August 21, 1805
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August 21, 1805


This morning was very cold.    the ice ¼ of an inch thick on the water which stood in the vessels exposed to the air.    some wet deerskins that had been spread the grass last evening are stiffly frozen.    the ink feizes in my pen.    the bottoms are perfectly covered with frost insomuch that they appear to be covered with snow. This morning early I dispatched two hunters to kill some meat if possible before the Indians arrive; Drewyer I sent with the horse into the cove for that purpose. The party pursued their several occupations as yesterday.    by evening I had all the baggage, saddles, and harness completely ready for a march.    after dark, I made the men take the baggage to the cash and deposit it. I beleve we have been unperceived by the Indians in this movement.    notwithstanding the coldness of the last night the day has proved excessively warm.    neither of the hunters returned this evening and I was obliged to issue pork and corn. The mockersons of both sexes are usually the same and are made of deer Elk or buffaloe skin dressed without the hair.    sometimes in the winter they make them of buffaloe skin dressed with the hair on and turn the hair inwards as the Mandans Minetares and most of the nations do who inhabit the buffaloe country.    the mockerson is formed with one seem on the outer edge of the foot is cut open at the instep to admit the foot and sewed up behind. in this rispect they are the same with the Mandans. they sometimes ornament their mockersons with various figures wrought with the quills of the Porcupine. some of the dressey young men orniment the tops of their mockersons with the skins of polecats [1] and trale the tail of that animal on the ground at their heels as they walk.— the robe of the woman is generally smaller than that of the man but is woarn in the same manner over the sholders.    the Chemise is roomy and comes down below the middle of the leg    the upper part of this garment is formed much like the shirt of the men except the sholder strap which is never used with the Chemise.    in women who give suck, they are left open at the sides nearly as low as the waist, in others, close as high as the sleeve.    the sleeve underneath as low as the elbow is open, that 〈upper〉 part being left very full.    the sides tail and upper part of the sleeves are deeply fringed and sometimes ornimented in a similar manner with the shirts of the men with the addition of little patches of red cloth about the tail edged around with beads.    the breast is usually ornament with various figures of party colours rought with the quills of the Porcupine.    it is on this part of the garment that they appear to exert their greatest ingenuity.    a girdle of dressed leather confines the Chemise around the waist.    when either the man or woman wish to disengage their arm from the sleeve they draw it out by means of the opening underneath the arm an throw the sleeve behind the body.    the legings of the women reach as high as the knee and are confined with a garter below.    the mockerson covers and confins it's lower extremity.    they are neither fringed nor ornamented.    these legings are made of the skins of the antelope and the Chemise usually of those of the large deer Bighorn and the smallest elk.—    They seldom wear the beads they possess about their necks at least I have never seen a grown person of either sex wear them on this part; some their children are seen with them in this way.    the men and women were them suspen from the ear in little bunches or intermixed with triangular peices of the shells of the perl oister.    the men also were them attached in a similar manner to the hare of the fore part of the crown of the head; to which they sometimes make the addition of the wings and tails of birds.    the nose in neither sex is pierced nor do they wear any ornament in it.    they have a variety of small sea shells of which they form collars woarn indiscriminately by both sexes.    these as well as the shell of the perl oister they value very highly and inform us that they obtain them from their friends and relations who live beyond the barren plain towards the Ocean in a S. Westerly direction. [2]    these friends of theirs they say inhabit a good country abounding with Elk, deer, bear, and Antelope, and possess a much greater number of horses and mules than they do themselves; or using their own figure that their horses and mules are as numerous as the grass of the plains.    the warriors or such as esteem themselves brave men wear collars made of the claws of the brown bear which are also esteemed of great value and are preserved with great care.    these claws are ornamented with beads about the thick end near which they are peirced through their sides and strung on a throng of dressed leather and tyed about the neck commonly with the upper edge of the tallon next the breast or neck but sometimes are reversed.    it is esteemed by them an act of equal celebrity the killing one of these bear or an enimy, and with the means they have of killing this animal it must really be a serious undertaking.    the sweet sented grass [3] which grows very abundant on this river is either twisted or plaited and woarn around the neck in ether sex, but most commonly by the men.    they have a collar also woarn by either sex.    it generally round and about the size of a man's finger; formed of leather or silk-grass twisted or firmly rolled and covered with the quills of the porcupine of different colours.    the tusks of the Elk are pierced strung on a throng and woarn as an orniment for the neck, and is most generally woarn by the women and children.    the men frequently wear the skin of a fox [4] or a broad strip of that of the otter around the forehead and head in form of a bando.    they are also fond of the feathers of the tail of the beautifull eagle or callumet bird [5] with which they ornament their own hair and the tails and mains of their horses. [X: also a collar of round bones which look like the joints of a fishes back] The dress of these people is quite as desent and convenient as that of any nation of Indians I ever saw.

This morning early Capt. C. resumed his march; at the distance of five miles he arrived at some brush lodges of the Shoshones inhabited by about seven families    here he halted and was very friendly received by these people, who gave himself and party as much boiled salmon as they could eat; they also gave him several dryed salmon and a considerable quantity of dryed chokecherries.    after smoking with them he visited their fish wear which was abut 200 yds. distant.    he found the wear extended across four channels of the river which was here divided by three small islands. [6]    three of these channels were narrow, and were stoped by means of trees fallen across, supported by which stakes of willow were driven down sufficiently near each other to prevent the salmon from passing.    about the center of each a cilindric basket of eighteen or 20 feet in length terminating in a conic shape at it's lower extremity, formed of willows, was opposed to a small apperture in the wear with it's mouth up stream to receive the fish.    the main channel of the water was conducted to this basket, which was so narrow at it's lower extremity that the fish when once in could not turn itself about, and were taken out by untying the small ends of the longitudinal willows, which frormed the hull of the basket.    the wear in the main channel was somewhat differently contrived.    there were two distinct wears formed of poles and willow sticks, quite across the river, at no great distance from each other.    each of these, were furnished with two baskets; the one wear to take them ascending and the other in decending.    in constructing these wears, poles were first tyed together in parcels of three near the smaller extremity; these were set on end, and spread in a triangular form at the base, in such manner, that two of the three poles ranged in the direction of the intended work, and the third down the stream.    two ranges of horizontal poles were next lashed with willow bark and wythes to the ranging poles, and on these willow sticks were placed perpendicularly, reaching from the bottom of the river to about 3 or four feet above it's surface; and placed so near each other, as not to permit the passage of the fish, and even so thick in some parts, as with the help of gravel and stone to give a direction to the water which they wished.—    the baskets were the same in form of the others.    this is the form of the work, and disposition of the baskets. [7]

Shoshone Fish Weir, August 21, 1805, Codex F, p. 147
(American Philosophical Society library,
used with permission.)

After examining the wears Capt. C. returned to the lodges, and shortly continued his rout and passed the river to the Lard. side [8] a little distance below the wears.    he sent Collins with an Indian down the Lard. side of the river to the forks 5 me. in surch of Cruzatte who was left at the upper camp yesterday to purchase a horse and had followed on today and passed them by another road while they were at the lodges and had gone on to the forks.    while Capt. Clark was at these lodges an Indian brought him a tomehawk which he said he found in the grass near the lodge where I had staid at the upper camp when I was first with his nation    the tommahawk was Drewyer's he missed it in the morning before we had set out and surched for it but it was not to be found    I beleive the young fellow stole it, but if he did it is the only article they have pilfered and this was now returned. Capt. C. after traveling about 20 miles through the valley with the course of the river nearly N. W. encamped on the Stard. side in a small bottom under a high Clift of rocks. [9]    on his way one of the party killed a very large Salmon in a creek which they passed at the distance of 14 ms.    he was joined this evening by Cruzatte and Collins who brought with them five fresh salmon which had been given them by the Indians at the forks.    the forks of this river is famous as a gig fishery and is much resorted by the natives.—    They killed one deer today. The Guide apeared to be a very friendly intelligent old man, Capt. C. is much pleased with him.

This day I observed Equal Altitudes of the ☉ with Sextant
h m s h m s
A. M. 8 38 36 P. M. 4 56 } Altitude at the time
of observation.
65° 57' 30"
" 40   8 " 1 34
" 42 45 " 3   5

Also observed Meridian Altd. of ☉'s L. L. with Octant by the back observation. 72° —' —"

Latitude deduced from this observation North 44° 30' 21.7"

Mean Latitude of the Forks of Jefferson's river, deduced from three observations of the Meridian Altd. of ☉'s L. L. with octant, and one calculation by means of the hor: ∠ of the ☉'s center in the P. M.    observation for equal Altitudes on the 20th Instant    N. 44° 35' 28.1"


Frost last night    proceeded on with the Indians I met about 5 miles to there Camp, I entered a lodge and after Smokeing with all who Came about me I went to See the place those people take the fish, a wear across the Creek in which there is 〈Split〉 Stuk baskets Set in different derections So as to take the fish either decending or assending    on my return to the Camp which was 200 yards only the different lodges (which is only bushes) brought into the lodge    I was introduced into, Sammon boiled, and dried Choke Chers. Sufficent for all my party.—    one man brought me a tomahawk which we expected they had Stolen from a man of Capt Lewis's party, this man informed me he found the tomk in the grass near the place the man Slept. Crossed the River and went over a point of high land & Struck it again near a Bluff on the right Side the man I left to get a horse at the upper Camp missed me & went to the forks which is about five miles below the last Camp.

I sent one man by the forks with derections to join me to night with the one now at that place, those two men joined me at my Camp on the right Side below the 1st Clift with 5 Sammon which the Indians gave them at the forks, the place they gig fish at this Season. Their method of takeing fish with a gig or bone is with a long pole, about a foot from one End is a Strong String attached to the pole, this String is a little more than a foot long and is tied to the middle of a bone from 4 to 6 inches long, one end Sharp the other with a whole to fasten on the end of the pole with a beard [10] to the large end, the fasten this bone on one end & with the other, feel for the fish & turn and Strike them So hard that the bone passes through and Catches on the opposit Side, Slips off the End of the pole and holds the Center of the bone    Those Indians are mild in their disposition appear Sincere in their friendship, punctial, and decided.    kind with what they have, to Spare. They are excessive pore, nothing but horses    there Enemies which are noumerous on account of there horses & Defenceless Situation, have Deprived them of tents and all the Small Conveniances of life. They have only a few indifferent Knives, no ax, make use of Elk's horn Sharpened to Spit ther wood, no clothes except a Short Legins & robes of different animals, Beaver, Bear, Buffalow, wolf Panthor, Ibex, Sheep Deer, but most commonly the antilope Skins which they ware loosely about them—    Their ornements are Orter Skin dcurated with See Shells & the Skins & tales of the white weasel, Sea Shels of different size hung to their Ears hair and breast of their Shirts, beeds of Shells platted grass, and Small Strings of otter Skin dressed, they are fond of our trinkets, and give us those ornements as the most valueable of their possession. The women are held [ML: more] Sacred [ML: among them than any nation we have seen] and appear to have an equal Shere in all Conversation, which is not the Case in any othe nation I have Seen. their boeys & Girls are also admited to Speak except in Councils, the women doe all the drugery except fishing and takeing care of the horses, which the men apr. to take upon themselves.—    The men ware the hair loose flowing over ther Sholders & face the women Cut Short, orniments of the back bones of fish Strung plates grass grains of Corn Strung Feathers and orniments of Birds Claws of the Bear encurcling their necks    the most Sacred of all the orniments of this nation is the Sea Shells of various Sizes and Shapes and colours, of the bassterd perl kind, which they inform us they get from the Indians to the South on the other Side of a large fork of this river in passing to which they have to pass thro Sandy & barron open plains without water to which place they can travel in 15 or 20 days—    The men who passed by the forks informed me that the S W. fork was double the Size of the one I came down, and I observed that it was a handsom river at my camp    I shall in justice to Capt Lewis who was the first white man ever on this fork of the Columbia Call this Louis's river.    one Deer killed this morning, and a Sammon in the last Creek 2½ feet long    The Westerley fork of the Columbia River is double the Size of the Easterley fork [11] & below those forks the river is about the Size Jeffersons River near its mouth or 100 yards wide, it is verry rapid & Sholey water Clear 〈no〉 but little timer. This Clift is of a redish brown Colour the rocks which fall from it is a dark brown flint tinged with that Colour. Some Gullies of white Sand Stone and Sand fine & a[s] white as Snow. [12] The mountains on each Side are high, and those on the East ruged & Contain a fiew Scattering pine, those on the West contain pine on ther tops & high up the hollows— [13]    The bottoms of this [day?] is wide & rich from some distance above the place I struck the East fork they are also wide on the East    Passed a large Creek which fall in on the right Side 6 miles below the forks    a road passes up this Creek & to the Missouri.


Wednesday 21st August 1805.    the ground is covred with a hard white frost.    the water which stood in the Small vessells froze ¼ of an Inch thick, a little. Some Deer Skins which was spread out wet last night are froze Stiff this morning.    the Ink freezes in my pen now    the Sun jist ariseing    clear and pleasant this morning    one hunter out a hunting.    took a horse with them.    four men sent to dig a hole or carsh. Capt. Lewis took his observations at the place and the Latidude produced is 44d 35m North.    this evening after dark we carried the baggage to the carsh or hole which we leave at this place.    we took it to hide undiscovred from the natives.    all the baggage which we carry with us packed up & pack Saddles made ready to cross the diveding ridge as soon as the horses return from the other Side.—


Wednesday 21st.    About 7 o'clock in the morning we continued our journey down the valley, and came to a few lodges of Indians where our guide lives. We remained here about two hours, during which time a number of Indians passed us, going to fish. We proceeded on the way the Indians had gone; and one of our men went with them to the fishing place. The valley becomes very narrow here, and a large branch of the river comes in a short distance below. [14] Here we had to ascend high ground, the bottom is so narrow; and continued on the high ground about six miles when we came again to the river, where a fine branch flows in, the valley 4 or 5 miles wide. [15] In this branch we shot a salmon [16] about 6 pounds weight. We travelled 20 miles this day, and encamped [17] at a place where the mountains come close to the river. In the valley through which we passed and all along the river, there are cherries, currants and other small fruit. The man [18] who had remained behind at the first village and the other who had gone with the Indians to their fishing place, both joined us here. The Indians gave them five salmon to bring to us: and he that had stayed for a horse, brought one with him. At this place the river is about 70 yards wide.


Wednesday 21st August 1805.    a hard white frost    the water which Stood in the Small vessells froze a little.    Some deer Skins which was Spread out wet last night are froze Stiff this morning.    the Ink freezes in the pen at Sunrise.    a clear pleasant morning.    one hunter out with a horse a hunting.    4 men Sent to dig a carsh or hole.    at 8 oClock A m Some of the party found Ice in Some Standing water ¼ of an Inch thick.    Captain Lewis took observations at this place and the Latidude produced is 43D 44m 19s North.    in the evening after dark we carried our baggage we conclude to carsh to the place of cashing, So as that the Indians need not discover us, or mistrust that we are going to berry any thing at this place &c &c

Wednesday August 21st    We had a hard white frost this morning, the water that stood in small Vessells froze, and some Deer Skins which was spread out wet last night, was froze stiff this morning, & the Ink froze in the pen at Sun rise; The morning was clear & got pleasant, One of the hunters went out hunting on horse back & 4 of our Men were sent down the River to dig a hole or Cashe to deposit some of our baggage in.    At 8 oClock A. M. some of the party found Ice in some standing water ¼ of an inch thick, In the evening we carried the baggage that was to be left at the Cashe, or hole that was dug, in order to deposit it there.    The evening was dark, & Captain Lewis thought it best to have it done at that time, so that the Indians that were at our Camp, should not mistrust, or discover that we were going to bury anything at this place

1. Probably the striped skunk, Mephitis mephitis. (back)
2. There is a large "X" across this passage about the shell. It may be abalone, Haliotis sp. Criswell, lxxxvii. (back)
3. Known variously as sweetgrass, holy grass, vanilla grass, or Seneca grass, Hierochloe odorata (L.) Beauv. Hitchcock et al., 1:599; Cutright (LCPN), 189 n. 10. (back)
4. Probably the red fox, Vulpes vulpes. (back)
5. Golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos [AOU, 349]. (back)
6. The three islands and the location of the weir, marked "were for fishing," appear clearly on Atlas map 67, on the Lemhi a few miles southeast of present Salmon, Lemhi County, Idaho. (back)
7. Here in Codex F, p. 147, is a drawing of the fish weir; see figure. (back)
8. If the references are based, as usual, on the direction of tavel—here northwest down the Lemhi—then Clark crossed from the larboard to the starboard side of the river. Moreover, Lewis notes immediately after that Collins was sent to look for Cruzatte on the larboard side, which only makes sense if the rest of Clark's party was on the starboard side. The dotted line on Atlas map 67 labeled "William Clark's route" indicates the same. Clark's journal is unusually vague here, and Biddle's account does not clarify matters. Perhaps Lewis intended to write "Stard." The "forks" are the junction of the Lemhi and the Salmon. Coues (HLC), 2:527 and nn. 14, 15. (back)
9. Clark went down the Lemhi to its junction with the Salmon ("East Fork of Lewis R" and "West Fork of Lowis's River" on Atlas map 67), then down the Salmon, as shown by the dotted line marked "William Clark's route" on the map. The creek where the salmon was caught may be the one labeled "Sammon run," perhaps later Carmen Creek. The camp was on the east side of the Salmon River, in Lemhi County, a few miles north of present Carmen, and below the mouth of Tower Creek. Peebles (RW), 9, and fig. 8. (back)
10. The barb of the fish-spear. Criswell, 13. Apparently it was Biddle who drew a red vertical line through this material from "one End is" to "loosely about them." A line is also through material below, from "The men ware" to "Shapes and colours." (back)
11. The east fork is the present Lemhi River, and the west fork and the main river below the junction are the Salmon. (back)
12. The cliff near where Clark made his evening camp is composed of reddish-brown argillite (mudstone) of the Precambrian Belt Group. These rocks are overlain by a basal conglomerate of the Tertiary Carmen Formation. This basal conglomerate contains rocks derived from the Belt Group and from the Challis Volcanics. The white sandstones and sands are within the upper part of the Carmen Formation. (back)
13. The Salmon River Mountains to the West, the Beaverhead Mountains to the east. (back)
14. Going down the Lemhi River, Clark's party arrived at its junction with the Salmon River, Lemhi County, Idaho. For the party these were the East and West Forks, respectively, of Lewis's River. (back)
15. The valley, not the creek, is four or five miles wide. The stream may be Carmen Creek, their Salmon Run, Lemhi County. (back)
16. An unknown salmon or trout, Oncorhynchus sp. (back)
17. On the east side of the Salmon River, Lemhi County, a few miles north of Carmen, and below the mouth of Tower Creek. (back)
18. Cruzatte. (back)