July 22, 1805
61.44% Complete
Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

July 22, 1805


We set out early as usual. The river being divided into such a number of channels by both large and small Island that I found it impossible to lay it down correctly following one channel only in a canoe and therefore walked on shore took the general courses of the river and from the rising grounds took a view of the Islands and it's different channels which I laid don in conformity thereto on my chart.    there being but little timber to obstruct my view I could see it's various meanders very satisfactorily. I passed though a large island which I found a beautifull level and fertile plain about 10 feet above the surface of the water and never overflown.    on this Island I [NB: We] met with great quantities of a smal onion [1] about the size of a musquit ball and some even larger; they were white crisp and well flavored    I geathered about half a bushel of them before the canoes arrived. I halted the party for breakfast and the men also geathered considerable quantities of those onions.    it's seed had just arrived to maturity and I gathered a good quantity of it. This appears to be a valuable plant inasmuch as it produces a large quantity to the squar foot and bears with ease the rigor of this climate, and withall I think it as pleasantly flavored as any species of that root I ever tasted. I called this beatifull and fertile island after this plant Onion Island.    here I passed over to the stard. shore where the country was higher and ascended the river to the entrance of a large creek which discharges itself into the Missouri on the Stard. side.    it is composed of three pretty considerable creeks which unite in a beautifull and extensive vally a few miles before it discharges itself into the river. [2]    while wateing for the canoes to arrive I killed an otter which sunk to the bottom on being shot, a circumstance unusual with that anamal.    the water was about 8 feet deep yet so clear that I could see it at the bottom; I swam in and obtained it by diving. I halted the party here for dinner; the canoes had taken different channels through these islands and it was sometime before they all came up. I placed my thermometer in a good shade as was my custom about 4 P. M. and after dinner set out without it and had proceeded near a mile before I recollected it    I sent Sergt. Ordway back for it, he found it and brought it on.    the murcury stood at 80 a. 0    this is the warmest day except one which we have experienced this summer. The Indian woman recognizes the country and assures us that this is the river on which her relations live, and that the three forks are at no great distance.    this peice of information has cheered the sperits of the party who now begin to console themselves with the anticipation of shortly seeing the head of the missouri yet unknown to the civilized world.    the large creek which we passed on Stard. 15 yds. we call white Earth Creek 〈in honour of Sergt. Nathaniel pryor who is a steady valuable and usefull member of our party〉 from the circumstance of the natives procuring a white paint on this crek.— [3]    Saw many gees, crains, and small birds common to the plains, also a few phesants and a species of small curlooe or plover [4] of a brown colour which I first met with near the entrance of Smith's river but they are so shy and watchfull there is no possibility of geting a shoot at them    it is a different kind from any heretofore discribed and is about the size of the yellow leged plover or jack Curlooe.    both species of the willow that of the broad leaf and narrow leaf still continue, the sweet willow is very scarce.    the rose bush, small honesuckle, the pulpy leafed thorn, southernwood, sage [5] Box alder narrow leafed cottonwood, red wod, a species of sumac are all found in abundance as well as the red and black goosberries, service berries, choke cherries and the currants of four distinct colours of black, yellow, red and perple. [6]    the cherries are not yet ripe.    the bear appear to feed much on the currants.    late this evening we arrived at Capt. Carks camp on the stard. side of the river; we took them on board with the meat they had collected and proceeded a short distance and encamped on an Island [7]    Capt. Clark's party had killed a deer and an Elk today and ourselves one deer and an Antelope only.    altho' Capt C. was much fatiegued his feet yet blistered and soar he insisted [NB: deturmined] on pursuing his rout in the morning nor weould he consent willingly to my releiving him at that time by taking a tour of the same kind.    finding him anxious I readily consented to remain with the canoes; he ordered Frazier and Jo. & Reubin Filds to hold themselves in readiness to accompany him in the morning. Sharbono was anxious to accompany him and was accordingly permitted.    the musquetoes and knats more than usually troublesome to us this evening.—

Couses and distances of July 22cd 1805
N. 75° E.   2 ¼ to a Lard. bend 1 m. above a large Island
S. 34° E.   3 to the center of a Stard. bend at the upper point of Onion
S. 80° E.   1 ½ to a Stard. bend passing several Islands.
N. 45° E.   1 to a Lard. bend passing several Islands
S. 25° E.   6 passing four long circular bends and several large islands
to a point of the bluff on Stard. side; a large creek well
timbered falls in on Stard. side ¾ of a mile below the ex-
tremity of this course.    whiteearth C.
S. 12° E.   6 to a bluff point on the Stard. side; this course and distance
forms the cord line to a general circular bend of the river,
which is formed of 4 other bends, and from the center
of which, a line drawn N. 70° E. 3 miles will intersect the
center of the general bend of the river—4—miles short of
the extremity of this course by water    we encamped on
an Isld.
Miles 19 ½

a fine morning wind from the S. E.    the last night verry cold, my blanket being Small I lay on the grass & Covered with it. I opened the bruses & blisters of my feet which caused them to be painfull    dispatched all the men to hunt in the bottom for Deer, deturmined my Self to lay by & nurs my feet.    haveing nothing to eat but venison and Currents, I find my Self much weaker than when I left the Canoes and more inclined to rest & repose to day. These men were not Suckcessfull in hunting killed only one Deer    Capt Lewis & the Party arvd. at 4 oClock & we all proceeded on a Short distance and Camped on an Island    the Musquitors verry troublesom this evening    G Drewyer not knowing the place we Camped Continued on up the river. I deturmined to proceed on in pursute of the Snake Indians on tomorrow and directed Jo Rubin Fields Frasure to get ready to accompany me. Shabono, our interpreter requested to go, which was granted &c. In my absence the hunters had killed Some Deer & a Elk, one fusee found &c. &c.


July 22nd Monday 1805.    a clear morning.    we Set out as usal and proceeded on    passed large Islands mostly covered with grass    Some fiew trees.    the currents [currants] Still abound. Some of the canoes I being one went about 5 miles behind an Island through a verry narrow crooked channel.    these large Islands are mostly level Smooth plain.    one of the hunters killed a deer.    about 2 oC. P. m. we halted to dine on the N or Stard. Side then went on    Capt. Lewis forgot his Thurmometer where we dined    I went back for it.    it Stood in the heat of the day at 80 degrees abo. 0, which has only been up to that point but once before this Season as yet.    we went on    took a narrow channel behind Some Islands and at Camping time I came out a head of the party nearly a mile, then went down to Camp. [8]    Capt. Clark had joined them, and his men who were with him.    they had Seen a great deal of Indian sign    the fire we saw was made by the natives.    perhaps they were alarmed by our Shooting So at the game and moved off.    our Intrepters wife tells us that She knows the country along the River up to hir nation, or the 3 forks. [9]    we are now 166 miles from the falls of the M.    Came 17 miles of it to day.—


Monday 22nd.    We embarked early, the weather being pleasant: passed some fine springs on the southern shore, and a large island near the northern: On the south side the country is level to a good distance, but on the north the hills come close to the river. At breakfast our squaw informed us she had been at this place before when small. Here we got a quantity of wild onions. At half past 9, we proceeded on again; passed a large island at noon; and in the afternoon, more islands: and came to a place where Captain Clarke and his party were encamped. They told us they had seen the same smoke, which we had discovered a few days ago, and found it had been made by the natives, who they supposed had seen some of us, and had fled, taking us for enemies. We went 17 miles and an half and encamped on an island; where we found the musquitoes very bad. We saw to day several banks of snow on a mountain west of us. [10]


Monday 22nd July 1805.    a clear pleasant morning.    We Set out as usal and proceeded on    passed verry large Islands covered with grass a fiew trees.    a great many currents.    we took a narrow channel behind an Isd. which was about 5 miles through.    we began to think that we had taken an other River, but proved to the contrary.    Some ceeder on Some of these Islands.    passd. 2 large Islds which level and all prarie or plain.    one of the men killed a Deer in a plain on N. S.    about 2 oClock we halted to dine on the N. S. then went on    Capt. Lewis forgot his Thurmometer which he had hung in a Shade.    it Stood today at 80 degrees above 0.    I went back and got it then went on after the party. [11]    passed Several Islands covered with cotton & ceeder timber.    the River divides in many Channels.    I took a near cut and at night came out ahead of the party, and went down to the Camp.    Capt. Clark had joined them & his party.    they were all well and had Seen a great deal of Indian Sign along the River and a fire which was burning.    we expect the Snake Indians or a party of them are near this.    perhaps they are alarmed at our firing at the game &c.    we Came 17½ miles this day thro a verry rapid current and a pleasant country.    a pleanty of ripe currents &c. along the Shores.    our Intrepters wife knows the country along the River up to hir nation at the 3 forks.    we are now 166 miles from the falls of the Missourie.—

Monday July 22nd    A clear pleasant morning, we set out Early, and proceeded on, and passed a very large Island, which was covered with grass & had a few trees growing on it, We found growing along the shores of the River, a great quantity of Currants; We took into a narrow Channell, of the River which run behind an Island, which was about 5 Miles through, Our party began to think before we had passed through this Channel, that we had taken the wrong River, For The whole of these 5 Miles, 〈had〉 we saw a number of Islands lying a small distance from each other, 2 of which was very large.    They lay very level and were all Priaries.—    We were all well pleased when we passed the last of these Islands, and found that we entered into the River, which appear'd the same as when we took this Channel, One of our party killed a Deer on the North side of the River, which we took on board our Canoe,—    Captain Lewis had forgot his Thermometer which he had hung in a Shade, It stood this day, at 80 degrees above 0.    I was sent back for it, and got it, I then proceeded on after our party, I passed several Islands, which were cover'd with Cotton wood & Cedar timber, the River divided in a number of Channels,—    I took a near cut to the River, and at Night got to it, but was ahead of our party, I went down the River to where they were encamped.—    Captain Clark, and a party of our Men, had during my absence arrived, and were all well,—    They mentioned that they had seen a great deal of Indian sign along the River,—    and a fire which from its burning, appeared to have been lately left, our party expect that fire was made by a party of the Snake Indians, who they suppose is near this place, and that they are alarmed at our party firing at Game &ca.    We came 17½ Miles this day 〈and〉 through a rapid Current.—    We passed this day through a very pleasant Country abounding with Currants &ca.—    which grows along the Shores on both sides—    Our Interpreters Wife (the Indian woman) informed us, that she knows this Country, along the Shores of the River, up to her nation, (which are the Snake Indians) who she says lives at the 3 forks of this River.—    We are now 166 Miles distant from the great falls of the Mesouri River.—    These Islands we passed this day we named Whitehouses Islands.

1. Possibly Allium cernuum Roth, nodding onion, or A. geyeri S. Wats., Geyer's onion, or A. canadense L. Hahn, Allium maps; Cutright (LCPN), 401: Dorn, 161. It was probably Biddle who drew a red vertical line through this passage about the onion. "Onion Isd." appears on Atlas map 63. (back)
2. Beaver Creek, Broadwater County, Montana (see above, July 20, 1805). The streams are present Antelope, Staubach, and Beaver creeks. Atlas map 63; MRC map 81. (back)
3. Beaver Creek, Broadwater County. The crossed out portion concerning the name is undoubtedly related in some way to Clark's mislabeling this stream "Pryors Vally R or C" on Atlas map 63. The words "white Earth" preceding the deletion were written over an erasure. (back)
4. Probably the same bird mentioned briefly on July 14, 1805. It may be either the mountain plover, Charadrius montanus [AOU, 281], or the upland sandpiper (also called upland plover or Bartram's sandpiper), Bartramia longicauda [AOU, 261]. Burroughs, 226, 228; Holmgren, 33. The "jack Curlooe" mentioned for comparison may be the greater yellowlegs. Cf. May 9, 1805. It was probably Biddle who drew a red vertical line through the passages about natural history here, to the words "the currants." (back)
5. It is unclear whether two different species of Artemisia are being identified here or just the big sagebrush, A. tridentata, named earlier as hyssop sage, or wild hyssop. If two species then the southernwood may be A. cana, silver sagebrush. See Lewis's earlier description of April 14, 1805. (back)
6. Lewis is probably seeing three currants: Ribes americanum (black), R. cereum (red), and R. aureum (yellow and purple). See entries of April 30 and June 18, 1805. (back)
7. Atlas map 63 appears to place this camp on the larboard side of the river, near an island. In any case the site was in Broadwater County, Montana, a few miles upstream from Beaver (White Earth) Creek, and is now under Canyon Ferry Lake. MRC map 81. (back)
8. In Broadwater County, Montana, a few miles upstream from Beaver (the party's White Earth) Creek, on a site now under Canyon Ferry Lake. (back)
11. Lewis and Ordway say it was Ordway who recovered the thermometer. (back)