December 11, 1803
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

December 11, 1803


a Verry rainey morning    the wind from the N,E, crossed the river to St. Louis, [1] Capt Lewis detain for to acquire information of the Countrey [2] and to prepare Despatchs to the Government by the next mail.    at 11 oClock I proceeded on, at about one mile (1) passed two Creeks [3] on the Larbd Side, the upper Creek, which at the Commencement of a willow point is Suffiently large to admite a Boat in its mouth—.    the wind changed to N.W. about 3 oClock, passed several large Sand bars in the middle of the river, and Camped on the Side of a large Island, [4] Situated on the Starboad Side, the rain Continud until 3 oClock to day, The banks of the River on each Side is Subject to over flow, from the last mentioned Creek, The Current of the water is against the Westerley Shore, and the banks are falling, where there is no Rock

Decr. 11th

Course Destanc &c.
Course Time Diste. Remks. & refrs
  h m m  
North 0 50 1 ¼ along the Town of St Louis to a pt. on Same side
of the river.
N. 10° W 2 25 1 ¾ To a pt. on the Lbd. Side    psd 2 creeks on the Ldb Side
verry swift water.
N 2° W 2 15 3 ¼ To the Side of an Isd. Stbd. Side    passed Some
verry strong water; & sevl large Sand bars in the
river on th Stbd. [apparently written over Ldb.] of
Cent. [center?]
  5 30 6 ¼  
1. St. Louis, capital of Spanish Upper Louisiana, not quite forty years old when Lewis and Clark arrived, was already the center of the fur trade for a huge region drained by the Missouri River; with the expedition began the city's long role as the "Gateway to the West" for the United States. Although not founded until France had lost control of Louisiana to Spain, the town was essentially French in language and culture until after the American takeover, and the French fur magnates continued to dominate St. Louis for some decades. In 1763, the French authorities in New Orleans granted Maxent, Laclede, and Company exclusive rights to the fur trade on the Missouri. Pierre Laclede Liguest, the junior partner, immediately sailed north with supplies and some thirty persons to Fort de Chartres, where the party spent the winter. With him were his consort, Marie Therese (Bourgeois) Chouteau, and René Auguste Chouteau, her son by her estranged husband. On February 14, 1764, Laclede sent young René Auguste Chouteau, whom he regarded as a foster son, across the river with a party of workers to begin construction of the post, named for Louix IX, king of France, who had been canonized for his part in the Crusades. By the end of the year some forty families had settled in the new village, including many French people from east of the river unwilling to live under British rule. The settlers called the place "Pain Court" (short of bread), perhaps indicating early hardships or simply the lack of agriculture in this trading community. Later, under the Spanish government the officials were commonly local residents, ethnically French, and the French fur trade dominated the economy. The Spanish withdrew Laclede's monopoly and competitors rushed in, but the founder still prospered. In May 1780, the Spanish garrison and the townspeople beat off a British-directed Indian attack, part of the western operations of the American Revolution. In 1799, the town had a population of 925; when incorporated as a village in 1808, with somewhat expanded boundaries, it had 1,400 residents. Houck, 2:1–78; Missouri Guide, 298–301; McDermott (MIG). (back)
2. For the results of Lewis's inquiries, see Dehault Delassus to Juan Manuel de Salcedo, December 9, 1803, and Lewis to Jefferson, December 28, 1803, Jackson (LLC), 1:142–43, 148–55. (back)
3. The upper creek could be Gingras Creek. (back)
4. Perhaps Cabaret Island, also called Wood Island, opposite Granite City, Madison County, Illinois. Collot's map, Tucker, map 28; Cumings, map 1. (back)