May 16, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

May 16, 1804


A fair morning, Set out at 5 oClock    passed the Coal hill (Call by the natives Carbonear [Charbonnier])    this hill appears to Contain great quantytes of Coal, and also ore of a rich appearance haveing greatly the resemblance of Silver [1]    Arrived Opposit St Charles [2] at 12 oClock, this Village is at the foot of a Hill from which it takes its real name Peeteite Coete [Petite Côte] or the little hill, it contains about 100 indefferent houses, and abot 450 Inhabetents principally frinch, those people appear pore and extreemly kind, the Countrey around I am told is butifull. interspursed with Praries & timber alturnetly and has a number of American Settlers    Took equal altituds with sextion M a [median altitude?] 68° 37' 30" Dined with the Comdr. [3] & Mr. Ducetts family— [4]

          h ' "
A M 55'   6" P M 4 4 35
  7 57 35   4 6   0
  7 58 49   4 4 19 [5]
Course Distance and time assending the Missouris the 16th of May last 1804
Course Distance Time remarks &c
South 2 0 1    5 to Pt. L: Side opsd. a Cole bank [6] after
passing the head of the Sd. Island,
and a Drift wood abov
S 85 W 7 0 3 25 to the Center of St Charles. 〈½〉 (1)

(1) Passed an Island on the L Side [7] just above the bank one just above, two Small ones oposut under the St. Shore, one on Lb. Side below St Charles, arrived at this place at 12 oClock    a fine Day


a fair morning    Set out at 5 oClk    pass a remarkable Coal Hill on the Larboard Side Called by the French Carbonere, this hill appear to Contain great quantity of Coal & ore of a [blank] appearance [8]    from this hill the village of St Charles may be Seen at 7 miles distance—    we arrived at St. Charles at 12 oClock    a number Spectators french & Indians flocked to the bank to See the party. This Village is about one mile in length, Situated on the North Side of the Missourie at the foot of a hill from which it takes its name Petiete Coete [NB: petite côte] or the Little hill    This village Contns. about 100 [NB: frame] houses, the most of them Small and indefferent and about 450 inhabitents Chiefly French, those people appear pore, polite & harmonious—    I was invited to Dine with a Mr. Ducett [NB: Duquet ]    this gentleman was once a merchant from Canadia, from misfortunes aded to the loss of a Cargo Sold to the late Judge Turner [9] he has become Somewhat reduced, he has a Charming wife an eligent Situation on the hill Serounded by orchards & a excellent gardain.

Course & Distance assending the Missourie the 16th of May—
Course ms  
South. 2 0 to a pt. on Lbd Side
S. 85° W. 7 0 To the mid: of St. Charles    passed much
harder water & 3 Isds.
  9 0  

☞ Note the Commanding officer is full assured that every man of his detachment will have a true respect for their own Dignity and not make it necessary for him to leave St. Charles—for a more retired Situation—

W. C.


Wensday May 16th 1804. Set out eairly, this morning pleasant.    arrived at St. Charles [11] at 2 oClock P. M.    one gun fired, a great nomber of French people Come to See the Boat &C—    this place is an old French Settlement & Roman Catholick. Some Americans Settled in the country around,


wensday may 16th 1804    Set out eriley this moring    plesent    arrived at St. Charles at 2 oclock P m    one Gun Fired    a Grait nomber of Friench people Came to see the Boat &c    this place is an old French village & Roman Catholeck    Some amerrican setled in the Countrey around.


Wednesday 16th.    We had a fine pleasant morning; embarked early, and at 2 o'clock in the afternoon arrived at St. Charles, and fired a gun. A number of the inhabitants came to see us. This is an old French village; in the country around which, a number of Americans have settled.

We remained at St. Charles until the 21st, where Captain Lewis arrived from St. Louis and joined us. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon we left this place under a salute of three cheers from the inhabitants, which we returned with three more and a discharge of three guns. This evening was showery, and we again encamped [12] on the north side of the river.


[Wedn]esday 16th May 1804.    a clear morning.    Set out [early] and proceeded on verry well.    about 2 oclock P.M. [we ar]rived at St Charls. and passed the evening with a [gr]eat deal of Satisfaction, all chearful and in good Spirits.    this place is an old french village Situated on the North Side of the Missourie and are dressy polite people and Roman Catholicks.—

Wednesday May 16th    We set out this morning, having clear weather, and proceeded on very well, about 2oClock P. M we arrived at Saint Charles, where we passed the Evening with a great deal of satisfaction, and chearfulness, and all our men appeared to be in good spirits.

We shall waite here for Captain Lewis, who is to meet us from Saint Louis 〈here〉;—    Saint Charles is a Village settled by French Inhabitants.    It is a handsome situation, laying on the North side of the River contains about 80 Houses, built in the french fashion, and has a small Roman Catholic Chapel.    its Inhabitants are chiefly canadian french; who are chiefly concerned & employed by others Trading with the Indians who reside on the River Mesouri, and other Rivers that empty into it.    The land adjoining it appear to be hilly, but the soil is good and fitting for Agriculture.—

Saint Charles lies in Latitude 38° 54' 39 North & 19 Miles from the Mouth of the Mesouri River,

1. A coal bed above the base of the Pennsylvanian rocks was mined for a few years in the vicinity of Charbonnier. Abundant pyrite was reported from the shales associated with the coal bed. Some pyrite is very pale yellow, nearly silvery, as is marcasite, a second mineral with the same composition but with a different crystal form. Both pyrite and marcasite are often associated with coal-bearing rocks. See Osgood (FN), 41 n. 7. (back)
2. St. Charles was the earliest white settlement west of the Mississippi and north of the Missouri. As Clark notes, the place was first called Les Petites Côtes (the Little Hills). In 1787, Auguste Chouteau surveyed the settlement, and soon after the district of St. Charles was established. The parish church, and hence the settlement, was named for St. Charles Borromeo. To the Spanish it was San Carlos del Misuri. By the time of the Louisiana Purchase, the French inhabitants of the town were surrounded by American settlers in the countryside, including Daniel Boone and his family who had settled in the area in the late 1790s. Missouri Guide, 260–64; Houck, 2:79–86; Osgood (FN), 41 n. 8. (back)
3. The commandant at St. Charles was Charles, or Don Carlos, Tayon, of French-Canadian extraction and one of the original settlers of St. Louis. He entered the Spanish military service in 1770, fought the British and their Indian allies in the Revolutionary War, and as a reward was given a regular rank as a sublieutenant. He became commandant at St. Charles in 1793. Houck, 2:9, 42–44, 81–82. (back)
4. François Duquette, a Canadian, after residing for a time at Ste. Genevieve, came to St. Charles in 1796. He set up a windmill for grinding grain and was one of the little community's most prosperous citizens before the misfortune Clark alludes to in the following entry for May 16. Ibid., 2:85–86, 257; Missouri Guide, 267. (back)
5. A symbol here refers to the courses and distances for the day, on another portion of the same sheet (document 13). (back)
6. At Charbonnier Point, just above Charbonnier Island. MRC map 2. (back)
7. Perhaps Vingt-un, or Holmes, Island. Ibid. (back)
8. Biddle has crossed out from the ampersand to "appearance," added a period there, and capitalized the f in "from." (back)
9. George Turner was a federal judge in the Northwest Territory, his circuit including Kaskaskia, in the 1790s. Williams, 512–13; Nasatir (BLC), 1:316–17; Diller (NM), 178. (back)
10. This Orderly Book order and Clark's initials are in Ordway's hand. The warning, as will be seen, was not heeded. (back)
12. The camp of May 21, 1804, was about three miles southwest of St. Charles, Missouri. (back)