September 4, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

September 4, 1804


4th of September Tuesday 1804.    a verry Cold wind from South E. by S.    we Set out early proceeded on to the mouth of a Small Creek in the bend to the L. S. Called 〈Sand bar〉 white line [lime]    at 1½ miles furthr passed the mouth of a R au platte or White paint Cr [1] about 25 yd. on Same Side Called, I walked on the top of the hill forming a Cliff Covd. with red Ceeder [2]    an extensive view from this hill, at 3 Miles from the Creek the high land jut the river forming a Bluff of Bluish Clay [3]    Continu 1½ miles    Came to at the mouth of Qui courre (rapid) [4]    this river Comes roleing its Sands whuch (is corse) into the Missouris from the S W by W.    this river is 152 yards across the water and not exeeding 4 feet Deep    it does not rise high when it Does it Spreds over a large Surface, and is not navagable    it has a Great many Small Islands & Sand bars    I went up this river 3 miles to the Spot the Panis [5] once had a large Village on the upper Side in a butifull extensive Plain riseing gradially from the river    I fel into a Buffalow road    joined the boat late at night at the Pania Island. [6]

Course Distance and refferences the 4th of September 1804— [7]
S. 5 W 1 ½ miles to the Mouth of a Creek on the L. S.    th below a
Seede[r] Clift
S. 35 W 1 ½ mes. to the mo: of a Creek on L. S. passing under a red
Ceede[r] 〈Bluff〉 Clift
West 3 mes. to the upr. pt. of a wood on the L. S. opsd. a Bluff of
bluwish Clay, several Sand bars L S
N. 72 W 1 ¼ me. to a mound on the L. Side    bluff on the S. S.    Several
Sand bars in the river
West    ¾ me. to the mo: of river Que courre on the L. S.    (3) hills
leave the river S S.

a verry Cold wind from the S. S. E, we Set out early and proceeded on the mouth of a Small Creek in a bend to the L. S. Called White lime, at 1½ miles higher up passed a large Creek on the L. S. Called 〈R. au platte〉 or white paint    between those two Creeks (the latter of which is abt. 30 yds. wide) we passed under a Bluff of 〈white〉 red Ceeder, at 4 mes. ½ passed the mouth of the River Que Courre (rapid R[)] on the L. S. and Came to a Short distance above, this River is 152 yards wide at the mouth & 4 feet Deep Throwing out Sands like the Platt (only Corser) forming bars in its mouth, I went up this river three miles to a butifull Plain on the upper Side where the Panias once had a Village    this river widens above its mouth and is devided by Sand and Islands, the Current verry rapid, not navagable for even Canoos without Great dificulty owing to its Sands; the colour like that of the Plat is light    the heads of this river is 〈not known,〉 [NB: in the Black mountins [8] & waters a hilly country & indifferent soil]    it Coms into the Missourie from the S. W. by West, and I am told that is Genl. Course Some distance up is parrelel with the Missourie

Course Dists & refrs: the 4th of Septr.
S. 5° W. 1 ½ mes. to the mo. of a Creek on the L. S. below a Ceeder Clift
S. 35° 1 ½ mes. to the mo. of White Paint River on the L. S. Passing
under a Ceeder Clift
West 3 mes. to the upper pt. of wood on the L. S. opsd. a Bluff of
bluish Clay, a Sd. bar L. S.
N. 72° W 1 ¼ mes. to a Mound on the L. S. a Bluff on the S. S.    several
Sand bars in the river—
West    ¾ mes. to the mouth of the river Que Courre on the L. S.    the
hills leave the river on the S. S.    river Crouded with Sand
bars. & wind hard.

after this I will put the Course Distance & reffurencees of each day first and remks. after—


Tuesday 4th Sept. 1804. Cold wind from S. W.    we Set off eairly, proceeded on    passed a Small Creek [9] on S. S. where we took breakfast    found some plumbs & hack burrys [10] &.C.    passed a high yallow red ceeder Clift on the S. S. & above the clift we passed the mo of a creek called white paint C.    the wind Shifted to the South & blew verry hard    we hoisted Sail    ran verry fast a Short time. Broke our mast, we [the] Sand flew from the Sand bars verry thick    we landed at 12 o.C. to dine at a large bottom prarie on S. S. opposite to a yallow & blew Clift N. S.    we passed the Mouth of the Big Rapid River [11] & ponkias village on S. S.    the water Shoots in to the Missiouri verry Swift, & has thrown the Sand out, which makes a Sand bar & Sholes from the mouth a considerable distance    we Saw 2 Deer, & large flocks of geese up the mo of this river; we proceeded on    passt a handsom Bottom covered with different kinds of Timber Such as red Ceder, honey locas, oak arrowwood Elm, Coffee nut &.C.    we Saw an Indian raft where they had crossed not long before; Drewyer killed one Turkey & one duck; we Camped on the South Side in a Ceeder Bottom back of which are Steep Clifts covered with ceeder. N. B. a Smoke was made to find where Shannon had passed, but no tracks found


Tuesday 4th.    We proceeded early on our voyage, passed a creek on the south side about 30 yards wide, called Paint creek [12] and high yellow bluffs on the same side. About a mile and an half further, we passed another creek on the same side 50 yards wide, called White-paint creek [13] and yellow bluffs on the north side. About four miles higher up, we passed a river, on the south side, 152 yards wide, called Rapid-water river: up this river the Poncas nation of Indians lived not long since. We encamped on the south side among some cedar trees.


Tuesday 4th Sept.    Set off eairly.    proceded on    found Some plumbs.    passd. white panit Creek on the S. S.    we Sailed fast, we passed the Mouth of Big Rapid River on S. S.    Saw an Indian raft at a Cdeeder Bottom abo. the Mo. of Rapid River.    G. Drewyer killed a Turky    we looked for tracks of Shannon but could not See whether he had passd or not.

Tuesday September 4th    We set off early this morning and proceeded on, & found some plumbs, we passed a Creek called plumb creek, lying on the South side of the River, the wind blowing fresh, we sett all our Sails & proceed on Sailing fast, We passed the Mouth of the big Rapid River, lying on the South side; we passed by an Indian Raft near a bottom, above the Mouth of rapid River; we sent to see if the Tracts of one of our Man named Shannon, who had been missing from us some days, but they could discover no signs of his having passed that way.—

We continued on till evening and encamped on the South side of the River—

1. Probably later Lost and Bazile creeks, in Knox County, Nebraska. Evans's map 1 (Atlas map 7) shows both creeks and names the second "grand R au pla." Below that designation and near the first creek someone, perhaps Clark, has added these words: " Pettite R au platte or plate" and "R white white lime or Paint." The first appears without a name on Atlas map 18, while the second is named on Atlas map 19. MRC map 31. It was apparently Biddle who crossed out " R. au Platte " in the second entry in red. (back)
2. Juniperus virginiana L., red cedar. Barkley, 13. The observation of red cedars occurring on a steep cliff above the river is coincidental to the prairie fires which destoyed them at lower levels and restricted them to areas that could not be reached by the fires. (back)
3. Either the upper part of the Niobrara Formation, which sometimes weathers to a bluish gray, or the lower part of the Pierre Shale, which grades into the Niobrara and is generally nearly black. The Pierre is the youngest Cretaceous unit in the region, and is a dark gray to black marine shale which makes up the bedrock on the valley walls of the Missouri River. (back)
4. The Niobrara River, which runs through northern Nebraska and reaches the Missouri in Knox County. The French name, L'Eau qui Court , can be translated "the river that rushes." The Omaha name was níubthatha, "wide river." Link, 78–79; Fletcher & La Flesche, 1:93; Atlas map 19; MRC map 32. 5. (back)
5. Clark here seems to confuse the Pawnees with the Poncas, although his spelling may be to blame. This Ponca village would be in Knox County. See below, September 5, 1804. (back)
6. Just above the mouth of the Niobrara, in Knox County, in or near present Niobrara State Park. Atlas map 19; MRC map 32. (back)
7. Next to the total for this day's distance is the course "S 35 W." (back)
8. Here again, in a notation added later, is the captains' use of the term Black Mountains (or hills) for outlying ranges of the Rockies. In fact, the Niobrara rises in the high plains in Niobrara County, in east-central Wyoming. Allen, 240, 240, n. 18; Wyoming Guide, 223; Brown, 101. (back)
9. The two creeks on the same side, this one and "white paint" creek, are probably Lost and Bazile creeks, Knox County, Nebraska. See the discussion of their identification at Clark's entry for this day. (back)
10. Hackberry, Celtis occidentalis L., not mentioned by Clark. (back)
11. Niobrara River, Knox County, with a Ponca village nearby; see Clark's entry for September 5. (back)
12. Lost Creek, Knox County, Nebraska; see Clark's entry for this day. (back)