Paul Allen.

In camp on White Bear Island; conflict with Indians; singular adventures of the Captains Lewis and Clarke and command of the U.S. soldiers in the vast unexplored West online

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The Superior Library

"In Camp on White
Bear Island"

Conflict with Indians

Singular Adventures of the Captains Lewis

and Clarke and

Command of the U. S. Soldiers in
the vast unexplored West









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THE History of the Expedition of Captains Lewis
and Clarke, during the years 1804, 1805, and 1806, by
order of the Government of the United States, is the
first narrative which diffused widely at that time a
knowledge of the so-called Oregon Territory, and the
intermediate country from the Mississippi to the Rocky
Mountains. It presents a description of a new and
magnificent region, unvisited before by white men,
with its barbarous tribes, their character and habits,
and abounding in herds of buffalo, deer, and ante-
lope, outnumbering the human tenants of the land.
The Exposition held at Portland, Oregon, during the
year of 1905, in commemoration of the great achieve-
ments attained by the Lewis and Clarke Expedition
did surely lend a renewed interest to their Journal. The
work being now nearly out of print, it seemed to the
publishers a suitable time to put forth a new edition of
the Journal of Lewis and Clarke, pruned of unimpor
tant details, with a sketch of the progress of maritime
discovery en the Pacific coast, and a summary account
of earlier attempts to penetrate this vast western

This Journal must ever retain a high degree of
interest, as the account of the first voyage made by
Indian or white man, in boats or canoes, stemming the
current and rapids of the Missouri by the aid of sails,
oars, pole and towline, from the point where its



waters discharge themselves into the Mississippi t<?
its sources in the Rocky Mountains. They and their
party were also the first white men who, after crossing
the mountains, discovered the head-waters of the
Columbia River, and where borne by its rapid current
to the bay where its tumultuous waters meet the
stormy tides of the Pacific.




Description of Wappatoo Island, and of the Mode in which the Natives
gather the Wappatoo Root Character of the Soil and its Productions
Numerous Tribes residing in its Vicinity Probability that they were
all of the Multnomah Tribe originally, inferred from Similarity of
Dress, Manners, Language, etc. Description of their Dress, Weapons
of War, and Mode of Burying the Dead Description of another Vil-
lage, called the Wahclellah Village Their Mode of Architecture Ex-
traordinary Height of Beacon Rock Unfriendly Character of the In-
dians at that Place The Party, alarmed for their Safety, resolve to
inflict summary Vengeance, in case the Wahclellah Tribe persist in
their Outrages and Insults 'Interview with the Chief of that Tribe
and Confidence restored Difficulty of drawing the Canoes over
the Rapid's Visited by a Party of the Yehugh Tribe Brief Notice
of the Weocksockwillackum Tribe Curious Phenomenon observed in
the Columbia, from the Rapids to the Chilluckittequaws 1


Captain Clarke procures four Horses for the Transportation of the Baggage
Some further Account of the Skilloot Tribe Their Joy at the first
Appearance of Salmon in the Columbia Their Thievish Propensities
The Party arrive at the Village of the Eneeshurs, where the Natives
are found alike unfriendly The Party now provided with Horses.
Prevented from the Exercise of Hostility against this Nation by a
friendly Adjustment The Scarcity of Timber so great that they are
compelled to buy Wood to cook their Provision's Arrive at the Wah-
howpum Village Dance of the Natives Having obtained their Com-
plement of Horses, the Party proceed by Land- Arrive at the Pish-
quitpah Village, and some Account of that People Frank and Hos-
pitable Conduct of the Wollawollahs Their Mode of Dancing de-
scribed Their Mode of making Fish-wares Their Amiable Character


The party pursue their Route towards the Kooskooskee They reach the
Kinnooenim Creek Meet with an old Acquaintance, called the Big-
horn Indian Arrive at the Mouth of the Kooskooskee Difficulty of
purchasing Provisions from the Natives, and new Device of the Party
to obtain them Chopunnish Style of Architecture Captain Clarke
turns Physician, and performs several Experiments upon the Natives
with Success Instance of their Honesty Distress of the Indians for
want of Provisions during the Winter The Party finally meet
Twisted Hair, to whom their Horses had been intrusted on their
Journey down Quarrel between that Chief and another of his Nation,
in regard to his Horses Causes of the Controversy stated at large
The two Chiefs reconciled by the Interference of the Party, and the



Horsefe restored Extraordinary Instance of Indian Hospitality to-
wards Strangers Council held with the Chopunnish, and the Object
of the Expedition explained The Party perform other medical Cures
Answer of one Chopunnish to the Speech delivered at the Council, rat-
ified by a singular Ceremony They promise faithfully to follow the
advice of their Visitors 40


The Party encamp among the Chopunni'sh, and receive farther Evidence of
their Hospitality Indian Mode of boiling Bear's Flesh Of decoying
the Deer within the Reach of their Arrows Character of the Sou
and Climate among the Rocky Mountains Varieties of Climate
Character of the Natives Their Dress and Ornaments Mode of bury-
ing the Dead The Party administer medical Relief to the Native's
One of the Natives restored to the Use of his Limbs by Sweating,
and the curious Process by which Perspiration was excited An-
other Proof of Chopunnish Hospitality Success of their Sweating
Prescription of an Indian Chief Description of the Horned Lizard
and a Variety of Insects Attachment of the Friends of a dying
Indian to a Tomahawk which he has stolen from the Party, and
which they desired to bury with the Body Description of the River
Tommanamah The Indians return an Answer to a Proposition made
by the Party 02


They join in the Diversions of the Willetpos Indians, a Tribe hitherto
unnoticed Joy of the Party at the Prospect of Returning Vegetation
of the Rocky Mountains Preparations to resume their Journey
They set out, and arrive at Hungry Creek Difficulties that obstructed
their Progress Compelled to return and wait for a Guide across the
Mountains Their Distress for want of Provisions They re'solve to
return to the Quamash Flats Are at last so fortunate as to procure
Indian Guide's, with whom .they resume their Journey Dangers of
the Route Scarcity of Provisions, and the Perils to which they were
exposed, their Course lying along the Ridge of the Mountains De-
scription of the warm Spring, where the Party encamp Fondness of
the Indians for bathing in them, 79


T*ie Party, proceeding on their Journey with their Indian Guides, agree
to divide, take 'separate Routes, and meet again at the Mouth of
the Yellowstone River Captain Lewis, with nine Men, proceeds up
the eastern Branch of Clarke's River, and takes leave of the Indian
Guides Description of that Branch, and Character of the surrounding
Country The Cokalahishkit River They arrive at the Ridge dividing
the Missouri from the Columbia River Meet with the Buffalo and
Brown JBear Immense Herds of Buffalo seen on the Borders of Medi-
cine River The Party encamp on White Bear Island Singular Ad-
venture that befell M'Neil Captain Lewis, with three of his Party,
proceeds to explore the Source of Maria's River Tansy River lie
reaches the Dividing Line of these two Streams General Character
of the surrounding Country 98


Captain Lewi's and his Party arrive at the Forks of Maria's River
Alarmed by the Evidence of being in the Neighborhood of unfriendly


Indians, and distressed for Want of Provisions The unfavorable
Weather compels them to return Interview with the Minnetarees of
Fort de Prairie Mutual Consternation Resolution of Captain Lewis
They encamp together for the Night Conversation which ensues
Conflict occasioned by the Indians attempting to seize the Rifles and
Horses of the Party, in which one of the Former is mortally wounded
Captain Lewis kills another Indian, and his narrow Escape Having
taken four Horses belonging to the Indians, they hasten to join the
Party with Captain Clarke Arriving near the Missouri, they are
alarmed by the Sound of Rifles, which fortunately proves to be from
the Party under Sergeant Ordway The two Detachments thus united,
leave their Horses, and descend the Missouri in Canoes Continue
their Route down the River to join Captain Clarke- Vast Quantities
of Game seen on their Passage Captain Lewis accidentally wounded
by one of his own Party They at length join Captain Clarke 113


The Party commanded by Captain Clarke proceed along Clarke's River
Their Sorry Commemoration of the 4th of July Instance of Saca-
jawea's Strength of Memory Description of the River and of the
surrounding Country, as the Party proceed Horses missing and
supposed to be stolen by the Indians They reach Wisdom River Ex-
traordinary Heat of a Spring Fondness of the Party for Tobacco-
Sergeant Ordway recovers the Horses Captain Clarke divides his
Party, one Detachment to descend the River They reach Gallatin
and Jefferson Rivers Arrive at Yellowstone River Otter and Beaver
Rivers Indian Fortification One of the Party accidentally wounded
Engaged in building Canoes Twenty-four Horses stolen, probably
by the Indians 128


Captain Clarke proceeds down the River Description of an Indian Lodge
'Sergeant Pryor arrives with the Horses Remarkable Rock seen
by Captain Clarke, and the Beauty of the Prospect from its Summit
Yellowstone and Bighorn Rivers compared Immense Herds of Buf-
falo Fierceness of the White Bear Encamp at the Junction of the
Yellowstone and the Missouri Generaf Outline given of the Yellow-
stone River Sufferings of the P'arty from the Moschetoes Sergeant
Prypr arrives, and reports that all the Horses were stolen by the
Indians In this Emergency they make Canoes of Skins, in which
they descend the River over the most difficult Shoals and Rapids Un-
expectedly meet with two White Men, from whom they procure Intel-
ligence in relation to the Indians formerly visited by the Party.... 141


Captain Clarke and his Party are overtaken by the Detachment under
Captain Lewis, and they all descend the Missouri together They re-
visit the Minnetaree Indians, and hold a Council with that Nation,
as well as the Mahahas Captain Clarke endeavors to persuade their
Chiefs to accompany him to the United States, which they decline on
Account of their Fears of the Sioux in their Passage down the River
Colter, one of the Party, requests and obtains Liberty to remain
among the Indians, for the Purpose of hunting Beaver Friendly De-
portment of the Mandans Council held by Captain Clarke with the
Chiefs of the different Villages The Chief named Big White, with his
Wife and Son, agrees to accompany the Party to the United States
He takes an affecting Farewell of his Nation Chaboneau, with his


Wife, declines going to the United State's,, and they are left among
the Indians The Party at length proceed on their Route They ar-
rive among the Ricaras Character of the Chayennes, their Dress,
Habits, etc. Captain Clarke offers a Medal to the Chief of this Nation,
which he at first refuse's, believing it to be Medicine, but which he is
afterward prevailed on to accept The Ricaras decline permitting one
of their Number to accompany Captain Clarke to the United States,
preferring to await the Return of their Chief who had already gone
The Party proceed rapidly down the River Prepare to defend them-
selves against the Tetons Incredible Number of Buffalo seen near
White River They meet with the Tetons, and decline their Invita-
tions to land Intrepidity of Captain Clarke 159

The Party return in Safety to St. Louis 182


Description of Wappatoo Island, and of the Mode in which the Natives
gather the Wappatoo Root. Character of the Soil and its Productions.
Numerous Tribes residing in its Vicinity. Probability that they
were all of the Multnomah Tribe originally, inferred from Similarity
of Dress, Manners, Language, &c. Description of their Dress, Weap-
ons of War, and Mode of burying the Dead. Description of another
Village, called the Wahclellah Village. Their Mode of Architecture.
Extraordinary Height of Beacon Rock. Unfriendly Character of the
Indians at that Place. The Party, alarmed for their Safety, resolve
to inflict summary Vengeance, in case the Wahclellah Tribe persist
in their Outrages and Insults. Interview with the Chief of that Tribe,
and Confidence restored. Difficulty of drawing the Canoes over the
Rapids. Visited by a Party of the Yehugh Tribe. Brief Notice of
the Weocksockwillackum Tribe. Curious Phenomenon observed in
the Columbia, from the Rapids to the Chilluckittequaws.

" A PRIL 4. The hunters were still out in every
/\ direction. Those from the opposite side, of
L V the river returned with a bear and some veni-
son ; but the flesh of six deer and an elk which they
had killed was so meager and unfit for use that they
had left it in the woods. Two other deer were brought
in ; but, as the game was all so poor, we despatched
a large party to some low grounds on the south,
six miles above us, to hunt there until our arrival. As
usual, many Indians came to our camp, some of them
descending the river with their families, and others
from below, with no object except to gratify then-



" The visit of Captain Clarke to the Multnomahs,
and information obtained from other sources, now
enabled us to give some account of the neighbouring
countries and nations. The most important spot is
Wappatoo Island, a large tract lying betweeen the
Multnomah and an arm of the Columbia, which we
called Wappatoo Inlet, and separated from the main
land by a sluice eighty yards wide, which at the dis-
tance of seven miles up the Multnomah connects that
river with the inlet. The island thus formed is about
twenty miles long, and varies in breadth from five to
ten miles. The land is high, and extremely fertile ;
and on most parts is covered with a heavy growth of
cottonwood, ash, the large-leafed ash, and sweet wil-
low, the black alder common on the coast having now
disappeared. But the chief wealth of this island is
found in numerous ponds in the interior, which
abound with the common arrowhead (sagittaria sagitti-
folia), to the root of which is attached a bulb growing
beneath it in the mud. This bulb, to which the In-
dians give the name of wappatoo, is their great article
of food, and almost the staple article of commerce on
the Columbia. It is never out of season; so that at
all times of the year the valley is frequented by the
neighbouring Indians, who come to gather it. It is
collected chiefly by the women, who employ for the
purpose canoes from ten to fourteen feet in length,
about two feet wide, nine inches deep, and tapering
from the middle. They are sufficient to contain a single
person and several bushels of roots, yet so very light
that a woman can carry them with ease. She takes
one of these canoes into the pond where the water is
as high as the breast, and by means of her toes sep-


arates this bulb from the root, which, on being freed
from the mud, rises immediately to the surface of
the water, and is thrown into the canoe. In this
manner these patient females will remain in the water
for several hours, even in the depth of winter. This
plant is found throughout the whole extent of the val-
ley in which we then were, but does not grow on the
Columbia farther east.

" This valley is bounded on the west by the moun-
tainous country bordering the coast, from which it
extends eastward thirty miles in a direct line, to the
range of mountains crossing the Columbia above the
Great Falls; its length from north to south we were
unable to determine, but we believe it to extend in
this direction a great distance. It is, in fact, the only
desirable situation for a settlement on the western side
of the Rocky Mountains ; and, being naturally fertile,
would, if properly cultivated, afford subsistence for
forty or fifty thousand souls. The high lands are
generally of a dark rich loam, not much encumbered
with stones, and, though waving, by no means too
steep for cultivation: a few miles from the river they
widen, at least on the north side, into rich, extensive
prairies. The timber on them is abundant, and con-
sists almost exclusively of the several species of fir
already described, some of the trees growing to a
great height. We measured a fallen tree of that spe-
cies, and found that including the stump of about six
feet, it was three hundred and eighteen feet in length,
though its diameter was only three feet. The dog-
wood is also abundant on the uplands : it differs from
that of the United States in having a much smoother
bark, and in being much larger, the trunk attaining a


diameter of nearly two feet. There is some white
cedar of a large size, but no pine of any kind. In the
bottom lands are the cottonwood, ash, large-leafed
ash, and sweet willow; interspersed with which are
the pashequaw, shanataque, and compound fern, of
which the natives use the roots. The red flowering
currant abounds on the uplands, while along the river
bottoms grow luxuriantly the water-cress, strawberry,
cinquefoil, narrow dock, sandrush, and the flowering
pea. There is also a species of the bear's-claw, but the
large-leafed thorn had disappeared, nor did we see
any longer the whortleberry, the shallun, nor any of
the other evergreen shrubs bearing berries, except a
species the leaf of which has a prickly margin.

" Among the animals we observed the martin,
small geese, the small speckled woodpecker with a
white back, the blue crested cprvus, ravens, crows,
eagles, vultures, and hawks. The mellow bug and
long-legged spider, as well as the butterfly, blowing-
fly, and tick, had already made their appearance ; but
none of these are different from insects of the same
sort in the United States. The moschetoes, too, had
resumed their visits, but were not yet troublesome.

'' The nations who inhabit this fertile neighbour-
hood are very numerous. The Wappatoo Inlet, three
hundred yards wide, extends for ten or twelve miles
to the south, as far as the hills, near which it receives
the waters of a 'small creek, whose sources are not far
from those of the Killamuck River. On that creek
reside the Clackstar nation, a numerous people of
twelve hundred souls, who subsist on fish and wappatoo,
and trade, by means of the Killamuck River, with the
nation of that name on the seacoast. Lower down the


inlet, towards the Columbia, is the tribe called Cathla-
cumup. On the sluice which connects the inlet with
the Multnomah are the Cathlanahquiah and Cathla-
comatup tribes; and on Wappatoo Island the Clannah-
minamuns and Clahnaquahs. Immediately opposite,
near the Towahnahiooks, are the Quathlapotles, and
higher up, on the side of the Columbia, the Shotos.
All these tribes, as well as the Cathlahaws, who live
somewhat lower on the river, and have an old village
on Deer Island, may be considered as parts of the great
Multnomah nation, which has its principal residence
on Wappatoo Island, near the mouth of the large river
to which they give their name. Forty miles above its
junction with the Columbia, this river receives the
waters of the Clackamos, a river which may be traced
through a woody and fertile country to its sources in
Mount Jefferson, almost to the foot of which it is
navigable for canoes. A nation of the same name re-
sides in eleven villages along its borders: they live
chiefly on fish and roots, which abound in the Clacka-
mos and along its banks, though they sometimes de-
scend to the Columbia to gather wappatoo, where they
cannot be distinguished in dress, manners, or language
from the tribes of the Multnomahs. Two days' jour-
ney from the Columbia, or about twenty miles beyond
the entrance of the Clackamos, are the Falls of the
Multnomah. At this place reside the Cushooks and
Chahcowahs, two tribes that are attracted there by the
fish, and by the convenience of trading across the
mountains, and down the Killamuck River, with the
Killamucks, from whom they procure train oil. These
falls are occasioned by a high range of mountains, be-
yond which the country stretches into a vast level


plain wholly destitute of timber. As far as the Indians
with whom we conversed had ever penetrated that
country, it seems to be inhabited by a nation called
Calahpoewah, a very numerous people, whose villages,
nearly forty in number, are scattered along* each side
of the Multnomah, which furnishes them with their
chief subsistence, viz., fish, and the roots along its

" All the tribes in the neighbourhood of Wappatoo
Island we considered as Multnomahs ; not because
they are in any degree subordinate to that nation, but
they all seem to regard it as being the most powerful.
There was no distinguished chief except the one at the
head of the Multnomahs ; and they are, moreover, al-
lied by similarity of dress and manners, and of houses
and language, which, much more than the feeble re-
straints of Indian government, contribute to make one
people. These circumstances separate them also from
the nations lower down the river. The Clatsops, Chin-
nooks, Wahkiacums, and Cathlamahs understand each
other perfectly : their language varies, however, in
some respects from that of the Skilloots ; but, on reach-
ing the Multnomah Indians, we found that, although
many words were the same, while a great number dif-
fered only in the mode of accenting them from those
employed by the Indians near the mouth of the Colum-
bia, yet there was, in fact, a very sensible distinction.
The natives of the valley are of larger stature, and
rather better shaped than those on the seacoast: their
appearance, too, is generally healthy, though they are
afflicted with the common disease of the Columbia,
soreness of the eyes." * * *

" The dress of the men does not differ from that


used below ; they are chiefly distinguished by a passion
for large brass buttons, which they will fix on a sail-
or's jacket, whenever they are so fortunate as to obtain
one, without the slightest regard to arrangement. The
women, also, wear the short robe already described;
but their hair is most commonly braided into two
tresses, falling over each ear in front of the body ; and
instead of the tissue of bark, they employ a piece of
leather in the shape of a pocket handkerchief, tied
round the loins." * * *

" The houses are generally on a level with the
ground, though some are sunk to the depth of two or
three feet, and, like those near the coast, are adorned,
or rather disfigured, with carvings or paintings on the
posts, doors, and beds. They have no peculiar weapon
except a kind of broadsword made of iron, from three
to four feet long, the blade about four inches wide, and
very thin and sharp at both its edges, as well as at the
point. They have also bludgeons of wood of the same
form ; and both kinds generally hang at the head of
their beds : these are formidable weapons. Like the
natives of the seacoast, they are also very fond of cold,
hot, and vapour baths, which are used at all seasons,
for the purpose of health as well as pleasure.

' The mode of burying the dead in canoes is not
practised by the natives here. The place of deposite
is a vault formed of boards, slanting like the roof of a
house, from a pole supported by two forks. Under this
the dead are placed horizontally on boards, on the sur-
face of the earth, and carefully covered with mats.
The bodies are here laid to the height of three or four
upon each other, and the different articles which were
most esteemed by the deceased are placed by their

M. of H. XXIX 13


side ; their canoes themselves being sometimes taken
to pieces to strengthen the vault.

" All these people trade in anchovies and sturgeon,
but chiefly in wappatoo \ to obtain which, the inhabit-

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Online LibraryPaul AllenIn camp on White Bear Island; conflict with Indians; singular adventures of the Captains Lewis and Clarke and command of the U.S. soldiers in the vast unexplored West → online text (page 1 of 14)