August 14, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

August 14, 1804


14th of August    at 12 oClock the Party Sent yesterday to the Towns returned, and informed that they Could not find any Indians, they had not returned from hunting the Buffalow in the Praries, wind Shifted to the N W.    Our party Sent after the Deserter and to the Otteau towns, have not Came up as yet

The Situation of this Village, now in ruins Siround by enunbl. [innumerable] hosts of grave[s]    the ravages of the Small Pox (4 years ago)    they follow the Buf: and tend no Corn [2]


a fine morning wind from the S E    The men Sent to the Mahar Town last evening has not returned    we Conclude to Send a Spye to Know the cause of Their delay    at about 12 oClock the Party returned and informed. us that they Could not find the Indians nor any fresh Sign, those people have not returned from their Buffalow hunt, Those people haveing no houses no Corn or any thing more than the graves of their ancesters to attach them to the old Village, Continue in pursuite of the Buffalow longer than others who had greater attachments to their native Village— the ravages of the Small Pox [NB: about 4 years ago] (which Swept off 400 men & women & Children in perpoposion) has reduced this Nation not exceeding 300 men and left them to the insults of their weaker neighbours which before was glad to be on friendly turms with them—    I am told whin this fatal malady was among them they Carried ther franzey to verry extroadinary length, not only of burning their Village, but they put their wives & Children to D[e]ath with a view of their all going together to Some better Countrey—    They burry their Dead on the tops of high hills and rais mounds on the top of them,—    The cause or way those people took the Small Pox is uncertain, the most Probable from Some other Nation by means of a warparty

1 River Dubois { Latd—
2 Gasconade    Lattitude 38 44 35  
3 Great Osarge River    Latd. 38 31 6 9
4 Kancez River    Latd. 39° 5 25 7
On L. S. 1 ½ ms. above Dimond Island is Lattitude 39° 9' 38" 6
3 ms. below the 2d old Village of the Kancez L. S.
39° 25' 42" 5
on L. S. below the lower Point of Nordaway Island
39° 39' 22" 4/10
L. S. opposit the Center of Good Island    Latd. 40° 20' 12"  
opsd. a Island mentioned in the 2d & ed, course of
the 15th of July on L. S Latd.
40° 8' 31" 8
Bald pated Prarie    Latd 40° 27' 6" 4
Pt. opposit to a [point?] of an Island being the ex-
tremety of the 4th course of July the 19ths on L. S
40 29 50  
White Catfish Camp above the River Platt Latd. 41° 3' 19" 4/10
Council Bluff Camp fifty miles above Platt    Latd 41 17 0  
St. Chalres No. 1    Latd. 38 54 39  
1½ Mile below Splitrock Creek 〈37 6〉    
Great Ne-ma-haw River    L. 39 55 56  
on the S. S. opsd. pond Inlet August 4th N 26    Latd. 41 25 3  
On the Side of a Sand Island August 5th No. 27 Lat 41 30 6  
on the L. S. Little Rive Souix 41 42 34 3/10
on the pt. S. S. above the Hill on which the Mahar
King was burid No. 30
42 1 3 8
Three Ms. N.E of the Mahars Village Camp Fish
aug 14th
42 13 41  
Mo. of Grand River 38 47 54  
Mo. of Charliton Rivers        

Observed Time and Distance of the Sun & Moon the Moon East the 13th of August Monday 1804.    three Miles NE of the Mahars old village at Fish Camp

    Time     Distance
    h      m      s    
  P M 3    57      9   95°   56'   15"
    4      1    32   "      58      "
    "      4    45   "      59    30
    "      6    51   96     0      0
1st   "      7    57   "        0    30
    "      9    17   "        0    45
    "    11    52   "        1      7 ½
    1    13      0   "        2      0
    4    33    18   96      7    45
    "    35      7   "        8    37 ½
2nd   "    37    22   "        9    15
    "    38    24   "        9    45
    "    39    22   "        9    45
    4    51      9   96    12    30
    "    52    30   "      13      0
    "    52      5   "      13    30
3rd   "    55    26   "      14      0
    "    56    22   "      14    15
    "    57    36   "      14    30
    h      m      s    
    5      7    59   96    17    45
    "    10    56   "      18    30
    "    12    33   "      19    45
4th   "    15      5   "      20    15
    "    16      6   "      20    15
    "    17      1   "      20    45
    "    18      5   "      21      "
    "    19      1   "      21    22 ½

August 14th 1804

Took the Mametter Azmath of the Sun this morning at

Time      Diste.      [Needle?]
h     m      s              
7      3      4      59    19'    15"      N. 87° E
h     m      s      2nd       
7    41    19      62      0'      0"      N. 88° E
Equal Altitudes    14th Augt
  h    m      s       h    m  
A M 7    45    16   P M 3    45    15  
  "     46    43     "    46    47  
  "     48    12     "      "      " lost

Altd. produced    63° 26' 45"

Cho car tooch or Brarow [3]

☉'s magnetic azimuth by Circumferenter N. 87 E.
  h       m       s
Time by Chronomerter    A. M. 7       3       4
Altitude by Sextant of ☉'s U. L. 59°    19'      "
☉'s magnetic azimuth by Circumferenter N. 88 E.
  h       m       s
Time by Chronomerter    A. M. 7     41     19
Altd. of ☉'s U. L. by Sextant 62°    —'    —"

Observed Equal Altitudes of the ☉ with Sextant.

  h    m    s       h    m    s  
A. M. 7    45    16   P. M. 3    45    15  
  "     46    43     "     46    17 not certain
  "     48    12     "     Lost by clouds

Altd. given by Sextant at the time of obstn.    63° 26' 45"

Observed Meridian altitude of ☉'s L. L. with Octant by the back observatn. 42° 12' 10.9"


Tuesday 14th    we Set out at light, & walked along down the hills past the Graves.    we Saw also a nomber of large holes in the Ground where they used to hide their peltry &C. in, when they went out hunting and when they returned they would dig it out again, I put up a paper on a pole Stuck in a round hill, as a Signal for G. Drewyer &.C—    then we crossed the Small run which came in to the bottom from behind the hills, we then crossed this bottom prarie which is high & verry rich & formed a handsom vallie for a long distance back between the hills which is nearly half a mile wide across    above the village the Mahar Creek makes down along the South Side next to the hills, we crossed the creek about 10 yds. wide, and ascended the hill    below the creek we See a nomber of beaten pathes leading in different directtions, but no Signs of any being their lately.    we walked along the ridge which is high prarie all back as far as my [eye?] could behold.    we expected to have found Some corn or Something growing Some where in the bottom but we could not see any appearence of anythig being planted this year, we walked along the Ridge about 1½ miles then decended the hill & passed along, Round S. S. of a long pond [5] which lay between the hills & the Missouri, we crossed the out let of the pond which is verry mirry along the edge of the pond.    we came to the Missouri and went up.    crossed the mouth of the Mahar creek, & Returned to the Boats about 10 oClock A. M.    the Grapes are verry pleanty near the Missouri R,—


Tuesday august 14th    Lay by for ouer men How we had Sent after the Desarter on the 7th    thes Indians 〈onley live at this village〉 has not Live at the town Sence the Smallpoks was So bad abut 4 years ago    thay Burnt thare town and onley live about it in the winter and in the Spring Go all of them in the praries 〈of〉 after the Buflow and dos not Return untill the fall to meet the french traders    thay Rase no Corn nor aney thing excep Som times thay Rase Som Corn and then the Ottoe nation Comes and Cuts it Down while thay are in the praries


Tuesday 14th.    The sergeant and man returned from the village; but they had found no Indians there. Some of our hunters went out but killed nothing. Game appears scarce here. While at this place we provided ourselves with a new mast.


Tusday 14th    the day was fair and pleasant    Some of the men Went a hunting    Returnd found no Game—

Tuesday August 14th    This day we had pleasant weather    we still continued at the same place, about one o'Clock P. M. the Hunters went out but returned without any Game.—

1. The following address in Clark's hand is under the entries (August 13, 14, and 15) on this sheet of the Field Notes (document 42), at right angles to the rest of the writing. The last sentence is upside-down to the address. Presumably Clark used this sheet as an envelope to send a letter to Lewis at St. Louis during the winter at River Dubois: "Capt. Meriwether Lewis, S. Louis, pr. Mons Vansee Gutaru, I will thank you to send the letter directed to [prukhon? prudhom?] and Smiley to the post office to go by the next mail." Considering Clark's usual difficulty with French names, the bearer of the letter may have been Vincent Guitard, a resident and landowner in the St. Louis area for some years. Houck, 2:55, 101. (back)
2. The Omahas were at one time closely related to the Poncas; both spoke dialects of the same language of the Dhegiha group of the Siouan linguistic family, and both were horticulturists and hunters. The Omahas may have settled in Nebraska by 1700 or even a little earlier. By 1750 they were generally in Nebraska, although they hunted and camped on both sides of the Missouri River in the region. In the last decade of the eighteenth century, they made much trouble for the French traders who wished to ascend the Missouri River beyond the Omaha village to trade with the Arikaras and Mandans. During the winter of 1799–1800 they experienced a catastrophic smallpox epidemic that is supposed to have reduced their numbers to about 900–1500 people, which would be close to Clark's estimate of "300 men," counting three to five persons per adult male. (Personal communication of John Ludwickson.) Thereafter they did not apear as an obstacle to white expansion. Clark's statement that they had no corn is hard to understand, for they regarded corn as one of their most important food sources. He may mean that they planted corn but then went buffalo hunting and so did not stay home to tend their crop, which would be consistent with Plains Indian horticultural practices. His statement in Codex A that they had no houses may be explained by the remark here that the village was in ruins; ordinarily at least the more industrious families had permanent earth lodges. The condition of the place may have resulted from the burning of the village during the smallpox epidemic, which may have left their society in disarray for some time, delaying their efforts to rebuild. Ordway says that they had about three hundred "cabins," meaning perhaps that he saw their burned remains. If the wooden frame of an earth lodge was burned, the lodge would collapse. Hodge, 2:119–21; Fletcher & La Flesche, 1:96–98, 261–70, passim; Smith (OI); Nasatir (BLC), 1:28off. (back)
3. Here ends the notebooks journal Codex A, except for an astronomical observation of June 23, 1804, placed with that date. The words "Cho car tooch or Brarow" are on a page by themselves, and were probably jotted down as a note when Clark first heard the information. See entries at February 6 and July 30, 1804. (back)
4. Lewis's observation from Codex O. (back)
5. The pond appears on Atlas map 16. (back)