April 29, 1805
53.99% Complete
Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

April 29, 1805

Set out this morning at the usual hour; the wind was moderate; I walked on shore with one man. [1]    about 8 A. M. we fell in with two brown or 〈yellow〉 [X: White] bear; both of which we wounded; one of them made his escape, the other after my firing on him pursued me seventy or eighty yards, but fortunately had been so badly wounded that he was unable to pursue so closely as to prevent my charging my gun; we again repeated our fir and killed him. [2]    it was a male not fully grown, we estimated his weight at 300 lbs, not having the means of ascertaining it precisely. The legs of this bear are somewhat longer than those of the black, as are it's tallons and tusks incomparably larger and longer.    the testicles, which in the black bear are placed pretty well back between the thyes and contained in one pouch like those of the dog and most quadrupeds, are in the yellow or brown bear placed much further forward, and are suspended in seperate pouches from two to four inches asunder; it's colour is yellowish brown, the eyes small, black, and piercing; the front of the fore legs near the feet is usually black; the fur is finer thicker and deeper than that of the black bear.    these are all the particulars in which this anamal appeared to me to differ from the black bear; it is a much more furious and formidable anamal, and will frequently pursue the hunter when wounded.    it is asstonishing to see the wounds they will bear before they can be put to death.    the Indians may well fear this anamal equiped as they generally are with their bows and arrows or indifferent fuzees, but in the hands of skillfull riflemen they are by no means as formidable or dangerous as they have been represented.    game is still very abundant we can scarcely cast our eyes in any direction without percieving deer Elk Buffaloe or Antelopes.    The quantity of wolves appear to increase in the same proportion; they generally hunt in parties of six eight or ten; they kill a great number of the Antelopes at this season; the Antelopes are yet meagre and the females are big with young; the wolves take them most generally in attempting to swim the river; in this manner my dog caught one drowned it and brought it on shore; they are but clumsey swimers, tho' on land when in good order, they are extreemly fleet and dureable.    we have frequently seen the wolves in pursuit of the Antelope in the plains; they appear to decoy a single one from a flock, and then pursue it, alturnately relieving each other untill they take it.    on joining Capt Clark he informed me that he had seen a female and faun of the big-horned anamal; that they ran for some distance with great aparent ease along the side of the river bluff where it was almost perpendicular; two of the party fired on them while in motion without effect.    we took the flesh of the bear on board and proceeded. Capt. Clark walked on shore this evening, killed a deer, and saw several of the bighorned anamals.    there is more appearance of coal today than we have yet seen, the stratas are 6 feet thick in some instances; the earth has been birnt in many places, and always appears in stratas on the same level with the stratas of coal. [3]    we came too this evening in the mouth of a little river, which falls in on the Stard. side.    This stream is about 50 yards wide from bank to bank; the water occupyes about 15 yards.    the banks are of earth only, abrupt, tho' not high—    the bed, is of mud principally. Capt Clark, who was up this streeam about three miles, informed me that it continued about the same width, that it's current was gentle and it appeared navigable for perogus    it meanders through an extensive, fertile, and beautifull vally as far as could bee seen about N. 30° W.    there was but one solitary tree to be seen on the banks of this river after it left the bottom of the Missouri.    the water of this river is clear, with a brownish yelow tint.    here the highlands receede from the Missouri, leaving the vally formed by the river from seven to eight miles wide, and reather lower then usual.—    This stream my friend Capt. C. named Marthas river [4] 〈in honor of Miss M F—〉
  Courses and distances of the 29th of April [5] Miles
N. 45° W. to a point of woodland on Lard. side opposite to a high
bluff on Stard.

West to a point of woodland Stard. opposite to a bluff   2
N. 80 W. along the Stard. point opposite a high sharp bluff   1 ½
N. 45 W to a point of woodland Lard. opposite to a bluff   2
N. 55 W. to a point of woodland Lard. opposite to a bluff   3
N. 65 W. to a bluff point on Stard. side   1 ¼
S. 30 W. to the upper point of the high timber on the Lard. side in
a bend of the river

S. 85 W. to a point of woodland on Stard. opposite a bluff   1 ¼
N. 55 W. to a commencement of a bluff on Stard. Side, passing a
sand point at 2½ miles on Lard. side
  3 ½
S. 75 W. to a point of woodland on Lard. passing the poit. of a
sandbard on Stard., the river making a deep bend to the

  1 ½
S. 75 W. to the entrance of a Marthys [6] river in a bend on Stard.
where we encamped for the night.    this stream we call


Set out this morning at the usial hour.    the wind is moderate & from the N E    had not proceeded far eer we Saw a female & her faun of the Bighorn animal on the top of a Bluff lying, the noise we made allarmed them and they came down on the Side of the bluff which had but little Slope being nearly purpindicular, I directed two men to kill those anamals, one went on the top and the other man near the water    they had two Shots at the doe while in motion without effect, Those animals run & Skiped about with great ease on this declivity & appeared to prefur it to the leavel bottom or plain. Capt Lewis & one man walkd on Shore and he killed a yellow Bear & the man with him wounded one other, after getting the flesh of the bear on bord which was not far from the palce we brackfast, we proceeded on    Saw 4 gangus of buffalow and great numbers of Antelopes in every direction    also Saw Elk and Several wolves, I walked on Shore in the evening & killed a Deer which was So meager as to be unfit for use    The hills Contain more Coal, and has a greater appearance of being burnt that below, the burnt parts appear on a parrilel with the Stratiums of Coal, we Came too in the mouth of a Little river on the S. S. which is about 50 or 60 yards from bank to bank, I was up this Stream 3 miles it continues its width and glides with a gentle Current, its water is about 15 yards wide at this time, and appears to be navagable for Canoes &c.    it meanders through a butifull & extencive vallie as far as can be Seen about N 30° W. I saw only a Single tree in this fertile vallie    The water of the River is clear of a yellowish Colour, we call this river Martheys river in honor to the Selebrated M. F

Here the high land widen from five to Eight miles and much lower than below, Saw Several of the big horn animals this evening. The Wolves distroy great numbers of the antilopes by decoying those animals Singularly out in the plains and prosueing them alternetly, those antelopes are Curious and will approach any thing which appears in motion near them &c.

  miles   Course & Distance the 29th of April
N. 45° W.   3 to a point of wood land on the Ld. Side opsd. to a high
Bluff on the Stard Side
West   2 to a wood land on the Std Side opsd. a Bluff
N. 80° W.   1 ½ on the Std point, a high Sharp bluff
N. 45° W.   2 to a point of wood land on the L. Side, a high bluff opposit
on the S. S.
N. 55° W   3 to a point of timbered land on the Lard Side    a Bluff on
the S. Side
N. 65° W   1 ¼ to a Bluff point on the Stard. Side.
S 30° W.   3 to the upper point of a high timber on the L. Side in a
lard bend of the river
S. 85° W   1 ¼ to a pt. of timber on Stard. Sd. opsd. a bluff
N 55° W   3 ½ the commencement of a bluff on S. S. passg a Sand pt. at
2½ miles on the Lard. S.
S 75° W.   1 ½ to a point of wood land on the passing a Sand bar the
river makeing a Deep bend to the South
N. 75° W.   3 to the enterence of a river on the Stard Side in a bend,
where we encamped for the night.

Monday 29th April 1805.    a clear pleasant morning.    we Set off eairly.    proceeded on round a bend    Saw a bay horse in a beautiful Smooth plain on the N. S. where we Saw a great quantity of wild Hop [7] Growing    we Suppose that this horse had Strayed from Some Savages    he appeared to be a tollarable Good horse but wild.    proceeded on a Short distance. Saw a Mountain Sheep [8] on a high Steep bluff on N. S. which had a lamb with it    one man went up the bluff to Shoot them.    they took down the bluffs and ran along whare it was nearly Steep where there was a black Stripe in the bluffs    he Shot at them but at too Great a distance.    they run untill they got round the bluffs and ran in to the prarie.    the coulour of the Sheep was white    had large crooked horns, & resembled our tame Sheep only much larger Size & horns. Capt. Lewis and one hunter who walked on Shore this morning.    came to us about ½ past 9 oClock    had killed a Whiteish bair what is called the white bair, but is not white but light coullour    we delayed untill ½ past 10 to git the meat on board.    then proceeded on    passed high bluffs & bottoms on each Side. Saw large flocks of the Cabberree or antilopes and handsom bottom on S. S. also buffaloe & elk. [9]    Saw a nomber of Mountain Sheep & lambs on a verry high bluffs as nearly like rough mountains    Some red ceeder in the hollows & gullies in the Mountains.    these Sheep are verry wild, and keep mostly in these bare hills or mountains    Some of these hills are red Earth resembling Spanish brown, but the most of them are whitish & naked. Some large Stone at the foot of the bluffs, the country back from the river is I belive is barron & no timber & Good for nothing but Game.    proceeded on    passed a large timber bottom on the S. S. Camped [10] after dark at the Mouth of a Small river which came in on the N. S. at a beautiful Smoth plain.    we named it little yallow River. [11]    Came 25 miles this day.—


Monday 29th.    We again set out early, had a clear morning and went on at a good rate. This forenoon we passed some of the highest bluffs I had ever seen; and on the top of the highest we saw some Mountain sheep, which the natives say are common about the Rocky mountains. These were the first we had seen, and we attempted to kill some of them but did not succeed. Captain Lewis, and one of the men, travelled some distance by land and killed a white bear. [12] The natives call them white, but they are more of a brown grey. They are longer than the common black bear, and have much larger feet and talons. We went 25 miles and encamped [13] on the bank of a small river, which comes in on the North side about 70 yards wide.


Monday April 29th    We set out Early as usual this morning, and proceeded on; and passed in the forenoon, some very high bluffs, being much higher, than any that we had seen, since we entered the Mesouri River.    On the Top of one of the highest of those Bluffs, we saw the Animal called the Ibex, or mountain Sheep, they were in a large Flock.—

This animal is about the size of a large Buck deer,— the Colour Grey, and has hair coarse & like that of a Goat, it ears small and its body lengthy, the horns like that of a Ram, (sheep) but four times as large.    They are very nimble, and generally are to be found on high Mountains and Bluffs, and are very Shy, and difficult to be come at.—    The Indian women that was with us, inform'd us that those animals were very common to be found On the Rocky mountains.—    Captain Lewis, and one of the hunters, went out a hunting for a short time, and killed a Bear which they brought to the Pettyaugers    This Bear was of a Yellow brownish colour, and had prodigious large Claws, and 〈are〉 is what is called the White Bear by the Natives; We continued on our Voyage, & in the Evening, we encamp'd on the bank of a River, which emtied itself into the Mesouri on the North side, which is 70 Yards wide & by our Officers called Martha's River, having come 25 Miles this day.

1. Lewis's route and the site of the encounter with the bears appear on Atlas maps 48 and 57. (back)
2. Their first actual specimen of the grizzly bear from which Lewis wrote the first scientific description of the species. He is inexplicably wrong about the testicles. See also, May 5, 1805. Cutright (LCPN), 140–42. (back)
3. The lower part of the Tongue River Member of the Fort Union Formation contains abundant lignite coal. This area is part of the Culbertson and Girard coal (lignite) fields. (back)
4. Present Big Muddy Creek, in Roosevelt County, Montana, the eastern boundary of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation (Sioux and Assiniboine). After the name are the crossed out words "in honour of Miss M F"; this would be the "Selebrated M. F" referred to by Clark, below, whose identity remains obscure. Camp was just above the creek in Roosevelt County. Atlas maps 48 and 57; MRC map 61. (back)
5. Also given on Atlas map 35, in both captains' hands. (back)
6. "Marthys" may have been a later interpolation. (back)
7. Probably the "wild hyssop" noticed earlier by Lewis, and if so, it is big sagebrush, Artemisia tridentata Nutt. (back)
8. Bighorn sheep, Ovis canadensis, also "ibex" to the party; see Lewis's entry of April 26 and note for a possible subspecies. (back)
9. Biddle again wrote his "Qu" across several lines near this point but without any indication of the purpose of his query. (back)
10. Camp was just above Big Muddy Creek, Roosevelt County, Montana. (back)
11. In fact, Clark named it "Martheys river in honor to the Selebrated M. F," whose identity remains unknown. (back)
12. Their first actual specimen of the grizzly bear, from which Lewis wrote the first scientific description. (back)
13. Just above Big Muddy Creek, Roosevelt County, Montana. To Ordway it was "little yallow River"; Clark named it "Martheys river in honor to the Selebrated M. F.," a woman whose identity remains a mystery. (back)