September 4, 1805
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

September 4, 1805


a verry cold morning every thing wet and frosed, we detained untill 8 oClock to thaw the covering for the baggage &c. &c.    groun covered with Snow, we assended a mountain & took a Divideing ridge which we kept for Several Miles & fell on the head of a Creek which appeared to run the Course we wished to go, I was in front, & Saw Several of the Argalia or Ibex decended the mountain by verry Steep decent takeing the advantage of the points and best places to the Creek, where our hunter killed a Deer which we made use of and prosued our Course down the Creek to the forks about 5 miles [1] where we met a part of the 〈 Flat head 〉 [X: Tushepau ] nation [2] of 33 Lodges about 80 men 400 Total and at least 500 horses, those people recved us friendly, threw white robes over our Sholders & Smoked in the pipes of peace, we Encamped [3] with them & found them friendly but nothing but berries to eate a part of which they gave us, those Indians are well dressed with Skin Shirts & robes, they Stout & light complected more So than Common for Indians, The Chiefs harangued untill late at night, Smoked our pipe and appeared Satisfied. I was the first white man who ever wer on the waters of this river. [4] [X: (Clark's R)]


Wednesday 4th Sept. 1805.    the morning clear, but very cold.    the ground covred with frost.    our mockasons froze.    the mountains covred with Snow.    2 mountain Sheep Seen by one of the men who was a hunting the horses.    we delayed untill about 8 oClock A. M. then thoughed our Sailes by the fire to cover the loads and Set out.    ascended the mountain on to the dividing ridge [5] and followed it Some time.    the Snow over our mockasons in places.    we had nothing but a little pearched corn to eat    the air on the mountains verry chilley and cold.    our fingers aked with the cold    proceeded on    descended the mountain down a rough way    passed through a large thicket of pine and balsom fer timber in which we killed a dozen partridges or fessents.    went down in to a valley on a branch [6] running on about a north course and halted.    our hunter killed a deer on which we dined.    our guide and the young Indian who accompanied him eat the verry guts of the deer. Saw fresh Sign of Indians.    proceeded on down this valley    towards evening we arived at a large encampment of the flat head nation of Indians [7]    about 40 lodges and I Suppose about 30 persons, and they have between 4 or 5 hundred horses now feeding in the plains [8] at our view and they look like tollarable good horses the most of them.    they received us in a friendly manner.    when our officers went to their lodges they gave them each a white robe of dressed skins, and spread them over their Shoulders and put their arms around our necks instead of Shakeing hands as that is their way    they appeared glad to See us.    they Smoaked with us, then gave us a pleanty Such as they had to eat, which was only Servis berrys and cheeries pounded and dryed in Small cakes. Some roots of different kinds.    our officers told them that we would Speak to them tomorrow and tell th[em] who we were and what our business is and where we are going &C.    these natives are well dressed, descent looking Indians.    light complectioned.    they are dressed in mo Sheep leather Deer & buffalow robes &C.    they have the most curious language of any we have Seen before.    they talk as though they lisped or have a bur on their tongue.    we Suppose that they are the welch Indians [9] if their is any Such from the language.    they have leather lodges to live in Some other Skins among them.    they tell us that they or Some of them have Seen bearded men towards the ocean, but they cannot give us any accurate of the ocean but we have 4 mountains to cross to go where they saw white men which was on a river as we suppose the Columbian River.    came [blank] miles to day and pitched our Camp [10] near the creek on the right of the Indian Lodges.    considerable of large pitch pine timber in this valley    our hunter killed another Deer this evening.—


Wednesday 4th.    A considerable quantity of snow fell last night, and the morning was cloudy. After eating a few grains of parched corn, we set out at 8 o'clock; crossed a large mountain and hit on the creek and small valley, which were wished for by our guide. [11] We killed some pheasants on our way, and were about to make use of the last of our flour, when, to our great joy, one of our hunters killed a fine deer. So we dined upon that and proceeded down a small valley about a mile wide, with a rich black soil; in which there are a great quantity of sweet roots and herbs, such as sweet myrrh, [12] angelica [13] and several other, that the natives make use of, and of the names of which I am unacquainted. There is also timothy grass [14] growing in it; and neither the valley nor the hills are so thickly timbered, as the mountains we had lately passed. What timber there is, is mostly pitch pine. [15] We kept down the valley about 5 miles, and came to the Tussapa band of the Flathead nation of Indians, [16] or a part of them. We found them encamped on the creek and we encamped with them.

Captain Clarke in his letter to his brother, calls them the Oleachshoot band of the Tucknapax. It is of no very great importance, at present, to know by what names the several tribes and bands are distinguished; and Mr. Gass says, that without an interpreter it was very difficult to ascertain them with any degree of certainty. [17]


Wednesday 4th Sept. 1805.    the morning clear but verry cold.    our mockersons froze hard.    the mountains covred with Snow.    2 mountain Sheep Seen by one of the men.    we delayed untill about 8 oClock A. m. then Set out and assended a mountain without any thing to eat.    the Snow lay on the mout. So that it kep on our mockisons    the air verry cold    our fingers aked with the cold.    we [de]scended the mountain down a rough rockey way and along through a large thicket of bolsom fer timber in which we killed a dozen fessents then descended down in to a large valley [18] on a branch and halted to dine    our hunter killed a Deer.    Saw fresh Indian Sign.    we Eat our deer.    our Indian guide and the young Indian who accompanied him Eat the paunch and all the Small guts of the Deer.    we then proceeded on down the valley    towards evening we arived at a large Encampment of the flat head nation which is a large band of the nation of about 40 lodges.    they have between 4 and 500 well looking horses now feeding in this valley or plain in our view.    they received us as friends and appeared to be glad to See us.    2 of our men who were a hunting came to their lodges first    the natives Spread a white robe over them and put their arms around their necks, as a great token of friendship.    then Smoaked with them.    when Capt. Lewis and Capt. Clark ari[ved] they Spread white robes over their Shoulders and Smoaked with them.    our officers told them that they would Speak with them tomorrow and tell them our business and where we are going &c.    the natives are light Complectioned decent looking people the most of them well cloathed with Mo. Sheep and other Skins.    they have buffalow Robes leather lodges to live in, but have no meat at this time.    but gave us abundance of their dryed fruit Such as Servis berrys cherries different kinds of roots all of which eat verry well.    they tell us that we can go in 6 days to where white traders come and that they had Seen bearded men who came a river to the North of us 6 days march but we have 4 mountains to cross before we come on that River.    our hunters killed another Deer this evening.    Came [blank] miles to day and pitched our Camp on the plain near the Creek on the right of the Indians lodges.    considerable of large pitch pine in the valley.

Wednesday September 4th    This morning Clear but very cold so that our moccasins froze hard.    the Mountains here are covered with snow.    One of our party saw two Mountain Sheep or Ibex, We delayed setting out till about 8 oClock A. M.    we then set out & ascended a mountain; not having had any thing to eat this day, the snow lay on the Mountain; so that it stuck to our Moccasins, The air was very cold, and made our fingers ache, We descended the Mountain; down a rough rockey way,—    through a large thicket of balsam fir timber, in which we killed one dozen Pheasants, We then descended into a large Valley, to a branch of Water; where we halted to dine.    our hunters killed a Deer, & told us that he had seen fresh signs of Indians.    We eat our deer, & our Indian guide and a young Indian of the Snake Nation that attended him, eat the paunch & small guts of it.    We proceeded on down the Valley towards evening, & arrived at a large encampment of the flat head nation of Indians, which were a large band of that nation, They had about 40 lodges, & had between four & five hundred horses feeding in the Valley or plain; which lay in our view.    These Indians received us as friends, & appeared to be glad to see us.    Two of our Men who were a hunting came to their lodges before we had arrived.    The Natives 〈had〉 spread a white robe over them, and put their Arms around their necks, as a great token of friendship, then smoaked with them.    When Captains Lewis & Clark arrived they spread white Robes over their shoulders and smoaked with them also.    Our officers informed them, that they would speak to them tomorrow, and inform them our business & where we were going &ca.—

These Flatt head Nation of Indians are a well made, handsome, light coloured sett of people, the most part of them were well cloathed.    Their cloathing were made out of mountain Sheep or Ibex skins & other kinds of Skins; all of which were dressed.    Their Lodges were made out of dressed buffalo hides, which they live in.    they had no meat among them at this time, They gave us abundance of dried fruit, (Serviceberries & cherries) & different kinds of roots, all of which eat very well.    They told us, that they can go in 6 days, to where the white traders come, & that they had seen bearded men, on a River to the North of us, & only 6 days march from this place,—    but said we have 4 mountains to cross before we come to them, which lies & is on a River, our Hunters killed one Deer this day, which they brought to our Camp.    We came about 10 Miles this day, & pitched our Camp near a Creek on the Plains, on the right of where the Indian lodges stood; and where in a Valley, a small distance from us; grew a considerable quantity of large Pitch pine trees.—

1. From the camp of September 3 (see above), the party made their way adjacent to Saddle Mountain and came down into the valley between the forks of Camp Creek, in Ravalli County, Montana. Peebles (RW), 17; Majors (LCRM), 105 n. 73, 116 n. 81; Atlas map 68. (back)
2. The Flatheads prefer to be called Salish. The common explanation of the English name is that they were considered flat-headed by tribes on the lower Columbia who deformed the skulls of their infants to produce a pointed head. Supposedly in the nineteenth century these mountain "Flatheads" became confused by whites with those who did practice skull deformation, and thus the term was used loosely for many Northwest tribes. Biddle does not use the term "Flathead" for these people, but the captains used the term both in their journals and in the Estimate of Eastern Indians, indicating that they had heard it before meeting these people, perhaps at the Mandan-Hidatsa villages. The sign language term for the Salish suggests a flattening of the sides of the heads. Sergeant Gass used the name "Flat-head" in his published journal, perhaps helping to fasten the name on the Salish. The name "Tushepau" (or Tushepaw) apparently represents the Shoshone term tatasiba, "the people with shaved heads," meaning the Flatheads. Sven Liljeblad, personal communication. After acquiring the horse in the 1700s, the Flatheads became buffalo hunters on the Montana plains, but pressure from the Blackfeet and other plains tribes forced them to spend much of their time in the mountains of northwestern Montana. Their buffalo hunts were perilous excursions into enemy country. They were consistently friendly to whites from Lewis and Clark's time on. In the 1840s many were converted to Christianity by Catholic missionaries. A Flathead tradition, recorded over ninety years later, says that old Chief Three Eagles, out scouting for enemies, first spotted the explorers. Lewis and Clark were riding ahead, while the rest of the party were leading their horses. The chief was puzzled at first that the strangers did not wear blankets, as all Indians of his acquaintance did, and he wondered if York was a warrior with his face painted black as a sign of war. He finally decided that the casual manner in which they were traveling did not suggest hostile intent, so the tribe greeted the newcomers in friendly fashion. The captains gave the chiefs American tobacco mixed with kinnickinnick, which the Indians thought superior to whatever they had been smoking. Fahey; Hodge, 1:465, 2:415–16; Clark, 174–79; Wheeler, 2:65–68. (back)
3. In the valley now called Ross, or Ross's, Hole, east of modern Sula, Ravalli County, and probably on Camp Creek near its entrance into the East Fork Bitterroot River. Majors (LCRM), 108 n. 73; Atlas map 68. (back)
4. The Bitterroot River, which they at first called Flathead River but which is Clark's River on Atlas map 68. See Atlas, 10. The party will reach East Fork Bitterroot River on September 6 and the Bitterroot itself the next day above the entrance of the West Fork. (back)
6. Probably one of the forks of Camp Creek, Ravalli County. (back)
7. More correctly, Salish Indians. Clark has thirty-three lodges and eight people at this place. (back)
8. In the valley of Ross, or Ross's, Hole, near Sula, Ravalli County. (back)
9. Ordway recalls the myth that some interior Indians may have descended from a legendary Welsh traveler. The notion was also applied to the Mandans. (back)
10. Probably on Camp Creek, at Ross Hole. (back)
11. They apparently ascended Saddle Mountain and came down the valley between the forks of Camp Creek, Ravalli County, Montana. (back)
12. Among several Osmorhiza species, it may be western sweet cicely, O. occidentalis (Nutt.) Torr. None of the other journalists noted this plant. Gass recalls an imported European herb that he knew from the East, sweet cicely, Myrrhis odorata Scop. C. Leo Hitchcock, Arthur Cronquist, Marion Ownbey, and J. W. Thompson, Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest (5 vols. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1955–69), 3:573–74; L. H. Bailey, Manual of Cultivated Plants (Rev. ed. New York: Macmillan, 1949), 752. (back)
13. Of several possible Angelica species, it probably is small-leafed angelica, A. pinnata Wats. Hitchcock et al., Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest, 3:517. Another singular sighting by Gass. (back)
14. Another identification unique to Gass. It is alpine timothy, Phleum alpinum L. Gass was acquainted with a European timothy species grown in the East, P. pratense L. Ibid., 1:645. (back)
15. Pitch pine at this point is probably lodgepole pine, Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud. (see Clark's entry for September 14, 1805). (back)
16. The Flathead (Salish) Indians. "Tussapa," or Tushepaw, as spelled variously by the captains, represents the Shoshone term tatasiba, "the people with shaved heads," meaning the Flatheads. See Clark's entry for this day. (back)
17. McKeehan refers to Clark's letter to his brother on returning to St. Louis, dated September 23, 1806, which became the first published report of the expedition. As Clark indicated on September 5, 1805, communication with the Flatheads was through several interpreters, probably in this sequence: Toby or his son, Sacagawea, Charbonneau, Labiche, and the captains. (back)