September 4, 1803
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

September 4, 1803


Morning foggy, obliged to wait. Thermometer at 63°—    temperature of the river-water 73° being a difference of ten degrees, but yesterday there was a difference of twelve degrees, so that the water must have changed it's temperature 2d in twenty four hours, coalder; at ¼ past 8 the murcury rose in the open air to 68°    the fogg dispeared and we set out; the difference therefore of 5° in temperature between the warter and air is not sufficient to produce the appearance of fogg—    from the watermark we fixed last evening it appeared that the river during the night had fallen an inch perpendicularly.—    the Perogue [1] was loaded as his been my practice since I left Pittsburgh, in order as much as posseble to lighten the boat, the [man or men] who conducted her called as in distress about an hour after we had got under way, we came too and waaited her coming up    found she had sprung a leek and had nearly filled; this accedent was truly distressing, as her load consisting of articles of hard-ware, intended as presents to the Indians got wet and I fear are much damaged; proceeded about three miles further    got fast on a bar below georgetown, and with the assistance of some of the neighboring people got overe it with much difficulty; at Georgetown [2] purchased a canoe compleat with two paddles and two poles for which I gave 11$, found that my new purchase leaked so much that she was unsafe woithout some repairs; came too about a mile below the riffle on the east shore [3] pretty early in the evening where we stayed all night having made 〈only〉 about thirteen miles this day.    opened the articles which had got wet and exposed them to the sun; set some of my hands to repareing the canoes which I effected before night    had the articles well oiled and put up in oilcloth baggs and returned to the casks in which they were previously were, hired another hand to go with me as far as Wheeling—    the articles were not as much injured as I had supposed— [4]

about two miles above my camp passed the line, which divides the States of Virginia [5] and Pensylvania on the east side of the river and on the West that of Pensylvania from the State of Ohio; this line is made vi[si]ble from the timber having been felled about sixty feet in width, the young timber has spring up but has not yet attained the hight of the other that it can with ease be traced with the eye a considirable distance—    it passes the Ohio River at the mouth of mill Creek [6] The water is so low and clear that we see a great number of Fish of different kinds, the Stergeon, Bass, Cat fish, pike, [7] &c.    we fixed some spears after the indian method but have had too much to attend to of more importance than gigging fish.—

1. The French word pirogue was used in the fur trade for a large dugout canoe or open boat. McDermott (GMVF), 118–19; Russell (FTT), 47. It is not clear if this vessel was actually a pirogue, as Lewis seems to have used the terms pirogue and canoe interchangeably. If it actually was a pirogue, it may have been either the red or the white pirogue so-called that figured prominently during the expedition. In this entry Lewis also mentions purchasing a canoe at Georgetown and then speaks of two canoes (as he does the next day, September 5), but this is probably two vessels in addition to the keelboat and not two canoes in addition to the keelboat and pirogue. Again the confusion of terminology. One more vessel was purchased at Wheeling on September 8, and Lewis calls it a pirogue. Lewis's correspondence during this period is of little help in sorting this out. (back)
2. Georgetown, in western Beaver County, Pennsylvania, near the state line, was founded in 1793 by Benoni Dawson. Thwaites (EWT), 4:101 and n. 59. (back)
3. In Hancock County, West Virginia, about two miles below the state line. (back)
4. Lewis may have intended a new entry on the next line; "September" is crossed out. (back)
5. Present West Virginia was part of Virginia until 1863. (back)
6. Mill Creek flows into the Ohio from the south on the PennsylvaniaWest Virginia border, opposite Little Beaver Creek. Cramer (6th), 44. (back)
7. The first fish is perhaps the shovelnose sturgeon, Scaphirhynchus platorynchus; the bass could be the smallmouth, Micropterus dolomieui, or the largemouth, M. salmoides; the northern pike is Esox lucius; the catfish could be the channel cat, Ictalurus punctatus, or the blue, I. furcatus. Lee et al., 44, 605, 608, 133, 446, 439. (back)