September 5, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

September 5, 1804


5th September 1804 Wednesday, Set out early    the wind blew hard from the South as it has for Some Days past, we Set up a jury mast & Sailed, I saw a large gangue of Turkeys, also Grous Seen [1] Passed a large Island of about 3 miles long in the Middle of the river    opposit the head of this Island the Poncarre River [2] Coms in to the Missourei on the L. S.—    the S. S is a Clift under which great numbers of Springs run out of mineral water, Saw Several wild goats on the Clift & Deer with black tales,— [3] Sent Shields & Gibson to the Poncas Towns, [4] which is Situated on the Ponca river on the lower side about two miles from its mouth in an open butifull Plain, at this time this nation is out hunting the biffalow    they raise no corn or Beens, Gibson killed a Buffalow in the Town, The two men which has been absent several Days is [5] ahead, we came to on the upper pt. of a large Island at 3 oclock to make a mast [6] Sent out Some hunters on the Island (which I call no preserve Island, at this place we used the last of our Preservs)    They killed 3 bucks, & two Elk which we jurked—

Course Distance & reffurence the 5th of September
N: 85° W   2 mes. to a willow pt. S. S. 〈under a bluff opsd. 〉 a 〈Bluff〉
Clift on the L. S. opsd.
N. 35° W.   3 mes. to a pt. on the Clift to S. S    a large Island Call Pania
in the middle opsd.
N. 58 W   3 ½ me. to a 〈pt on the Clift〉 creek on the S. S [7] passed the
head of the [island] at 1 mile & Sand bars making from it
the mouth of Ponia river opposit
West   3 ½ mes. to the lower pt. of a large Island
N. 70 W.   1 ¾ mile on the right of the Isd. to the head.    pass a Willow
Isd. & Sand bar
  13 ¾  
Course Dists. & Refrs. Septr. 5th
N. 85° W   2 mes. to a willow pt. on the S. S.    a Bluff opsd.
N. 35° W.   3 mes. to a high part of a Bluff on the S. S.    a large lsld.
Called pania Isd. in middle of the river
N. 58° W.   3 ½ to a Creek on the S. S.    psd. the Isd. at 1 me. a Sand bar
makeing from it    Poncasar Rive opposit on the L. S. (1) 30 yds.
West   3 ½ mes. to the lower point of a large Island near the L. Side
N. 70° W.   1 ¾ mes. to the right Side of the Sd. Island to the head,
passed a willow Isd. & a Sand bar
  13 ¾  

〈August〉 Septmber 5th Wednesday 1804

Set out early    the winds blew hard from the South, Goats turkeys Seen to day, passed a large Island (1)    opsd. this Island near the head the Poncasar River Coms into the Missourie from the West    this river is about 30 yards wide.    dispatched two men to the Poncaries Village Situated in a handsom Plain on the lower Side of this Creek about two miles from the Missourie    (the Poncasars nation is Small and at this time out in the praries hunting the Buffalow[)], one of the men Sent to the Village Killed a Buffalow in the town, the other, a large Buck near it, Some Sign of the two men who is a head.    〈Shan〉 [8]

above the Island on the S. S We passed under a Bluff of Blue earth, under which Seveal Mineral Springs broke out of the water of which had a taste like Salts, [9] we Came too on the upper point of a large Island (which I call No preserves Island)    here we made a Ceeder Mast, our hunters brought in three bucks, and two elks this evening which we had jurked

One of the hunter Shields, informed that he Saw Several black tailed Deer, near the Poncaser Village—


saw some wild goats or antelopes on the hill above the Glauber Salts Springs    they ran off    we could not discover them sufficiently distinctly to discribe even their colour    their track is as large as a deer reather broader & more blont at the point—

This day one of our hunters brought us a Serpent beautifully variagated with small black spotts of a romboydal form on a light yellow white ground    the black pedominates most on the back the whiteis yellow on the sides, and it is nearly white on the belly with a few party couloured scuta on which the black shews but imperfectly and the colouring matter seems to be underneath the Scuta—    it is not poisonous    it hisses remarkably loud; it has 221 Scuta on the belly and 51 on the tale, the eyes are of a dark black colour    the tale terminates in a sharp point like the substance of a cock's spur—    Length 4 Ft. 6 I.


Wednesday 5th Sept. 1804.    we took a niew mast on board, Set off eairly.    the wind Blew hard from the South    we passed a large Island, Reuben Fields Jo Fields & Drewyer went on the Isd. hunting; we Sailed on, halted at ½ past 7 took breakfast at a Small creek called Goat Creek [11] N. S.    the Beaver had made a curious dam across near the mouth which made considerable of a pond above, found plumbs; 2 men Sent across on the S. S. to hunt on Shore    N. B. at ponca River which we passed for the 2 men with the horses &.C.    passed Some handsome Mineral Springs on N. S. under a clift.    the 2 men who crossed to hunt the horses come to the Boat in a Short time at a fine Bottom prarie had killed a Deer, we Saw Several Goats [12] on the Side hill on N. S.    we proceeded on till 4 oClock & Camped on an Island.    made a niew ceeder mast.    the hunters out hunting returned to the Boat & R. Fields killed a fat Buck. Dreuwyer killed an Elk & Newman killed a faun Elk & a faun Deer.—    tracks of the horses Seen where the 2 men passd. &.C.—


Wednesday 5th.    We set sail early this morning with a fair wind, and had a clear day. We passed a long island covered with timber, and three men [13] went to hunt on it. On the north side are yellow bluffs, out of which issue several beautiful springs. Opposite the head of the island, on the south side, flows in a river, called Pania river [14] and about three miles higher up, on the north side, a creek, called Goat creek. On the hills above this creek we saw some goats or antelopes, which the French call cabres. [15] About 4 we encamped on an island, where we made and put in a new mast. The three men, who went to hunt on the long island killed a deer and an elk; and two more went out from camp and killed another deer and an elk, both young.


Wednesday 5th Sept.    we took a ceed[er] mast on board    Some hunters out    we Sailed on    passed Goat creek on N. S. where the Beaver had made a damm across the mouth of it.    we passed handsome Minneral Springs on the N. S.    the hunters killed 2 Elk & a Deer.

Wednesday Septemr 5th    This morning we sent out our Hunters, and then set sail, we passed by a Creek called Goat Creek, lying on the North side of the River, where the Beaver, had made a Dam, across the mouth of it.    We passed a handsome Mineral spring, lying on the North side of the River, In the Evening our hunters returned, having kill'd 2 Elk and one Deer, which they brought to us, We encamped on the North side of the River on its bank.—

1. Perhaps the sharp-tailed grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus [AOU, 308]. See September 12, 1804. (back)
2. Ponca Creek, in Knox County, Nebraska. Atlas map 19; MRC map 32. (back)
3. The first notice in the journals of the mule deer, Odocoileus hemionus, described more fully on September 17, 1804, by Clark and on May 10, 1805, by Lewis. Burroughs, 128–33. (back)
4. The Poncas were a Siouan-speaking tribe, whose language was nearly identical to the Omahas. They were horticulturists living in earth-lodge villages but made seasonal tribal hunting trips far out onto the plains; because of their absence on such a trip they did not meet Lewis and Clark. The village was on Ponca Creek, in Knox County, probably not far from the present village of Verdel. It is now known as Ponca Fort and was occupied in the late eighteenth century and abandoned about 1800. Atlas map 19; Hodge, 2:278–79; Wood (TL); Wood (NPF). (back)
5. Colter and Shannon, the former in pursuit of the latter. These last lines are split about here to go around the course and distance table; it is brought together for ease of reading. (back)
6. The camp on the island lay between southeastern Charles Mix County, South Dakota, and northwestern Knox County, Nebraska. The island, nameless on Atlas map 19, is labeled "Isle des" on Nicollet with no further designation. Atlas map 19; Nicollet (MMR), 405; MRC map 32. (back)
7. Goat Creek on Atlas map 19; present Chouteau Creek, the boundary between Bon Homme and Charles Mix counties, South Dakota. MRC map 32. (back)
8. Clark evidently started to write "Shannon and Colter" and changed his mind. (back)
9. Either Niobrara Formation or Pierre Shale (see the geology note of September 4). The salty taste of the mineral springs was caused by sulfate minerals, mostly gypsum. Modern wells here still yield water containing excessive amounts of sulfate, selenium, and other hardness-producing constituents. The bluff may be the later Chouteau Bluffs, in Charles Mix County. Coues (HLC), 1:110 n. 22; Atlas map 19; MRC map 32. (back)
10. Lewis's natural history notes from Codex Q. The wild goats are pronghorn. In local, vernacular usage on the plains, the term goat is still applied. The snake is the bullsnake, Pituophis melanoleucus sayi, first noticed on August 5, 1804. Benson, 89. (back)
11. Chouteau Creek, the boundary between Bon Homme and Charles Mix counties, South Dakota. (back)
12. Pronghorn, Antilocapra americana. (back)
14. Like Clark, Gass uses "Pania" (Pawnee) for "Ponca." This is Ponca Creek, Knox County, Nebraska. (back)
15. Pronghorn, Antilocapra americana. (back)