|June 08, 1805
It continued to rain moderately all last night this morning was cloudy
untill about ten oClock when it cleared off and became a fine day. we
breakfasted and set out about sunrise and continued our rout down the river bottoms
through the mud and water as yesterday, tho' the road was somewhat better than yesterday
and we were not so often compelled to wade in the river. we passed some
dangerous and difficult bluffs. The river bottoms affording all the timber which is
to be seen in the country they are filled with innumerable little birds that resort
thither either for shelter or to build their nests. when sun began to shine
today these birds appeared to be very gay and sung most inchantingly; I observed among
them the brown thrush, Robbin, turtle dove, linnit [The linnit is possibly the
Pine Siskin, Carduelis pinus.] goaldfinch [The
"goaldfinch" is the American Goldfinch, Carduelus tristis.],
the large and small blackbird, wren [The wren is likely the Winter Wren, Trogladytes
troglodytes.] and several other birds of less note. some of the
inhabitants of the praries also take reffuge in these woods at night or from a storm.
The whole of my party to a man except myself were fully peswaided that this river
was the Missouri, but being fully of opinion that it was neither the main stream, nor that
which it would be advisable for us to take, I determined to give it a name and in honour
of Miss Maria W----d. called it Maria's River. it is true that the hue of the
waters of this turbulent and troubled stream but illy comport with the pure celestial
virtues and amiable qualifications of that lovely fair one; but on the other hand it is a
noble river; one destined to become in my opinion an object of contention between the two
great powers of America and Great Britin with rispect to the adjustment of the
Northwestwardly boundary of the former; and that it will become one of the most
interesting brances of the Missouri in a commercial point of view, I hve but little doubt,
as it abounds with anamals of the fur dind, and most probably furnishes a safe and derect
communication to that productive country of valuable furs exclusively enjoyed at present
by the subjects of his Britanic Majesty; in adition to which it passes through a rich
fertile and one of the most beatifully picteresque countries that I ever beheld, through
the wide expance of which, innumerable herds of living anamals are seen, it's borders
garnished with one continued garden of roses, while it's lofty and open forrests, are the
habitation of miriads of the feathered tribes who salute the ear of the passing traveler
with their wild and simple, yet s[w]eet and cheerfull melody.-- I
arrived at camp about 5 OClock in the evening much fatiegued, where I found Capt. Clark
and the ballance of the party waiting our return with some anxiety for our safety having
been absent near two days longer than we had engaged to return. on our way to
camp we had killed 4 deer and two Antelopes; the skins of which as well as those we killed
while on the rout we brought with us. Maria's river may be stated generally from
sixty to a hundred yards wide, with a strong and steady current and possessing 5 feet
water in the most sholly party.--
As the incidents which occurred Capt. C. during his rout will be more fully and
satisfactoryley expressed by himself I here insert a copy of his journal during the days
we wer seperated.-- [The period included June 4-8, because of only minor
differences in presentation it is not included with Lewis's account.]
I now gave myself this evening to rest from my labours, took a drink of grog and gave
the men who had accompanyed me each a dram. Capt. Clark ploted the courses of the
two rivers as far as we had ascended them. I now began more than ever to suspect the
varacity of Mr. Fidler or the correctness of his instruments. for I see that
Arrasmith in his late map of N. America has laid down a remarkable mountain in the chain
of the Rocky mountains called the tooth nearly as far South as Latitude 45o,
and this is said to be from the discoveries of Mr. Fidler. [Peter Fidler, surveyor
for the Hudson's Bay Company, provided the information included in Aaron Arrowsmith's map
of 1802. Fidler had only been as far south as 45o N. Latitude and no
farther south than the Oldman River in southern Alberta, approximately 50o N.
Fidler obtained his information in 1801 from a Blackfeet chief by the name
Ackomokki. Fiddler located the rivers and mountains too far south due to his
estimate of distance based on the Indian practice of indicating distance in days traveled
rather than miles traveled.] we are now within a hundred miles of the
Rocky Mountains, and I fond from my observation of the 3rd Inst that the latitude of this
place is 47o 24' 12.8". the river must therefore turn much to the
South, between this and the rocky Mountain to have permitted Mr. Fidler to have passed
along the Eastern border of these mountians as far S. as nearly 45o without
even seeing it. but from hence as far as Capt. C. had ascended the S. fork or
Missouri being the distance of 55 miles it's course is S. 29o W.
and it still appeared to bear considerably to the W. of South as far as he could see it.
I think therefore that we shall find that the Missouri enters the rock mountains to
the North of 45o-- we did take the liberty of placing his
discoveries or at least the Southern extremity of them about a degree further N. in the
sketh which we sent on to the government this spring mearly from the Indian information of
the bearing from Fort Mandan of the entrance of the Missouri into the Rocky Mountains, and
I reather suspect that actual observation will take him at least one other degree further
North. The general Course of Maria's river from hence to the extremity of the last
course taken by Sergt. pryor is N 69o W. 59 mes.--
June 08, 1805
rained moderately all the last night & Some this morning untill 10 oClock, I am
Some what uneasy for Capt. Lewis & party as days has now passed the time he was to
have returned, I had all the arms put in order and permited Severall men to hunt, aired
and dried our Stores &c. The rivers at this point has fallen 6 Inches Sinc our
arrival, at 10 oClock cleared away and became fair-- the wind all the morning
from the S.W. & hard-- The water of the South fork is of a redish brown colour
this morning the other river of a whitish colour as usual--The mountains to the South
Covered with Snow. Wind Shifted to the N E in the evening, about 5 oClock Capt.
Lewis arrived with the party much fatigued, and inform'd me that he had assended the river
about 60 miles by Land and that the river had a bold current of about 80 or 100 yards wide
the bottoms of Gravel & mud, and my be estimated at 5 feet water in Sholest parts
The courses which Capt. Lewi went to examine the N. fork of the Missouri
the 4th of June 1805
|N. 30o W.
||to a hite on the Stard Side from the top of this hite
the N. Mountains appear to turn to the N. & terminiate, they bear N. 48o
E about 30 miles, the countrey is a leavel plain-- The South mountains bear S, and
appear to terminate, bearing S. 80o W. 35 ms The barn mountains S.
38o W. 40, the river on the left appears to be turning to the N.W.
|N. 70o W.
||to the N.E. of a high hill
|N. 15o W.
||to the river bluff
|N. 30o W.
||to the mouth of a large Creek on Lard. Side a chain of high
hills which run parrelal to the river on the S. Side cease
|N. 20o E
||to the river Bluffs camped. a Dry
creek falls in at the end of the Course on the Stard. Side from the N E.
|N. 50o W.
||up the river
||The Tower Mountain bore N. 52 W. about 60
miles a high single Mtn.
|S. 60o W.
||allong the river
|S. 10o W.
||allong the river
|N. 50o W.
||allong the river
||to the river bluff across a Plain river haveing a
considerable bend to the South. Cntr. of bend 5 ms.
|N. 80o W.
||miles on the river
|S. 70o W
||to a high hill on S. S. 2 1/2 miles N. from the river in a
|S. 80o W.
||m. with the genl. course of the river the
Countrey leavele open Plain, near the river Steep reveins the bottoms narrow
but well timbered, bluff 1/4 to 3/4 asunder. The Countrey as far as Could be Seen is
a leavel plain
Some rain in the evening. the left hand fork rose a little.
June 08, 1805
Some cloudy. the wind blew cold from the N.W. Several men went out
from Camp to hunt-- about 9 oClock A.M. cleared off pleasant. the
Indian goods &.C. put out to air. we Saw the high Mountains to the West.
our Camp covered with Snow the greater part of which has fell within a fiew
days. the South fork of the Missourie is high & of a yallow coulour.
the N. fork is more white than common owing as we expect to the late rain
which has melted the Snow on the mountains. about 3 oClock P.M. Capt. Lewis
& his party returned to Camp, & Informed us that they had walked through high
plains for about 60 miles up the north fork. they found that it holds its
bigness, & depth of water bottoms of timber which is covered with game.
they killed a nomber of buffalow, 16 Deer 6 Elk & a brarow. they Saw a
range of Mountains to the South of them. [The Highwood Mountains.]
Capt Lewis thinks that the N. fork bears too far north for our course for if we Should
take the wrong fork we Should have much further to go by land & more mountains to
cross to git over the Columbia River which descends to the western ocean. So our
Captains conclude to assend the South fork and burry Some articles which we can do without
& leave the largest perogue. they named the North fork River Mariah
and the middle or little River named Tanzey River. the water & bottoms in
everry respect of each resimbles the Missourie below the forks. only Smaller.
we put a brand on a tree which Stood on the point. the men generally in camp
has been employed dressing Skins &.C--
June 08, 1805
a fine cool morning. About 10 o'clock A.M. the water of the South river, or
branch, became almost of the colour of claret [A reddish-brown color according to
Clark.], and remained so all day. The water of the other branch has the
appearance of milk when contrasted with the water of this branch in its present state.
About 4 in the afternoon Captain Lewis and his party came to camp. They had been up
the North branch about 60 miles, and found it navigable that distance; not so full of
islands as the other branch and a greater quantity of timber near it and plenty of game,
which is not the case on the South branch. Its bearing something north of west a
considerable distance, and then to the south of west. The party while out killed 18
deer and some elk. From the appearance of the river where they left it to return,
they supposed it might be navigable a considerable distance further. They saw no
mountains ahead, but one off towards the north [Lewis's Tower Mountain.]:
it was not covered with snow like those we had seen. both these rivers abound in
fish; and we caught some of different kinds, but not large. About five o'clock in
the afternoon the weather became cloudy and cold, and it began to rain. The officers
concluded that the south branch was the most proper to ascend, which they think is the
Missouri. [See June 9, 1805.] The other they called Maria's river.
June 08, 1805
Some cloudy. the wind blew cold from the N.W. Several men went out to
hunt. about 9 oC. cleared off pleasant. the Indian goods &c
put out to air. we Saw the high mountain to the west of us covered with Snow.
the South fork of the Missourie is high & of a yallow coulour to day,
& the North fork more white & rile than before, owing as we expect to the rains
& Snow melting above, on the mountains. about 3 oClock P.M. Capt. Lewis
& party returned to Camp, & informed us that they had been about 60 miles distant
up the north fork, had traveled through high plains the greater part of the way.
they found that the N. fork keeps its bigness, pleanty of water, considerable
of timber in the bottoms & an amence cite of game. they killed a great
deal of Elk Buffalow Deer &c. &c. but Capt. Lewis thinks that the N. fork bears
too far North for our course to cross the Mountains, for if we Should take the wrong
River, we Should have more mountains to cross & further to go by land to git to the
Columbia River, which we have to descend to the west. So the Capt. conclude to take the
South fork & proceed, and named the North fork River Mariah, but it has the
resemblence of the Missourie below the forks in everry respect, & the middle fork they
name Tanzey River the water &c. of which resembles the Missourie also. the men
in Camp generally employed Dressing Skins &c--
towards evening the hunters all returned had killed Sevl. Elk 13 deer and one beaver.
the wind blew from the East, a light Shower of rain this evening.
June 08, 1805
This morning we had Cloudy weather, and the Wind blowing from the North west; several
of our Men went out to hunt, About 7 oClock A.M. the weather cleared off, and became
pleasant, the Indians Goods were all put out to air, We saw on the Weather clearing away,
a high mountain; lying to the West of us; which was covered with snow, The South fork of
the River Mesouri rose to a great heighth, the Water being of a Yellowish Colour today;
and the North fork more White and riffling than it was before, the cause of which, we
expect, is owing to the Rain that fell lately, and the snow melting in the Mountains.
About 3 o'Clock P.M. Captain Lewis & party returned to Camp, and inform'd us,
that they had been about 60 Miles distant, up the North fork of the Mesouri River, &
that they had travelled, through high plains, the greater part of the way; they found that
the North Fork, kept its width, and plenty of Water, as far as they had been up it.--
The party under Captain Lewis found plenty of timber in the bottoms, they Land
extreamly good, and game of all kinds in the greatest abundance, they had killed a great
many Buffalo, Elk, deer and other game, Captain Lewis mentioned, that the North fork of
the Rive, bore too far to the Northward, to be our Course to cross the Mountains; and
mentioned, that if we should take the wrong river, that we should have more mountains to
cross, and a farther distance to travel by land to get to the Columbia River; which we had
to descend, it lying to the Westward, Our Officers concluded on proceeding up the South
fork of the River, which they deemed as entitled to the Name of the Mesouri River, it
being by far the largest; and named the North fork, Maria's River. This River Maria,
has the resemblance of the Mesouri below the forks, in every respect. The middle
fork they named Tanzey River; from the great quantity of that herb, which grows wild in
its bottoms-- The Tanzey River, is the small River mention'd, which Captain Clarks
party came down, on their return to Camp; after having bee to take a view, of the South
fork.-- The Water, banks, &ca has also the resemblance of the Mesouri River in
every respect.-- The Hunters returned in the Evening and had killed 7 Elk, 3 deer,
& 1 Beaver, which was brought to our Camp, We had a light shower of Rain and the Wind
from the Eastward towards Night.--