have passed which emties into S. fork of Lewis River the first was called Grays River and is also small (this since crossing Lewis River) Here we stopped until the 4th to make meat of which I made enough to eat and no more while the other two parties who had go[o]d buffaloe Riders and Horses made considerable while her[e] we lost one Horse while attempting to Run Buffaloe by throwing his Rider and Running among the Buffaloe and going off with them I sent out a party to get fish of two men they Returned with about a peck of craw fish and a dozen of trout these average about 1 lb and are fine eating. We have here the Sandhill Cranes in plenty. On the 4th we moved due south and crossed Blackfoot and struck over to a stream emtying into the same as Blackfoot called Portneuf from a man killed near it 18 miles here we found Buffalo in the bottom and the Hunters are now out Running them. Here we remained this day and the 5th when the men I had sent out to hunt the horse returned as I had expected them on the 4th I was much alarmed for their safty being in a dangerous country while here we made 7 bales meat On the 5th. we mooved S. down the valley 3 miles and encamped on a creek running into the valley on the 7th we made 21 miles first down the N. side of the valley and taking the first creek running out of the valley then in a S.W. direction and encamped on it from the valley above mentioned rises Bear River running into the Big Salt Lake distant about S.E. 50 miles Currants and service berrys are now ripe. I have been sick from indigestion for some days more so than I ever was before. We have here the Sandhill Crane Turtle dove Robbin Blackbirds (Crow & Cow) Kingfishers Black & Mallard Ducks, Ge[e]se. We find meat making a tedious business. On the 8th we moved S.W. 15 miles following the main Portneuf out of the valley for about 12 miles then took one of its tributaries for about 3 miles and encamped on the S.W. side of the valey in which this branch runs here we cached 6 Horse loads of goods and remained on the 9th & 10th & 11th moved on in a S.W. direction not following any stream but passing the ridge bordering the valley in a low place near where a small run puts into the valley from a very rugged pass. We made this day 15 miles and encamped on a small run going into Portneuf.
12th We made in a S.W. direction about 6 miles not following any stream but encamped on a very small run with poor grass.
13th We made 24 miles in a west and by N. direction and met no water for this distance and encamped on a very small run issuing from a spring a few miles from Lewis River we are here in sight of the River running through an extensive valley in a S.W. direction here are the American falls the place may be known by several high and detached hills arising from the plain the falls at one place 22 feet and the Rapids extend a considerable distance down the River We found here plenty of Buffaloe sign and the Pawnacks [Bannocks] come here to winter often on account of the Buffaloe we now find no buffaloe there are here abundance of Service berrys now ripe during a short walk from camp this mng. I saw a buff colored fox with a white tip on his tail. Wolves here serenade us every night making more noise than 50 village dogs and better music for they keep in chord and display more science yesterday we parted from 16 men bound out trapping. We are now in a country which affords no small game and a precarious chance for Buffaloe
14th We made 30 miles in a S.W. direction and encamped on a creek called Casu [Raft] River it joins the main River below the Am. falls. This days Ride was through an excessively barren country with no water between the two last camps on the N. side of the Lewis River and about 50 miles distant from it is a range of snowy mounts. also two or three points in the chain of this side with snow on them.
15th We made along the banks of the Ocassia about 25 miles and encamped on the west bank of it. The valley of the Ocassia is about 4 miles wide and of a rich soil but the excessive cold and drouth of this country prevents vegetation from assuming a fertile character. The air is so dry that percussion caps explode without striking and I am obliged to put the caps on and fire immediately except in the night when we consider it safe to keep the caps on the guns we have in this country a large kind of black crickett 2 inches long said to be used as food by the Indians they are in great numbers and roost on the sage at noonday there are also in the streams abundance of craw-fish we see antelope and old buffalo sign
16th We made 25 miles up the same side of the Ocassia then crossed it and followed S.W. 3 miles and encamped on a small mountain run making in all 28 miles in a W. by S. direction yesterdays march was in a direction W. by S.
17th We moved in a W. by S. direction about 15 miles to a creek [Goose] putting into Lewis River on which we found no beaver of consequence having been trap[p]ed out by the H.B.Co. some years before.
18th We moved out up the creek about 8 miles and still found no beaver saw one Pidgeon Woodpecker this creek runs through what are called cut rocks otherwise volcanic in this region I found one mountain of Mica Slate enclosing garnetts. The Basaltic rock appears to be the same formerly and the remains of the Garnetts are in some cases to be seen. also I have found here granite in small blocks there is also much white sandstone compact the clefts on each side creek are high and perpendicular but the bottom affords good grass for this country. There is no timber except willow and alder in the bottom and cedar on the hills this days course about S. along the creek
19th We moved up the creek about 12 miles in a S.W. direction there was still little beaver this afternoon I took 2 men and proceeded from camp about 8 miles about W. following the creek and slept there at sunrise on the 20th we moved up about 12 miles in a W. direction and while I was engaged in the brook setting a trap we found three Indians following us the two men were on the bank and were seen but myself in the creek was unnoticed when they crossed to go to the men I presented my pistol to the first one who made a precipitate retreat back while I made mine to my gun having got which I beconed them to come to me which they did we then went to camp which we found had moved this day about 10 miles in same direction these Indians were Snakes the first we had seen during the march the party passed a hot spring the country still volcanic.
21st We followed the creek in a N.W. direction about 5 miles when we met a village of the Snakes of about 150 persons having about 75 Horses they were poorly off for food and clothing but perfectly friendly they are diminutive in person and lean. We encamped to trade with them but did nothing except getting a few skins for moccasins this morning caught my first Beaver a large one.
22nd We followed the same creek about 2 mils and then struck into a ravine in a west direction and in about 6 miles came to a warm spring near a cold one which formed a run which we followed in a west by S. direction this we followed about 2 miles and encamped making this day 18 miles
22nd We proceed in a S.W. direction and struck the same stream on another branch about 2 mils from the junction about 15 mils this day these two streams unite and run in a N. direction through impassable cut rocks this night caught 2 Beaver and slept out of camp.
24th Proceed up the creek in a S.W. by W. direction about 18 miles then in a W. by N. direction about 6 miles. The last half of this days travel was through clefts of Scienite rock pretty well broke to pieces by heat apparently we have here 2 kinds of Lizards the one like that of the United States as far as I could see the other shorter and more sluggish here we find the banks of the streams lined with Diggers Camps and Trails but they are shy and can seldom be spoken and then there is no one who could understand them and they appear to know little about the signs which afford other Indians a mode of intelligence from this region specimens No. 1 are obtained.
25th We made in a W. direction along the same creek 20 miles.
26th In a W by N. direction about 20 miles
27th In a S W direction toward a snowy mountain and leaving the last creek 24 mils and struck one here running S.E. Country desolate in the extreme most of the creeks which have water in them on the mountains dry up in the plains of this region
28th did not move more than 2 miles up.
29th About 5 miles in a S.W. Direction to cross a range of high hills until we struck a creek running in a N.W. direction which we followed 12 mils and encamped where the creek goes into the cut rocks this day we parted from Mr. Sublett[e]s party with feeling of regrett for this party have treated us with great kindness which I shall long remember.
30th We followed the creek in a N.W. direction about 12 mils through tremendous cut rocks I went ahead to look the route I passed the smoking fires of Indians who had just left 4 of whom I saw running up the mountain endeavored by signs to induce them to come to me but could not Soon after I came to another camp I happened to find their plunder this induced them to come to me 3 men one boy 4 women from these Indians I procured fresh Salmon Spawn which was very encouraging as we are nearly out of provisions and the country would afford us a scanty subsistence I gave these Indians a few small presents to convince them of our friendly disposition. This day for the first time in this country saw raspberrys these Indians gave me a cake made of service berrys quite good they had about a Dozen of spotted fish of a kind I had never seen resembling a Tomcod. These Indians are small about 120 [lbs.] of a good countenance they are Snakes or Sosshonees.
30th [repeats date] We followed the same creek and made about 15 [miles] in a N.N.W. direction through a continued defile in many places admitting just room for the water through which in many places we were obliged to make our way The mountains on each side are about 1000 feet above the creek which has a rapid decent here are a small fish about 1/4 lb. similar to a trout but with large dark spots. We meet here plenty of cherrys currants and gooseberrys the latter sour. The last of yesterdays and the first of todays route lay through Porphritie Granite rocks in their natural state the latter part of to days was through a stratified blue sandstone untouched by fire for a short distance then assumed a volcanic appearance. This day we assended the highest mountain in sight and found the exhibit an indescribable chaos the tops of the hills exhibit the same strata as far as the eye can reach and appear to [have] once form[ed] the level of the country and the vally to be formed by the sinking of the earth rather than the rising of the hills through the deep cracks and chasms thus formed the rivers and creeks of this country creep which renders them of the most difficult character to follow in the brooks we have fresh water clams on which we look with some feeling for the small quantity of Buffaloe meat now remaining admonishes us look for some other means of living gave there is little and being obliged to travel prevents our hunting much. from this place the specimen in Bag No. 1 of vitrified quartz was taken.
31st We followed the same creek about 4 miles in a N. direction then took a dry ravine 2 miles in a S.E. then in a N. direction and then followed down another dry ravine about 1 mile when the rocks on each side closed over the top and formed a natural Bridge elevated about 50 feet while the sides approached to within 20 feet of each other and the bottom decended perpendicularly about 60 feet we of course returned on our trail and then stered a N.E. direction about 4 miles and encamped on a little ravine in which there was only a little water standing in deep places and barely enough for us and our horses. The first half mile of our route lay through the bed of the creek and among rocks from 1 foot to 3 or 4 in diameter this was a very difficult task and several of our horses fell in the water this day we lost two horses which gave out the country still bears the same appearance as for several days past.
2nd [1st] We left our camp in the ravine assended to the height of land which we found to be a high level plain over which we marched in a N.N.W. direction and found during a 10 hours march 2 springs which as the day was warm were acceptable at the end of 30 miles we reached the creek which we left on the 31st We found rabbits plenty on the plain our camp was made surrounded by high and perpendicular clifts say 800 feet bearing every mark of fire here we found little grass for our horses.
3rd [2nd] We lay at the same camp and got fish from the brook enough for breakfast after which I took [a] horse and followed the creek down about 1 mile and found another larger joining it a little below which there is a warm spring issuing from the bank about 40 feet above the stream it gives out smoke when it meets the air and discharges a large quantity of water about 2 miles farther down I found a small party of Indians from whom I obtained 8 fish weight about 4 lbs. each and looking like a salmon for these I have 4 Hooks they were friendly they advise me to follow the right hand trail but I have determined to take the left and shall perhaps repent it. The left heads N.W. which I think [is] my direction I returned to camp and three of the Indians with me. One of these Indians had a bad wound on the side of his head and from his signs and appearance was made with a poisoned arrow.
3rd We moved camp in the proposed direction viz N.W. 16 miles During which distance we found stagnant water once and encamped near about 15 Indians diggers 3 of our men we left at the last camp to set the traps at some signs there seen. These Indians are very poor and timid when I approached them alone on a gallop they all began to run but by moderating my pace and making signs the[y] suffered me to come to them they gave me some sweet root to eat for which I gave them 3 Hooks they had a young yellow legged eagle with them and most of the diggers we have met had a small kind of Hawk at their camps these they feed and tame this party also had a young bird tame resembling a King Bird this days travel was on a high plain and good going on an old trail these Indians had with them staves for fish spears so we presume they are going to the river for fish and so think ourselves on the right trail. For three nights passed there has been no frost a thing which has not befor happened for three nights in all since leaving rock Independence. Snow spit we had the 28th Aug. Today a slight sprinkle of Rain being the 2nd time since leaving the Rendezvous.
4th We left the camp early and proceeded over a high and pretty level plain gradually decending to the N.W. in a N.N.W. direction and after 20 mils travel without water came to ravines running E. and dry having gravelly and sandstone untouched by fire bluf[f]s and in 5 mils more came to the creek we had left on mng. of the 3rd. [on] the banks of which we found every 20 steps or thereabouts warm or hot springs and the creek tho large and discharging a great quantity [of] water too warm to be palatable Here we found an Indian and family of whom for 2 fish Hooks we bought 7 salmon of about 4 lbs. weight each when green. they were split and dried. The two men left behind not having yet come up we intend halting here for them. The creek is here lined with volcanic rock today [we] saw the first fish Hawk in this country.
4th La[y] at camp and repacked our goods and held a smoke with some Indians one of whom we engaged as a guide down the river and to Beaver smoked too much and made myself sick
5th Moved on about 5 mils N.N.W. and again struck the creek and good grass found Beaver sign very plenty and for the first time set all our traps at good sign had a mess of fresh clams for dinner after which 2 Indians came to us with 4 salmon which we bought for 2 Hooks This day heard what we all took for a cannon at about 10 mils distance time will determine whether we were mistaken. In this creek there are a great number of snakes about 3 feet long with a large head and of a brownish grey color about the proportion of the striped snake of N.E. They Inhabit the water and I saw one catch a small fish within two feet of me while bathing at a warm spring which put into the main stream The bathing at these warm springs is delicious there are hundreds of them and some large enough to dive in Some gush out of the rocks at an elevation of 40 feet above the stream and discharge enough water for a mill I can perceive no unusual taste in the water.
6th Remained at same camp and were visited at 10 ock in the morning by two Indians with whom we held a smoke we can learn nothing of any white post by these Indians caught 7 Beaver
7th Remained at same camp and exchanged two horses with some Pawnack Indians three of whom visited us also about 10 Sohonees with Salmon of which they have plenty here we caught a N. England Sucker also a fish a little resembling pike of about 3 lbs weight but without teeth. Caught 3 Beaver. Ravens are here very plenty and tame the[y] light on the perpendicular sides of the creek waiting for fish on which they live. Ge[e]se and ducks are also plenty as well as grouse. Some of the Indians have guns but most of them go unarmed The creek here for about 10 miles runs W.N.W.
8th Mooved camp down the creek about 12 miles and came to the village under the escort of about 20 Indians on Horseback one of whom by the direction of the chief shewed us the place for our camp where grass and water could be had here the chief harangued his people telling them not to come into our lines nor steal from the white people He sent his squaws with wood for us and also sent salmon for us to eat I gave him a present of tobacco awls Hooks Powder vermillion knives etc. Here I traded a Beaver skin robe for two knives and six skins with many muskrat which are plenty here I found these Indians great thieves in the small line knives etc. Missing mine I went to one of the Sub chiefs and told him of it he made enquiry and pointed out the thief who refusing to open his robe I gently did it for him but insted of finding the knife found a coat of one of the men which he held upon until I drew a pistol on which he gave it up and caught up what he supposed to [be] one of our guns but it happened to be my covered fishing rod he was then held by the other Indians and sent to the village and I saw him no more
9th In morning went to see the Indians catch Salmon which is done by entangling them in their passage up the creek among dams which they erect and spearing them they catch an immense quantity the operation commences in the morning at a signal given by their chief. This chief is a good sized man and very intelligent and the president would do well if he could preserve the respect of his subjects as well or maintain as much dignity
10 Mooved down the main river in a S.W. [N.W.] direction which here runs through moderate banks in a moderate current We are told that the next creek has beaver by the chief and that it is 4 days march The main river is here full of salmon which continually jump above the surface like sturgeon.
10th Mooved camp along the Bank of the river 3 miles there the river diverging to the Northward we left it and followed the main trail the river here goes through cut rocks about 30 miles We made this day 20 mils in all in a W.N.W. Direction and encamped in poor grass on a small creek 1 mile from the main river during the march we crossed a small creek up which about 2 mils is a fine camp.
11th Moved at 3 a.m. and followed the trail 24 mils in a W.N.W. Direction and encamped on the bank of the main river which is here a fine stream about a 1/3 mile or over. I swam across it and found it over my head all the way here we found Indians and bought Beaver 3 skins for 1 shoe knife and 4 charges powder & lead we also got salmon of them the Basalt here occurs resting on sand and gravel in some places the rock is not more than 4 feet thick and appears to have suffered from intense heat the country is barren in the extreme there is usualy a difference of 40 deg. between the day & night the heat at noonday about 75 to 85 deg. The Indians here have large nets made in the European manner of the hemp of the country. The trail on the river so far is fine and much used.
12 Move camp 15 miles on the trail in a W.N.W. direction and following the bank of the river which is here a gentle stream of about 4 miles and 1/2 mile wide. Gnats here trouble us much and the days are extremely hot about 85 deg. and the nights warm enough for comfort The river is full of salmon and a plenty of them are to be had of the indians whom we meet every few mils fishing on the banks of the stream Some of the grass is here so salt that it can be washed in a pot of water and enough seasoning for boiling obtained grass is generally poor. The banks are here generally sand Many kinds of water fowl frequent the river here today we bought a fish of the Indians dried excessively fat and when alive a large fish. sturgeon probably
13th moved camp along the bank of the river and following the trail 24 miles only deviating from the river about 3 mils of the last of the travel. The first 6 miles the river is W. the next 3 N.W. then S.W. 3 then taking a circular sweep round to N. by E. which was 9 miles then left the river and in 3 miles struck a creek [Owyhee River] about as large as Charles River at Watertown, where we found grass, salmon and Indians and the first timber we have seen since leaving the Mts. in sight on what appears to be a river coming in from the N. side this I mean to ascertain tomorrow and the next day I shall start to explore the creek for Beaver. This forenoon and yesterday forenoon were cloudy and the first cloudy weather for 2 months except as mentioned before. Wether still as warm as 80 deg. in day time buy salmon for a hook apiece.
14th Mooved camp in a N.N.W. Direction 5 miles and encamped on the main river being out of provisions I sent a man on a mule to buy some salmon he went up the river about 3 miles and called to some Indians on one of the Islands to bring some these he bought afterward another Indian came over with some the man thinking he had got nearly enough offered him a less price this displeased the Indian who slapped him in the face and at the same time hit the mule a kick which set him out on the run and the Indian ran quick enough to avoid vengeance the man came to camp much displeased having had to walk most of the way and carry his fish this day also visited by Indians from below with salmon
15th Sent 3 men and 4 animals to examine the small river for beaver this day a N.W. wind much like the N.E of the Atlantic with some little rain (at the same camp) this day took a ride down the river to examine for a camp
16th N.W. wind still took a ride up the river to find a camp where timber, fit for a raft which we propose to build to carry some of the loose baggage and some men who are on foot can be found, found none saw some beaver sign in trading for some salmon an Indian attempted to sna[t]ch a paper of fish hook[s] from me but he did not make out returned to camp and sent two men to trap for the beaver they left their horses and went into the willows to look [for] the sign during which time the Indians none of whom were in sight stole a cloak from Mr. Ball. They found the beaver had lately been trapped out say within 3 weeks next morning they returned to camp
17th Mooved camp N. by W. 16 miles and encamped on a creek [Malheur River] about as large as the last near a few lodges of Indians the main river about two miles to N.E. This creek appears to run S.W. The Inds. say there is beaver on it the main river here makes a considerable detour to the N. Yesterday had hail and rain & snow and today the Mts. to the Northward are white with it.
18th with 2 men I went up the creek this I followed about 50 miles and found its general course about W. by N. the first 15 miles S.W. then W. 20 then N.N.W. 15 where the cut rocks begin This is a large stream when the waters are high in the spring but now is sluggish here we got a few beaver It had been trapped by the H.B. 2 years before we saw no Indians on it during the 9 days I was up. On the 10th day [Sept. 28th] I returned to where I left the party and feeling in the mood of banter I told the Indians at the mouth of the creek (the party having left) that I had eaten nothing for two days this to see if they would give me anything for charity sake One of them went and looked at my saddle and pointed to me the fresh blood of a beaver I had that morning caught and left with the two men I then bought 2 salmon for one awl afterward I told him I had three children at home he brought forward three tawny brats and his squaw who was big I backed out of story telling with Indians. I then proceeded on until the moon went down when seeing a light I made for it after traveling 5 miles I found it to be an Indian camp on the other side of the river I then unsaddled my horse and slept until 4 ock when I mounted and at 9 ock found where my party had camped the same night and a notice in the trail of their motions at 11 ock I overtook them with my horse lame and jaded. I found an Indian with the party who seems to know the route to Wallah Wallah and he intends going with us During my absence the three men sent up the creek above the one I went up returned without accident, and during the same time Mr. Sublette with Mr. Frapp & party joined our camp and crossed by fording to the other side of the river intending to divide into 3 parties and trap up three streams coming in opposite the upper one of which we thought to be salmon river it proves to be called Big Woody [Boise] on account of the timber on it. They attempted to come down on the creek above the one I asscended but after toiling long and wearing down their horses in a cruel manner they crossed to the one that we decended and arrived at the Indian village the day after we left it he left before I returned I regretted much not seeing this party. from Information gained here we suppose that we shall meet no Indians between this and the fort have therefore provided as much salmon as we could get and put ourselves on allowance. Subblette who went to 2 creeks further than I did saw a large stream running S.W. this must either turn and be some large river coming into Lewis below here or be the head water of some river going to the Gulph of California. After joining camp we proceed on to a creek [Burnt River] coming from the N.W. which is our route the river here being impracticable and taking a great bend to the N. and shall wait here until the two men who went up with me come to camp The river from where I lef[t] camp runs about N. 20 miles then west 10 miles then N. again into cut rocks found the party all well and the horses much recruited
29th We lay at same camp.
30th Mooved about 5 miles the creek running about W.
1 Oct Mooved camp along same creek about 5 miles still W.
2nd At same camp at this place the bears dung was plenty but we saw but one.
3rd Moved camp about 15 miles creek still west and trail good.
4th With an Indian and 4 men I left camp in order to explore this creek the N.W. trail here leaving it after leaving camp I proceed over bad hills about 18 miles and encamped among cut rocks on the same creek it here being W. by S. during the march we observed a range of high snowy mountains to the N. of us but w[h]ether on our side of the river or not could not determine.
5th Made about 5 miles through intolerable cut rocks some beaver
6th At same camp.
7th 5 mils on same creek which bears W. by S here left it. having sent a messenger to camp with orders to proceed on the route to Wallah Wallah and ste[e]ring north passed some snow clad mounts. which we walked up with bare feet and after 25 mils struck a small run going into the next creek during this day we passed through an immense forest of pine of different kinds and unknown to us altho very similar to some of ours on these mountains we found unripe service berrys, cherrys and thorn apple all of which are gone on the rivers it snowed and rained most of the day many of the pines were 4 feet through
8th Moved 4 miles to the main creek and laid down cold and hungry and supperless hoping that our traps would give us beaver in the morning
9th Got 7 beaver and went to eating like good fellows mooved this day 6 miles down creek here running about N.
10th Moved N. and down creek about 15 miles and found the rest of the party who had come on the main trail in an average N.W. direction about 45 miles This day rain this creek from where we struck it to this place runs in an extensive plain of fertile soile equal to the best I ever saw of about 5 mils average width here we raised a great smoke and am told by our Indian that the Nez Perces will see it and come to smoke with us
11th To the S.W. of us is a range of snow clad Mts. the Indian says it is 7 days to Wallah Wallah. This creek runs about N.E. by E.
11th [repeats date] stretch at 8 ock and moved about N.N.W. 30 miles over high ground of good soil
12th Left the party after killing a horse of the poorest kind for food in order to go ahead to find indians or whites or food The party here remained one day in a valley of about 20 miles long and 15 wide of a very fertile soil in this valley saw extensive camps of Indians about one month old here they find salmon in a creek running through it and dig the Kamas root but not an Indian was here at this time we put out in a N.W. direction and assended the hills which soon became wooded with good timber our course this day was about N.N.W. and 40 miles I had with me an Indian and three men and a little horse meat we camped this night in the woods without water.
13th Arose early and continued our route until 9 ock and stopped for breakfast of bad Horse meat on a creek of some size where we found the red thorn apple and a few cherries after 3 hours stop we moved across the creek which runs West and is called Ottillah [Umatilla] on ascending the opposite bluff we saw a smoke about 20 mils down on it to which we went and found some poor horses in charge of a squaw and some children the men were all out hunting they had no food but rose berrys of which we made our supper they were much frighted at our approach there having been some Indians of this tribe viz Walla Walla killed by the snakes above, and this family was murdered the night after we left them
In the morning of the 14th we put out about N. and arrived at fort Walla Walla about 5 ock in the evening distance 30 miles near the fort the river Walla Walla was crossed which is about 75 feet wide and about 2 feet deep current moderate the size of the last creek passed I was received in the most hospitable and gentlemanly manner by Peanbron [Pambrun] the agent for this post the fort is of no strength merely sufficient to frighten Indians mounting 2 small cannon having two bastions at the opposite corners of a square enclosure there were 6 whites here. My party arrived on the 18th having fared for food they passed my trail and went N. of it and struck the main river [Snake] above the fort they brough[t] in all the horses At the post we saw a bull and cow & calf, hen & cock, punkins, potatoes, corn, all of which looked strange and unnatural and like a dream. They gave me a decent change of cloth[es] which was very acceptable I took a ride up the river 9 miles to the junction of Lewis River which comes in from the S.E. and soon takes a S. course the Columbia comes here from the N.W.
On the 19th I took leave of my hospitable entertainer in one of the Cos. barges with my party leaving my horses in his charge at the fort and proceeded down the river about 4 mils and s[t]opped to tighten our boat the river forms fine eddies to work up with and about 3 mile current down the 2nd run of fish failed this year in the river and the Indians are picking up the most nauseous dead fish for food the course of the river [is] about S.W.
20th Left the beach at sunrise the River still S.W. and kept on until about noon when a furious wind arose from the S.W. and stopped our further progress the sand flew so as to obscure the air Here we traded a few fish from the natives for Hooks awls powder &c made 10 miles during which we passed some rapids of a bad character at which in times of high water portage is necessary the ge[e]se are numerous seated on the banks of the river. River W. by S. a large snowy mountain S.W. by W. ahead which the river leaves to the left called by the French "Montagne de Neige" [Mt. Hood] made 10 miles
21st Wind same but more moderate Put down the river still W by S. passed a large Island at the lower end of which we stopped for the night. Ther. 22 deg. Made 16 miles during the day out boatman bought a colt which we found fine eating shagg and ge[e]se plenty
22nd Made 30 miles wind moderate and no rapids of much dificulty stopped at night at a village where was a chief sick to whom our conductor administered some medicine and bled him his eyes were exceeding yellow and his blood after standing a short time was covered with a scum of yellowish green he gave us a horse to eat of which he had 260 in fine order and of good breed we found the meat equal to any beaf and quite different from the poor and sick old ones we had eaten. They here sell Horses for 100 loads amunition 1 Blankett and 1/4 lb tobacco.
23rd The chief much better and we left him Yesterday our people in search of wood of which there is none but drift here found a pile which they brought to our fire but were soon told by the natives that they had robbed the dead we will avoid the like mistake in the future we made this day 28 miles during which distance we passed one bad rapid and the river John Day from a trader of that name. This river is large but obstructed by rapids and enters from the S. is 79 miles below Walla Walla no rain as yet but we are informed that the rain is now constant below the falls we see Indians every few miles who come off to trade what little articles they have sometimes with nothing to beg a chew of tobacco sometimes with a little wood for fuel sometimes with two 3, one or 1/2 a fish a few berrys our conductor appears to have a wife at each stopping place 4 already and how many more sable beauties god only knows these Indians are tolerably honest but will steal a little.
24th Started about 9 and after about [6 miles written here but crossed out] passed the grand falls [Celilo] of the Columbia just above which a small river puts into the Columbia about the size of the small rivers above the Wallah [Wallah] for instance these falls now the water is low are about 25 feet when the water is high these falls are covered the water not having a sufficient vent below the water here rises about 40 feet just before arriving at the falls are considerable rapids the falls are easily passed in boats at high water we hired the Indians about 50 for a quid of tobacco each to carry our boat about 1 mile round the falls the goods we carried ourselves shortly after passing the falls we passed what are called the dalles (small) or where the river is damed up between the banks steep and high of not more than 100 feet apart through which the whole waters of the mighty Columbia are forced with much noise and uproar I passed through with some Indians while my men went round they not being good boatmen enough to trust and frighted withall. We are now camped at the Great Dalles which are still narrower and more formidable than the small having stoped after making 20 miles the wind being high and unfavorable for passing at the gorge of this pass the water rises by the mark on the rock at least 50 feet forming a complete lock to the falls above the back water covering them entirely. The Indians are thieves but not dangerous before us and apparently in the river rises the most formidable mountain we have seen the country ahead is clothed with forest to the river side which has not been the case before and the western horizon is covered by a dense cloud denoting the region of constant rain during the winter.
25th Made this day 6 miles and passed the great dalles similar to the small ones which we passed yesterday but still narrower being 75 feet about in width through this pass we went with an unloaded boat at an immense speed the goods and Baggage were carried past on the backs of my men and some Indians hired for that purpose my men not being good boatmen and timorous I hired Indians to work ours through going with them myself to learn the way during part of this day we had a fair wind the river still W. by S. here we saw plenty of grey headed seals we bought some bear meat from the Indians which we found very fine. We encamped for the first time on the river among timber among which I saw a kind of oak and ash. Indians Plenty one chief at whose lodge we stopped a short time gave me some molasses obtained from [the] fort below to eat He had a large stock of dried fish for the winter 4 tons I should think roots &c he was dressed in the English stile Blue frock pants. & vest comported himself with much dignity enquired my name particularly and repeated it over many times to impress it on his memory his sister was the squaw of an American of the name of Bache who established a post on the river below the great dalles three years ago last fall and who was drowned in them with 11 others the following spring the remains of the fort I saw as also the grave of the woman who died this fall and was buried in great state with sundry articles such as capeau vest pantaloons shirts &c. A pole with a knob at the top is erected over her remains at the foot of the Dalles is an island called the Isle of the Dead on which there are many sepulchers these Indians usually inter their dead on the Islands in the most romantic scituations where the souls of the dead can feast themselves with the roar of the mighty an eternal waters which in life time aforded them sustenance and will to all eternity to their posterity.
26 After 30 miles of beautiful navigation with little current and fair strong wind and no rapids we arrived at the Cascade or lower obstruction of the river here it is necessary to carry the boat and the Indians are all dead only two women are left a sad remnant of a large number their houses stripped to their frames are in view and their half buried dead this portage will be a hard job during this day I went ashore to a small lake near the river I killed at one discharge of my double barrelled gun 5 of them which gave 5 of us a hearty supper no rain as yet but constant appearance of it ahead at these rapids are a great many seal it is a mystery to me how they assend them. The direction of the river is here about W by S. and a little snow on some of the highest of the hills this day we passed the high mountain covered with snow hertofore mentioned it is on the left of the river and is a more stupendous pile than any of the Rocky Mts. Always covered with snow and is called the Snowy mountain.
27th in the morning commenced carrying the boat and goods which we finished at 1 ock. and making 9 miles in all stopped to repair the boat which was leaky from damage sustained in carrying rained all this day and saw but two Indians
28th With a fair wind and a little rain we decended the river at a great rate on the route we killed a goose which dropped in the water a white headed Eagle from a distance seeing this took occasion to come he seized it and lifted it into the air a few feet but our near approach frighted him away made this day 26 miles and stopped at a saw mill belonging to the H.B. Co. under charge of a Mr. Cawning a gentleman who came here 22 years since with a Mr Hunt he is in the service of the Co. We were treated by him with the greatest kindness he gave us mocasins and food in plenty.
29th Started at 10 ock and arrived at the fort of Vancouver at 12, 4 miles Here I was received with the utmost kindness and Hospitality by Doct. McLauchland [McLoughlin] the acting Gov. of the place Mr McDonald Mr Allen and McMckay gentleman resident here Our people were supplied with food and shelter from the rain which is constant they raise at this fort 6000 bush. of wheat 3 of Barley 1500 potatoes 3000 peas a large quantity of punkins they have coming on apple trees, peach Do. and grapes. Sheep, Hogs, Horses, Cows, 600 goats, grist 2, saw mill 2. 24 lb guns powder magazine of stone the fort is of wood and square they are building a Scho. of 70 tons there are about 8 settlers on the Multnomah they are the old engages of the Co. who have done trapping. I find Doct. McLauchland a fine old gentleman truly philanthropic in his Ideas he is doing much good by introducing fruits into this country which will much facilitate the progress of its settlement (Indian corn 300 bush) The gentlemen of this Co. do much credit to their country and concern by their education deportment and talents. I find myself involved in much difficulty on abc. of my men some of whom wish to leave me and whom the Co. do not wish to engage no[r] to have them in the country without being attached to some Co. able to protect them alledging that if any of them are killed they will be obliged to aveng it at an expense of money and amicable relations with the Indians. And it is disagreeable for me to have men who wish to leave me. The Co. seem disposed to render me all the assistance they can they live well at these posts they have 200 acres of land under cultivation the land is of the finest quality.
30th to 5th. Nov remained at Vancouver and except the last day rain.
6th started down the river to look with a view to the Salmon business we decended the river at about 4 mils per hour and accomplished the journey in parts of 4 days the river is full of islands but they are all too low for cultivation being occasionally overflowed as also the praries (what few there are) on the main land with the exception of these small levells the country is so rough that a great part of the earth must be inhabited before this but the soil is good and the timber is heavy and thick and almost impenetrable from underbrush and fallen trees the description of Mess. Lewis & Clark and others is fully borne out as to size and more also the river is so well known at this part of it that I will not insert any observations of my own there are a great number of fowl on this river at this time and there will be more as they saw soon there are large swan white ge[e]se a goose with a motled breast and yellow bill a trifle smaller than the goose of N.E. A white goose almost exactly like the domestic goose of N.E. yellow feet and legs as also the former there is another goose like that of N.E. but I think smaller there is the tame duck of N.E. with 19 tail feathers and a fine duck to eat there is the grey duck of N.E. green winged teel Buffle heads Cape Races Dippers of the Sea loons seal deer I killed one swimming the river I saw no elk but only tracks fort George now occupied as a trading post by the H.B. Co. is well scituated on a sloping bank of the river about 2 miles outside of Tongue point and 6 miles inside of Clatsop point Chinnook point is opposite the latter and inside Chinnook is a river of small size is also inside Tongue point above Tongue point about 6 miles are the Cathlametts they are an archipelago of reedy Islands overflown at high water Here are ducks innumerable. the Indians in this part of the river are of late much reduced they appear good and hospitable as far as an Indian ever is that is they are willing to sell provisions for all they can get for them they appear to live well and I believe any one may with plenty of powder and lead on this river either as a purchase or to shoot there are no beaver here We arrived at the Fort of V. on the 15th Nov having had no rain during this time. I must here mention the very kind gentlemanly conduct of Mr. Jas. Bernie superintendent of Ft. G. who assisted me to a boat and pilot for the outer harbor and acted the part of host to perfection I had much pleasure with a little liquor and a pipe in his company he has seen much of this country and is of the old N.W. concern I derived much information from him on my return to the fort my men came forward and unanimously desired to be released from their engagement with a view of returning home as soon as possible and for that end to remain here and work for a maint[en]ance until an opportunity should occur. I could not refuse they had already suffered much and our number was so small that the prospect of renumeration to them was very small I have therefore now no men these last were Mr. Ball Woodman Sinclair, Breck, Abbot, Tibbits they were good men and persevered as long as perseverance would do good I am now afloat on the great sea of life without stay or support but in good hands i.e. myself and providence and a few of the H.B. Co. who are perfect gentlemen During my absence Guy Trumbul died on the 7th of Nov. of the Cholic an attack of which he had on the Platte of which he nearly died in this case he was taken in the evening and died early in the mng. His funeral was attended by all the Gentlemen at the place and prayers were said accord[ing] to the form of the Church of England for this attention to my affairs in my absense was considerate to my feelings and I hope will be duly appreciated service is here performed on sunday and on the days prescribed by the church of Eng. our excursion down the river was performed in an Indian canoe which we hired for a 3 1/2 point Blankett We found it very kittish but withall a good craft for sailing and easy to paddle but the men were exceedingly awkward.
19th From this to the 29th I remained at Fort Vancouver eating and drinking the good things to be had there and enjoying much the gentlemanly society of the place.
On the 29th. with Abbot and Woodman in an Indian canoe I started for a journey up the Wallamet or Multonomah River this river which is highest in the winter was so at this time but is not rapid until near the falls the subjoined scetch will shew its course as I made it distance by the river by my estimate 27 1/2 miles to the falls which are perpendicular about 20 feet past these we carried our canoe about 1/4 mile and launched above the falls the water though generally more rapid above would admit of the running of a steam boat. In this river at this time there is more water than in the Missouri and not of a more difficult character to navigate the tide flows to within 8 miles of the falls below the fall the banks of the river are not suitable for cultivation being overflowed as far as the bottom extends which is not far and beyond these the country rises into rocky hills unfit for tillage but producing very large timber mostly if not all of the pines On the bottoms there is considrable oak of a kind not found in the States but of excellent quality for ship building and its the only kind of oak found in the country of the Columbia I noticed but two streams coming into the river below the falls the river to within 6 mils of its junction with the Columbia runs along the N.E. side of a range of hills or as they would be called in N.E. mountains at the falls it passes through this range this river has two mouths the East one is the one I assended the west one follows the range of hills above described to their falling on the Columbia about 3 miles below the eastern entrance the mouth of this river is in Latt 45 deg. 36 min. 51 sec. Long. 122 deg. 48 min. Above the falls for 22 mils by estimate the banks of the river are high enough to prevent flowing but timbered and not fertile and rough and the country apparently not valuable except for timber which is here mostly of the pines except a small quantity of cotton wood and alder the latter is here a tree of sometimes a foot and a half through at the falls the H.B. Co. are erecting a saw mill to which they contemplate adding a grist mill the scituation for mill priviledges is beyond any thing I have ever seen 22 mils from the falls are 3 or 4 Canadians settled as farmers they have now been there one year have Hogs, Horses, Cows, have built barns, Houses, and raised wheat, barely, potatoes, turnips, cabages, corn punkins, mellons The country here becomes open, but still wood enough and a much greater proportion of oak prairies of from 1 to 30 miles in extent bound by a skirting of timber this country seems a valley between the mountains to the East and West of about 50 miles wide including both sides of the river and is very level of nearly uniform soil extremely rich equal to the best of the Missouri lands. Accounts vary much as to its southerly extent I have seen it at least 75 mils in southwardly direction and from all I can learn I think it extends with but little interuption as far south as the vally of the Buneventura which is also of the same description of the country. and I have never seen country of equal beauty except the Kansas country and I doubt not will one day sustain a large population 10 mils by land above the first settlement and 30 by the river is another by a MrJervie [Joseph Gervais] which was a very fine beginning of one years standing of the same character and product as the one below in all about 9 settlers are on this river if this country is ever colonised this is the point to commence the river is navigable for canoes to its very sources but as I understand very circuitous deer abounds in this district and wolves one of which a large devil I shot these settlers I found exceeding attentive to my comforts especially MrJervai at whose house I slept 2 nights I was absent from the fort this time 10 days.
To the 4th Jany.  the weather was little better than a continual rain now however a hard rain often but a drizzling uncomfortable air during December there fell 91/2 inches rain by a pluviometer on the 4th the wind came strong to N.N.E. with fair and cool weather Ther. averaging about 19 Deg. this continued to the 8th when there is much floating ice in the river and those here think that with two days more of this weather the river will close. The readiness w[it]h which the river frezes must arise from the water getting intensely cold in the upper country. During this month Mr. McKay gave our room a treat of Buffaloe meat salted and smoked and this being the first opportunity of comparing good Buffalo meat with other good meat was highly acceptable. I think it equal to the best meat ever eaten. Up to the 4th there was no frost in the ground and ploughing is commonly done all the winter during the latter part ot January the River rose about 4 feet which must have arisen from the rains as there could be no melting of snow on the Mountains at this season these rains must have I think extended farther back than is described to be their range viz the falls at which the timbered country terminates. Carrots are here finer and larger than I have ever before seen one I think was 3 inches through and of fine flavor. There appears much sickness amon[g] the people here especially among the common people which I think arises from low diet and moist weather for as far as I can observe the gentlemen who live well are not much subject to disorders. the main disorder is an intearmittent fever which has carried off all or nearly all the Indians who live even worse than the engages. The Lima which sailed a month since had not to the 1st Jany. got out of the river. I have been Informed by Mr Douglas and Mr. Finlesson that vessells have laid off the bar 7 weeks before they could enter.
11th Jany. The River closed with ice and I am detained here until it opens. Last winter the river remained frozen 5 weeks there is yet no snow. Today heard by Mr Hermatinger of the death of Mr Vande[r]burg killed by the Blackfeet up to this time the weather continued clear and cold for this country the Ther. varying from 12 deg. to 20 deg.
On the 18th at 2 oclock it commenced hailing and at day light the hail was about 2 inches on the ground the River closed on the 10th and so remains at present on the 14th I walked across the Columbia and found the ice about 6 inches thick where it lay smooth but it was much tumed up edge wise aftemoon of the 18th commenced Raining and on the 19th rains still the hail was at one time from 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep on the 18th.
19th after raining hard all night there is no snow left it is warm and showery to day Ther. 54 deg.
20th Raining stil and Ther. 52 deg. River not yet cleared ice stationary.
21st 22nd warm and Rainy.
23rd The river Broke up still warm Ther. 51 deg. I am informed by Mr Dav. Douglas that a Mr Woodard whom he saw in Calafornia was intending to come to the Columbia for SaImon he is a Brother-in-law to Capt. Ebbets and is from New York Mr. Douglass saw him in Calafornia in July 1832. I am informed by Doct. J. McGlaucland that he has seen strawberrys ripe here in Dec. and blossom in Jany. the weather warm up to the 28th with occasional rains there is now little ice on the river on the banks the wreck and rubbish of the breaking up of the river. The H.B. Co. are now making a fort at Nass. to counteract the Am. vessells on the coast.
28th Warm still and fair the Co. are about sending a party under Mr. [Donald] Manson to make a fort at Milbank Sound.
30th Today a party sent to enquire after another reported to be cut off beyond the Umquoi or near the Clammat River under a man by the name of of Duportt [Jean Baptiste Desportes] I requested to accompany him but the Gov. would not consent alledging the[y] would conceive that I came to avenge the death of Mr. Smiths party who was cut off by the Umquoi Indians, all which I interpreted into a jealousy of my motives this party brought back 200 skins which they had traded they did not go beyond the Umquoi. they were gone 2 months lost no men and but 2 horses which Died of Fatigue.
31st to the 3rd. Feb. we had warm and wet weather on the 3rd at 10 ock. we started for Wallah Walla I had with me two men and am in company with Mr Emmatinger of the H.B. Co. who has in charge 3 boats with 120 pieces of goods and 21 men. I parted with feelings of sorrow from the gentlemen of Fort Vancouver their unremitted kindness to me while there much endeared them to me more so than it would seem possible during so short a time Doct McGlaucland the Gov. of the place is a man distinguished as much for his kindness and humanity as his good sense and information and to whom I am so much indebted as that he will never be forgotten by me this day we came to the Prarie Du Li[s] 15 miles raining most of the day.
4th Left the prairie Du Li on the lower end of it this prairie is about 3 miles long and through it the River Du Li a small creek enters the Columbia we made but 2 miles when one of our boats ran foul of a rock and was stove it landed its cargo without wetting much this accident detained us till 1/4 before 12 ock when we started and kept on till 2 ock and stopped 20 minutes to dine then kept on till 1/2 past 5 ock making 17 mils this day this River is at medium water the rivers banks high precipitous and rocky from the Lea prairie in one place the bank on the N. side rises to 200 feet perpendicular I saw a hawk light on a projecting crag about half way up which gave me a good idea of the height of the rock from this rock a small stream casts itself into the Com. w[h]ether a permanent one or not cannot say but should think not there are here many white headed Eagles one skunk we saw today the timber appears much smaller than below no rain but cloudy this day wind west and Ther. about 40 deg. now at 8 ock at night the full moon is looking down calmly upon us aparently thinking that the cares of us humble individuals concern her little.
5th We left camp at 7 ock and made 4 miles to breakfast and in 7 mils more the foot of the Cascades our breakfast was made on a small island abreast of a rock rising perpendicular from the bed of the river as I should think 400 feet high Lewis & Clark call it I think 700 feet this rock is nearly surrounded by the waters of the river
The Cascades occasion a portage of 100 rods our goods were carried across this day the river is here compressed into a very small place and the bed is full of rocks I should think the fall to be about 8 feet in the space of the 60 rods There are here two fishing villages both now deserted as the people here say from the inmates being all dead of the fever but I suspect some are dead and the rest and much larger part frighted away we made the portage by the North side on which is one of the above villages it is near the river on a little clear spot with a little lake in the rear here the Inds were once hostile and great caution was once used in passing now but little is requisite it rained all the latter part of the day and night and morning of the 6th finished the portage but our boats were so bruised that the rest of the day was taken to gum them took a look about me the rest of the day found that the tripe de roche grew on the rocks here but small here there are many petrifactions of wood in a bank of gravell some of which are perfectly petrified and will not burn in the fire but others appear only half so and burn and cut freely they are found bedded in stone composed of rubble of some former world the gravel is cemented together by finer gravell the whole being volcanic and water worn.
7th At 1 1/2 mile above the Cascade is a small river from the N. and 4 1/2 above this a creek from the N. rained all the 6th and rains a little today and came in all 27 miles passed many Indian habitations on the river and canoes 15 mils above the Cascades is a Torrent that precipitates itself into the river from about 60 feet 17 mils from same on same side viz south is a creek both small one between them on the N. side timber growing gradually thinner.
8th We found that a Capeau and 2 blanketts had been stolen by some Inds. from one of our men and went to the village just below our camp to recover them they acknowledged the theft but the thieves had run off we took two canoes to our camp and breakfasted immediately after breakfast the man who had lost the articles took an ax and broke the worst canoe for which he was reprimanded by Mr Ermatinger the other he left and a little after we left I saw the Ind. come and take it we made 29 mils to the Dalles which are one mile or thereabouts long and encamped having passed two of the boats the other owing to some mistake had she[e]red out and forced the line from those who were towing and forced one Indian into the stream and was drowned he was in a bank about 15 feet high he swam until he got into a whirl pool and went down. Just below the Dalles the timber ceases there are here many Indians Tilky & Casineau are here the chiefs and very clever ones all this day we saw Indians on the banks the water passes even now at a furious rate and at high water it is impassible and boats are carried as much as two mils and all the goods for assisting through this place a little tobacco is given the Inds. we gave the usual quantity and saw a personal struggle for the division of it.
9th Left the Great Dalls and in three miles came to the little dalles which we passed by towing in which we were delayed by reason of having only two lines one having been lost at the time the Indian was drowned in three miles more I arrived at the Shutes or falls of the Columbia which are not in this stage of the water more than ten feet perpendicular but much more than that including the rapids above and below in the immediate vicinity these falls once during the times the whites have been here have been sailed up owing as I suppose to the Dalles at such times affording a slow outlet to the accumulated waters and their being raised by this circumstance to above the level of the falls this day got our baggage and goods over at the G. Dalles I traded one horse which I sent on by Abbot at the Shutes we found about 150 to 200 Indians who were very troublesome [having] to pay for very trifling services however they stole nothing.
10th Passed over and gummed the boats and at 1/2 past 12 started up the river having traded another horse and sent it on by Woodman one mile above the river Aux Rapide comes from the south the size of the stream I cannot tell as I only saw the mouth of it here on the N. side of the river Abbot came to me having lost the horse entrusted to him I took Mr. Woodmans and gave [it to] Abbot with orders to wait until 10 ock tomorrow and then to come on whether he got the horse or not we came today 9 miles and 6 yesterday here we have to give a piece of tobacco for every stick of wood we get last night was the first frost I have seen since the river broke the grass is somewhat green this part of the river affords trout in small quantity.
11th Started at an early hour and made the mouth of a considerable stream coming from the S. called John Days River from a hunter of that name formerly in this country distant from our 1st camp 7 1/2 miles we camped 22 1/2 miles from this on the North side of the river having had a strong and fair wind all day one thing I observed in this part of the River is that the savages are civil and as much as one in ten has lost an eye as I suppose from the effects of the fine sand of the river being blown about or the violent wind for which this part of the river is noted we found some few roots and little game with the natives the night was windy and uncomfortabl but no frost but a little rain
12th At 1/2 past 6 we started and made 2 miles to breakfast on the N. side fair wind and clear one boat stove and must stop to repair and gum found two small logs of drift wood at 10 ock. recommenced our journey with a fair light wind and made in all this day 17 miles during the day had the satisfaction of seeing Abbot come up but without finding the lost horse.
13th Calm in mng. but after breakfast had a fair and midling strong wind at 1 ock passed the upper end of Grand Island an Indian to day brought me a pouch and horn stolen from one of my men going down but the balls and powder used up which I redeemed for a little tobacco last night a frost not severe made this day 25 miles found wood enough for use on the banks but it is a custom of the Indians to run along the beach and take possession of the wood there may be and sell it [to] you for tobacco which appears to be their greatest luxury a quid is pay for almost anything.
14th We started at 6 ock and in one mile passed the River Ottillah one mile above which rapids commence the[se] we passed one mile long making 3 to Dreakfast and started at 1/2 past 10 with a fair and strong wind and reached Walla Walla at 5 p.m. just befor[e] reaching this place the cut rocks close into the river in such a manner that there appears but a small perpendicular sided gap to look through past these and at W.W. both bank[s] fall down to a nearly levell plain we were again hospitably received by Mr. P.C. Pambrun we remained at this post until the l9th of Feb. the weather mild and clear but high S.W. winds W.W. is a place noted for high winds a little frost during the nights only gras[s] just getting green My horses in tolerable good order and all found eat horse meat all the time at this post On Sunday took a ride up the river W.W. found its bottoms good but not extensive and no wood the corn for this post 150 bushells last year was raised at least 3 miles from the fort none was stolen by the Indians a good test of their honesty as they are all most always starving. This place is kept by about 5 men Inds. are freely admitted inside of it about 1200 skins traded here it is kept up mostly for trading horses and the safty of the communication the course of the Wallah [Wallah] river is E. by N. near the fort when I saw it.
19th Just as we were leaving the fort an Indian brought in the horse which Abbot lost at the Dalles and a short time after leaving the fort an Indian sent by Mr. P. brought one other which had strayed from Abbot at this place we made this day 7 miles to a branch of the Wallah [Wallah] river here coming from the N. the space nearly a plain and barren and sandy but good grass this branch appears to be about half the Wallah [Wallah] river encamped a little after sundown and for 12 yards blue clths. 1 Blkt. 2 1/2 pt 50 balls & powder 2 knives 1 lb. Tobacco bunch beads, 10 fish Hooks traded a good horse this appears a fair price here.
20th We made a late start and after travelling 9 hours without water arrived at the Snake river here running W. our course was this day N. by E. 22 1/2 miles over a country which would be considered light sandy land with little sage grass good and in tufts very level except some trifling roundly swelling hills these make one think of gently swelling breasts of the ladies. Day warm and clear We in the first of the day followed the branch of the W.W. mentioned yesterday say four miles on which I saw blackbirds which Mr. Pambrun says stay at W.W. all winter.
21st No frost in morning. Crossed the [Snake] river to the mouth of a creek coming into the river from the N. for 10 miles which was the length of our march this day this creek is through cut rocks of moderate height for this country. We followed the stream on the east bank. These banks were about 300 feet high to the levell of the plain if that can be called a plain where the hills rise to an almost equal height and the gullies are abrupt and narrow. The soil was what would be called in N.E. a poor sandy soil producing good grass but still no wood Traded two horses this day at the usual rates The people who are most used to this country are so little afraid of the indians that they either travel without guns or with them unloaded.
22nd A pretty hard frost in the morning followed the river one mile on the North side then crossed it and made North 3 miles and crossed a branch of it coming from the N.W. Our course this day N. by E. and encamped at a little run of water running S.E. This is inconsiderable Saw about 20 antelope this day in one herd at our camp this nigh[t] observed about 2 inches of frost in the ground this days ride over very rocky country the valleys of which are very good but small otherwise more sandy than common grass good Made 22 1/2 miles
23rd N. 17 miles over a rough and Rocky country with a few small bottoms which are good land at 9 miles from last camp passed some of the best specimens of Basaltic colum[n]s which I have seen They were 5 sided and about 50 feet high some standing independent others tumbled down to the foot of the wall like demolished Towers This days march [passed] many small lakes whether formed by the snow or not I can not say but I think some of them are permanent none larger than a few acres Camped at a stream coming from the N. and were visited by three Indians who report the road to Colville impassable for snow a hard frost last night and frost in the ground beside the lakes mostly frozen over but not thick these made me think of the old business of my life.
24th 20 miles N. through timber in the first of which we encamped last night the stream which we camped on here forks no game except two small prairie hens passed many little lakes one of which is as large Fresh Pond and one nearly so the rest smaller Patches of snow and one third of the trees prostrated last year by southerly gale their trunks much obstructed the path before us on the right are snow covered and moderately high Mts. found good wood at our camp by the light of which I now write the scene reminds me of my Ice men at work by torch light not frost enough in the ground to prevent driving tent stakes the little [rain] and snow made streams [which] run Southerly
25th in a N. direction 15 miles to Spokan River a stream now about half as large as the Snake River it is now high from the melting of the snow its sources are not distant and in a range of Mts. in sight this Range runs about N.W. which is here the general course of the stream but how far I cannot say as it is visible but a short distance at this place are the remains of the old Spokan House one Bastion of which only is now standing which is left by the Indians from respect to the dead one clerk of the Co. being buried in it the banks of this river are here rocky and precipitous I observed among the rocks of its bed Granite Green Stone Quartz sandstone Lava or Basalt the country on approaching this river from the South resembles the pine plains of N. Hampshire near Concord we passed the divide between the waters of this and the last river about 5 mils from our last nights Camp striking then after passing the isolated wood in which we had camped and a large plain devoid of wood a deep valley running N. Crossed the most of our baggage today
26th Arrived [at Spokan House] After perusing the enclosed loose papers I proceed
27th March due N.E. by N 24 miles we made this day This line cuts the Spokan river This point we turned but I call the course direct for convenience this course is through a tolerable fertile prairie the grass good and flowers plenty on the W. side are low range of rocky hills which are granite and a better development of the broken rock named yesterday I find it to be volcanic by its being [a word omitted] blending with porous rock on our left and about half way of the days march passed a mile distant a little lake 1/2 mile across to the E. by N. Of this is a lake 3 miles across from which the Spokan flows neither of these I have seen but take this from hearsay arrived at our camp and all well and in better order I have forgot to mention that the stream [Little Spokane River] that comes into the Spokane near the House beings down peb[b]les of volcanic rock also that the streams near our present camp come from the hills enter the prairie of the Spokan River and disappear in the ground.
28 Made 18 miles N. through a level and wooded country and camped with only snow water and poor grass the rocks seen to day are bolders of granite and observed that the compass in one place would not Traverse this happened while going to Colville from Spokan and coming from there back also observed Today and yesterday the effects of some former gale in prostrated trees direction here S.W.
29 horses missing in mng. and not found till noon went N. 9 miles and struck Flat Head Rivers compass again refused to traverse through deep snow today and yesterday and thick young trees and fallen timber observed here the white pine and Hemlock snow and rain all yesterday found our people at the river with the boats.
30th Remained at the same place crossed the river I here saw an Indian who was entirely blind he seemed to be taken good care of by his relatives made him a small present for which he thanked me parted company with Mr Ermatinger he to go on with the goods by water myself with horses by land last night the coldest for some time today warm and pleasant
31st Moved early N. 7 miles passing a point and to little streams Excessively bad going in crossing the point from snow and brush E. two mils along the river N.N.E. 5 miles to the Lake [Pend Oreille] then a line to our camp cutting the lake 5 mils more N.N.E. This lake is about three miles broad and indeed the river so far resembles a long lake little or no current and 3/4 miles wide plenty of pa[r]tridges, ge[e]se, and Duck and some deer meat of the Indians all clay country mountainous one Horse gave out and left him a good lo[d]ge made of Branches of Pine had almost made me forget that it had snowed and rained all day ourselves and goods were wet through we had no human comfort except meat enough to eat and good.
1st April E. 2, N 3, E by S. 3, and found that from this spot the place where I entered on the lake bore S.W.N. by E. 2, E. by S. 5 N. 3 and made the traverse of a large peninsular at one mil E. by N. struck the head of a creek which after 3 miles more led us back to the Lake at the entrance into it of the River Tete Plate. [Clark Fork] This Lake is a large and fine sheet of water it appears of a good depth There looks as if a large river entered on the S. side at the east end it is widest and there are two Islands it is surrounded by lofty and now snowy Mts. but their summits are timbered yesterday saw nothing but Granite today saw Slate and Sandstone not the least volcanic appearance in this part of the Country.
2nd Made E.S.E. 6 mils through a difficult swamp over a hill and to the main river again during which time we passed two small streams this swamp had the largest cedars apparently the same as those of the N.E. that I have ever seen I measured one at my height from the ground of 31 feet circumferance and I presume some were larger no rocks to day but sandstone and slate camped on acc. of my horses having had no feed lately the slate is tortuitous and I think mica slate here my Indian brought me in some onions and two kinds of trout some of the trout I have bought of the Indians as large as 10 lbs. they are plenty and taken with the hook there are plenty of ducks and ge[e]se the Ducks are the [same] as the tame ducks of N.E.
3d 10 mils almost due E. cutting a mountain and through almost impenetrable wo[o]d and deep snow much trouble and delay to keep the trail from the mountain 4 mils from last nights camp saw our last camp on this Lake which bore W. by N. to night we camped without grass but could not go further some of the horses strayed in the trail behind
4th Started our Indian early to find the strayed horses and started camp ahead 9 mils E. following the river the whole way altho the trail cuts off the point and encamped where the trail again strikes the river at this place there is a considerable [Bull River] coming from the E. by N. into the river here for the first time since reaching Walla Walla I saw fresh Beaver sign the Indian has not yet come up with the horses and little feed for those we have with us to day saw a small sized Bear but he was off to soon for a shot
5th 12 mils E.S.E. through deep snow and thick wood most of the way sometimes miry sometimes slippery with ice and always obstructed by the great quantity of fallen wood Last night late the Indian brought up all the lost horses
6th 9 mils E.S.E. trail better slate rock only Camped on the river last night in the mountains. Yesterday two horses gave out left a man to keep them and bring them up if possible to day one gave out which I will leave at this camp for same man
7th Arrived at the Flathead post kept by Mr. Rivi [Louis Rivet?] and one man after a ride of 17 mils E.S.E. through thick wood not very good trail and a snow storm which loaded the pines in such a manner as to bend them down to the ground frequently loading me with the snow as passing I disturbed the branches trees loaded down in this way and frozen so as to be firm constitute much of the difficulty of the route from Flathead or Ponderay Lake to this place want of grass at this time of the year the residue with some mire rock mica slate this place is scituated on a fine prairie 2 mils long 1 wide and seems pleasant after coming through thick woods and mountains counting my horses found 32 of 47 with which I started but think I shall recover all but one left on the Lake having sent men and Indians in search of them Mr. E. came in the boats in 5 days I have now news by four Indians who came in on the 6th on foot the Nez Perces have lost all but 4 horses of their band of about 500 stolen by the Blackfeet The Flatheads expected in about 15 days on the 11th started out to see if there were many beaver in the country with intention of staying 12 days but was recalled by the arrival of the buffaloe Indians found few beaver and the country can only be trapped on foot plenty of pa[r]tridges to be found in this country arrived again at the post on tho 17th of April my route was back on the Flathead River.
18th to 20th remained at the post having now found all my horses started camp 2 miles East up the river and to the upper end of the prairie on which the house is built at this place is a large creek coming from the N. [Thompson River]
21th rained hard last night and from the 17th to this day have had one or more slight showers each day the plain is now good grass we are much anoyed by the dogs of the Indian village which are numerous they eat all our cords and fur flesh they can get at in the night this is always a great trouble while travelling with Indians until you get to Buffaloe where they find better food for three nights no frost This valley is the most romantic place imaginable a level plain of two miles long by 1 wide on the N a range of rocky and snow clad Mts. on the S. the Flathead river a rapid current and plenty of good fishing running at the immediate base of another lofty Snowy and Rocky range of Mts. Above and below the vally the mountains of each range close upon the river so as apparently to afford no outlet either way about 200 horses feeding on the green plain and perhaps 15 Indian Lodges and numerous barking dogs with now and then a half breed on horseback galloping gracefully with plenty of gingling bells attached to all parts of himself and horse it is really a scene for a poet nought but man is wanting to complete it
22nd Moved 8 mils E.N.E. along the river at 6 miles passed a very bad rock called le Roche Mauvais the mountains as yet closely follow the river on both sides but seem declining in height as we stopped early we spent the rest of the day in preparing to prevent the bla[c]k Foot from stealing our horses they have never but once passed the bad rock and then the Flatheads gave them such a beating as keeps [them] since in better order the[y] infest much the country we are now about entering
23d Moved 8 mils E.N.E. to Horse plain thence N.E. 5 mils cutting a hill and leaving the River which we had her[e]tofore followed decending the Mts E.N.E. 6 mils to a large open vally in the hills with little timber and much grass opposite to our Camp is a mountain where 200 Flatheads Conterays [Kootenais] Ponderays and other Inds. were killed by the Blackfoot Inds. During the first part of the last division of the days march passed a small lake with many waterfowl and one sand hill crane. We are now fairly in the dangerous Country through Horse plain and into the R Flathead is a small brook to day 2 Indians arr[i]ved from the main Flathead Camp at Porte D'enfer [Hell Gate] with news that the Blackfoot have made 2 h[a]uls of horses from them the Flathead Camp consists of men of various tribes
24 mooved E. by S. down the valley to Flathead river then 4 miles E. following the river then Forded it and made 3 mils E. by N. and encamped on it at a place where last year a man by the name of La Couse was [killed] by the Blackfoot Inds. the river is not now high when so it is not fordable and is here a good sized stream the salts here whiten in the ground and the animals are almost crazy after it which makes them bad to drive the morning was sult[r]y and I travelled without my coat but in the afternoon we had a fine [s]hower with some thunder of good quality the vally we left today abounds with the finest Kamas I have yet seen as provisions are scarce in camp the women dug much of it
25th Mooved Camp up the main river 12 mils E 1zZ2 N. then up a large but fordable branch 3 mils E. by S. trail fine grass good weather beautiful no frost for three nights the Climate appears much as at Baltimore at this season
26th made E. along the creek last named 5 miles then crossed and followed it 4 mils S.E. then recrossed it and followed it E.S.E. 3 mils crossing a small branch then 2 mils recrossing the main creek again then followed 1 mile E S.E. and recrossed it and followed a small branch of it S.E. 1 mile crossed the branch and followed it 2 mils S.E. to Camp clear except 1 shower but only comfortably warm Count[r]y hilly but open E. lay a heavy pile of snowy Mts. 5 mils distant aparently running N. & S. the rocks for a few days have been Sandstone mica slate this day saw a white bear which we surrounded to kill but he broke through and escaped earth in some places whitened with salt which makes the horses bad to drive horses getting fat grass good as also the bottom lands which are tolerably extensive
27th Remained at same camp snowed a little this day the Inds went hunting and got one Deer
28th Abbot brought in one Beaver started Camp 2 mils S.E. 2 S.S.E. 2 S. 4 S. by W. thus far through woods and a defile crossing the divide between the creek which we were on and another going to that branch of the Flathead river to [which] we came this day. then into open plains snowy mts on each side 3 mils S.S.E. then 5 mils S E by E crossing two slews of the Flathead river and Camped on a third and large one which we shall be obliged to raft over I judge it twice as large as the one we crossed some days since the river here runs S.W. a little snow today quarrelled and parted with my man Woodman he appeared to think that as I had but two he might take libertys under such circumstances I will never yield an inch I paid him half as I conceive he had gone half the route with me here we met some Inds from the great Camp which they say is a moderate Camp distant
29th Forgot to mention in proper place that I saw Plumb trees at the place we left W. branch of the Flathead river these are said to be good about [one] inch through ripe in Sept. and found nowhere else but at this place I tried hard to get some stones but could not Moved this day S.S.W. we crossed by fording contrary to expectation by loading high and taking high horses at 8 miles struck another branch of same river as large as those already passed at 4 miles further a creek from opposite side ford tolerably good at 20 miles came to main Camp of 110 Lodges Containing upward of 1000 souls with all of which I had to shake hands the Custom in meeting these indians is for the Coming party to fire their arms then the other does the same then dismount and form single file both sides and passing each other shake hands with men women and children a tedious job buffaloe have come here and even further but they are killed at once and do not get wonted her[e] the racine amani or Spetulum [bitterroot] is found this Camp is on the river good grass river direct S.S.W. six nights since the Blackfoot stole horses from this Camp here I found thre[e] Canadians one of whom was one who came to us the night before we were fired on on the heads of the Spanish River this days march between two parralled ranges of Mts now Snowy but I think not always so there is much kamas in this region we find little meat in the Indian Camp and are therefore much short[e]ned for food
30th went out to collect some flowers for friend Nuttall afterwards to see the Camp fine 120 lodges of us today some having arrived they are collecting to go to the Buffaloe in force to meet the Blackfeet looked at their games one is played by two men at a time a level place is made on the ground about 15 feet long by 3 feet wide with a small log of wood at each end to stop a small iron ring with one of them rools from one end of the ally to the other both following it each having an arrow which they endeavor to throw after and under it so that when stopped it will rest on one of them the one on whose arrow it is wins at least this is all I understand of the game the game is kept by a third by means of placing sticks on one side or the other another feat much in practice from the smallest to the largest in Camp is two with some arrows throw them so as to go as near the first thrown as possible advancing continually untill all are expended then throwing them back again in same manner another game is two or more opposite the one side having some small article in their hand keep changing it from one hand to the other as swift as possible accompanied by a tune and motion of body and limbs except feet (for they sit all the time) the get is for the other party to designate the hand in which it rema[i]ns at the last this is the most practised game and requires much dexterity on both sides it is kept with sticks as the first every morning some important indian addresses either heaven or his countrymen or both I believe exhorting the one to good conduct to each other and to the strangers among them and the other to bestow its blessings he finishes with "I am done["] the whole set up an exclamation in concord during the whole time Sunday there is more parade of prayer as above nothing is done Sunday in the way of trade with these Indians nor in playing games and they seldom fish or kill game or raise camp while prayers are being said on week days everyone ceases whatever vocation he is about if on horseback he dismounts and holds his horse on the spot until all is done Theft is a thing almost unknown among them and is punished by flogging as I am told but have never known an instance of theft among them the least thing even to a bead or pin is brought you if found and things that we throw away this is sometimes troublesome I have never seen an Indian get in anger with each other or strangers. I think you would find among 20 whites as many scoundrels as among 1000 of these Indians they have a mild playful laughing disposition and their qualities are strongly portrayed in their countenances. They are polite and unobtrusive and however poor never beg except as pay for services and in this way they are moderate and faithful but not industrious. they are very brave and fight the blackfeet who continually steal their horses and kill their straglers with great success beating hollow equal numbers They wear as little clothing as the weather will permit sometimes nothing on excep a little thing to cover the privates and sometimes but rare this is ommitted at play but not when there are women and allways at a race the women are closely covered and chaste never cohabiting promiscously with the men the pox is not much and perhaps never known among them it dies here of itself when brought from the coast where it is rife the young women are good looking and with dress and cleanliness would be lovely today about 100 of them with their root diggers in their hands in single file went out to get roots they staid about two hours and returned in the same order each time passing the chiefs lodge it was evidently a ceremony but the import I could not learn in a lodge or other place when one speaks the rest pay strict attention When he is done another assents by "yes" or dissents by "no" and then states his reasons which are heard as attentively it is a practice when a woman has her courses to make a little lodge outside her husbands lodge and there remain until they are finished. The more peaceable dispositions of the Indians than the whites is plainly seen in the children I have never heard an angry word among them nor any quarrelling altho there are here at least 500 of them together and at play the whole time at foot ball bandy and the like sports which give occasion to so many quarrells among white children
May 1st. Same camp the day reminds me of home and its customs it is a fine and almost summer day altho the nights have been frosty of late but the days are warm This morning the squaws left camp with their root diggers singing in good accord the tunes of their country Yesterd[ay] Mr. Ermatinger traded 29 beavers I find an Indian Camp a place of much novelty the Indians appear to enjoy their amusements with more zest than the whites altho they are simple they are great gamblers in proportion to their means bolder than the whites
2nd Moved Camp 2 miles S.E. by E. 4 miles S by E. over a hilly but open country and diverging a little from the main river to the Eastward and Camped on a small river going to the same river the two parallel ranges of Mts still continue on either side of the river It rained a little of the last night and some this morning the day is cloudy and moderately warm The absence of quarrells in an Indian Camp more and more surprises me when I come and see the various occasions which would give rise to them among the whites the crowding together of from 12 to 1800 horses which have to be driven into Camp at night to stake in mng. to load the starting of horses and turning of loads the seizing of fuel when scarce, often the case, the play of men and Boys &c. At the Camp yesterday saw the bones of a buffalo bull not old being the first sign of buffaloe yet seen.
3d. Same Camp.
4th Same Camp To day heard a sound like a heavy piece of ordonance and I suppose arising from the fall of some mighty fragment of rock from the mountains The sound seemed to come from the N. I suppose the sound heard in the Snake country arose from the same cause altho then no heavy mountains were in sight but there were cut rocks enough weather somewhat smokey but warm and clear A party of hunters who proposed to out for beaver deferred the thing on acc. of the water being too high to set a trap. A Thunder storm in the afternoon with high wind from the S.W. and Rain.
5th. Sunday according to our reconing there is a new great man no[w] getting up in the Camp and like the rest of the wrld covers his designs under the great cloak religion his followers are now dancing to their own vocal music in the plain perhaps 1-5 of the Camp follow him when he gets enough followers he will branch off and be an independent chief he is getting up some new form of religion among the Indians more simple than himself like others of his class he works with the fools women and children first while he is doing this the men of sense thinking it too foolish to do harm stand by and laugh but they will soon find that women fools and children form so large a majority that with a bad grace they will have to yield. These things make me think of the new lights and revivals of New England rains a little today
6th. Bright and clear found all of my horses three of which had been missing Moved 4 mils S. and encamped on a creek of the main river about 1 1/2 mils from the latter
7th. Same Camp cloudy all night and today but warm
8th. Same Camp last night had a false alarm Some Inds. of the camp who were gambling for a gun discharged it before laying [it] on the stakes This though a common occurrence gave the horses a fright and one frightens another in those cases until all are alarmed the running of those that have got loose the snorting stamping and rearing of those who cannot when there are at least 1500 the Howling of dogs men running with guns the contrast of firelights with the darkness of the night make altogether a scene of confusion to be recollected This day hunters went out 2 only one returned sun two hours high with one antelope the other at night with 4 To day a small boy broke his arm but as I understood that the Indians reduce fractures well and as I am quite ignorant I did not meddle with it
9th. Moved S. by E 6 mils and camped on the main river on the march saw two blakfeet who ran with all the speed of their horses to the mountains a little rain but warm high wind and somewhat dusty The rain does not seem to lay the dust in the least The country covered for the first time with sage and so far the same kind of minerals as near the Ponderay Lake This afternoon came to us a Snake a Nez Perce and a Flat head on foot they came from Salmon River and bring no news except that the Nez Perce Camp is at Salmon river and that they are mostly without horses
10th Mooved 7 mils E. by E. rained a little shower but clear in the afternoon. This moment Chief Guineo is saying the usual afternoon prayers I observe that he first makes a long one which is responded to by the usual note in accord then a short one followed by the same note on horse back the whole time walking about the Camp hat on in an audible voice and directed as though addressing the men below rather then "him" above To day 11 Flatheads started on foot to steal horses from the Blackfeet
11th Started out early hunting for the first time this trip We are now short of provisions. The Camp moved 10 mils S. by E. and camped on the river the wide botom of which is done it is now jammed in between the hills during this distance passed two small creeks big enough for beaver only saw four antelope killed nothing saw two olived green snakes about 2 1/2 feet long blunt tail but slender afternoon clear and warm
12th Being Sunday remained at same Camp the hills here are of Granite with large bed of quartz. Mica slate is common Gneiss also in some places the same rock as at Kittle falls observed in one place a black mineral like that found at Franconia [in New Hampshire], covering iron ore it looks like horse hair in a mass combed straight the hills are now well covered with grass the river is now at its highest but is fordable this morning long prayers in form as usual at some lodges the Inds. are singing as an act of devotion
13th Went out hunting killed one N.E. pa[r]tridge only saw 4 cubs 4 deer Camp moved 6 mils S.S.E. and camped on the W. side we approach the head of this river fast
14th. remained at same Camp snow and sleet all day An Indian died in camp to day but I do not think the Camp was delayed on this account it was a bad day which I think the reason his friends now singing over him according to their custom
15th made 6 miles S.S.E. and crossed the river and camped on a little creek crossing wo on the W. side all too small at low water for beaver. snowed last night and until 8 this mng. altho as much as 4 inches of snow has fallen it is at 11 oclock all gone except the hills which are white grass good Granite country and fertile in the bottoms and on the hills and mountain sides
16th made 9 mils S.E. following a creek of the main river about l/3 the size of the same this we crossed 6 times during the day this morning 4 inches snow which fell during the night but all gone at 9 ock fair at 4 in afternoon this day finishes all our provisions in above distance river crooked.
17th. 2 miles S.E. 3 E and cutting a high mountain 1 mile S by E. and struck the river again in a large and fertile plain here crossed the main branch of it and followed 2 miles a creek running S by E at the place where we left the river it receives a small creek from the S and where we struck it again another quite small from the N. The main branch appears to run about E. from the plain when arrived at Camp finding no meat I took my traps out to catch beaver when returning saw the squaw bringing in moss and roots when I came in found the hunters had come it with one bear one Elk and several deer and 5 beaver this makes a timely supply Indians are gone ahead to see the mountain is passable This mountain divides us from the heads of the Missouri.
18th 2 miles up the creek S. by E. then assending the mountain S.E. 2 more S by E down the mountain and struck a little thread of water which during 28 mils increased gradually to a little river and S.E. to another coming from the S. and both go off together N. this is one of the heads of the Missouri we crossed it and camped here we found both Bulls and cows which makes all merry this pass is good going when there is no snow now there was about one foot in places drifted more we took 8 hours to pass there is a visible change in the appearance vegetation is not so forward the trees appear stinted and small the land poorer and covered with Sedge the other side there is little on the W. side all is granite as soon as I passed the divide I saw Pudding Stone we had showers of snow and rain this day but this I believe is constant in this region at this time of the year the Mt. is much higher the W. than the E. side This I observed also at the Trois Tetons The grass is poor and has started but little the prairie in some places has snow The vally runs N. and S. and is bounded E. and W. by a range of Mts. this day my horse keeper left me taking an offence at some misinterpretation about a horse. The 16th Woodman came to camp from his hunt for a beaver tired and famished having eated nothing for three days
19th Same Camp snowed by fits most of the day being Sunday the medicine chief had devotional exercises with his followers he formed them into a ring men women and children and after an address they danced to a tune in dancing the[y] keep the feet in the same position the whole time merly jumping up to the tune keeping the hands in front of them at intervals he addressed them at night Blackfeet were seen prowling about the camp at least so the Indians say erected myself a lodge for the first time in the country and paid a treat of rum &c to the whites in Camp and some of the principal Indians to wet the same as it is called.
20th. Snowing hard in the morning one horse so lame that if we move Camp to day he will remain for the Blackfoot or wolves. Much the same. Started at half past 12 found the horse could be drove a little got him along about four miles shall return for him to morrow this day 9 miles E.S.E. over a level plain of rich deep soil wet and miry in the extreme saw our Indians running buffaloe ahead At 5 mile crossed a little brook running N by E and camped on a considerable creek running N. by E. and all falling in to the same as the creek we left At about the junction it doubles round a point of mountains and apparently takes a northeastwardly course rain snow and sunshine as usual today. 4 hunters left us to day to hunt beaver in the Blackfoot country, Pellew, Charloi, Narbesse, [Louis] Rivey.
21st. Same Camp sent back and brought the lame horse into Camp Went out to the mountain to cut log poles found a Blackfoot lodge recently occupied snow as usual saw the Indians cooking a root resembling the yellow dock, but not so yellow tasted like parsnip raw, informed by them that it is bad before being cooked suppose it is more or less poisonous
22nd Same camp Blue Devils all Day Turned in
23rd 6 miles S.S.E. and up the valley 3 S E by S. 3 S.E. This valley is all good land about four miles wide and perhaps 50 long and how much further it goes N. I cannot say. Went out to hunt buffaloe killed one Elk out of a large band mountains with snow each side of valley snowed a little as usual
24th A double portion of the usual weather viz. rain Hail snow wind rain and Thunder into the bargain we are so near where they make weather that they send it as if cost nothing Course S.E. 6 miles up the creek then by N.E. 3 cutting a height of land but low and perfectly good going to the head of another river running SE. down this two miles and camped hunted today killed one cow saw some hundreds
25th Followed the creek 5 miles S.S.E. then it turned round a point more eastwardly We continued same course 4 mils and struck a creek going into the same about 2 mils below the point spoken of rain snow & Hail today with sunshine grass better to day had a long ride before sunrise after the lame horse which I brought to Camp.
26th Same Camp A blackfoot Trail discovered in our vicinity a numerous camp of them better weather than usual to day Sunday according to our reconing. At night one of two Indians who started on an express to the Nez Perces Camp returned with three blankets one white shirt and tobacco and powder which articles they found buried with a Blackfoot Indian who was unscalped two bullets through his head and one through his body We apprehend that there has been a battle between the Blackfoot Indians and perhaps the whites.
27th 17 mils S. crossing two small forks of the Missouri and camping on the third of small size near Camp found a red blankett Hat and some small articles but no body. soon after Camp arrived one Indian with news and soon after 2 more and three squaws comprising the only survivor of the battle which happened thus 21 Nez Perces 18 Flathead and two Iroquois and 1 Ponderai started with intent to steal horses from the Blackfeet near the head of Salmon River they saw 4 and some horses these they attacked just at this moment a horse threw one of the Flatheads he seized on one of the horses of the Blackfeet and ran after him up a mountain he looked back and saw a large number of Blackfeet killing his companions not one survived but himself he made the best of his way to the Nez Perce camp to tell the sad tale to the wives and children of the dead
in this Camp [where] the relatives of the deceased Flathead are there is weeping and wailing. Fair all day and comfortably warm. there were 46 lodges of the Blackfoot do not know if women were with it or not if not it is a much larger Camp than ours, the blanketts &c found are accounted for in the practice that the Blkft. have of cutting a piece of flesh from near the shoulder tying it to an article and throwing it away to propitiate the Deity the circumstances of the flesh being tied with them I did not at first know.
28th Moved S. 8 miles following the left branch of the creek which forks at our last nights camp then S.S.W. 4 miles and camped on the same creek a little rain just after we came to camp a band of Buffaloe passed the camp which gave a fine chance to the Indians to run them one of them they chased into camp and then killed her a fine cow.
29th Moved S. by E. 6 miles cutting the divide of waters and struck a small creek going into Salmon river then 7 miles S by E. following the creek through high hills of lime rock on which we found plenty of sheep some of which were killed then 3 miles S.W. and struck Salmon River here a small creek running through a fine open plain valley about 6 miles wide and extending each way as far as the eye could reach the river runs here about W. by N. On the S. side is a high range of snowy mountains perhaps not covered the whole year this range is parrallel with the river. the country I should call for two days back volcanic flints are found in abundance some of the stones have a white crust on the outside of them whether of lime or Epson salts can not say both abound the lime rock is mostly slate blue but is found in layers of all shades from white to deep blue and very much contorted and forming frequent caves and holes. It is the intention of the chiefs to remain at this camp until the Nez Perces come to us and then to move together. This morning left my wounded horse.
30th. Same Camp rained all last night and all day Went up into the mountains to hunt sheep wounded one but a snow storm coming on his trail was covered and I lost him Saw plenty it is surprising to view the places where they go no one would imagine it possible for an animal to climb the rocks they do Got nothing and hearing a firing hasted to the top of a hill to see if the Camp was attacked but found that the Nez Perces had arrived with 9 whites a Mr. Hodgskins [Hodgkiss] at their head. This party is 16 lodges and only escaped the Blkft. by the latter falling in with 31 Indians 30 of whom they killed I t is supposed the 30 killed about 50 of the Blkft. They mustered about 700 all men and were sufficient to cut off all our Camps if they would trade man for man.
31st Got news that 20 lodges of Blkft. are now camped at our camp of 21st Inst. and I think likely that these are the same who killed the 30 Indians and as usual 10 times over rated. This day moved 7 miles S.E. up the river and following a small creek near our camp of last night a creek comes in from the S. one which we followed coming from N.W. this one fro[m] the S.S.E. the main river S.E went into the mts. saw antelope killed nothing in the mountains heavy thunder with snow and hail storm and high wind.
June 1st Same Camp some snow on Mts. got wet.
2nd 17 miles S . E. 1 E. by N . through an open plain nearly level finished the streams of Salmon river and struck one called little Goddin it terminates near the three butes in a little lake here goes S.E. through the valley the mts. appear terminating on both sides a fair day the S. range comprises much more of a stone which I will call quartz the same as is found at Kettle falls there is also lime stone Blue and without organic remains.
3d 15 miles S.E. through the same vally gradually decending the stream became a rapid and pretty large one as large as some that pass 300 miles We camped at a narrow pass formed of low hills here is between the hills a slough of clay saturated with Epsom salts the hills are of Basaltic rock in collumns the first I have seen in this region lime rock is found here in pudding rock Killed plenty of Buffaloe here
4th. Moved through the valley following the river called as I am informed little Goddin in a S.E. by E. 6 miles during which space I found the lower hills of Basalt the mts. are of lime rock the same as passed hertofor Wind high N.W. which brings warm weather here and clear grass very bad.
5th. Clear warm day moved S.E. by E. 8 miles went in search of Buffaloe found none Saw an old Blkft. Camp of 65 fires half as large as our present camp Saw several whirlwinds which raised the dust at a distance and appears much like smoke. Saw the three Butes come in sight one by one and then the Trois Tetons The Butes S.E. by S. 20 mils distant about so far this river rapid and little brush and no beaver grass worse and worse.
6th. Same Camp last night arrived 3 Kootenays with 25 beaver who left us on Flathead river being on foot the whole time last night sent out Indians to see in what direction were the most Buffaloe one came back this mng. reports cows to the S.
7th Moved E.N.E. 15 miles and without water the whole route the Trois Tetons bearing E. perhaps 90 miles distant over a level and dry plain without grass or extemely little in the aftemoon had a gale from the S.W. which blew down the lodges accompanied with a little rain and enough dust to suffocate one on our left there is a range of high hills from which come numerous streams but they sink in the plain and are warm and muddy went out this evening to bring in the meat of a cow killed in the forenoon and found a horse extremely fat it is surprising how fat a horse gets by being left to himself no grooming that I have ever seen will make a horse appear as beautiful as to be left to his own resources the Butes bear due S.
8th 5 miles N. following the same creek up which grows larger as we assend had a fine rain & Hail and Thunder today which is Sunday. Water very muddy grass little and but a little.
9th. 10 miles N. and following the creek has some tolerable wild cotton wood and willow on it wind N. clear and windy country same Three Nez Perces arrived at camp Bring news that Payette is with four Nez Perce Chiefs. Capt Serrey [Michel Cerre] with 7 is detained by snow that the Blackfeet village is camped at the spot where we met the Nez Perces. We find that Payette will meet us at the forks Capt Serrey has got 31 horses this day a bull was run into camp which I shot at my lodge door To day an Indian was running bulls he turned the horse stopped and threw him the bull gored him into his chest so that his breath was made through the apparture by the help of the women he reached camp. When Mr. Ermatinger dressed his wound he very composedly made his will by word of mouth the Indians responding in concord at the end of each sentence. He appeared not in the least intimidated by the approach of death. I think the Indians die better than the whites perhaps they have less superstition in regard to the future and argue that as the deity makes them happy here he will also hereafter if there is existence for them.
10th. Same camp another Indian came to camp who had been looking out for the Blkft. He was ambuscaded by two of them and narrowly escaped by the goodness of his horse being wounded slightly in the nose.
11th Same camp fresh news of the Blkft. Made horse pen that my horses might be safe. I do not apprehend any serious attack but only that they will come suddenly with a great noise of voices and guns and fright the horses on such occasions horses become wild one frights another they run over the lodges this increases the confusion and the yelling firing and running & snorting of 1200 Indians and 1800 horses is frightfull indeed. Sometimes a camp with as many horses as the above loose every one it is commonly whole or none. Day warm, clear fresh wind W.
12th. Same camp warm day The Blackft camp about 15 mils from this they are very numerous.
13th. Same camp cloudy and cool with high wind from S. E. Blakft. still near but have attempted nothing yet. Child died in camp yesterday remains to bury today. Find I have missed one day in my journal which has been done while laying at some camp and accordingly date tomorrow the 15th.
15th Last night some Blackfoot fired into our camp a ball passed through a lodge some straggler disappointed of stealing horses I suppose. Moved N.N.E. 5 miles and camped on a creek now almost dry and soon will be wholly. There is little but cotton wood on this creek.
16th. 8 miles N.E. by N. to a small creek which about a mile below this joins another larger one. Country nearly level day windy S.W. wind cool and cloudy Trois Tetons bear E.S.E. Today saw the Indians carrying the man who was wounded by a Buffaloe no one could receive more attention, one person to carry water he was on a good bed made on poles the front of which like shafts were carried by a horse led by his wife the hinder part by 6 men and women on their shoulders the camp moved slower than usual for him these things give a favorable impression of the Indians.
17th. Same camp rained very hard all last night and until noon of today an alarm of Blkft last night but I believe little of these things in so large a camp when it is known that there are Blkft. near a man straying out of camp is enough to give rise to a report and a report once raised it gathers like a snow ball.
18th. Same camp Severe hail & snow yesterday afternoon and rain most of last night and until noon today. Camp about out of provisions so we are in hopes of moving soon. Nothing but necessity and that immediate will induce an Indian to do the least thing, any excuse serves to stop business with them and a small party of whites who are not strong enough to move alone will find in traveling with them occasion for all the patience they may have.
19th. 1 1/2 miles to the main river here going S.W. this we found quite deep enough to ford for horses the mules I was obliged to unload and put the loads on the horses 3 miles more passed
three slews of our stream joining the last river mentioned. 3 miles more camped on another branch of it making 10 1/2 miles N.E. by E. day clear snow in patches in shaded places but the country green with herbage and mostly in blossom. All rocks for some days past volcanic. This stream looses itself in the plain.
20th. Moved 11 miles E. by N. and camped on Kamas River so called from the abundance of that root in some spots it is so abundant as to exclude other vegetation. This Prairie is very extensive perhaps 15 miles each way and is intersected by numerous little streams which form one going to the S. and ends in a small lake on the plain between this and Lewis river day clear & cool frost last night snow on all the high hills Trois Tetons bear E.S.E. I should think about 80 miles distant found Buffaloe here the first for 10 days when we found the last I think at least 100 were killed in one day 42 tongues were given to Mr. E. and myself.
21st. Late last night arrived 5 hunters Pillew, Nasben, and Churboye and two Indians who left us on the head of the Missouri having seen plenty of recent sign of the Blkfeet but happily saw none they killed 94 Beaver. Today went out to hunt killed one Bull. forenoon showers and lowery Kamas in bloom the Indians are taking large quantities of it this plain is extensive but about 7 miles across of it only is rich and that is as good as any land I ever saw the main plain is much of it bare rock the surface of which looks like a pan of milk when you push together the cream evidently it was once a fiery and fluid plain or lake of lava, probably the whole plain between these mountains and the Trois Tetons the rock is porous like honey comb the surface shows plainly the heads of Basaltic colums and in some places the colums stand not perpendicular but at an angle of 50 degrees about, same camp.
22nd. Same camp arrived this mng. an express from Bonneville this express came from the forks in three days they saw Blkft. by the way this afternoon Mr. Hodge [Hodgkiss] left to go to Bonneville day clear and warm Buffaloe were run into camp.
23rd. Sunday Indians singing and dancing as usual day warm and clear. These Inds. do nothing on Sunday.
24th. Moved across the plain 3 miles N.E. Day warm and clear.
25th Yesterday at night some Inds. came in from hunting Buffaloe reported that they saw two Blkft. and fired on them at night we saw their fire in the Mts. Same camp fine clear warm day employed in making a saddle.
26th. Same camp went out hunting saw a few Buffaloe but killed nothing but a grouse as I had some dispute with Mr. David Douglass about the grouse of this country I subjoin a discription; the bird had 10 pointed drab colored, mottled with white. tail feathers the outer edge of the feathers are only mottled until you approach their end when both sides are mottled under the tail are 10 or 12 dark brown feathers 2/3 as long as the tail feathers white at the termination. The tail feathers are about 8 inches long. The wing feathers are nearly white underneath and dark drab outside. From the head of the breast bone to the tail are many black feathers above the breast and nearly on the neck is a place devoid of feathers of a dirty olive color each side and a little below this is a tuff of short sharp pointed dirty white feathers they look as if they had been clipped with a shears. The tail feathers look as though they had been burnt off leaving the stalk of the quill projecting. The bill is short and curved downwards above the bare spot on the neck are short mottled feathers cream, white and black. It is feathered to the toes which are three and a small one behind. The hinder part of the leg is not feathered from the knee downwards Tow nails short and obscure. its back pretty uniformly mottled with deep brown dirty white approaching dirty yellow and dun colored weight 4 1/2 lbs. Length from point of tail feathers to tip of bill 25 inches from tips of wings 3 1/2 ft. We were regaled by thunder shower on our return to camp saw Blkft. trail and a cow recently killed by them.
27th. Same camp nothing remarkable.
28th. Same camp nothing but lice and dirt. Cool today.
29th. Same camp as yesterday went out to hunt killed one Buffaloe which fell into the river and had to butcher him up to my middle in cold water. Some hunters who went out today came in with the news that they had seen the Blkft. camp on Tobacco river one of the heads of the of the Missouri they say it is larger than ours.
30th Same camp Sunday Indians praying, dancing & singing.
1st July. Moved S. 12 miles S. and down the creek clear moderately warm day the first for three days nights have been frosty ice made in our pots & pails. Men came from Bonneville in the evening.
2nd. Moved S. 12 miles and camped on same creek on the way observed some fine luxuriant clover grass good about 9 miles down the creek wich rapidly increases in size from numerous springs wich are of fine cold water we camped in a cluster of large cotton wood large for this place about 10 inches through.
3rd. Last night a Bear made his way into camp among the horses and gave a considerable alarm but was off before guns could be got out. Today moved 16 miles S.S.W. and camped on same creek with Mr. Bonneville with about 40 men bound for Green river. I have heretofore forgot to mention that at our camp of 1st July we left about 40 lodges of the Flatheads country this days route dry and barren day warm.
4th. Same camp at night saw a band of Blackfeet a little above camp clear warm day.
5th Same camp.
6th Same camp very warm weather.
7th. This morning our camp forked in three directions Mr. Hodgkin for a trapping excursion with the Nez Perces, Mr. Ermatinger with the Ponderays to go to Flathead river, ourselves East 18 miles to Henrys fork here wooded with narrow leafed cotton wood our route over a very dry plain passing at about half the distance some low hills of pure sand with not the least appearance of vegetation. The party is 26 all told.
8th. Followed up the river where we were much annoyed by mosquitos about 8 miles N.N.E. there forded it about belly deep going E. by S. 5 mils to a large river which must be Lewis fork here we found Buffaloe these two rivers form a junction about 15 miles from this point as I believe near two butes but some say not until you get as low as Three Butes on this river are not many mosquitoes.
9th Made this day 22 1/2 miles due East toward the Trois Tetons at 8 miles struck a small creek with cut rock banks running N.W. and to the river last crossed, which is not Lewis fork. At 20 miles cut a mountain which rises and is wooded to the S W. and diminishes to the plain to the N.E. We entered Pierre's Hole and camped on the N.W. side of it. Here we found Buffaloe.
10th. Moved 12 miles S.E. crossing a difficult swamp and camped about 2 miles from the battle ground of last year with the Gros Ventres Day warm and a great quantity of grasshoppers for several days past so much so as to discolor the ground in many places.
11th. Started early and made 3 miles E.S.E. to the foot of the mountains then 8 miles E.S.E. to the summit then 6 miles E. to Lewis fork and 1 mile E. across it at the same place we crossed last year found it very high for fording but succeeded at last. Wind strong N.W. clear and moderately warm. Horses troubled with horse flies on the mountains but not in this plain found buffaloe in the bottom also mosquitoes The river is here much choked up with islands and heaps of drift wood and a great quantity of mud in coming over the mountains lost one mule and sent a man back for it he has not returned yet [at] sundown got a wet jacket in the river trying to find a ford. There is the trail of about 8 men who have passed through this defile before us as I think about 14 days they marked a name on the trees and we suppose that they are men of Dripps & Fontenelle. We as yet see no appearance of the Blkft. except very old forts and lodges. Lewis fork here runs S.E. about 9 miles then turns S.
12th. This morning my man came back having been out all night he found the mule at our last camp. Made this day 9 miles S.E. along the river then 3 miles E.S.E. to a small creek running into the river. At this place 9 men under Capt. Stevens were attacked by about 30 Blkft. a little later than this time last year and several of them killed. Mr. Bonneville informs me that when he passed last year in August their bones were laying about the valley. I am apprehensive that More, a sick man whom I left in charge of Stevens, must be one of them. 6 miles more over a hilly broken limestone country S.E. to a considerable fork of Lewis river this stream is strongly impregnated with sulphur. This camp is almost without grass. In the first place this morning we moved 3 miles and crossed a creek putting into the river. At our camp of to night there is a small branch joining the creek from the S.E.
13th. East 5 miles N.E. 1/2 mile through bad cut rocks on the N. side of the river there is also a trail on the S. side then 1/2 mile E. then 1/4 mile S.E. then following a left hand fork of the river a few rods N.E. crossed it and made E. 3 miles to the right hand fork again which we followed E. 2 miles then S.E. 4 miles to camp crossing it several times a good trail most of the way one horse of the Indians killed by falling from the cut rock trail down to the river in the first of the cut rocks there is a handsome cave rock lime & sand a few boulders of granite seen today as also on the E. side of the mountains of Pierres hole. The river which we followed this day is rapid and too deep below the branches to ford during the last of the route several small forks from each side.
14th. Made 9 miles S.E. to the height of land between this river and Green river then 5 miles S.S.E. to a creek running into Green river. there are good trails all the way and to the divide much timber The creek on which we camped last night just above the camp divided into three forks. We followed the most southwardly for awhile then mounted the hill on the left side of it. There has been for two days a high range of Mts. on our left about 10 miles distant apparently of sand stone and milestone these [trend] E.S.E. & N.N.W. and on the divide between this and Wind river also on our right there have been a range of Mts. of same composition about 15 mils distant. Both ranges have snow in patches Many alarms today but still no enemys killed plenty of Buffaloe.
15th. Made E.S.E. 12 miles to Green river and to Mr. Bonnevilles fort day clear and fine. Found here collected Capt. Walker, Bonneville, Cerry, of one Co. Dripps & Fontenelle of the Am. Fur co. Mr. Campbell just from St. Louis, Mess. Fitzpatric, Gervais, Milton Sublette of the Rocky Mountain Fur Co. and in all the Cos. about 300 whites and a small village of Snakes here I got letters from home. During the last year among all the Cos there has been in all about 25 men killed two of my original party with them, viz Mr More & O'Neil.
16th. Same camp.
17th. Moved 10 miles down the river S.E. it is here a large and rapid stream and to be forded only in a few places. Here we were followed by the Snake village we encamped with the Rocky Mountain Fur Co.
18th to the 24 remained at the same camp during which time the weather was pleasant and warm for several nights we were anoyed by mad dogs or wolves which I cannot say but believe the latter as one was killed. I think one animal did the whole mischief as when men were bitten at one camp none were at the other about nine persons were bitten at Dripps & Fontenelles camp and three at ours. D. & Fs. camp is 4 miles above us on the same side of the river we hope he was not mad as no simtons have yet appeared.
24th. Moved E. 12 miles cutting a small divide came to a wide valley parallel with Wind river Mts. in which we crossed 3 large creeks and camped on the 4th. Which has much pine timber on it and is called Pine fork they all come into one quite soon by appearance and are not near as large as the main fork on which we first found the whites and which we have now crossed. In coming here it passed to our left that is up stream. Found plenty of Antelope and Bulls.
25th. Crossed the stream and moved E.S.E. 3 miles to a creek the same on which I made a cash last year and crossed at a good ford just below two stony hills then on 7 1/2 mile E.S.E. following a branch of the same creek and camped to noon. Buffaloe throwing the dust in the air in every direction and Antelope always in sight. This day a Mr. Worthington in running a bull fell from his horse, the Bull furious ran at the horse and passed him within 3 feet then turned again and passed him he having got up from the ground ran and escaped he killed the bull and found he had but one eye owing to which circumstance he escaped. Afternoon made S.E. 13 miles leaving the last creek of what is called New fork to which all the waters we have passed since leaving rendesvous belong the one we camped on last night heads in a lake about 1 1/2 miles over and not far from where we slept. We now struck the west fork of Sandy and camped at an old camp of last year at a place where Ball left his rifle Country covered with Buffaloe.
26th. Made S.E. 9 miles and camped on another fork of Sandy then S.E. by E. 15 miles to Sweet water all the country is granite from rendesvous so far Buffaloe quite plenty also Antelope Today shot a cow with a very young calf the calf ran after our mules for a long way until it found the difference.
27th. Made down the creek 1 1/2 miles E.S.E. then E. 8 miles to another branch of Sweet water then 6 miles E. by N. to another branch of same then down this branch S.E. 2 miles and camped. Saw one band of Elk and many Antelope plenty of Buffaloe.
28th. Made E. 2 mils to another Creek running S. by E. crossed made E. 6 miles E. by N. 4 miles at the creek a sort of slate prevailed but soon ran into a red sandstone passed at 11 mils a small pond to our right few Buffaloe today last night Capt. [William D.] Stewart had some sport with a bear near our camp in the willows which he wounded but did not kill He represented him as large as a mule. In the afternoon made E. by N. 6 miles to Sweet water river then N.E. 3 miles up it and camped. I came ahead and found a white bear in a thickett and after firing a pistol and throwing stones into it started him out he came as though he meant to fight us but I gave him the shot of my rifle through the body
He then rushed on us and I ran as fast as I could Mr. Kamel [Campbell] snapped at him Mr Sublett ran also being on a mule the bear followed us no great distance and turned and ran up creek some horsemen followed and killed him after putting 4 more balls into him.
29th. Same camp, rained all day two men went out to hunt and at night one returned alone the other in the morning being still absent.
30th. Started out to hunt the man and in about 8 miles came to the place hunted the whole country and found nothing but a white bear the largest and the whitest I have yet seen run him about a mile and fired one shot but could not kill him. After a long ride returned to camp found the party had moved on followed them N.N.W. in 6 miles struck Popoise [Popo Agie] in a small rapid thread running through sandstone banks this we followed N. W. 3 miles then N. by E. 9 miles more thousands of Buffaloe in sight and the red bottom of the streams deep and muddy with recent rains and found camp a little after sundown. The afternoon of the 29th we found lime rock almost entirely today sand stone and a kind of glassy stone resembling Carnelian a course kind of which I think it is.
31st N.N.W. 8 miles through a muddy Bottom and little grass to some large willows found a party of 4 whites who have lost their horses and one of them wounded in the head with a Ball and in the body with an arrow very badly they suppose the Snakes did it but I think not. Little grass. In the afternoon moved N. 9 miles to the junction of Great Popoise river which comes from the S.W. then N. by E. 4 miles to the junction of Wind river which comes from the W. turning around as I supose and running along Wind River Mountains which run N.W. Altogether they form a large and muddy river but fordable now which is after a heavy rain.
Aug. 1st. Same camp find Mr. Bonneville camped a few miles above us. On farther inquiry I changed my opinion expressed above in regard to the Indians who stole the horses I think they were 15 Snakes who left our camp at Green river a few days before we left that place. The case was this. Mr. Bridger sent 4 men to this river to look for us viz Mr. Smith, Thomson, [J.B.] Charboneau a half breed and Evans. Two days before it happened 15 Inds came to them and after smoking departed the second day after they were gone Thompson having been out hunting [tied] his horse to the others and thought he would sit down by them until it was time to water them and having been on guard much of the time previous fell asleep he was waked by a noise among the horses which he supposed to [be] his comrades come to water them raising his head and opening his eyes the first thing that presented itself to his sight was the muzzle of a gun in the hands of an Indian it was immediately discharged and so near his head that the front piece of his cap alone saved his eyes from being put out by the powder the Ball entered the head outside of the eye and breaking the cheek bone passing downward and lodged behind the ear in the neck this stunned him and while insensible an arrow was shot into him on the top of the shoulder downward which entered about 6 inches, the Inds. got 7 horses all there were. charboneau pursued them on foot but wet his gun in crossing a little stream and only snapped twice.
2nd. Found the river unfordable and assended to west crossing Popoise & Wind river 5 miles up and made thence 20 miles N.E. by N. to a little creek going to Wind now on our right.
3rd. 11 miles N.N.E. to the summit of the mountains which are called little Wind River Mts. and run E. & W. then N. 5 miles to the river.
4th. 2 miles N. along the river to a clump of sweet cotton wood.
5th. 7 miles N. by W. to the River which between makes a considerable bend to the eastward camped in good grass and some large cotton wood trek this morning past beautiful camps afternoon N. by E. 12 miles 3 horses found this day and yesterday probably left by some party of Inds. who have passed this way saw the tracks of several more we think that when the Crows stole horses of the Snakes last winter they came this route and left their animals on account of giving out for want of food in the snow. Few Buffalow and those running indicates Indians near.
6th. N 10 miles to the River again to noon found little grass day cool afternoon 10 miles N.N.E. to the main river again. Since crossing the last Mts. we crossed a creek the second forenoon afternoon one yesterday 2 today 2 all small and I suppose sometimes dry
7th. 12 miles N.N.W and camped on Grey Bull River here I found a piece of about 5 lbs of Bituminous coal which burned freely It had in it some substance which I took to be Amber also an impression of wood It looked like and as good as Liverpool Coal. Its fracture was too perfect to have come far. 20 miles above and on the E. side comes in the River Travelled in afternoon 6 miles N.N.W. and again struck Wind river. Shell river comes in 3 miles below Grey Bull on the E. side and from the Mts. in the direction E. by N. Grey Bull is from the S.W. and much the largest stream on this side since Wind river. For three days have found no Buffaloe and from the nature of the country think it is not often found in abundance along here except in the winter no antelope a few Elk and deer.
8th. W.N.W. 3 miles then 21 miles N.E. toward the right of two considerable Mts. where Wind river passes. We camped West of these hills on a river larger than Grey Bull called Stinking River coming from the S.W. This days travel was made between parrallel ridges of broken lime and sand rock some of it appeared cabined and much like fine caked salt. This day picked up some shell they are very numerous also found a round concretion which are found also on Cannon Ball River from which the name also a concretion of much the same substance but long pointed at one end with a core in the middle a hole at big end. During this space there was no water to our right there is a range of Mts. running N.W. about 9 miles distant and the other side of Wind River.
9th. 10 miles N. striking a small stream of water This days travel and yesterday was over ground naked of vegetables in which the animals sank near six inches deep at every step perfectly dry and resembling, but of different color, lime in the operation of slacking full of holes down which the waters at the wet season sink the rock is sand and lime stone.
10th. N. 15 miles passing near but not exactly on the river and through rocky hills of no great height. The river here looks tranquil but flows between two perpendicular banks of stone of perhaps 5 to 800 feet high the chasm even at the top of no great width the rock of lime and sand this days march saw Plaster of Paris found for first time this year ripe Service berrys. Killed one mountain sheep which was all the meat killed this day for 48 men short commons. hard rains last night.
11 th. Went out hunting killed 2 Cows and 4 Bulls the camp made about a N. course at six miles crossed a small creek at 5 more another probably another branch of the same at 9 more a creek separate from the others but not large all these creeks have high perpendicular banks and are very bad to cross in the course of the day saw 4 Bears white. A fine grass country and a great many Buffaloe.
12th. 4 miles N.E. to Big Horn River this day went out to get Bull Hydes for boat got enough and employed the rest of the day in making a Boat this day followed down a little stream.
13th. Remained at same camp made a Bull Boat day fine.
14th. Same camp day fine.
15th. Made a start in our Bull Boat found it to answer the purpose well large enough runs well leaks a little made 3 miles N.E. stream rapid shoals at places 2 feet. Too much liquor to proceed therefore stopped.
16th. Made a start in our boat found travelling quite pleasant but requires much caution on account of some snaggs and bars. We frequently took one half of the river which dividing again gave too little water for our boat which draws 1 1/2 feet it is quite too much the [boat] ought to have been flatter We grounded about 6 times this forenoon it is surprising how hard a thump these bull Boats will stand ours is made of three skins is 18 feet long and about 5 1/2 wide sharp at both ends round bottom. Have seen on the banks of the river this forenoon 3 grisly bears and some Bulls in the river and on the banks they stare and wonder much the direction of this march was as near as I can judge N. by E. we went from 5 to 11 as I think about 6 miles per hour the indirection I suppose to be not more than 1/4. All feel badly today from a severe bout of drinking last night. Afternoon made 4 hours at a good 6 mile rate grounded three times saw a few elk and much Beaver sign all day there is here the best trapping that I have ever found on so large a river it is about 100 yards wide when all together but is much cut into slews which makes the navigation very difficult. The musquitoes have anoyed me much today they affect me almost as bad as a rattle snake this afternoons course about N.N.W. at 6 miles from our noon camp passed a place where we supposed the Little Horn River came in from the S.E. at least there is a considerable river at that place but it is difficult to tell a returning slew from a river this afternoon a severe thunderstorm which compelled us to put ashore until it was over
17th. This day the river made nearly a N. course and we made about 7 1/2 hours at the rate of about 6 miles the river winding about 1/4 of the distance we started at 5 ock. at about 9 ock. saw several persons ahead on the bank of the river which we at first supposed to be whites from the fort but soon found to be Crow Indians they informed us that the whole nation was behind we were anxious to avoid them but could not as the river afforded us no hiding place they showed us that they meant us to land very soon by stepping and swimming into the river seeing this we chose to land without further trouble in this way we were obliged to make the shore 6 times during the day we arrived at the Yellow Stone which was of clear water and did not mix with the waters of the Big Horn which was at this time dirty for some miles a bout 3 miles below the mouth of the Big Horn we found Fort Cass one of the Am. F. Co. at which post we traded about 10 packs of Beaver and 150 to 200 pack robes goods are brough[t] up in boats of about 15 tons burthen 2 of which are now laying here and one of them preparing to descend in two days we were treated with little or no ceremony by Mr. [Samuel] Tullock, who we found in charge which I attributed to sickness on his part well knowing that a sick man is never disposed to be over civil to others we therefore pushed on next morning. Just as we arrived we saw 31 Indians with two American flags come to the other side of the river they were Gros ventres du Baum the same we fought with last summer at the Trois Tetons they came to make peace with the Crows they were treated civily at the Fort and before night followed the river up to the Crow village where I expect their scalps will be taken for the Crows informed us that not long since a few Blkft. came and made peace with them shortly after three Crows went to the Blackfeet two of which they killed and they were determined to make no more peace with them.
18th. Started down the river made 3 hours with a hard wind about 4 miles an hour and put up to noon seeing some elk which we were in hopes to get to eat course about N. afternoon the river tended more Eastwardly and at last came to E.N.E. We made at the rate of 5 miles an hour for 3 1/2 hours and camped to fish and hunt having no meat on hand there is along this river pretty bottoms and great quantities of sweet cotton wood which would be fine for winter camps. We saw some large bands of elk but our hunters were more conceited than good which I have generally found to be the case with the hunters in this country they are not willing that a new hand should even try, and are far from good shots themselves and commonly have miserable flint guns which snap continually and afford an excuse for not killing. The river sometimes cuts blufs which are mostly of sand stone but the river brings down granite and porphry. Fort Cass is situated on the E. bank of the Yellow stone river is about 130 feet square made of sapling cotton wood pickets with two bastions at the extreme comers and was erected in the fall of 1832. The Yellow stone comes from the S.W. til it meets the Big Horn then the two go about N. until they bend to the eastward.
19th. Made 5 1/2 hours in a calm fine day I should think about 6 miles the hour the river going E.N.E. stopped early to try a band of Buffaloe that we see on the left of us, at first we were careful to see if they were really Buffaloe for yesterday we were near approaching a band of Indians which I suppose were the residue of the Blackfeet which I saw at the fort as they appeared coming down from that way. Nooned in a fine cool place under the shade of a large Cotton wood in a large green bottom the musquitoes take much from the pleasure of the trip which is otherwise fine but I believe for a party like ours rather dangerous in afternoon 2 1/2 hours about 6 per H. River E. stopped on hearing the bellowing of Buffaloe on shore to get meat. Our hunters as usual having failed went myself and killed a cow got a good ducking from a shower and returned loaded with meat much fatigued. About 4 miles before we stopped we passed the mouth of Rose Bud a river coming from S.S.W.
20th. Started early and made this forenoon 6 hours at the rate of about 5 1/2 miles. River about E.N.E. last night a smart rain which wet our clothes much caught just at dusk last night plenty of Blue Catfish and a small one which resembles an Ale wife soon after started this morning found an immense herd of Buffaloe close to the river stopped and killed 2 fat cows and could have killed any number more but this was enough they keep up a continued grunting night and day now that we have fairly got into them in the afternoon made 5 1/2 hours current about 6 miles and E.N.E. at 5 hours found bad rapids but at this low stage of the water it is said to be better passing on account of the chanall being more visible we had a good joke on the old hands as they call them selves in distinction to those who have been a short time in the country two bald headed Eagles being perched on a tree on a point and ranged to the other side of the river our motion made them appear moving the old one cried out Les Sauvages others of them said on horseback with white scarfs I looked long but not supposing that they meant the eagles I said I saw nothing but the eagles they soon found out their mistake and we had a good laugh at them and a pleasant one as all the Indians we meet here we expect to fight. This day and yesterday whenever the river makes perpendicular banks we saw veins of poor bituminous coal in 5 to 7 veins horizontal from 3 ft. to 6 inches thick and 10 to 15 feet above each other rock sandstone.
21st. Made 5 hours river about E.N.E. passed the mouth of Powder River at 4 hours and half an hour below a bad and rocky rapid but without accident the coal still continues and thousands of Buffaloe day fine stopped to noon a little below the rapids in the afternoon made 5 hours current about 5 miles per hour in about E.N.E. direction no rapids of consequence the blufs have ceased these blufs are a part of the Black hills as I am informed the Black Hills I am also infomned make the Falls of Missouri at the Three Forks just on leaving the blufs the coal veins appeared thicker day fine. buffaloe plenty.
22nd. Made at 5 1/2 per hour 6 hours in forenoon using a sail which we found of little advantage and but a little course of the river N.N.E. and from the junction on the E. side of first Rose Bud then Tongue and then Powder River it is of about the color of the Missouri altho the Yellow stone above is of clear water quite so above the junction of the Big Horn. Our boat getting quite rotten in afternoon made 5 hours same course 5 miles per hour river better not so [many] bars and country not mountainous the coal appears to have given out.
23rd. Made in forenoon 4 hours at the [rate] of 5 [miles] per hour river about N.E. Day fine and hot plenty of Elks in herds afternoon made 4 hours N. then 2 1/2 hours E.N.E. current about 4 miles per hour saw but little game only 2 Elk river broad and shoal.
24th Made N.N.E. 2 hours with a heavy head wind about 4 miles per hour then the river turned Westwardly and when it enters the Missouri is running W. by S. this made one hour more when we found the Missouri which we assended N.W. about 5 miles to Fort Union where we arrived about noon and were met with all possible hospitality and politeness by Mr. McKensie the Am. F. Co. agent in this country.
27th. This day at 1/2 past 10 oclock we took leave our hospitable entertainers and on the experience of a few days with prepossessions highly in their favor we found Mr. McKensie a most polite host I was particularly pleased with a Mr. J.A.] Hamilton and I am perhaps presumptious in saying that I felt able to appreciate his refined politeness he is a man of superior education and an Englishman. I was here supplied with a peroque traded from the Blackfeet. A Mr. Patten shewed me a powder flask which he traded from the Blkft. I immediately knew it to be one of mine and on examination found No. 4 H.G.O.M. graven with a point on it. It was Mores flask who was kiDed in Little Jackson Hole last year on his return home after rendezvous. Fort Union is pleasantly scituated on the N. bank of the Missouri 6 miles above the junction of Yellow stone there is no timber on a high bank above the fort I am told that there is not enough moisture here to raise vegetables potatoes grass ect, Some corn is traded from the Inds. lower down the fort is of usual construction about 220 feet square and is better furnished inside than any British fort I have ever seen at Table we have flour Bread Bacon Cheese Butter they live well
I here saw a small sturgeon but they are very rare Cat fish are good and plenty they have cows and bulls milk etc. I saw lime burning also coal here they are beginning to distil spirits from corn traded from the Inds. below. This owing to some restrictions on the introduction of the article into the country. Above this we have met plumbs, grapes, cherrys, Currants, ash, elm. The river being already well laid down shall no longer give the course
we left the fort and went 2 hours and stopped for Mr. Sublette who remained behind to finish some business he came accompanied by the gentlemen of the fort after leaving us we made 4 hours then supped and made one hour more and found Mr. Wm. L. Sublette at anchor with a large Bull boat this gentleman we had expected to have found on our arrival at the Missouri he is come to trade furs in opposition to the Am. F. Co. he treated us with much politeness his brother preferred to remain and come to the states with him we are therefore left without any one who has decended the Missouri but I can go down stream.
28th. Pulled one hour put by from wind and to regulate then pulled 6 hours and stopped to supper the banks continually falling in after supper we floated through the night 11 hours Calm
29 While breakfast was preparing went out to hunt killed one deer and found a severe time in the thick swamp and mosqutoes pulled 8 1/2 hours and drifted 11 hours through the night which exposed me to much rain and wind from two thunder showers. I had much difficulty to keep the boat from bars and snaggs ran several times on to Bars all hands being asleep had to jump over board to get off In the night elk keep up a continual squeling it being now the commencement of the rutting season.
30th Day pulled 9 hours Saw three white Bears this day and some Elk and a herd of Buffaloe night floated 8 1/2 hours and were stopped by a gale from the S.E. not thinking it expedient to pull with a head wind and in the dark.
31st Blowing a gale. Made about 4 hours about the rate of 2 mils per hour and finding it too bad laid by at a considerable river coming from the S. entering by 2 mouths this I took to be the little Missouri as laid down in the maps. In this vicinity we find primitive pebles and bolders much petryfied wood other aluvial productions stopped all night on acc. of wind and rain which made our scituation uncomfortable in the extreme the weather had heretofore been very warm average as much as 90 deg this day cold like an Eastwardly storm.
[Sept] 1st. At seven the weather having abated a little made a start. At 3 o'clock found some of Sublettes men cutting timber for a fort and learned from them that the upper Mandan was 9 miles ahead we made it at 6 this day made only about 3 per hour this village was about 1 1/2 miles from the river taking my Indian and a man with me I went to it and was well received by Mr. Dorherty [John Dougherty], Mr. Subletes clerk and the Inds. Stopped about one hour with him and not seeing the fort and being afraid of passing it stopped for the night.
2nd. Pulled 1/2 hour arrived first on a high point at the village then immediately round the point found the fort and was well received by Mr. [James] Kipp. the Am. F. Co. agent for the Mandans Stopped 2 hours took breakfast the presented me some dry corn and some roasting ears. All these villages cultivate corn peas beans pumpkins ect. at 1/2 past 7 ock pulled a short distance when we had a good breeze and sailed until 5 ock then stopped to supper then floated from 6 until 12 ock then stopped owing to fog with head wind.
3rd. Floated 2 hours and stopped to Breakfast having found no game have lived much upon the stores we have taken from the forts above At the last place we were presented with some green corn which we are now roasting Makes us think of Old Lang Sine. We have had for four days rainy cloudy & foggy weather our bed clothes are wet and musty in consequence after Breakfast pulled 6 hours when I thought best to go on shore to cook I sent a man out to hunt in the meantime as soon as he assended the high bank he perceived horses on the other side we after counted 21 lodges and from the number of horses I have no doubt there might have been from 75 to 100. I immediately had the boat put into a little thicket and fortifyed as well as I could then went to fishing and spent the afternoon caught but two large catfish as soon as it was dark we proceeded forward with a high wind and a cloudy sky and no Moon all went well until we were just opposite the valley when we perceived lodges and fires on our side also On seeing this I ste[e]red the boat to the middle of the river but unluckly took ground on a sand bar here we worked for some time to get off and had the Indians seen or heard us her[e] we were in distance for shot from both sides and could have made little resistance but they did not and after some time we got off and glad we were. We proceed in all 4 hours pulled, then stopped for the night these were probably the Aricarey and would have scalped us. I feared much for my Nez Perce for we could not speak to any Indian on the river and all would without explanation have made some fuss and perhaps have killed him.
4th. With almost a gale of wind from the W. pulled 6 hours and then stopped to eat having twice nearly upset in carrying sail and wet all our things after drying and eating started on still blowing fresh and pulled 3 hours then floated through the night 11 hours It was a beautiful still night the stillness interrupted only by the neighing of the Elk the continual low of the Buffaloe which we came to soon after starting the hooting of large owls and the screeching of small ones and occasionally the nearer noise of a beaver gnawing a tree or splashing into the water and even the gong like sound of the swan it was really poetical but sleep at last laid in his claim and I gave the helm to a man. Oak is now plenty in the Bottoms and for a few days past has been seen The upland along the river is here pretty good plumbs we occasionally see and have since we first took water on the Big Horn frequent squalls of rain yesterday.
5th. Pulled 7 hours stopped to eat pulled one more came to a deserted village on the S. bank fired two guns to see if there was any one in it but had no answer pulled one hour more then floated 7 hours more then pulled 3 to Breakfast saw in morning a bank of Elk playing like children in the water failed of killing any of them owing to the impatience of one of the men who fired too soon pulled through a dreadful rain 7 hours and camped wet and cold rained all night strong east wind.
6. In the morning made 8 hours pulling seeing an Elk on the sand Bar stopped and killed him very aceptable as we have had nothing to eat since yesterday noon and saved his horns for my best of friends Mr. F. Tudor of Boston pulled 2 hours more and the night being dark and appearance of a storm did not run.
7th. Last night about 11 ock was awakened by the water making a breach over the boat got her off the shore but was obliged to make the shore again on account of some of the men who were so frightened that if I had not they would have jumped overboard laid the rest of the night on a lee shore thundering in a loud strain and raining at no allowance spent a most uncomfortable night an rose in the morning benumbed with cold and all hands as dead as loggs started after eating at 8 ock and pulled until 2 ock when we had a fine breeze which gradualy increased to a gale before which we scudded at a good rate almost despairing of seeing Fort Piere which we began to think we had passed at about sundown we saw people on the hills which we supposed to be Inds. therefore kept on they fired but we did not choose to hear about an hour after sundown we smelt the flavor of coal and landed and found people who had just burned a kiln who informed us that the fort was 3 mils ahead we though[t] to go to sleep at the fort but soon found that night and a gale of wind was a poor time for travelling and also that 3 miles was in fact 3 leagues after being near filled by the surf and running afoul of several sand bars and getting overboard to push off we concluded to stop for the night which we did cold and tired and wet we spend the night as we best could one comfort plenty of elk meat stopped at 10 ock.
8. Made by sailing 3 miles and found Fort Piere pleasantly scituated on the right bank rather low but withal romantic were received with all hospitality imaginable by Mr. Laidlow [William Laidlaw] who is in charge of the Am. F. Co. post here. was much pleased by the order and regularity apparent about the place we stopped here for the day and visited Mr. and Mrs. Sublette who is scituated about one mile below we here saw melons of two kinds corn pork cows horses and stacks of hay.
9th. Remained at the fort until about 1 ock. when we made by pulling 2 hours an Island 9 miles below the fort on which the Co. have about 15 acres of ground under cultivation here I remained all this day eating and drinking of the good things afforded by the earth and the cellars of the Co. Found cucumbers water & musk mellons beets carrots potatoes onions corn and a good cabin and the Company of Mr. Laidlow and Doct.
10th. At 8 ock. began pulling the water has within two days risen about 2 feet in consequence of the rains which so anoyed me above and the surface of the water is covered with all manner of drift rubbish and the water as muddy as possible. Wind ahead all day but current much improved stopped at 6 ock. at the commencement of the great Bend and remained all night.
11th. Commenced pulling at 1/2 past 6 after having sent a hunter across the foot of the Bend and after 6 hours got past the Bend and found our hunters who had hid themselves in the brush being alarmed by seeing Inds. whom we also saw and gave some ammunition to took them in and in two hours more came to the agency for the Sioux & Poncas Mr. [Jonathan] Bean agent but not at the post we found it a miserable concern only three or four men but poorly fed and buildings out of order though new and shabbily built at best we were hospitably received by the young man in charge.
12. Pulled against a severe head wind 9 hours in hopes of finding White River but camped without seeing it got plenty of good plumbs which were an object to stop for as we are about out of food and the vicinity almost destitute of game.
13th Pulled against a severe head wind 3 1/2 hours finding we did not make much headway laid by for the day.
14th. Blowing still fresh ahead we started and made 15 hours night and day continuing until 12 ock at night it was dark and we were nearly upset by a snag but our fears of starvation impelled us to haste did not see an animal all day during the latter part of the night it rained in torrents and wet all our things and persons.
15th. Commenced pulling at 7 ock. Still blowing fresh ahead and raining a little about 3 ock cleared off and stopped to cook during meal time killed a fawn which was very good luck after supper pulled 5 hours more and found a keel boat of the Am. F. Co. alongside of which we stopped for the night in the morning of
16th. Put ahead with a fine wind not having been asked on board of her and immediately passed the Ponca village but I believe not in its usual place saw and delivered a message to Mr. Sublettes agt. here and gave the Chief some tobacco. Made with a wind which as usual soon died away and pulling 13 hours when we ran on a sand bar and was unable in the dark to extricate her and slept all night on it the musquitoes almost murder us rained most of the night.
17. Started at 5 ock. Pulled this day 10 hours rained some in the course of the day saw Powquet [Carolina parakeet] the first since leaving the states also mulberry trees Bass wood.
18th. Started early after a rainy night and pulled 10 hours saw wild Turkeys this evening but killed none nearly out of all kinds of provisions saw this day a herd of Elk tryed hard to get some but failed.
19th. Made with a strong and fine wind 12 hours and camped without meat supped on a little flour boiled in water Saw during the day 3 deer looked with folly at them and fired two shots and they ran off.
20th. Stopped until 1/2 past 6 to hunt caught one goose which we eat for breakfast afterward put ashore the hunters for game they were fortunate enough to kill a fat doe in which we feasted right merryly and having lost so much time we concluded to run until the moon went down altho we were before informed that it was not safe a few hours we got along well enough but at last went over a snagg with limbs above which taking our mast and the boat swinging broadside she was taking in water at a jolly rate and in a little she would have gone with the suck under the rock I immediately had the mast cut away just in time to save her escaped from this I determined to try more we ran a little and were driven head foremost on a large tree lying across the river We stopped about midway and lay swinging like a pendulum with much danger and difficulty we extricated her not being yet discouraged we ran on but soon were driven into a large drift we narrowly escaped being carried under and half full of water and our oar broke we made the shore as soon as possible resolved to run no more nights, after making 10 1/2 hours.
21st. Made 9 hours with a head wind and camped at the old post of Council Bluffs it is now grown up with high weeds a memento of much money spent to little purpose it is a beautiful scituation the magazine and three or four chimneys only remain.
22nd. After 5 hours in a dead current we arrived at a trading post of the Am. F. Co. Mr. Josh Pilcher agent by whom we were entertained with the utmost hospitality I had met Mr. P. at St. Louis on my way out on this account I had much pleasure in stopping we found a good assortment of vegetables and a supply of such things as we wanted. dined with him and made three hours more and stopped to hunt Killed a fat deer and camped for the night.
23rd. Made 2 hours pulling and passed an agency 1/2 mile farther a trading post of Mrss. Dripps & Fontenelle. Made in all 13 hours and camped during the day killed one deer from the Boat from Council Bluffs to this have found the Hic[k]ory Shagbark Sicamore and Coffee Bean trees not seen above also Night Shade Brier Ducks Ge[e]se and Pelicans have been very numerous but shy for about 8 days stopped at the above trading post found only an old negro at home the rest out cutting wood.
24th. Made this day 10 1/2 hours Killed one goose saw plenty of deer
25th. Made 11 hours Killed one Turkey from the boat saw this day the first Pawpau fruit and trees wounded one deer from boat and stopped to search for him but without success
26th. Made 11 hours at 8 hours came to a trading house of the Am. F. Co. called Rubideau [Robidoux] Fort at the Black Snake hills and on the N. bank of the river on a little rise of ground in the rear of a beautiful bottom. Today saw the Black Locust for the first time the lands are here quite fine and the hills as far back as we can see clothed with timber and verdure of the most luxuriant appearance the country is one of the most pleasant I have ever seen
27th. After 7 hours pulling arrived at the Cantonment Leavenworth on the route we saw several Indian canoes with Squaws children ect. I had no letters of introduction at the fort and therefore could not expect any great extension of the laws of hospitality but was received with all the politeness that expected was offered all the stores which I might require by Leiut. Richardson the officer of the day My boy Baptiste and the Indian wer[e] vacinated by Doct. Fellows. It was amusing to observe the actions of Baptiste [Payette] and the [Nez Perce] Indian when I went from the boat towards the Barracks the Boy followed me until I was hailed by the sentry at view of one so strangely attired and with a knife on the end of his gun he broke like a quarter Nag crying Pegoni [Blackfeet] and the Indian was only prevented from taking the run also by being assured that he would not be harmed. I took the two to Doct Fellows quarters to be vaccinated the Docts wife and another lady happened to be present they were really beautiful women but the eyes of the two were riveted on the White Squaws Baptiste who speaks a little English told the other Boys when he returned to the boat that he had seen a white squaw white as snow and so pretty.
28th. Made about 45 miles to Liberty where I found Mr. E. M. Samuel an old acquaintance who received me with all hospitality supplyed me w[it]h money and all that I wanted.
29th. Rained all day did not start
30. Went to the landing after breakfast a boat arrived going to the Garrison and joined her as I shall arrive at St Louis as soon by this means as any other and more comfortably
Shall close memorandum here with Boat I after returned to Leavenworth and was treated with great politeness by the officers of the garrison especially a Capt. Nichols who invited me to dinner.
Memo of distances on the Columbia according to the estimates of the English Traders.
From Boat encampment to Colville 309 miles
" Colville to Oakenagen 150 "
" Oakenagen to Walla Walla 207 "
" Walla Walla to Vancouver 203 "
" Vancouver to Cape Disappointment 80 "
second expedition and photo
Nathaniel J. Wyeth http://www.xmission.com/~drudy/mtman/html/nwythint.html