August 8, 1805
62.94% Complete
Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

August 8, 1805


We had a heavy dew this morning.    as one canoe had been left we had now more hads to spear for the chase; game being scarce it requires more hunters to supply us.    we therefore dispatched four this morning.    we set out at sunrise and continued our rout up the river which we find much more gentle and deep than below the entrance of Wisdom river it is from 35 to 45 yards wide very crooked many short bends constituteing lage and general bends; insomuch that altho' we travel briskly and a considerable distance yet it takes us only a few miles on our general course or rout.    there is but very little timber on this fork principally the under brush frequently mentioned. I observe a considerably quantity of the buffaloe clover in the bottoms. [1]    the sunflower, flax, green swoard, thistle and several species of the rye grass some of which rise to the hight of 3 or 4 feet. [2]    there is a grass [3] also with a soft smooth leaf that bears it's seeds very much like the timothy but it dose not grow very luxouriant or appear as if it would answer so well as the common timothy for meadows. I preserved some of it's seeds which are now ripe, thinking perhaps it might answer better if cultivated, at all events is at least worth the experiment.    it rises about 3 feet high.    on a direct line about 2 miles above our encampment of this morning we passed the entrance of Philanthrophy River which discharges itself by 2 channels a small distance assunder. this river from it's size and S. Eastwardly course no doubt heads with Madisons river in the snowey mountains visible in that direction. [4]    at Noon Reubin Fields arrived and reported that he had been up Wisdom river some miles above where it entered the mountain and could find nothing of Shannon, he had killed a deer and an Antelope.    great quantity of beaver Otter and musk-rats in these rivers.    two of the hunters we sent out this morning returned at noon had killed each a deer and an Antelope.    we use the seting poles today almost altogether.    we encamped on the Lard side [5] where there was but little timber were obliged to use willow brush for fuel; the rosebushes and bryers were very thick. the hunters brought in another deer this evening.    te tumor on Capt. Clarks ankle has discharged a considerable quantity of matter but is still much swolen and inflamed and gives him considerable pain.    saw a number of Gees ducks and some Crains today.    the former begin to fly.—

the evening again proved cloudy much to my mortification and prevented my making any lunar observations.    the Indian woman recognized the point of a high plain to our right which she informed us was not very distant from the summer retreat of her nation on a river beyond the mountains which runs to the west.    this hill she says her nation calls the beaver's head from a conceived remblance of it's figure to the head of that animal. [6]    she assures us that we shall either find her people on this river or on the river immediately west of it's source; which from it's present size cannot be very distant.    as it is now all important with us to meet with those people as soon as possible, I determined 〈to leave the charge of the party, and the care of the lunar observations to Capt. Clark; and〉 to proceed tomorrow with a small party to the source of the principal stream of this river and pass the mountains to the Columbia; and down that river untill I found the Indians; in short it is my resolusion to find them or some others, who have horses if it should cause me a trip of one month. for without horses we shall be obliged to leave a great part of our stores, of which, it appears to me that we have a stock already sufficiently small for the length of the voyage before us.

Courses and Distances of August 8th 1805.
South 2 Miles to the upper or principal entrance of Philanthrophy
on Lard. being 5 Miles by water, passing seven bends on
the Lard. side, two islands and several bayous.    this river is
30 yds. wide is navigable and heads in the Roky Mountains
with Madison's River.—
S. 20 W. 6 to a few high trees on the Stard. side, the river bending to the
East two miles from this course. and the distance by water
14 miles passing an island at 1 M.    another at 7 M. several
small bayous and 35 bends on Strd. side the majority of the
bends being short and circular.
Miles 8

We proceeded on early    wind from the S W. The Thermometer a 52 a 0 at Sunrise    at 5 miles by water & 4½ on a derect line from the forks we passed a River on the Lard Side 30 yards wide and navagable for Some distance takeing its rise in the Mountains Easterly & with the water of Madisons River, passes thro an extensive vallie open & furtill &c.    this river we call Philanthophy—    above this river (which has but little timber Jeffersons R is crooked with Short bends a fiew Islands and maney gravelly Sholes, no large timber, Small willow Birch & Srubs &c. Encamped on the Lard Side, R Fields joined us this eveng. & informes that he could not find Shannon    my foot yet verry Swore


Thursday 8th August 1805.    a clear cold morning.    a heavy diew.    4 hunters Sent out at light.    we Set out at Sun rise and proceeded on.    passed beautiful praries on each Side, but little timber, only willows currents &C.    passed the left hand or South fork. [7]    has 2 mouths    empties in at 2 places but is not as large as the middle fork which we Still take. Saw a little Snow on the knobs back of this large and extensive valley, which is Smooth level prarie.    the 3 forks all comes in at this valley. Saw wild onions & golden rod. [8]    the prarie is covred with grass which is high in places.    the beaver abounds on these Rivers.    they have dams and ponds &C. in different places.    the Soil of these praries is much better than it has been below for a long distance.    proceeded on    passed a fine Spring on L. S.    one of the hunters brought us a deer which he had killed. Saw a nomber of geese & ducks on the River.    passed beautiful prarie on each Side covred with high grass thissels Sun flowers Some clover and different kinds of herbs &C. &C.    at noon R. Fields who had been hunting for Shannon returned to us.    had not found him.    had killed a deer & a goat also.    one other of the hunters came in    had killed a deer & a goat or antelope.    the day warm.    a verry pleasant part of the country in this valley, which appears to be 10 or 12 miles wide all Smooth prarie except a fiew groves of cotton trees willows & bushes beaver dams &C. on the River, which is verry crooked but not So rapid as below, and only about 25 yards wide, and verry crooked    the bends Short    passed upwards of 60 points this day. Came [blank] miles & Camped [9] in a thicket of bushes on the L. S.    the hunters came in with another Deer.—


Thursday 8th.    We proceeded on early and had a pleasant morning. The west branch which we went up is about 30 yards wide, and the south, which we passed, about 15 yards. [10] Three hunters went by land to day, and at noon had killed 2 deer and a goat or cabre. The river is very crooked in this valley. The hunters again went out in the afternoon and killed 2 deer more. There are no buffaloe in this part of the country, and other game is not plenty. We went this day 19 miles.

We found out the reason why Capt. Clarke did not get the note left at the point, which was that a beaver had cut down and dragged off the pole, on which I had fixed it.


Thursday 8th August 1805.    a clear cold morning.    4 hunters Sent out eairly to hunt.    we Set out at Sunrise, and proceeded on    passed beautiful Smooth prarie on each Side, but little timber only willows and bushes currents &c.    passed the left hand fork which empties in at 2 places, but is not as large as the middle fork.    Saw a little Snow on the knobs & mountains    at a Short distance back from the [river?]    this large & extensive valley which looks verry pleasant.    the Soil of these praries is much better than below, for a long distance.    we proceeded on    passed a fine Spring on L. S.    one of the hunters brought us a deer which he killed.    Saw a nomber of geese & ducks on the River.    passed delightful prarie on each Side covred with high grass thissels Small Sun flowers [11] and a nomber of other kinds of flowers &c.    at noon R. Fields joined us had been hunting for Shannon but had not found him.    he had killed a deer & a goat &c.    one of the other hunters joined us had killed a deer & a goat also—    the day warm & pleasant, in this valley, which is 10 or 12 miles wide & all prarie.    proceeded on halled the canoes over Several Shole places.    this little River which we call Jeffersons River is only about 25 yards wide but jenerally eight or 10 feet deep, and verry crooked.    we passed upwards of 60 points this day in comming [blank] miles and Camped in a thicket of bushes on the Lard Side.—    one more deer kill

Thursday August 8th    This morning Clear & cool weather, 4 of our hunters were sent out to hunt, We set out at Sun rise, and proceeded on & passed beautifull smooth Priaries lying on both sides of the River, which had little of any kind of timber on them, excepting Willow [blank] Hazle [12] & currant bushes, We passed the left hand fork of the River, which emties itself in to the middle fork at 2 places.    It was not as large as the Middle fork; We saw Snow lying on the Nobs & mountains, which lay but at a Short distance from us, back from the Middle fork lies an extensive Valley which had a beautiful appearance, & the Soil much better, than what we saw below, for a long distance.    We proceeded on, and passed a fine spring of water lying on the South side of the River, One of our hunters brought us a deer which he had killed—    We halted & took it on board & proceeded on and saw a number of Ducks & Geese in the River, and beautiful Priaries lying on both sides of it, cover'd with high Grass thistles, Sun & other flowers.    One of our hunters joined us.    he had been hunting for Shannon, the Man that we had lost, but had not found him.    He had killed One deer & a Goat, One of our other hunters joined us also, he had also killed a deer & a Goat, all of which we took on board.    The day proved warm & pleasant in the Valley which is between 10 & 12 Miles wide & all Priari.    We proceeded on, & hawled our Canoes over several Shoals in this little River, which we call Jefferson River 〈and〉 which is about 25 〈Miles〉 Yards wide at this place & generally between eight & ten feet deep, and very crooked, We passed upwards of 60 points this day in coming of 14 Miles, which is the distance we have come.    We encamped in a thicket of bushes, laying on the South side of the River.    One of our hunters returned to us here & brought in a Deer which he had killed.—

1. The name buffalo clover is problematic. If this is a true clover, the most likely species is longstalk clover, Trifolium longipes Nutt. However, it is probably Thermopsis montana Nutt., mountain thermopsis, which is not a true clover but is common in the wet meadows of the area and has the long, narrow, trifoliate leaflets as described. See August 16, 1805, below. Booth & Wright, 141; Hitchcock et al., 3:364, 351–52. (back)
2. The sunflower is the perennial species, Nuttall sunflower, Helianthus nuttallii T. & G., which is common in this habitat and is known from the area. The term greensward often refers to a lush, green meadow, but in this case may refer to a species of rush on sedge which dominates the wet meadow. One of the rye grasses is certainly basin wildrye Elymus cinereus Scribn. & Merrill, which is a distinctive, tall, bunch-forming grass as described. Other wildrye species of the area include Canada wildrye, E. canadensis L., and several species of Agropyron with flower heads similar to wildrye. Booth & Wright, 274; Hitchcock et al., 5:230, 1:559–61; Hahn, Elymus and Agropyron maps. (back)
3. Probably Calamagrostis stricta (Timm) Koeler (or C. inexpansa Gray), northern reed-grass, which has a flower structure similar to cultivated timothy, fits the ecological and morphological description, and is known from the immediate area. It could also possibly be a species of stream foxtail, Alopecurus sp., which is also similar to timothy in flower structure but not as common as Calamagrostis. Hahn, Calamagrostis and Alopecurus maps; Hitchcock et al., 1:527–29. (back)
4. The Gravelly Range. However, the Madison River heads in the Yellowstone Plateau in northwestern Wyoming. (back)
5. In Madison County, Montana, a few miles above the mouth of Ruby River. Atlas map 66. (back)
6. Beaverhead (or Beaver's Head) Rock is in Madison County, near the Beaverhead County line, along Montana Highway 41, about twelve miles southwest of Twin Bridges and fourteen miles northeast of Dillon. It has been confused with the landmark Lewis named Rattlesnake Cliffs, farther upstream. See below, August 10, 1805. Appleman (LC), 299–301; Atlas map 66. Beaverhead Rock, and the narrows of the river there, are formed by a small, upfaulted block of limestone of the Madison Group. Because the limestone is more resistant to erosion than the adjacent Tertiary sediments, the block stands out in conspicious relief, rising more than three hundred and seventy feet above the floodplain of the river. (back)
7. Ruby River, their Philanthropy River, which meets the Beaverhead in Madison County, Montana, to form the Jefferson. They continued up the "middle fork," the Beaverhead, which they continued to call the Jefferson. (back)
8. The goldenrod may be any of several varieties, perhaps Missouri goldenrod, Solidago missouriensis Nutt. Lewis's botanical notes for this day are quite different, and Ordway is the only writer to mention goldenrod. (back)
9. They camped on the Beaverhead, a few miles above the mouth of Ruby River, Madison County, Montana. (back)
10. The west branch is the Beaverhead River, which the party continued to call the Jefferson; the south branch is Ruby River, their Philanthropy River. (back)
11. Nuttall sunflower, Helianthus nuttallii T. & G. (back)
12. Hazelnut, Corylus americana Walt., is not found this far west. It is not clear why the copyist added this or what the plant is. (back)