August 27, 1806
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

August 27, 1806


Set out before Sunrise    a Stiff breeze a head from the East proceeded to the enterance of Tylors river on the S W Side and landed on a Sand bar and Sent out the hunters to kill Some meat, our Stock of meat being now exousted and this the most favourable place to precure a fresh Supply, the hunters returned in 3 hours without haveing killed any thing. they informed me that the bottoms were entirely beaten up and the grass laid flat by the emence number of Buffalow which had been here a Short time past.    the deer had left the bottom.    they Saw several Buffalow Bulls which they did not think proper to kill as they were unfit for use. here we discover the first Signs of the wild turkey. [1] at 1 P M we halted in the big bend [2] and killed a fat buck elk near the river, which was very timely as our meat was entirely exhosted.    at 2 P. M we again proceeded on down saw Several Buffalow Bulls on each Side of the river also Some deer of the Common kind. [3]    at 6 P. M. we herd the bellowing of the Buffalow Bulls in the lower Isld. of the Big bend below the Gouge [4] which induced a belief that there was Some fat Cows, 5 men went out from the 2 Small Canoes which was a little a head, and killed two Cows one Bull and a Calf nether of them wer fat we droped the Perogue & Canoes to the lower part of the Island near to where the buffalow was killed and incamped haveing Come 45 Miles only to day.    had the buffalow butched and brought in and divided. My friend Capt Lewis hurt himself very much be takeing a longer walk on the Sand bar in my absence at the buffalow than he had Strength to undergo, which Caused him to remain very unwell all night.


Wednesday 27th August 1806.    a fair morning.    we Set out eairly and procd. on a Short distance    Saw a number of buffaloe    halted about one hour to hunt but killed nothing then procd. on    passed the mouth of Teton river [5] and passing round the grand turn or grand bend we killed an Elk and took on board all the meat    in the evening we Camped on a large Island which was covd with thin timber and tall grass where we killed 4 out of a large gang [of buffalo] and Saved the best of the meat.    the Musqutoes verry troublesome indeed


Wednesday 27th.    We again had a pleasant day and embarked early; proceeded on till we came to the upper end of the Great-bend, and there stopped to hunt. As our hunters saw no game, we in a short time continued our voyage round the bend; at the lower end of which we killed an elk. As we were passing an island, we saw a gang of buffaloe feeding on it; when we halted and killed three of them, and encamped on the island for the night. [6]

1. The wild turkey, Meleagris gallopavo [AOU, 310]. (back)
2. The Big Bend, or Grand Detour, of the Missouri River, enclosing land in Lyman County, South Dakota, appears prominently on Atlas map 22; Lewis and Clark first passed it on September 20 and 21, 1804. Mattison (BB), 258; MRC map 38. (back)
3. The white-tailed deer of the eastern United States. (back)
4. The nameless island at the lower end of the Big Bend on Atlas map 22, also unnamed on MRC map 38, perhaps the Brule Island of Mattison (BB), 252. Now under Lake Sharpe (Big Bend Reservoir), between Lyman and Buffalo counties, South Dakota, it was the site of their camp for this day. For the problem of identifying the "Lower Island Creek" of the Atlas map, opposite whose mouth the island lies, see September 19, 1804. MRY maps 53, 54. (back)
5. Ordway probably means "Tylor's" River, modern Medicine River, in Lyman County, South Dakota. (back)
6. McKeehan's note: "In a former geographical note (p. 62) [Ed: see Gass's entry of November 29, 1804 ] we stated that the place where Mr. Thompson, Astronomer to the North West Company, took his observations in the year 1798 to ascertain the latitude and longitude of the northern bend of the Missouri, was near the longitude of the Mandan villages. If what MrThompson called the northern bend is the same with what Mr Gass calls the great bend (of which there appears little doubt) the longitude of the Mandan villages will be between two and three degrees west of the northern, or great bend; or in about longitude 104 degrees west of London, 29 degrees west of Philadelphia, 11 1.2 degrees west of the mouth of the Missouri, and nearly 20 degrees east of the mouth of the Columbia. This will still show the great errors of those maps of Louisiana, which place the Mandan villages 20 degrees west of the longitude of the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi; and less than 12 degrees east of that of the mouth of the Columbia."

David Thompson, to whom McKeehan refers, was a trader and surveyor for the North West Company who made the first detailed maps, based on observation, of many areas of western Canada and the Northwest United States. He visited the Mandan and Hidatsa villages in 1797 and took observations which went into his map of 1798, the one mentioned here. Gass's Great Bend is the Big Bend, or Grand Detour, of the Missouri in South Dakota, where the river makes a loop, a feature appearing on maps before Lewis and Clark. McKeehan has confused it with the presently named Great Bend in North Dakota, where the Missouri turns from a generally easterly to a generally southeasterly course. David Thompson was in the neighborhood of the Great Bend, somewhat below, when he visited the Mandan-Hidatsa villages. He never saw the Big Bend.