June 17, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

June 17, 1804


The Current of the River at this place is a Stick will float 48 poles 6 feet in the rapidest part in 23 Seconds, [2] further out is 34, Still further 65—74—78 & 82 are the Trials we have made.


June 17 Sunday 1804    Cloudy    Wind, S. E.    Set out early S. 65° W 1 Me.    Came too to Make ores, and a Cord for a Toe Rope    all this day imployed in getting out Ores, & makeing for the use of the Boat out of a large Cable rope which we have, G Drewyer Came up [with] a Bear & 2 Deer, also a fine horse which he found in the woods, Supposed to have been left by Some war party from the osages, The Ticks are numerous and large and have been trousom [troublesome] all the way and the Musquetors are beginning to be verry troublesom, my Cold Continues verry bad    the French higherlins Complain for the want of Provisions, Saying they are accustomed to eat 5 & 6 times a day, [4] they are roughly rebuked for their presumption, the Country about abounds in Bear Deer & Elk [5] and the S. S. the lands are well timbered and rich for 22 ms. to a butifull Prarie which risies into hills abt 8 or 9 ms. back—    on the L. S a Prarie coms. on the bank which is high and contines back rich & well watered as far [& Light?; as Sight?] [6]


Cloudy morning    wind from the S. E.    we Set out early and proceeded on one mile & came too to make oars, & repair our Cable & toe rope &c. &c. which was necessary for the Boat & Perogues, Sent out Sjt. Pryor and Some men to get ash timber for ores, and Set Some men to make a Toe Rope out of the Cords of a Cable which had been provided by Capt Lewis at Pitts burg for the Cable of the boat—    George Drewyer our hunter and one man came in with 2 Deer & a Bear, also a young Horse, they had found in the Prarie, this horse has been in the Prarie a long time and is fat, I suppose he has been left by Some war party against the Osage, This is a Crossing place for the war partis against that nation from the Saukees, Aiaouez, [NB: Ayauways ] & Souix. The party is much aflicted with Boils and Several have the Decissentary, which I contribute to to the water [NB: (which is muddy.] [7]

The Countrey about this place is butifull    on the river rich & well timbered    on the S. S. about two miles back a Prarie coms. which is rich and interspursud with groves of timber, the County rises at 7 or 8 miles Still further back and is roleing—    on the L. S. the high lnds & Prarie Coms. in the bank of the river and Continus back, well watered and abounds in De[e]r Elk & Bear    The Ticks & Musquetors are verry troublesom.


Sunday June 17th 1804.    we set out eairly    Came one mile [8] and Stoped on N. Side to make Some oars. Some men went out hunting    the hunters came in towards Evening with one bear—    we got out Timber for 20 oars this day.


Sunday June 17th    we Renued our Journey much fetegeued of yesterday's work    Came one mil    encamped for the purpos of maken ores for ouer Boat and make a rope for the purpos of towen on the North Side of the River    ouer hunters Returnd and Killed on Bar one Deer and found a Stray Horse who had Been Lost for sometime    nothing Remarkeble to day


Sunday 17th.    This morning was clear and at five we renewed our voyage. Having proceeded about a mile we halted to get timber for oars and while we remained here to make them, our hunters came in and brought with them a handsome horse, which they had found astray. They also brought a bear, [9] which they had killed.


Sunday 17th    Got on Our [way]    Roed One Mile And Incampd. and Made 20 Oars & 600 feet of Roap at the Roap Walk Camp—; [10]

Sunday June 17th    This morning we embark'd early and proceeded on rowing for one Miles.    we then encamped; the remainder of the day all hands were employed in making Oars, and Ropes, the latter were made out of bear Skins, we made this day 20 Oars & 600 feet of Rope, the place we called Rope walk Camp.

1. Biddle's notation at the head of this sheet of the Field Notes (document 22) reads, "June 18 to 22." It was Biddle who apparently changed the date on this entry from 18 to 17. A ropewalk was a place where rope was manufactured; since they were making a tow-rope, the name seemed appropriate. The towline, or cordelle, was used where rowing or poling was difficult or impossible; most of the crew went ashore and pulled the boat upstream with the rope. The camp was in Carroll County, Missouri, about a mile above the June 16 camp. Baldwin (KA), 64; MRC map 12. (back)
2. A pole was 16½ feet, so the speed of the current in the rapidest part would be approximately 2.36 miles per hour. (back)
3. This entry is immediately below the previous one for June 17 on the same sheet of the Field Notes. (back)
4. The "almost superhuman exertions" of river boatmen undoubtedly required a great deal of energy, leading to the custom of eating frequently, which the men saw as their right. Baldwin (KA), 86–87. (back)
5. They did not actually see an elk, or wapiti (Cervus elaphus), until July 14, 1804. Hall, 2:1084–86. (back)
6. The last three words are crowded onto the ragged bottom of the sheet and are nearly illegible. (back)
7. The party was living on a high-protein diet. The jerked meat probably was contaminated with bacteria, of whose existence they were unaware; the germ theory of disease was half a century in the future. Although they had gathered "greens" on June 5, their diet in general probably lacked fresh fruit and vegetables. Unwashed clothing, infrequent bathing, and infected mosquito bites may also have contributed to their ailments. Chuinard, 222; Osgood (FN), 59 n. 7. (back)
8. Carroll County, Missouri, about one mile above the previous day's camp. (back)
9. Black bear, Ursus americanus. (back)
10. Only Whitehouse gives the camp a name; it was in Carroll County, Missouri, about a mile above the previous camp. (back)