May 28, 1806
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May 28, 1806


We sent Goodrich to the village of the broken arm this morning    he returned in the evening with some roots bread and a parsel of goats-hair for making our saddle pads. Reubin and Joseph Feilds set out this morning to hunt high up on a creek which discharges itself into this river about 8 miles above us.    at Noon Charbono, York and Lapage returned; they had obtained four bags of the dryed roots of Cows and some bread.    in the evening Collins Shannon and Colter returned with eight deer.    they had fortunately discovered a ford on Collins's Creek where they were enabled to pass it with their horses and had hunted at the quawmash ground where we first met with the Chopunnish last fall. [1]    deer were very abundant they informed us, but there were not many bear. The sick Cheif was much better this morning he can use his hands and arms and seems much pleased with the prospect of recovering, he says he feels much better than he has for a great number of months. I sincerely wish these sweats may restore him; we have consented that he should still remain with us and repeat these sweats.    he set up a great proportion of the day.—    The Child is also better, he is free of fever, the imposthume is not so large but seems to be advancing to maturity.—    since my arrival here I have killed several birds [2] of the corvus genus [EC: Picicorvus] of a kind found only in the rocky mountains and their neighbourhood. I first met with this bird above the three forks of the Missouri and saw them on the hights of the rocky Mountains but never before had an opportunity of examining them closely.    the small corvus [3] [EC: Perisoreus] discribed at Fort Clatsop is a different speceis, tho' untill now I had taken it to be the same, this is much larger and has a loud squawling note something like the mewing of a cat.    the beak of this bird is 1½ inches long, is proportionably large, black and of the form which characterizes the genus.    the upper exceeds the under chap a little.    the head and neck are also proportionably large.    the eye full and reather prominent, the iris dark brown and puple black.    it is about the size and somewhat the form of the Jaybird tho reather rounder or more full in the body.    the tail is four and a half inches in length, composed of 12 feathers nearly of the same length.    the head neck and body of this bird are of a dove colour.    the wings are black except the extremities of six large fathers ocupying the middle joint of the wing which are white.    the under disk of the wing is not of the shining or grossy black which marks it's upper surface.    the two feathers in the center of the tail are black as are the two adjacent feathers for half their width the ballance are of a pure white.    the feet and legs are black and imbricated with wide scales.    the nails are black and remarkably long and sharp, also much curved.    it has four toes on each foot of which one is in the rear and three in front.    the toes are long particularly that in the rear.    this bird feeds on the seed of the pine and also on insects.    it resides in the rocky mountains at all seasons of the year, and in many parts is the only bird to be found.—    our hunters brought us a large hooting Owl [4] [EC: Scotiaptex cinerea] which differs considerably from those of the Atlantic States which are also common here.    the plumage of this owl is an uniform mixture of dark yellowish brown and white, in which the dark brown predominates.    it's colour may be properly termed a dark iron grey.    the plumage is very long and remarkably silky and soft.    these have not the long feathers on the head which give it the appearance of ears or horns.    the leathers of the head are long narrow and closely set, they rise upwright nearly to the extremity and then are bent back sudonly as iff curled.    a kind of ruff of these feathers incircle the thoat.    the head has a flat appearance being broadest before and behind and is 1 foot 10 Is. in circumference.    incircling the eyes and extending from them like rays from the center a tissue of open hairy long feathers are placed of a light grey colour, these conceal the ears which are very large and are placed close to the eyes behind and extending below them.    these feathers meet over the beak which they nearly conceal and form the face of the owl.    they eyes are remarkably large and prominant, the iris of a pale goald colour and iris circular and of a deep sea green.    the beak is short and wide at it's base. the upper chap is much curved at the extremity and comes down over and in front of the under chap.    this bird is about the size of the largest hooting Owl.    the tail is composed of eleven feathers, of which those in the center are reather the longest.    it is booted to the extremity of the toes, of which it has four on each foot, one in the rear one on the outer side and two in front.    the toes are short particularly that in rear, but are all armed with long keen curved nails of a dark brown colour.    the beak is white and nostrils circular large and unconnected.    the habits and the note of this owl is much that of the common large hooting owl.—


We sent Goodrich to the Village of the broken Arm for hair to Stuff Saddle pads. Jo. & R. Fields Set out this morning to hunt towards the mountains.    at noon Shabono York and Lapage returned.    they had obtained 4 bags of the dried roots of Cowse and Some bread.    in the evening Collins, Shannon & Colter returned with 8 deer.    they fortunately discovered a ford on Collin's Creek where they were enable to pass it with there horses and had hunted at the quawmash Grounds where we first met with the Chopunnish last fall.    deer were verry abundant they informed us, but there was not many bear. The Sick Chief is much better this morning    he can use his hands and arms and Seems much pleased with the prospects of recovering, he Says he feels much better than he has done for a great Number of Months. I Sincerly wish that the Swetts may restore him. I have Consented to repeet the Sweets. [5]

The Country along the rocky mountains for Several hundred Miles in length and about 50 in width is leavel extremely fertile and in many parts Covered with a tall and opult. growth of the long leafed pine.    near the Watercourses the hills are lofty tho' are covered with a good Soil and not remarkably Stoney and possess more timber than the leavel country. the bottom lands on the Water courses are reather narrow and confined tho' fertile and Seldom inundated.    this Country would form an extensive Settlement; the Climate appears quit as mild as that of a Similar latitude on the Atlantic Coast; & it cannot be otherwise than healthy; it possesses a fine dry pure air.    the grass and maney plants are now upwards of Knee high. I have no doubt that this tract of Country if Cultivated would produce in great abundance every article esentially necessary to the comfort and Subsistence of civillized man.    to it's present inhabitents nature Seems to have dealt with a liberal hand, for she has distributed a great variety of esculent plants over the face of the Country which furnish them a plentiful Store of provisions; those are acquired but little toil; and then prepared after the method of the nativs afford not only a nutricious but an agreeable food.    among other roots those Called by them the Quawmash and Cows are esteemd. the most agreeable and valuable as they are also the most abundant in those high plains.

The Cows is a knobbed root of an erregularly rounded form not unlike the Gensang in form and Consistence; this root they Collect, rub off a thin black rhind which Covers it and pounding it exposes it in cakes to the Sun.    these Cakes are about an inch and ¼ thick and 6 by 18 in wedth, when dry they either eat this bread alone without any further preperation, or boil it and make a thick Musilage; the latter is most common & much the most agreeable.    the flower of this root is not very unlike the gensang—.    this root they Collect as early as the Snow disappears in the Spring, and Continues to collect it untill the Quawmash Supplies it's place which happins about the Middle of June.    the quawmash is also Collected for a fiew weeks after it first makes it's appearance in the Spring, but when the scape appears it is no longer fit for use untill the Seed are ripe which happens about the time just mentioned.    and then the Cows declines. The Cows is also frequently dried in the Sun and pounded afterwards and used in thickening Supe and Makeing Mush.

The Chopunnish held a Council in the morning of the 12th among themselves in respect to the Subject on which we had Spoken to them the day before, [6] the result as we learnt was favourable, they placed Confidence in the information they had recived and resolved to pursue our advise.    after this Council was over the principal Chief or the broken arm, took the flour of the roots of Cows and thickened the Soup in the Kitiles and baskets of all his people, this being ended he made a harangue the purpote of which was makeing known the deliberations of their councils and impressing the necessity of unanimity among them, and a strict attention to the resolution which had been agreed on in Councell; he concluded by enviting all such men as had resolved to abide by the decree of the councill to come and eat, and requested Such as would not be So bound to Show themselves by not partakeing of the feast. I was told by one of our men who was present in the house, that there was not a decenting voice on this great National question, but all Swallowed their objections if any they had, very cheerfully with their mush—.    dureing the time of this loud animated harangue of the Chief the women Cryed wrung their hands, tore their hair and appeared to be in the utmost distress.    after this cerimoney was over, the Chiefs and considerate men came in a body to where we were Seated at a little distance from our tent, and two young men at the instance of the nation presented Capt L. and myself each a fine horse.    and informed us that they had listened with attentioned to what we had Said and were resolved to pursue our Counsels &c.—    That as we had not seen the Black foot Indians and the Minetaries of Fort dePrarie they did not think it safe to venter over to the plains of the Missouri, where they would fondly go provided those nations would not kill them.    that when we had established a tradeing house on the Missouri as we had promised they would Come over and trade for arms Amunition &c. and live about us.    that it would give them much pleasure to be at peace with those nations altho' they had Shed much of their blood—. They Said that they were pore but their hearts were good.    we might be assured of their sincerety. Some of their brave men would go over with us to the Missouri and bring them the news as we wished, and if we Could make a peace between them[Selves] and their enimies on the other Side of the mountains their nation would go over to the Missouri in the latter end of the Summer.    on the Subject of one of their Chiefs accompanying us to the land of the White men they Could not yet determine, but that they would let us know before we left them. that the Snow was yet so deep in the Mountains that if we attempted to pass, we would Certainly perish, and advised us to remain untill after the next full Moon when the Snow would disappear on the South hill sides and we would find grass for our horses.—. Shabonos Child is better this day that he was yesterday.    he is free from fever.    the imposthume is not So large but Seems to be advanceing to meturity—.


Wednesday 28th May 1806.    we Set out eairly    the old chief and an other Indn went with us.    we rode on a plain about 2 hours then left the road and bore South thro an unlevel timbred country untill towards evening. Saw Several big horn animel or mountain Sheep and Saw 14 deer in this timbred country    Some Spots of Snow & falling timber.    had a hard Thunder Shower.    towards evening we descended a bad hill down on a creek [7]    followed it down Some distance and arived at a village where we Camped.


Wednesday 28th.    There was a cloudy foggy morning. Some hunters [8] went out this morning, and in the afternoon three of them [9] came in with eight deer; at the same time three more of our men [10] returned from the villages.

1. Weippe Prarie, in Clearwater County, Idaho. Atlas map 71. (back)
2. Clark's nutcracker, Nucifraga columbiana [AOU, 491], first observed on August 22, 1805, and now given its first full description. Named for Clark by Alexander Wilson, who also included a drawing of it in his published ornithology. Coues's penciled term Picicorvus was the bird's genus name in his time. Coues (HLC), 3:1028 n. 20; Cutright (LCPN), 383–87; Burroughs, 251–52; Holmgren, 29. It was probably Biddle who drew a red vertical line through the descriptive passage and two more through descriptive passages below. (back)
3. Presumably the gray jay, Perisoreus canadensis [AOU, 484], described on December 18, 1805. The "Jaybird" is the blue jay, Cyanocitta cristata [AOU, 477]. (back)
4. The great gray owl, a new species. See Clark's brief description at May 23, 1806. (back)
5. Much of what follows in this entry is copied from Lewis's entries of some weeks earlier; see May 9 and 12, 1806. (back)
6. The words from the "12th" to about here appear to have replaced some erasures. (back)
7. According to John J. Peebles, "The Return of Lewis and Clark," Idaho Yesterdays 10 (Summer 1966): 21, the party continued west on Lawyer Creek, then overland southwesterly to Deer Creek, descended it a ways, and camped for the night. The camp would have been near the LewisNez Perce county line, Idaho, above Deer Creek's entrance into the Salmon River. More recently, Merle Wells of the Idaho Historical Society has been at work tracing Ordway's route. Personal communication, September 14, 1990. Wells has the party follow Lawyer Creek west to Mitchell Creek, move northwesterly up it a distance, then go overland to return to Lawyer Creek, follow it a short distance before breaking off overland again, and finally descend to the Salmon along a route paralleling Deer Creek but to the west of that stream. Both accounts have to rely on what seems the most plausible route since Ordway's description is not detailed enough to allow a precise tracing. Lewis summarizes Ordway's journey in his entry for June 2, 1806. (back)
8. According to Lewis and Clark, the Field brothers. (back)