September 22, 1804
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September 22, 1804


a thick fog this morning untill 7 oClock which detained us, Saw Some old tracks of the Indians on the S. S.    proceeded on—    one French man with a abscess on his thigh which pains him verry much for 10 or 12 Days    a butifull Plain on both Sides    low high land under which there is a number of lage Stone, we See great numbers of Buffalow feeding

S. 72° W.   5 miles to a pt. on the S. S. opsd. a High Bluff    passed un-
der a Bluff L. S.    altitude at opsd. the Lower pt of 1st of
the Isd. 3 Sisters with Sexton 92° 50' 0"    Octt. 89° 47'
0"—(1)    The Lattitude produced from those obseva-
tions is 44° 11' 33" 4/10 North.
West   1 mile on the 〈L〉 S. S. a bottom Commences on the L. at
the end of the course
N. 38 W.   4 ½ miles to a point of timber on the S. S. opposit Ceeder Is-
land on which Louselle Wintered 1803    passed a Small
Island at one & ½ miles, and a large Island 3 miles long
above Called the 3 Sisters situated near the L. S.    oppo-
sit this Island a large Creek Coms in on the L. S.
N. 30° W. [1]   3 Miles to a pt. on the S. S.    passed Ceeder Island in the
Middle of the river nearly in the form of a Dimond—
(2)—the main Current on the L. Side    Louisells 〈Hous〉
Fort of ceder 70 foot squar on the L. S. of it    on the South
Side of about the middle a number of Indian Camps, all
the Cotton wood Cut down to feed their horses.
N. 22 E   2 ½ mes. to the lower point of a timber on the S. S. below
Cabid Islan (or Goat Isd). I walked out on the L. Side this
evening & Killed a Deer, Camped late, great number of
large Stone Some distance out from the Shore    Camped
on the S. S. at the end of this Course—    The hunter
Came in, Complain of their mockersons being burnt out
by the Salts on the hills    they killed only 1 Deer—

A continuation of notes taken assending the Missourie in 1804—by W. Clark [2]

Satturday the 22nd of September 1804—

A Thick fog this morning detained us untill 7 oClock, The plains on both Sides of the River is butifull and assends gradually from the river; noumerous herds of Buffalow to be Seen in every derections, (1) Took the altitude of the Sun & found the Lattitude to be 44° 11' 33" N—    (2) passed a Small Island on the L. S. and one on the S. S. imediately above, & about 3 m: long, on the L. S. opposit this Island a Creek of about 15 yds wide mouthes, Called the Creek of the 3 Sisters [3]    (3) passed Cedar Island 1½ M. long & 1 M. wide Situated a little above the last and nearest the S. S.—near the upper part of this Island on its S. Side a Tradeing fort is Situated built of Cedar—by a Mr. Louiselle of St Louis, for the purpose of Tradeing with the Teton Bands of Soues (or "Sieux") [4]    about this Fort I saw numbers of Indians Temporary Lodges, & horse Stables, all of them round and to a point at top, [5] I observed also numbers of Cotton Trees fallen for the purpose of feeding their horses on the Bark of the limbs of those trees which is Said to be excellent food for the horses—    we came too on the S. S. below a Small Island called Goat Island, [6] passed a no: of large round Stones, Som distance in the river as also in the Sides of the hills,—    I walked on the Shore this evening and Killed a verry large Deer—    our hunters Killed 2 Deer & a Beaver, they Complain of the Mineral quallities of the high land distroying their mockersons—. [7]

Course Distance & rufferences 22d Sept
S. 72° W.   5 miles to a pt on the S. S—    passing under a high Bluff
on the L. S (1)
West   1 mile on the S. S.—    〈to the〉 Commencement of a bottom
on the L. S.
N. 38° W.   4 ½ miles to a pt. of timber on the S. S. opsd. Cedar Isd.
passed 2 Isds & a Creek opsd. L. S. (2)
N. 30° W.   3 miles to a pt. on the S. S—    passed Cedar Island & Loui-
sells Fort—    (3)
N 22° E.   2 ½ miles to Some timber on the L. S. opposite a Small Island
call Goat Isd.
Course Distance & reffuriences
S. 72° W.   5 miles to a point on the S. S. Passing under a high bluff on
the L. Side (1)
West   1 mile on the S. S.    a bottom Commenceing on the L. S. at
the end of this Course
N. 38° W.   4 ½ miles to a pt. of timber on the S. S. opposit the Lower pt.
of Ceder Island    passed two Islands on the L. S. one ½ a
mile & the other 3 miles long called the 3 Sisters    opsd. a
large Creek com in (2)
N. 30° W.   3 miles to a pt. on S. S.    passed Ceeder Island Situated
nearest the S. S. a trading house (3)
N. 22° E   2 ½ miles to a timber opposit the Lower L S pt. of a Small Is-
land Called Goat Island (4)

22nd of September Satturday 1804

a thick fog this morning detained us untill 7 oClock    passed a butifull inclined Prarie on both Sides in which we See great numbers of Buffalow feeding—    (1) took the Meridean altitude of the Suns upper Leimb. 92° 50' 00" the SexSecnt the Latd. produced from this Obsivation is 44° 11' 33" 3/10 North—

(2) passed a Small Island on the L. S.    imediately above passed a Island Situated nearest the L. S. abt. 3 miles long, behind this Isd. on the L. S. a Creek Comes in about 15 yards wide, this Creek and Islands are Called the 3 Sisters    a butifull Plain on both Sides of the river—

(3) passed a Island Situated nearest the S. S. imedeately above the last Called Ceder Island    this Island is about 1½ miles long & nearly as wide Covered with Ceder, on the South Side of this Island Mr. Louiselle a trader from St. Louis built a fort of Ceder & a good house to trate with the Seaux & wintered last winter; about this fort I observed a number of Indian Camps in a Conicel form,—    they fed their horses on Cotton limbs as appears.    here our hunters joined us havening killed 2 Deer & a Beaver, they Complain much of the Mineral Substances in the barren hills over which they passed distroying their mockersons.

(4) we proceeded on and Camped late on the 〈L〉 S. Side below a Small Island in the bend S. S. Called Goat Island. The large Stones which lay on the Sides of the banks in Several places lay Some distance in the river, under the water and is dangerous &.

I walked out this evening and killed a fine Deer, the musquiters is verry troublesom in the bottoms


On the Stard. shore, about one mile below the lower Island of the three sisters.

Observed meridian Altd. of ☉'s U. L. with Sextant by the fore observation 92° 50' "

Latitude deduced from this observation N 44° 11' 33.4"


Saturday 22nd Sept. 1804.    a foggy morning.    we Set out at Sun rise.    we passed Some Timber on S. S.    high handsome plains on N. S.    (See large gangs of Buffalow on N. S)    about 3 OClock we passed a handsom Ceeder Island on N. S. (one of the 3 Sisters) where Mr. Louisells built a fort and Tradeing house in the winter 1803.    it was all built of Ceeder and picketed in with ceeder about 65 or 70 feet Square with a Sentery Box in 2 angles corners the pickets is 13½ feet high above Ground.    the Tradeing house is 45½ by 32½ feet.    divided into four equal apartments one for Merchantise one for a common hall.    one for peltery &C.    2 peltery presses.    this Tradeing house is built all of ceeder high and covered with hughn guttered ceeder, in the winter they cover them over with Buffaloe hides which answer a Good purpose.    the chimneys built with Stone Clay & wood—    their is Indian camps for a large distance about this place where the Souix Indians came to Trade with Mr Louisell, opposite to this Island on S. S. G. Drewyer & Shields joined us    had killed 2 Deer & one white woolf—    Colter went [out] on with the horse—    we passed a creek & islands of the 3 Sisters.    proceded on    passd. an Indian camp on S. S. where we found Some of their ceeder dog poles, they answer us for Setting poles.    we are informed that the Indians tie theirs dogs to these poles and they have to dragg them from one camp to another loaded with their Baggage &.C— [9]    Captain Clark walked a Short time on Shore on S. S. & killed a large Doe Deer.    we Camped on N. S. at the mouth of a Small Creek where he joined us—


Saturday 22nd.    We embarked early in a foggy morning, saw some timber on the south side and high plains on the north. About 3 o'clock we passed cedar island, one of the Three-Sisters, where Mr. Lucelle had built a fort of cedar. The space picketed in is about 65 or 70 feet square, with centry boxes in two of the angles. The pickets are 13½ feet above ground. In this square he built a house 45½ by 32½ feet, and divided it into four equal parts, one for goods, one to trade in, one to be used as a common hall and the other for a family house. Here the two men [10] came to us with the horse. They had killed a white wolf and some deer. We proceeded on, passed a creek, and islands of the three sisters; [11] and an old Indian camp, where we found some of their dog-poles, which answer for setting poles. The reason they are called dog-poles, is because the Indians fasten their dogs to them, and make them draw them from one camp to another loaded with skins and other articles. [12] We encamped on the north side.


Saturday 22nd Sept.    Set off eairly    a foggy morning.    passed Some timber on S. S. high plains on N. S.    about 3 oC we passed a ceeder Isld. one of the 3 Sister where Mr. Louesell had built a fort of ceeder.    it is pickeded in 65 or 70 feet Square a Sentery box at the 2 angles corners    the pickets are 13½ feet above Ground.    in this Square he built a house 45½ by 32½ feet divided into 4 equal parts, one for a common hall one to trade in and one for a famaly house.    opposite this Drewyer & Shields came to us with the horse.    they had killed Several deer and one white wolf.    passed a creek & Isl. of the 3 Sisters    proceeded on    passed an old Indian Camp where we found Some of their dog poles, they answer us for Setting poles.    the reason that they are called dog poles is that they tye them to their dogs & they hall their baggage &c. from one Camp to another.    we Camped on the N. S.

Saturday Septemr 22nd    This morning we sett out early, having some fog, about 8 oClock A. M. the fog cleared away, and we passed by some Timbered land, lying on the south side, and high plains lying on the North side of the River; about 3 o'Clock P. M. we passed an Island, called Cedar Island, which is one of the Islands call'd the Sisters    On this Island 〈is〉 stood a Fort, built by a Monsieur Louselle, This Fort 〈is〉 was picketted    The pickets being of red Cedar 13½ feet high, and 〈is〉 was built in the form of a square; the length of each side being 70 feet, and had a Centry Box at the two Angles corners, In the Center of this square stood a house, 45½ by 22½ feet, which was divided equally, into four appartments.    The one appartment being occupied as a common Hall, one as a Store for trading with the Indians, one as a lodging Room, and the other for Cooking in &ca. by Monsieur Louselle at the time he resided there.—    The situation of this Fort 〈is〉 was a handsome one it commanding a 〈handsome〉 most delightful View of the River & the land lying on both sides of it for a considerable distance and had some beautiful Groves of Cedar, and other Trees on it    The Island is 1½ Miles in length and the soil very rich.—    The two Hunters that were out joined us here, having the horse with them.—    the Horse was loaded with several carcases deer they had killed 〈and the White〉 and a White Wolf Skin the wolf 〈skin also which〉 one of them Shot.—    We proceeded on, and passed a Creek, and another of the Sister Islands; and also passed an Indian camp where some, of 〈the〉 Our Men landed, they found some poles, which the Indians call dog poles, These poles the Indians tie to their dogs & they hawl their baggage on them, from one Camp to another as they Remove.—    We brought too, and took the Men & poles on board, (they answering us for setting poles for the boat).—and proceeded on, and in the Evening encamped on the North side of the River on its bank

1. To the side of this course Clark has written: "Louisells Fort is 23 yards squa    each room is 20 feet Square and Sub Divided" and "Thermometer 〈112〉 abv 0." (back)
2. This September 22 entry is on document 58 of the Field Notes, the previous one being on document 56. Clark evidently began a second set of field notes with the intention of sending the previous ones back downriver with dispatches. See below, September 23, 1804, n. 3. Biddle's note "to 26" beside the entry date indicates that the entries on the sheet go to September 26. (back)
3. Clark's Three Sisters Creek is later Cedar Creek, in Lyman County, South Dakota. Clark's name may be from Evans's map 2 (Atlas map 8). The island is the later "Dorion Isl. No. 1," or Cedar Creek Island. Mattison (BB), 261; Atlas map 22; MRC map 39; MRY maps 60, 62. (back)
4. For a sketch of Régis Loisel, see above, May 25, 1804. He built Fort aux Cedres about 1800, or perhaps two years later, to trade with the Sioux. Sergeants Ordway and Gass made a record of its dimensions and layout. According to Ordway it was a cedar stockade, 65 to 70 feet square, with a "Sentery Box" at each of two opposite corners, the wall being 13½ feet high. Inside was a four-room cabin 45½ by 32½ feet. There were two presses for compacting pelts for shipment. Cedar Island was later known as Dorion Island No. 2, or Dores Island. The exact location of Loisel's fort was never determined and the island is now submerged by the Big Bend Reservoir. Mattison (BB), 261–63; Smith (BBHS), 47–54; Atlas map 22; MRC map 39; MRY map 62. (back)
5. Clark may have seen the frameworks of tipis, "temporary" in the sense that they were portable, although the nomadic Sioux lived in them all the time. However, he may have been looking at the remains of some sort of brush shelter over which hides or blankets could be thrown. (back)
6. There has been some confusion about this campsite, but Atlas map 22 clearly indicates that it was in Hughes County, South Dakota, nearly opposite the mouth of Loiselle Creek (named for Régis Loisel). Mattison (BB), 263. Goat Island appears to be a nameless sand bar on MRC map 39. Goat Island is "Cabri" (or some other spelling) on Evans's map 2 (Atlas map 8) and in some of Clark's references here. MRY map 63. (back)
7. Sulphates in the weathered shale would decompose the leather more rapidly than usual. It also makes some of the land too acid to support vegetation. (back)
8. Lewis's observation from Codex O. (back)
9. A dog travois, used extensively by Plains Indians before the introduction of the horse. (back)
11. The "Three Sisters" are presumably the two Dorion Islands and a third later joined to the shore, all in Lyman County, and all now inundated by Big Bend Reservoir. (back)
12. A dog travois, used by many plains tribes before the introduction of the horse. McKeehan's note: "Mr. Mackenzie speaking of the Knisteneaux, a numerous nation of Indians spread over a vast extent of country extending south westerly from the coast of Labrador, north of the St. Laurence and its Lakes and the Lake Winnipic, east of Elk river, south of the Lake of the Hills, and west, south and east of James's Bay and the southern part of Hudson's Bay, says, 'In the winter when the waters are frozen, they make their journies, which are never of any great length, with sledges drawn by dogs.' General History of the Fur Trade." (back)