August 24, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

August 24, 1804


24th August 〈Sunday〉 Friday 1804. Some rain last night & this morning, we Set out at the usial time and proceeded on the Same Course of last night    Continued S. 48° W. 2¼ mes. to the Commencement of a Blue Clay Bliff on L S. about 180 or 190 feet high    West under rugged Bluffs 1¾ ms. passing Several Small Dreens [drains], falling into the river    those Bluffs has been lately on fire and is yet verry Hott, [1] Great appearance of Coal, & imence quantities of Cabalt in Side of that part of [2] the Bluff which Sliped in, on the Sides of the hill great quantities of a kind of Current or froot resembling the Current in appearance much richer and finer flavd.    grows on a Scrub resembling a Damsen and is now fine and makes a Delightfull Tart [3]    above this Bluff I took my Servent and a french boy I have and walked on Shore    I killed a Deer which york Packed on his back    In the evening I Killed two Buck Elk and wounded two others which I could not pursue by the Blood as my ball was So Small 〈I〉 to bleed them well, my boys each Shot an elk— [4]    it was late and I Crossed a Point Struck the river above and halted the boat and 12 men went out brought in the meat    all the after part of the day it rained    we are all wet. Capt Lewis and my Self Concluded to visit a High Hill Situated in an emence Plain three Leagues N. 20° W. from the mouth of White Stone river, this hill apear to be of a Conic form and by all the different Nations in this quater is Supposed to be a place of Deavels or [5] that they are in human form with remarkable large heads and about 18 inches high; that they 〈remarkably〉 are very watchfull and ar armed with Sharp arrows with which they can kill at a great distance; they are said to kill all persons who are so hardy as to attemp to approach the hill; they 〈have a〉 state that tradition informs them that ma[n]y indians have suffered by these little people and among others that three Maha men fell a sacrefice to their murceyless fury not meany years since—    so much do the Mahas Souix Ottoes and other neibhbouring nations believe this fable that no consideration is sufficient to induce them to approach this hill. [6]

Due N. [7]   2 m. from a willow point at the upper part of a bluff lard. to
a willow point on the same side, the river leaves the Lard
Bluff at the commencement of this course
S [82?] W   4 [8]  
N. 15 E.   1 ¼ m. to a point on Stard.
N. 10 E      ¼ m. to an object in the bend Stard.    extensive sand bar on
the Lard. side
N. 45 W.   1 ½ to the power point of small willow Island.
W.   1 ¼ m. to the upper point of a sandbar connected with the
Island (1)
S. 40 W   2 ½ to a willow point Stard shore
  11 ½ [9]  

Some rain last night, a Continuation this morning; we Set out at the usial time and proceeded on the Course of last night to the (1) Commencement of a blue Clay Bluff of 180 or 190 feet high on the L. S. Those Bluffs appear to have been laterly on fire, and at this time is too hot for a man to bear his hand in the earth at any debth, gret appearance of Coal. An emence quantity of Cabalt or a Cristolised Substance which answers its discription is on the face of the Bluff—    Great quantities of a kind of berry resembling a Current except double the Sise and Grows on a bush like a Privey, and the Size of a Damsen deliciously flavoured & makes delitefull Tarts, this froot is now ripe, I took my Servent and a french boy and Walked on Shore    Killed Two Buck Elks and a faun, and intersepted the Boat and had all the meat butchered and in by Sun Set at which time it began to rain and rained hard, Cap Lewis & my Self walk out & got Verry wet, a Cloudey rainey night,—    In my absence the Boat Passed a Small (2) River Called by the Indians White Stone River. [10]    this river is about 30 yards wide and runs thro: a Plain & Prarie in its whole Course    In a northerley direction from the mouth of this Creek in an imence Plain a high Hill is Situated, and appears of a Conic form and by the different nations of Indians in this quarter is Suppose to be the residence of Deavels.    that they are in human form with remarkable large heads and about 18 Inches high, that they are Very watchfull, and are arm'd with Sharp arrows with which they Can Kill at a great distance; they are Said to Kill all persons who are So hardy as to attempt to approach the hill; they State that tradition informs them that many Indians have Suffered by those little people and among others three Mahar men fell a Sacrefise to their murceyless fury not many years Since—    So much do the Maha, Souis, Ottoes and other neighbouring nations believe this fable that no Consideration is Suffecient to induce them to apporach the hill

Course Distanc & Refrs. 24 Augt
S. 48° W.   2 ½ Mes. to the Commencement of a Blue Clay Bluff of 180
or 190 feet high on the L. S
West   1 ¾ mes. under the Bluff    passd. two Small runs from the
Bluff, those Bluffs have been latterly on fire & is yet verry
hot (1)
North   2 mes. to a point on S. S.
N. 10° E.      ¼ me. to an object in the bend on S S    an extensive Sand
bar on the L. S.
N. 45° W.   1 ½ me. to the lower point of a small willow Island.
West   1 ¼ Mes. to the upper point of a Sand bar connected with the
Island    passed the Creek (2)
S. 40 W.   2 ½ Mes to a willow pt. on the S. S. [11]
  10 ½  

This day the Chronometer stoped again just after being wound up; I know not the cause, but fear it procedes from some defect which it is not in my power to remedy.—


(1) About the center of this Sand Island the river of white Stone (as Called by Mr. Evins Kenvill R.[)] [14] falls in on the Stard. Side    it appear to be about 25 or 30 yards Wide; at the mouth of this river 10 Indians had latterly cross Supposed to be Soues, the part of a band which are at war with the Mahars, This Soues nation are divided into bands Som 100 to 500 men in a band    at peace with eath other, ther Interest & prejudices different, for instance one band the most envetterate enimy of the mahars, all the other Bands in the greatest harmony with that nation and even go with thim to War, those Soues, follow the Buffalow, & Kill them on foot, they pack their Dogs, which carry their Bedn. [burden?]


Friday 24th    Some Small Showers of rain the latter part of last night.    rainy morning.    we Set off about Sunrise, proceeded on past a high Bottom of wood land large Cottonwood, Elms &.C. Some Small Sized timber on N. S: near the river.—    Smooth praries back from the River.    we halted    took Breakfast at high Ragged Bluffs on S. S.    a nomber of round knobs on Sd. Bluffs covered with verry Short Grass. Some ceeder on the edge of the Bluff    along under those Bluffs we found a great quantity of red berries [15] which grows on a handsome bush about as high as I could reach.    these Berries are a little Sour (& are called Rabbit berries) (English) But pleasant to the taste    we found also a burning bank or Bluff which was verry high & had fire in it.    it had a Sulpheras Smell, we found in it a great quantity of asney & a great quantity of different kinds of mineral Substance, &.c. Capt. Clark went out hunting on S. S.    we proceeded on    passed the upper end of the Butiful Bottom prarie.    there the high butiful prarie commenced which is extensive & Smooth. Back about 2 miles we are informed that their is a verry high hill called The Hills of the little 〈Christian〉 Devils by the natives & they amagan that it is inhabited by little people with Big heads & they are afraid to go up to them for fear they will shoot them with their Bows & arrows, we passed the mouth of White Stone River, which came in above the high prarie    their is large points of land covered with Timber on boath sides of the river Such as cottenwood ash Elm &.C—. Capt. Clark joined us towards evening    had killed 2 Buck Elk & 1 faun. Capt. Clark & Capt. Lewis & 10 more of the party in order to fetch the meat in, they returned with the meat, which was jurked    at the Same time we had a fine Shower of Rain which lasted abt. half an hour, at which place we Camped on South Side.    the Musquetoes Troublesome.


Friday 24th.    This morning was cloudy with some rain. Captain Clarke went by land. We passed cedar [16] bluffs on the north side, a part of which were burning; and there are here to be found mineral substances of various kinds. There is also a quantity of small red berries, the Indian name for which in English means rabbit berries. They are handsome small berries and grow upon bushes about 10 feet high. Captain Clarke came to us and had killed two elk and a fawn, we passed a creek called White-stone creek landed and remained here all night to jirk our meat.


Friday 24th    Some Small Showers of rain last night    we Set off about Sun rise.    we passed rugged Bluffs on the S. S. where we found Some red berreys which they call Rabbit berrys.    we passed a handsom prarie on N. S.    in this prarie we are informed that their is a high hill which they call the hill of little Devills.    we passed the mouth of a large Creek on N. S. called white Stone River which is abt. 50 yards wide & extends a Great distance in to the Countrey, we Camped on the S. S. of the Missouri.—

Friday August 24th    We had some showers of Rain during the night.    we set off about sun rise and passed a ragged bluff laying on the South side of the River, where we found some Berries, which is called Rabbit berries.—    We passed a handsome Priari, laying on the North side of the River, not far from the Priari, is a high hill, which is called little Devil, we likewise passed a large Creek, lying on the North side call'd white stone River, which is 50 Yards wide at its mouth, and runs a great distance in the Country.    in the evening we encamped on the South side of the Mesouri River,

1. As late as 1877, some scientists believed that the bluff was a true volcano caused to erupt when the flooding Missouri River poured water onto molten rock in subterranean caverns. By 1900, investigations proved that the eruptions were due to the heat of oxidation of damp pyritiferous and carbonaceous Carlile shale on fresh exposures provided by the rapid erosion of the river bluffs. Threet; Barbour, 231–32. This bluff was later called the "Ionia volcano," after the now defunct town of Ionia, Dixon County, Nebraska. Coues (HLC), 1:84 n. 52; Nebraska Guide, 395; Atlas map 17; MRC map 29; MRR map 80. (back)
2. The narrative for August 24 continues on the next sheet of the Field Notes (document 44), indicated by an elaborate asterisk. Biddle's note at the top of document 44 reads "Aug. 25th," but in fact this side of the sheet continues the August 24 entry. The August 25 entry begins on the reverse. The number ten, circled, also appears at the top of the page and may be keyed to a second August 25 entry on document 47 which has a similar circled ten. The circled ten should probably be on the reverse on document 44, which has the first August 25 entry. (back)
3. The buffaloberry; see August 21, 1804. The damson plum mentioned for comparison is Prunus insititia L. Barkley, 203; Fernald, 876. (back)
4. The first of several indications that York, in spite of his status as a slave, carried a gun. (back)
5. The entry of August 24, 1804, in the Field Notes continues on document 45; the circled number two and an asterisk are used as references from one sheet to the next. The remaining portion is in Lewis's handwriting. (back)
6. The supernatural associations linger in the present name of Spirit Mound, in Clay County, South Dakota, about eight miles north of Vermillion. Coues (HLC), 1:86 n. 1; Appleman (LC), 353; South Dakota Guide, 405; Atlas map 17; MRR map 82-L. (back)
7. These courses and distances appear to be in Lewis's hand and are at the end of document 43. There are discrepancies between them and the courses and distances in the Codex B entry. (back)
8. This line probably does not belong here. (back)
9. These figures follow and courses and distances in the lower right corner or document 43:
902 ¾
  12 ¼
915 (back)
10. The present Vermillion River, reaching the Missouri in Clay County, southeast of the town of Vermillion. The mouth has probably shifted farther down the Missouri since 1804. The present name presumably alludes to a reddish color in the water and the banks; Indians obtained both red and white earth paints from the river valley, the latter perhaps accounting for Clark's calling it "White Stone River." Atlas map 17; Nicollet (MMR), 398–99; Warren map 10; Fletcher & La Flesche, 92; MRC map 29; MRR map 80. (back)
11. Atlas map 17 seems to place this camp on the larboard side of the Missouri. Because of subsequent shifting of the river, the site is probably in Clay County, south and a little west of the town of Vermillion. MRC map 29; MRR map 80. (back)
12. Lewis's observation from Codex O. (back)
13. This undated entry forms one side of document 45 of the Field Notes. It deals with matters that place it close to this date. The page has a large x across it. (back)
14. See Evan's map 1 (Atlas map 7) and Introduction to Atlas. Besides White stone, it has also been called the Washisha, the White Earth, the Smoky Earth, and the Redstone (by Clark on the return trip). It is now the Vermillion. (back)
15. Probably the buffaloberry, Shepherdia argentea (Pursh) Nutt., mentioned also by Clark this day, but not with Ordway's colloquial name. (back)
16. Probably eastern red cedar, Juniperus virginiana L. (back)