June 22, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

June 22, 1804


22nd June Friday    after a Violent gust of wind accompanied with rain from the West, which commenced at Day brake, and lasted about one hour, we Set out under a gentle Breeze from the N W. and proceeded on    S. 14° W. 2½ ms. to pt. on L. S.    Ord[way] [2] Killed a goose, S 25° W 3 Ms. to a pt. on S. S.    psd. Snags and Swift water on the S. S.—    S. 66° W: ½ a me. on S pt.    N 60 W 4½ me. to pt. L. S.    passed 〈the Lower pt. of〉 a large Isd. on the S. S.—    (Ferenthiers Thermometr at 3 oClock P, M, 87 d which is 11 d above Summr heat) [3] and one [island] on the L. S. opposit against which there is a handsom Prarie of high Bottom & up Land, Capt Lewis went out in this Prarie & walked Several miles, Come to opposit the mouth of a large Creek on the S. S. Called River of the Fire Prarie [4]    at the mouth of this creek the party on Shore Shields & Collins was camped waiting for our arrival & inform that they Pass'd thro: Some fine Lands, and well watered    G D. [Drouillard] Killed a fine Bear to day


22nd June Friday    river rose 4 Inchs last night. I was waken'd 〈at〉 before day light this morning by the guard prepareing the boat to receve an apparent Storm which threttened violence from the West    at day light 〈the〉 a violent wind accompanied with rain cam from the W. and lasted about one hour, it Cleared away, and we Set out and proceeded on under a gentle breeze from the N. W.    passed Some verry Swift water Crouded with Snags, pass two large Island opposit each other, and immediately opposit a large & extensive Prarie on the Labd Side, This Prarie is butifull a high bottom for 1½ mile back and rises to the Common leavel of the Countrey about 70 or 80 feet and extends back out of view. Capt. L walked on Shore a few miles this after noon    (at 3 oClock P M. Ferents Thermometer Stood at 87°: = to 11 d Summer heat)    we came to on the L. Side opposit the mouth of a large Creek Called the River of the Fire Prarie, at the mouth of this Creek the Party on Shore were waiting our arrival, they informed that the Lands thro: which they passed was fine & well watered

Course & Distance June 22nd
S. 14° W. 2 ½ ms. to a pt. on the S. S.
S. 25° W 3 ms. to a pt. on the S. S. bad wat[er]
S. 66° W   ½ me. on S. Side
N. 60° W 4 ½ mes. to a pt. on the L.S.    psd. 2 Isds: and a Prarie
  10 ½  

Friday June 22d 1804.    we Set out at 7 oC after a hard Shower of rain & high wind from N. E. Thunder and lightning &.C—    the day fair    proceeded on 2½ miles    one of the men [5] killed a goose.    we passed a handsome prarie on the South Side & a Creek Called little fire Creek. [6]    passed a Creek on the N. Side called Big fire Creek where our hunters were waiting for us.    we Camped opst. on South Side


Friday June 22d    Set out at 7 oclock after a verry hard Storm thunder 〈wind from the N. E.〉 and Rain wind [WC: from the West, proceeded on under a gentle Breeze from the N. W.    passd] 〈from the N. E. past〉 a Creek on the South Side Calleded the Littel Fire Creek    it Comes in opset the middel of a Small Isd on the South Side    Strong water    Came 9 miles    encamped on the Southe Side at a Prarie    this Prarie is Called Fire    on the N. Side Comes in a Creek Calleded the Fishing Creek    the Creek is about 50 yards wide and High Land


Friday 22nd.    It rained hard from four to seven in the morning, when we continued our voyage. About 12, one of our men went out and killed a large bear. We encamped at a handsome prairie on the south side opposite a large creek, called the Fire-prairie, and which is 60 yards wide.


Friday 22nd    the Rain came on Rapidly in the 〈night〉 morning    Interupd our Starting at the usal hour.    the day Cleard Up at 7 Oclock    the two latter days was the hotist that has been Seen Or felt a long time.    the water was Strong with the heat of the day which made the times disagreeble to the party.    G. Drewyer Killd a large Male Bare weighd Neer 5 hundred Wt.    Our hunters Came in which had been Absent from the 19th Inst. the[y] had part of One deer girkd with them    their names is J. Sheilds & Collins    Incampd at the fire perarie    Roed 12 Miles—

Friday June 22nd    This morning we were detained from starting by a heavy Rain which continued till 7 oClock A. M    The weather proved excessive hot, as it was the two succeeding days, & being by far the warmest weather that we met with for a long time.

The current running very strong against us, and having to tow the boat it can hardly be imagined the fataigue that we underwent, We came too and Encamped at a place called the fire Priari, shortly after our hunters came to us, George Drewyer one of our hunters who had been absent from the 19th instant joined us having a large he bear with him which he had killed which weigh'd near five hundred weight, and part of a deer the flesh of which he had jerked.—    We Towed 12 Miles this day.—

1. Biddle's note at the head of this set of the Field Notes (document 23) reads, "22d to 26." (back)
2. Osgood interprets letters interlined above the word "Killed" as "Ord" for "Ordway." The sergeant himself says that "one of the men" killed the goose. Osgood (FN), 61. (back)
3. "Summer heat" was an arbitrary average summer temperature commonly marked on thermometers at the time, in this case seventy-six degrees. (back)
4. Near the Jackson-Lafayette county line, Missouri; the exact location is related to the River of the Fire Prairie, which is itself problematical. Both Clark's journals indicate that this stream was on the starboard, or north, side of the Missouri, with the camp on the opposite side. However, Fire Creek on later maps is on the south side of the river, in Jackson County, and is probably the Little Fire Creek referred to by Ordway and Floyd. The only sizable stream in the vicinity on the north side is Fishing River, a few miles upstream. Clark's 1810 map of the West (Atlas map 123) shows Fire Prarie River on the north side of the Missouri and Fire Prarie Creek on the south side, their mouths nearly opposite each other. in Clark's postexpedition list of rivers and creeks, he says that Fire Prarie Creek comes in from the southwest. Coues suggests that the mouth of Fishing River had moved upstream some time after 1804. This would also simplify matters, in that the island on which the expedition was forced by wind to spend most of June 23, 1804, could be Fishing River Island, which by the 1890s was downstream from the mouth of Fishing River, instead of upstream from it, as the expedition's island would have to be. It is possible, however, that this island, described by Biddle as separated from the north bank by a narrow, timber-choked channel, later became part of the mainland. To add to the confusion, Nicollet shows Fire Creek as "Clear water Creek" and indicates a "Fire Prairie River" on the south bank in present Jackson County, and mouthing above Fishing River, which is not readily identifiable with a major stream in that vicinity today. Coues (HLC), 1:30 and n. 63; Nicollet (MMR), 365; MRC map 13. (back)
5. Perhaps Ordway himself; see Clark's entry for this day. (back)
6. See Clark's entry for this day for a discussion of the difficulties in identifying the two creeks mentioned in this entry and in locating the camp for this day. (back)