From Washington Historical Quarterly Vol. VI (1915), pp. 26-49
This is a chronological resumption of the journal published in the last number of this Quarterly and which stopped abruptly just before Mr. Work arrived at Fort Vancouver on the 12th of June, 1826. The "brigade" now returns up the Columbia and the initial entry in the journal tells us very clearly what the word "brigade" as used by the fur traders actually meant. The various chief factors, chief traders and clerks have spent a very enjoyable three weeks together at the original Fort Vancouver, situated on the higher land northeast of the later stockade and buildings which were known to the pioneers of Oregon. This second Fort was built in 1828.
It is rather an interesting company of which Mr. Work becomes
the chronicler. William Connolly is bound for Fort St. James on
Lake Stuart in the northern interior of what is now British
Columbia, but was then called New Caledonia; he is already a
chief factor and is in charge of that District. It was over the
rich estate left by Mr. Connolly after his death that a certain
famous contest took place in the courts of Montreal or Quebec
which established finally the legal status of the common law
marriage of the fur traders with native Indians when residing in
the Indian Country. James Douglas, clerk, who married a daughter
of William Connolly and afterward became a chief factor at this
same Fort Vancouver and still later the governor of Vancouver
Island, was also en route for Fort St. James. Archibald
MacDonald, clerk, had probably been upon a brief visit to his son
Ronald, then a little more than two years of age and in the care
of the grandfather, Chief Comcomly of the Chinook tribe residing
opposite to Astoria or Fort George, and was returning to either
Kamloops or Alexandria. Mr. F. Annance, another clerk, was also
bound for one of the New Calendonia posts. Doctor McLoughlin and
Thom. McKay were sending their children across the Rocky
Mountains to be educated. Finan MacDonald's Kootenay or Spokane
wife was starting to meet her husband further up the river and
with him to cross the Rocky Mountains for permanent residence.
The route followed by Mr. Work takes him over practically the
same line of travel he covered in the previous year and described
by him in the journal published in Vol. V. of this Quarterly,
except that his destination was the newly occupied trading post
above Kettle Falls named Fort Colvile. The route includes The
Dalles, Old Fort Walla Walla, the site of Lewiston in Idaho and
of the present city of Spokane. At Celilo Falls the botanist,
David Douglas, joins the party for the rest of the journey.
This journal furnishes the record of the first grain crops raised in what is now Stevens County, Washington, and of the first litter of pigs born there. No opportunity has been afforded to compare this text with the original journal, which is among the archives at Victoria, British Columbia.
|T. C. ELLIOTT.|
Tuesday, July 5th, 1826.(1)
Overcast. showery weather. At about 1 o'clock the Brigade for the
interior under the command of Mr. Connelly, consisting of 9 boats
six men pr boat, left Fort Vancouver. Messrs A. McDonald, J.
Douglas, F. Annance, J. Cortin and J. Work passengers, also their
women, and 9 children, viz.- Dr. McLaughlin's family, Mr. F.
McDonald's family, and 2 children of Mr. McKay. The cargoes
consist of 72 pieces for Ft. Colville, 52 for Thompsons Riv, 60
for Nez Perce, 106 for N. Caledonia, and 1 for York Factory,
including private orders. Besides 57 pieces of provisions, 36 of
corn, 9 of pease. 9 Ind meal. 3 of grease, for the men, and 12
1/2 pieces for the gentlemen for the voyage. Besides the
families' baggage and 4 cases muskets and a trading chest. In the
evening encamped on an island,(2)
a little below Sand River. The water is very high and the current
very strong. Mr. McDonald's boat struck against the end of a tree
which went through fortunately the injury was at low water.
Wednesday, 6th. Showery, raw cold weather. Resumed our journey
at daylight, and encamped a little below the cascades. Lost a
little time repairing the boat that was broken yesterday. Bought
a sufficiency of salmon in the evening to serve all (hands) for a
Thursday, 7th. Overcast weather some showers. The people were
at work at an early hour and proceeded to New Portage(3) with half cargo and (sent) the
canoe back for the remainder. The boats and cargoes were carried
across the portage and the boats with half cargoes taken to the
cascades where we encamped four of the gentlemen stoped with the
remainder of the property at the portage. Notwithstanding the
height of the water we got up better than we expected. Bought a
sufficiency of fine salmon to serve the people two days and very
cheap. The Indians are taking a great many salmon. A good many
Indians are about the place, but they are very quiet. Kept watch.
Friday, 8 Showery in the morning. In the morning the boats
were taken down to New Portage for the remainder of the cargoes
and the boats and property afterwards carried across the cascades
portage(4) which we left towards
evening with a sail wind which continued till we encamped. Some
time was occupied in the morning gumming the boats. The portage
at the cascades was not so long as when the water was low. Traded
enough of fine salmon to serve the people two days. We have
enough now to last us fill we reach the Dalles.
One of Mr. McDonald's men, J. Cortin, got his feet lamed by
which he is hardly able to walk. An Indian slave was employed to
go in the boat.
Saturday 9 Fair weather. Continued our journey at an early
hour, and encamped a little below the Dalles(5)
early in the evening. Had a fine sail wind all day, were detained
some time repairing Mr. McDonald's boat which sustained damage by
striking a stone. Some Indians visited our camp in the evening.
Sunday 10 Fair pleasant weather. Got underway before sunrise
and soon reached the Dalles, and by carrying, lightening and
dragging up the boats by the line, got about half way across,(6) where we encamped for the night.
There are a great many Indians but a square is formed with the
boats round the property. Traded a great many salmon in the
evening very cheap.
In the evening Messrs. F. McDonald T. McKy, T. Dears arrived
at the other end of the portage with two boats and 18 men and
part of the Snake expedition furs from Wallawalla, on the way to
Ft. Vancouver, Mr. Ogden(7) and
part of the men are gone by the Willamut mountains with horses.
The Snake returns will be but indifferent. Mr D. Douglas(8) also came with the party to meet
Monday. July 11 Pleasant weather. The boats and property were
carried across the portage in the morning (when we) took
breakfast - and the chutes(9)
which we also crossed, having to make only a short portage on
account of the high water and proceeded to the little river(10) above the chutes where we
encamped for the night. The Snake party also proceeded on to Fort
Vancouver. Messrs Douglas and F. McDonald return with us. J.
Confin who got hurt at the cascades was sent back to the Fort. -
Some time was taken repairing the boats in the evening. A dog,
with a pistol and an axe and some other things were stole
yesterday, the pistol and the axe were recovered. There are
several Indians about the Dales and about the chutes. I wrote to
Mr McLaughlin requesting that he would send one of the Snake men
Michel Laporte, to Spokane to act as interpreter for the
Tuesday 12 Warm sultry weather. Continued our route before
sunrise and encamped early in the evening about 15 miles above
Day's River(11) to gum the boats
The current is very strong and there being no wind we made but a
short days march. There are a good many Indians along the river,
but owing to the height of the water they are not getting any
salmon. Bought about 20 at one camp.
The water has fallen about 4 feet since it was at its height.
The water appears from drift trees on the shore, to have been
much higher some years (ago) than they are.
Wed.y. 12th Fine weather, fresh breeze from the Westward.
Embarked before sunrise and had a nice sail wind all day.
Encamped in the evening a little below Big Island.(12) A good many Indians along the
river, but not many salmon.
Thursday 13 Sultry warm weather. Continued our journey early
and had a sail wind part of the day. Encamped in the evening a
little above Grand Rapid.(13)
Bought a few salmon, to serve the gentlemen. Few are to be got.
Friday 14 Embarked early and arrived at Ft. Nezperces,(14) about 1 o'clock. Sail wind part
of the day. The weather very warm. The cargoes are separated, and
that of Nezperces delivered.
Satd.y. 15 The weather very warm, though stormy. It was
expected that a number of horses that are required could be
procured from the Indians at Nezperces, but after different
councils, and consultations and speeches on both sides it turned
out that a promise had been made to the Nezperces Indians to go
and trade on their lands which if not fulfilled would disoblige
them and make them less inclined to trade.
Sunday 16th Stormy but warm weather. The forepart of the day
occupied with more councils and making presents to the Indians as
return for some horses which they had presented before. 7 or 8
horses were afterwards traded,- It appeared however that the
number required could not be got in time, and the trading trip up
Nezperces River was determined on.
(Learned) that the F. Head trade would not suffer but as
little as possible by the late arrival of the boats at Colville,
Mr. Kittson(15) with the Colville
and Mountain boats is to proceed at once to Colville while I am
to accompany the trading party and after completing the trade to
accompany the party across land and proceed to Colville where I
expect to arrive as soon as the boats. By this method no time
will be lost whereas had all the Colville men gone to the horse
trade the Flat Head summer trade would have been lost as it is it
will be too late but it cannot be helped.
Monday 17 Stormy in the night and blowing fresh during the day
but nevertheless warm. The outfit for the horse trade was packed
up in the morning and about 3 o'clock in the afternoon the party
consisting of Mr A. McDonald, J. Douglas, F, Annance and myself,
an interpreter and 28 men and the Indian chief Charlie embarked
in two boats and proceded till a short way up the Nezperces River(16) where we encamped for the
night. Bought two or three pieces of salmon from the Indians.- I
am directed if possible to purchase at least 60-70 horses, more
if possible, 20 of them are for Ft. Colville, the others to go to
Okanogan. Mr. D. Douglas(17)
accompanies us to make collections of plants.
Tuesday 18 Weather warm but fine breezes. Continued our
journey before sunrise, and had a good sail wind all day. Camped
at night a considerable distance below Flag River.(18) The current very strong and the
water high, though it has fallen about 8 feet since its greatest
height this season. Several Indian lodges along the river brought
a few pieces of fish and half dry salmon. Salmon are very dear
here. The Indians have few to spare.
Wedy 19th Very warm sultry weather no wind. Embarked early,
passed the Flag River about 3 o'clock and encamped late in the
evening a good way above it. - Got very few salmon though we saw
a good many Indians. Salmon is very scarce, Traded a small
sturgeon.-were detained some time by the Indians offering horses
for sale but they would not accept the prices offered. A party of
them accompany us on horse back along shore.
Thursday 20 Clear very warm weather very little wind.
Proceeded on our journey early in the morning and encamped early
in the evening at a camp of the Pelushes, Colatouche chief, in
expectation of buying some horses, two were offered for sale, but
the prices asked were far too high indeed the Indians appear not
to be very fond of parting with them. - Salmon are also very
(dear) we got a few pieces of dry and half dry. Since we left the
Fort we have not got in one day a sufficiency for a day's rations
for the people. however what little we do get still saves a
Friday 21. Very warm sultry weather. At noon the thermometer
in the shade was 94 degrees, and 95 degrees shortly afterwards.
We were detained waiting for the Indians who were seeking some
horses to trade, but when they arrived with them, only one small
paltry thing was offered and the price demanded could not be
given, so after losing all our morning we continued our route not
in the best humor. Passed several lodges and purchased a
sufficiency of fresh salmon for nearly a days (living) for the
people, besides some dry ones to serve the party going overland
with the horses.- Encamped in the evening a little above Le Monte(19) (which we passed about 4
o'clock.) at an Indian camp where some horses (we) expected will
be got, but we will probably be detained part of the day
tomorrow. - Numbers of the Indians some of whom refused the
prices offered them below are accompanying us along shore with
Satd.y. 22 Light clouds, very warm, though a little breeze of
wind. Did not move camp today. They were off in the forepart of
the day collecting their horses, but they would not trade till
the afternoon, when 8 horses were purchased from them at from 14
to 19 skins each They were all young horses two of them just *
but not well broke in. They are to trade three more horses
tomorrow morning. Traded 13 fresh salmon which made* a days
rations for the people. - The tardiness of the Indians trading
their horses is really vexing, they are not keen about trading.
Sunday 23 Oppressively warm weather. Thermometer 100 degrees
in the shade at noon. We were detained till near evening for the
Indians who were off seeking their horses, when they returned
they were traded, and we struck our tents and proceeded up the
river, and stoped at another lodge for a considerable time and
traded a good horse, another was offered but he was too small and
we would not take him. We then continued up the river and
encamped at another lodge where the Indians promise to sell us
some horses tomorrow. - The Indians seem very indifferent about
trading their horses, it is really provoking to be detained so
long with them. - especially when so little time is to spare.- We
have now 12 horses 8 yesterday and 4 today, 11 of which we traded
from the Dartry band.
Monday 24 Sultry warm weather. Did not move untill afternoon
as we waited till the Indians collected their horses when we
bought four one of which a small unbroke-in one was killed. - In
the evening proceeded up the river to another Indian camp and
stopped for the night as some horses are expected in the morning.
Tuesday 25. A breeze of wind the weather cooler than these
days past. Bought two horses from the Indians in the morning and
started after breakfast and stopped at different lodges as we
passed and bought four more horses, making 6 today, all pretty
good at 18 to 19 skins each. The Indians have a good many horses
but they are not eager to part with them. - Salmon very scarce,
we hardly get what fresh ones serve the mess.
Wedy 26 Weather pleasant. Continued our rout after breakfast,
and arrived at Charlie's lodge a little before the forks in the
evening. Traded two horses during the day.-
Thursday 27 A little breeze of wind pleasant weather. Traded 8 horses at Charlie's lodge and in the evening came to the Forks(20)
where we found upwards of 200 Indians (men), and two principal
chiefs Alunn and Towishpat. Gave the chiefs and some of the
principal men a dram of mixed liquor and a smok in the hut the
others got a smok and a little tobacco out of doors. Towishpal
and another principal man cut noses both presented two horses
immediately on our arrival. We are under the necessity of
accepting their presents in order to please the chiefs though we
have to give a present in return which makes the horses much
dearer in general than were we to trade them. - The Indians have
been assembled for some days and are now rather short of
Friday 28 Warm weather, a little wind afterward. No trade was
made untill after breakfast, when the Indians began to come with
horses and some chiefs presented more horses which were paid for
at a dearer rate than usual in order to encourage the others, a
brisk trade was commenced about 10 o'clock and continued untill 4
o'clock. 37 horses were traded one of which was killed. The price
was generally 19 or 20 skins few exceeding 20. They were mostly
fine horses. Our blankets and beads are getting short, which was
the cause of the trade getting slack towards evening. Blue cloth
does not take well with them.
Saturday 29 Pretty cool pleasant weather a shower in the
night. Not having the proper articles blankets and beads in
plenty the trade went on but slowly, only six horses were traded,
the Indians are doubtless debarred from trading a little by a
dance which is stirred up by a Schulas(21)
chief who arrived yesterday with (?). However we are promised a
few horses tomorrow, when we shall complete our trade and be
ready to start the day following. -
Sunday 30 Warm weather rather sultry. Early this morning a
quarrel took place between the Interpreter and the Indian chief
Charlie. It appears that an Indian woman who passed for a medical
character, had been looking at one of the mens hands which was
sore and although she exercised none of her skill either in the
application or otherwise yet she came to demand payment and
applied to the Interpreter who refused her. Charlie interfered
when some words took place and the Interpreter was called a dog,
he applied the same epithet to Charlie who took up his gun and
gave gave the other a blow, a scuffle ensued, and the noise was
the first intelligence I had of the affray, when I ran out and
found them wrestling in the other tent and the Indian getting the
better, they were separated and the Indian again flew to his gun
which was taken from him several Indians had collected by this
time, Charlie was now asked was this conduct a return for all the
kindness and attention that had been shown him, he replied that
he had been called a dog, and that he could not bear the insult,
he remained sulky and took up another gun which was also taken
from him, an Indian then took him away, Shortly a message came
for a yard of tobacco for the Indians to smok and that their
hearts would be good. Shortly after another message came for 2
fathoms more and 20 balls and powder, this was refused and word
sent to the chief that we wished to have an interview with them
Toupe came, but Charlie came accompanied by the whole of the
Indians several of them armed and took his station a short
distance from the tent where they formed a circle round us. He
was black with rage. We immediately went up to him and asked what
he meant, and was he not ashamed to begin a quarrel in such a
manner about an old woman. After some time sulky silence he
replied that his heart was bad towards nobody but Toupie, and
that he blamed him for not getting a better price for their
horses, he was immediately informed that the accusation was
false, that Toupe did nothing but what we desired him, they were
also made to understand that, it was to trade horses and not to
fight that we came there, but that if no better would do we would
fight also and that as Toupe was under our protection and in fact
one of ourselves any insult offered him would be offered to us
and would be resented. - A demand was again made for the tobacco
and that then all would be well and that the horse trade would
immediately commence. As we were situated, with very little
ammunition, ourselves on one side of the river and the horses
with part of the men on the opposite side, two of the horses
astray among those of the Indians, and two others already paid
for not received, and also the great risk we ran of having the
others stolen, it was considered advisable to comply with their
request except the ammunition, rather than get into a quarrel as
we had much to lose and little to gain, The tobacco was
accordingly delivered the whole of the Indians smoked and then
dispersed.- Charlie is certainly a notorious scoundrel and I
consider the original of this quarrel as only a pretext. He sold
a horse yesterday and was paid the price agreed upon, but he
afterwards asked a blanket more which was refused, this I
conceive was in a great measure the cause of the dispute, and the
poor Interpreter was the only one he would venture to begin with,
he has however been very useful to us since the trade commenced
harranguing the Indians to trade their horses, and ever since the
dispute he has been again telling them to trade more.-The other
chiefs and principal men except (Touispel) evidently wished to
make the most of the affair and get as much as they could by it,
Old Alumie and his men are particular. however they were
disappointed as they got only 3 yds. tobacco and a few small
pieces more besides the yard first sent them. and even this was
given with reluctance, but we could not well do otherwise. Traded
five more horses which finished our goods, found the two that
were astray and received the two we had paid the Indians for and
crossed the river to where the horses are in the afternoon - Our
whole trade amounts to 79 horses, two of which have been killed.
The Indian chiefs crossed to pay us a visit in the evening,
and smoked. They seem to regret what has taken place, Charlie
himself is ashamed that he should have quarreled about such a
trifle. During the dispute, the Indians were all threatening to
take back the horses.
A few young men arrived in the evening from the buffalo, from
them it was heard that the F Heads are now on their way to meet
us to trade. Peace is again made between them and the Peegans.
Monday 31st. Pleasant cool weather. Having everything in
readiness, the horses that are for the different places pointed
out, after an early breakfast Messrs F McDonald. J. Douglas and
myself accompanied by six men set out overland with the horses 79
in number including 2 bought a few days ago from W. Walla by Mr
F. McDonald, we encamped in the evening a short distance 15 or 20
miles from flag(22) River. Mr. D.
Douglas accompanied us on his botanical pursuits. - Mr A.
McDonald took his departure for W. Walla with the two boats and
the rest of the men at the same time we came of - The Indians and
us were good friends when we parted.
Augt. 1826. Tuesday 1st. Cool pleasant weather. Some rain with
thunder and lightening in the night. Kept a guard three men at a
time on the horses all night. The horses took fright in the night
and started but they were stopped and remained quiet till the
morning, when after allowing them to feed a short time we
proceeded on our journey, and stopped again a considerable time
at noon to allow them to feed and rest, and encamped in the
evening pretty late, near where we encamped last year.- The
horses are generally driven slow.
Wid.y. 2nd. Weather pleasant but warmer than yesterday.
Proceeded on our journey and ( ? ) the Spokane woods before
breakfast, but missed our way crossing to the plain where we
separated last year and fell on the Spokane River below the
Chutes(23) later in the evening
where we encamped for the night. The greater part of the day the
road was stony and bad for the horses feet. On entering the woods
we kept too far to the Eastward and missed the plain. The horses
were allowed to feed and rest in the middle of the day.
Thursday 3rd Pleasant weather. Continued our route at an early
hour and arrived, through a bad piece of road along the river, at
the old Fort(24) at Spokane
before breakfast time. We had separated the horses and took those
for Fort Colville across the river and after breakfasting and
trading some salmon from old Finlay(25)
Mr. Douglas proceeded on his journey to Okanagan with the 59
horses alotted for that place and N. Caledonia, and we pursued
our route with 20 horses for Ft Colville, and encamped at a
little river(26) in the woods
late in the evening. Had we not missed the way Mr. Douglas would
have parted with us yesterday, his coming to Spokane will cause
the loss of about half a day however it is perhaps as well as the
men know the road from Spokane and are not sure of it the other
way. Mr. D. has four men with him.
Friday 4th Warm but pleasant weather, cold in the morning.
Proceeded on our journey at an early hour and arrived at Ft
Colville before sunset, part of the road was very bad. Mr Dease(27) was happy to see us, he and his
people all well. One of the horses was jaded and a man was left
with him to bring him home in the morning.
Saturday 5 Pleasant mild weather cool in the morning. Early in
the morning the man who remained behind yesterday arrived with
the two horses. The crops(28) at
Fort Colville do not appear to realize the expectations that were
entertained for them. The potatoes appear pretty well, barley
midling, no wheat at all came up and only a few stocks of Indian
corn green pease but indifferent. The kitchen garden stuffs
turnips cabbages etc only so so. The soil appears to be too dry.-
The moles are destroying the potatoes. The horses cattle and pigs
very fat, but the grass is getting dry.
Sunday 6th Pleasant weather. Visited the falls(29)
today, where the Indians are fishing. They are now taking about
1000 salmon daily. They have a kind of basket about 10 ft long 3
wide and 4 deep of a square form suspended at a cascade in the
fall where the water rushes over a rock. the salmon in attempting
to ascend the fall leap into the basket, they appear to leap 10
or 12 feet high. when the basket is full the fish are taken out.
- A few are also taken with scoop net and speared.
Monday 7th Weather as yesterday Mr. Kittson arrived at the
lower end of(30) the Portage with
their (three) boats and the outfit for Colville and passengers
and their baggage. He has been ten days from Walla Walla to
Okanogan and ten from Okanagan to this place in all 20 days.
Horses were sent off and part of the property brought to the
Tuesday 8. Pleasant mild weather. The remainder of the boats
cargoes brought to the Fort, the outfit examined and found all
correct and in good order. No certain intelligence of the F.
Heads as yet, we are now waiting for them, the sooner we hear of
them now the better
Wedy 9th Heavy rain with thunder and lightning in the night
and all day.-
Sunday 13. Three Pendant Oreille Indians arrived from Pendant
Oreille River and report that a young man had arrived from the
Plain(31) who says that a few of
the F Heads have arrived at or near the Chutes, that the others
are in the plains farther off accompanied by a party of
Americans, that they are indifferent whether we go to trade with
them or not, that they have very little to dispose of, having
traded with the Americans. As this thing is second hand and the
Indians do not agree among themselves little reliance can be
placed upon it, particularly as a young man a F. Head, who had
left his tribe in the plains some time ago, was at the Fort two
days since, and told us that his people were on the way to meet
us but made no mention of having seen any Americans.
Monday 14th. Cloudy mild weather. Six men and a boy were sent
off to make a road across the portage to the Pendant O'relle
River(32), through which we had
to pass on our way to the Flat Heads.
Made up an outfit for the F Heads and Kootany summer trade for
the purpose of starting tomorrow though we are not certain
whether the Indians are arrived, if they should not we will
probably be short of provisions.
Tuesday 15th. Pleasant mild weather Supposing that the men did
not have the road cut through the woods we deferred starting till
tomorrow. Some Indians arrived and told us they had made but slow
Wedy 16th. Warm sultry weather Set out accompanied by Mr.
Kittson, and 7 men which with the 6 ahead making the road makes
13, to mak the summer trade at the F. Heads and Kootanies, We
have 9 horses loaded with the articles of trade, provisions, gum
etc - to repair the canoes.- Mr. Kittson and I with 12 men are to
proceed to the F. Heads and make the trade there, and a man is to
cross into the Kootenay country to tell them to come and meet us
to trade at the Lake(33) on our
Did not make a long days march. encamped in the afternoon at a
small river,(34) where there was
a little place for the horses to feed. The distance made today
was about 15 to 20 miles. The course from the fort till we struck
off the Spokane road(35) nearly
South 8 to ten miles. The remainder of the day it was about S. E.
by E 10 to 12 miles. The road was in general good and lay through
clear woods and small plains, except a piece near the fort called
the Cedar, where the woods are very thicketty and the ground
swampy and boggy and a deep gully of a river to cross. There is a
small lake(36) close by our
Thursday 17th Warm weather. Proceeded on our journey before
sunrise and not finding a place that we could stop, though it was
hard on the horses, did not encamp till near sunset, when we
stopped at a little river(37) on
the edge of a large plain a short way from the Pendant Oreille
River. The horses are much fatigued. The road for a short
distance in the morning was pretty good, but afterwards it was
very indifferent. The woods very thicketty, often fallen trees
across the road, (though the men had removed a good many). The
country very rugged a continual succession of hills some of them
steep, and the road intersected by a number of small brooks and
deep gullies some places the ground boggy, Though there is not
much water in the little brooks at present yet from the height of
the rubbish on the bushes along their banks they are totally
impassable for horses during the high water not long since. It
would be needless to attempt this portage in the spring when the
snow is on the ground as it would be impracticable with horses.
During this days march even at this season there is no place to
encamp where more than a very few horses could feed without the
risk of their being lost in the woods.The distance made today I
judge to be from 40 to 45 miles, in about a S. E. by E. course.
Friday 18 Cold with a thick fog in the morning, but clear
pleasant weather afterwards. Had the horses loaded and started at
sunrise, made the ascent of the plain, and arrived at the Pendant
Orile camp(38) on the bank of the
river near where the canoe sent down in the Spring was deposited.
Here we found the men who had been making the road. The remainder
of the day was occupied repairing the canoe, as the whole of the
people are too much to embark in the canoes 5 men were sent on
first to where the other canoes were deposited in the Ceur d Alen
portage. Traded 32 beaver, 3 (appichimous) and some berries and
roots from the Indians.
This plain is all inundated in the season of high water. where
we slept last night the water had been more than 2 feet deep in
the high part of the plain and from the bank of the little river
at present the water has fallen at least 16 feet. This extensive
plain is now clothed with a fine crop of grass.
The Indian who arrived some time ago from the Flat Heads, is
now at Spokane. All we can hear from the others is that the old
chief Le (Brute) and party of F Heads and Pendant Oreill are
waiting us near the Chutes.-(39)
that the rest of the tribes are in different parties farther off
wintering their horses, that they had seen a party of Americans
during the summer, said to be loaded with trading goods and that
they were going to build in the fall on the upper waters of the
Missouri at a place called the Grand (T-) No intelligence as to
whether any of the ( ? ) or freeman were with them. It is said
that the Indians have been unsuccessful and have few horses and
little meat. A fine Sotiax who came from there is off a few days
ago to the fort with his (hunt).
Satd.y. 19 Warm pleasant weather Embarked and proceeded up the
River before sunrise and near dark arrived at the (Ceur de Alan)
portage.(40) The men who started
yesterday are at the portage before us. The current was very
slack all day in the afternoon we passed a place called the
island portage(41) where
everything had to be carried over a small rock 15 or 20 yards.
Two rocks divide the river here into 3 narrow channels down which
the water rushes with great violence at low water the middle
channel is dry.
The distance made today may be about 45 to 50 miles. For the
first 25 miles or to near the Portage des Isle, the course South,
afterwards it changed to the S. E.
The River is in general about 7 to 900 yds wide from the marks
in the bank the water has fallen 10 to 12 feet. The country
hilly, but many points of fine meadow ground along them.
Before we started in the morning sent off an Indian
(Bascrorhy) who accompanied us for the purpose, and Ribets boy
(Francis), to the Fort with the horses. Sent letters by them to
the fort.- Left the saddles and (appichimans) in charge of the
little chief till our return.
Sunday 20 Light clouds warm weather. By daylight the men were
at work, brought out the canoes and by 1 or 2 o'clock had given
them a temporary repair when we embarked and encamped in the
evening at the lower end(42) of
the lake. The canoes had been very badly laid up in the Spring,
one of them was entirely unserviceable and the other two much ( ?
) by the supports giving away. The paddles could not be found.
Monday 21 Weather as yesterday. Embarked at daylight and
encamped in the evening below the Heron Rapid.(43)
The canoes had to be gummed, some time was also lost in the day
by having to stop to gum one of the canoes. Saw some Indians at
the upper end of the lake, among whom were two Nezperces lately
arrived from the F. Head camps from these we learned that the F
Heads are all at the Horse plains and that a lodge of Americans
are with them, that our ( ? ) ( ? ) are there also that the
American is trading but that he has only tobacco. The Nezperces
camp is a little farther off at the camass plains and that they
have a few beaver, they report that the Indians have very little
In the morning sent Mortin Kanauswapu, the only man who knew
the road across the Auplatte(44)
portage with some tobacco to the Kootenay chiefs and to desire
them to come and meet us at the lake six days hence to trade. In
the event of Mortin's not finding the Indians he is directed to
wait for us unless he gets short of provisions in which case he
is to leave a mark indicating that the Indians could not be found
and that he is gone to the fort. - He is supplied with a gun and
ammunition and some little things to buy provisions.
Tuesday, 22 Cloudy but warm weather. Embarked at daylight, and
encamped in the evening late above the cascades. We were delayed
guming the canoes and taking up ball shot and some wire work that
were hidden below Isle of Pine in the Spring, The water had been
over the place, and one of the bags of ball was found scattered
among the sand and gravel. The other bag which was entirely
rotten and the box containing the (wire) ( ? ) ( ? ). Got the
ball picked up as well as we could, and brought it with us, and
hid the wire in another place.
Wedy 23rd Cloudy lowering weather, showery all day. Embarked
early and arrived at the Chutes(45)
near sunset, and had the baggage all arranged and the canoes
taken up. - No Indians nor any appearance of any having been here
Thursday 24 Cold weather with fog in the morning showery
afterwards. Set out in the morning accompanied by two men,
Chalifoux and Dechamp to find the Indians and apprise them of our
arrival, though we expected to find some encamped at Thompson's
plains, we did not we any lodges till near the big rock(46) below the F. Head fort where we
learned that the Indians were encamped at the Horse plains. here
I sent back Dechamp and borrowed two horses for Chalifoux and
myself and proceeded to the camp where we arrived in the
afternoon and found about 50 lodges Heads and Pendant Oreille,
and four chiefs. LeBrute, Gras Pied, Grand Visage and Bourge
Pendant Oreille. I stopped at Le Brute's lodge, The old man was
glad to see me and immediately gave me to eat. - The other chiefs
and the principal Indians soon assembled and smoked, during which
we were employed giving and receiving all the news on both sides.
The old chief said he much regretted that this year his people
had been unfortunate having been able to procure but a small
quantity of provisions and very few furs. That the cause of the
scarcity of provisions was owing to the place being full of other
Indians who disturb the buffalo. They have had no war except some
horse stealing skirmishes in which they killed one Indian and
lost one of their own men. - A party of the F. Heads had fallen
in with some of the Snake deserters and some Americans, two of
the deserters, J. Guy and Jacques accompanied them to some of the
camps and Guy presented the two chiefs Gras Pied and Grand Visage
with some tobacco and a little scarlet as from the chief of the
American party Ashly,(47) whom
they said wished to see the Indians, and that he was (then) off
for a large quantity of supplies. - A few F Heads, Nezperces and
2 Snakes in all 22 have gone off to see them. - A considerable
party of the natives under (Grune) and Red Feather(48) are at (Revine) de Mere, but
the others say they have nothing to trade and that their horses
are very lean, that prevented them from coming in.
A former deserter, Jacques, states that the Americans last
Spring took out(49) 200 horse
loads of beaver, that they are to return with 150 horse loads of
goods and that another company is coming in with a quantity
equally as large, and that they were told that 3 and afterwards 5
ships were to come to the Columbia or near the river. This report
was also circulated among the Indians, but we undeceived them.-
Friday 25 Thick fog in the morning clear fine weather
afterwards. The chiefs issued orders last night and again early
this morning for all those that had anything to trade to be ready
to start for our camp at an early hour, but though the horses
were all assembled at the tents last night and a guard set upon
them (as Blackfeet Indians are known to be in the neighborhood)
yet they had strayed off through the plain, and on account of the
fog could not be collected till about 9 o'clock when the whole
was soon loaded and underway. One of the chiefs accompanied us
ahead and we arrived at our camp(50)
some time before the others, who reached it in the afternoon, and
after smoking and some conversation, trade commenced and
continued till it was getting dark. - The Indians from whom I
borrowed the horses had fresh ones to change them with when I
came back to the lodges. - The men have been busy employed at the
canoes and have nearly completed repairing them
Satd.y. 26 Cold in the morning clear fine weather afterwards.
Trade was resumed at an early hour and the whole finished by
breakfast time, when the men were set to to tie up the things,
and a little past noon we embarked and encamped in the evening a
little above the Isle de Pine rapid.
Had a long conversation, with the principle Indians, and made
arrangements about the time they would be coming to meet us in
the fall which they said would be the usual time. Each of the
chiefs got a present of 40 balls and powder and a little tobacco,
a small present was also sent to the absent chiefs, and they were
strongly recommended to exert themselves hunting beaver and also
to bring in provisions. They are all well pleased.
A report has been spread among the Indians that this was the
last time we are to trade with them. they say they were told by a
young man from below who heard it from some white men. The
Americans it was added were now to get the country. This they
were told was false. We applied to them to bring in our deserters
who are with them.
The trade is inferior to that of last year in everything.
There were only 221 beaver, 90 ( ? ) bales of meat, 66
appichimens, very little dressed leather, and some cords, and 5
Sunday 27 Light clouds fine pleasant weather. Embarked before
sunrise and reached the Kootenay portage(51)
at the lower end of the Lake in the evening, where we found
Morton and the Kootany chief with 12 or 13 of his people, the
evening was employed smoking and giving and receiving the news.
They are not satisfied because the whites did not go to their
lands to trade as usual. They say messages were sent from the
fort for them to go and trade there. - They had a good many
beaver. They passed the summer in the upper waters of their own
Monday 28 Clear pleasant weather. Commenced trading before
sunrise, and by breakfast time had purchased all the disposable
articles. The trade is good, better by far than last year, and
amounts to 382 beaver & 12 damaged do. 220 Rats, 20 dressed
skins & 25 Deer skins besides some cords etc. They have a
good many rats and dressed skins at their lodges which they say
on account of the leanness of their horses they could not bring
with them. It was there fore deemed advisable that Mr. Kittson
should accompany them with a supply of trading articles and
purchase the whole, they are to lend him horses to go &
return three men accompany him & Pierre L. Etang & a man
waits for him with a canoe till he returns, while I with the
other two canoes full loaded proceed to the Pendant Oreille
portage,(52) and send of for the
horses, by this means the trade can be finished without loss of
time as the remaining canoe will will be still at the portage by
the time the horses arrive from the fort. - Mr. Kittson will
probably proceed down the Kootenay to examine(53)
it and send back the men to the canoe, perhaps one man an Indian
will accompany him, he is to be guided by circumstances, he will
still reach the fort before us. - Accordingly about 2 o'clock we
both took our departure and encamped with the canoes a little
below the Cour de Alan Portage.
Tuesday Clear fine weather. Embarked before daylight and
arrived at the Portage a little past noon, and immediately sent
off the men to the fort(54) for
horses. The Indians visited us to smoke and get the news. Traded
a few beaver skins. No news from the fort. Had the baggage all
stored away and covered and the canoes put bye in the evening.
Cloudy cool weather. Had all the meat(55)
opened out, and assorted and packed up in bales of 90 to 100 lb.
each for the horses. The meat is in general in fine order, only a
few pieces we found a little wet and damaged. Cords were also
cut, and something done to arranging the saddles, etc., and
putting them in order. Several of the Indians revisited us some
of them got a little ammunition. The chiefs and a party are going
off to the buffaloes. The Indians are wishing to trade camass,
but having no bags to put it in and as we would have to hire
horses to take it to the fort which would make it very dear I
declined trading any. The Indians have horses themselves but are
too lazy to go to the fort.
Thursday 31 Cloudy, fine weather. The men employed arranging
the saddles &c., & preparing the pieces to be in
readiness when the horses arrive. A few Indians visited us during
the day, but had nothing to trade.
Sept. 1826 Friday 1 Thick fog in the morning, clear fine
weather afterwards. The men employed us yesterday. Traded a few
appichimens, some dressed skins and a robe from the Indians. The
men arrived with the horses late in the evening. Little news from
Satdy. 2nd Thick fog in the morning, clear fine weather
afterwards. After breakfast the canoe which was left at the
Kootenay Portage arrived. Mr. Kittson made a pretty good trade in
leather, & as was intended has gone down the Kootenay River
to examine it. The men were immediately set to to arrange the
pieces brought in the canoe, and application made to the Indians
for the number of horses required in addition to those brought
from the fort, but it was found that it would be too late before
everything could be arranged and the Indian horses collected to
start, therefore we deferred moving till tomorrow. The horses
sent from the fort are short 2 of the number mentioned by Mr.
(McDonald.)(56) The men say all
they brought from the fort are here, as there is no list of the
horses I can't tell the ones that are missing.
Sunday 3rd. Thick fog in the morning clear fine weather
afterwards. On account of the thick fog the Indians were some
time of collecting their horses and it was late before they
arrived with them, it was 10 o'clock when we started and we
encamped about 2 at the foot of a hill, good feeding in a fine
meadow for the horses. We made but a short day's journey, but we
had to put up or it would have been too much for the horses to
cross the hill to another place to encamp. The road was pretty
good mostly through plains but a piece of thick woods. Some
places the road is boggy.
Monday 4 Cloudy and foggy in the morning clear afterwards. The
people collected the horses at daylight, but before they were
loaded it was about 7 o'clock, where we entered the woods and
commenced ascending the hill, the top of which we did not reach
till past noon, and it was near sunset when we encamped on the
Kettle Fall little river.(57) In
mounting the hill the woods are generally thick, the road pretty
good but in many places very steep and very laborious for the
horses to ascend, gullies in many places cross the road. In
descending on the West side it is also pretty steep and the road
in some places stony. At two or three places in crossing the hill
a little off the road there is water and a little herbage for the
horses, but it would be difficult to keep a (large band) for the
night. The summer and fall is the only season that this road is
practicable with horses. The horses are a good deal fatigued.
Tuesday 5 Foggy in the morning fine weather afterwards. Had
the horses collected at an early hour and started a little past
sunrise, and encamped a little past noon. It would have been too
much for the horses to go to the fort after the hard day they had
yesterday. Had two bales of leather that got wet by a horse
falling in a swamp yesterday evening, opened and dried, and in
the evening I left the men, and arrived at the fort after sunset,
the men are to follow in the morning.
Wedy 6th. Clear fine weather. The people with the horses and
property arrived in the forenoon, where the loads were received
and all opened and examined and in good order. The trade stands
Flat Heads. Kootanians.
213 large beaver 297 Large Beaver
54 small "95 Small "
21 pap "6 Large Damaged Beaver
6 lb. (Coston)6 Small ""
71 Appichimans 4 lb. (Coston)
6 Pr. Buffalo Robes 7 Otters
6 Red Deer Skin dressed 505 Musquash
6 Buffalo ""2 Mortis
5 Lodges 3 Minks
4396 lb. Dry Meat 1 Fisher
119 lb. Cords 2 Appichimens
21 Pack Saddles 2 Com. Buff. Robes
(Pounfluhs), etc. 109 Red Deer Skins d'st
71 ( ? )
22 Pow. flasks
7 Garnished shirts
4 Pr. Leggins
Thursday 7 Cloudy mild weather. The people employed at the
building.(58) Settled with the
Indians who lent us the horses at Pendant Oreille River, had 72
skins to pay, 17 horses and one Indian 4 skins each.
Satdy 9 These two days past Mr. Kittson and I busy taking the
inventory. Preparations are making for the express boat to the
mountains starting tomorrow. Mr. Dease means to accompany it with
his family, and to send them across if he understands there is a
likelihood of himself following them.
Sunday 10 Clear fine weather. The express boat(59)
started in the evening deeply loaded with passengers, baggage and
provisions. There are in all 20 passengers, and 23 pieces of
provisions, corn, grease and dry meat. - Mr. McDonald(60) and family, Mr. Dease and
family, Dr. McLaughlin's family, (J Cahn,) (F McKye) 2 boys &
old (A Popt) passengers -
Monday 11 Clear fine weather, but cold in the night. The men
employed at the building. I was arranging the papers.
Tuesday 12 Weather as yesterday. Employed as yesterday. Rivet
went off to Pendant Oreille to hunt roots.
Wedy 13 Fine weather. The boat which started on Sunday
returned with Mr. Dease and his family, he left by mistake a
bundle of letters and papers of importance for which he had to
return, and finding that the boat was too much submerged he
brought back his family. He went off again immediately. Two
pieces of provisions were brought back.
Thursday 14. Cloudy fair weather. Had two men employed
repairing a canoe to go off to examine the Pendant Oreille River.
Friday 15th. The men employed as yesterday. two Indians with the two men are to accompany me, but one of them is off today and will not be back till tomorrow so that we will have to defer starting till the day following. It is reported among the Indians that a woman is killed at a small river on the opposite side of the Columbia, it seems she was gathering, nuts, and an Indian who was hunting took her for a bear crawling among the bushes, and shot her. One of the sows had five young pigs(61)
1. An evident error, as July 5 fell on Wednesday in 1826. This was overcome by Mr. Work later by giving two days to July 12.- E. S. M.
2. Probably Lady's Island below Washougal; called Diamond Island by Lewis and Clark.
3. Probably means that at this high stage of the water they followed a channel behind Hamilton or Strawberry Island and carried goods and canoes across the Island to avoid the Garrison Rapids.
4. The regular portage beginning just below Sheridan's Point and ending at the cove or bend above the Cascades; practically where the railroad is built today.
5. Probably where the City of The Dalles now stands.
6. This portage was on the Oregon side from Big Eddy to the head of Ten Mile Rapids, nearly six miles. Here stood the village of Wishram of which Washington Irving wrote in his "Astoria."
7. Consult page 364 of Vol. 10 of the Oregon Historical Quarterly as to this. Peter Skene Ogden, with Finan McDonald Thos. McKay and Thos. Dears, had been trapping and trading in Southern Idaho.
8. David Douglas, the botanist. Consult his own account at page 356 of Vol. V of the Oregon Historical Quarterly.
9. Celilo Falls.
10. The Deschutes river.
11. John Day river in Oregon.
12. Blalock Island, also known as Long Island to the fur traders; this camp probably at "Canoe Encampment Rapids," so known to this day.
13. Umatilla Rapids.
14. Fort Walla Walla, at mouth of river of same name.
15. William Kittson, who came to the Columbia district in 1818 and died at Fort Vancouver during the early forties. His brother was Norman Kittson, the millionaire of St. Paul, Minn., and financial associate of J. J. Hill.
16. Snake river
17. For Mr. Douglas' own account of this journey consult pages 357-61 of Vol. 5 of the Oregon Historical Quarterly.
18. The Palouse River; known to the traders also as Pavion River.
19. AImota, Whitman County, Washington; an Indian crossing place; see note on page 89 of Vol. V. of this Quarterly.
20. Junction of Snake and Clearwater rivers; their camp probably on north side of Clearwater opposite present site of Lewiston, Idaho.
22. Camp probably near Uniontown, Whitman County, Wash.
23. They reach the Spokane River at mouth of Latah Creek below the Falls.
24. They followed the south side of Spokane River until opposite the abandoned buildings of Spokane House. Consult note 145, page 279, of Vol. 5 of this Quarterly.
25. Jacques Raphael Finlay, who had built or helped to build this trading post in 1810.
26. Probably Chimakime Creek.
27. Mr. John Warren Dease, then in charge of Fort Colville.
28. A crop of potatoes had been raised here in 1825; this is the record of the first yield of grain on Marcus Flat in Stevens County, Wash.
29. Kettle Falls; the method of fishing here described was carried on within the memory of present residents of that locality, with marvelous success.
30. The trail used by the fur traders at this portage can still be seen; it is on the East bank.
31. Thompson's Prairie, Montana.
32. The trail or road for pack horses from Fort Colville across the Calispell Mountains to the Pend d'Oreille river at point near Cusick, Washington. Consult pages 147-8 of Vol. 1 of Simpson's Journey Around the World for a description of this trail. The fur traders had not used it before this time.
33. Pend d'Oreille Lake.
34. The Little Pend d'Oreille River.
35. The road leading to Spokane House, which crossed the Colville river just above Meyers Falls; this trail continued eastward through present site of city of Colville.
36. Probably a pond on section 3, township 34 north, range 40, E. W. M.
37. Probably a stream now mapped as Tacoma Creek, which empties Into the Pend d'Oreille River.
38. Near the mouth of the Calispell river, where the Indians gathered to dig camas.
39. Thompson Falls, Montana.
40. The Sineacateen crossing of mining days, where the trail from Spokane to the Kootenay country and the Clarks Fork country crossed the river; nearly opposite Laclede station of the Great Northern Railroad of today.
41. Albeni Falls, just above Newport, Wash.
42. Sandpoint, Idaho.
43. Heron, Montana; see note 123, page 265, Vol. V., this Quarterly.
44. The portage from Pend d'Oreille Lake to the Kootenay river at Bonners Ferry.
45. Thompson Falls, Montana
46. Bad Rock, just below Eddy, Montana.
47. Gen. Wm. H. Ashley; see page 247 et seq. of Vol. 1. of History of the American Fur Trade by H. M. Chittenden for sketch of his career.
48. This chief was one of Peter Skene Ogden's heroes; see chapter 2 of the book, "Traits of American Indian Life and Character," by a Fur Trader.
49. That is, to St. Louis.
50. At Thompson Falls
51. Near Kootenay Landing, Pend d'Oreille Lake.
52. Mouth of Calispell River again, near Cusick, Wash.
53. For previous attempt to examine the Kootenay River consult this Quarterly, Vol V., p. 177-8.
54. Fort Colville.
55. Dried buffalo meat purchased from the Flatheads.
56. Finan McDonald, then at Fort Colvile.
57. The Colville River.
58. Fort Colvile was staked out by Governor Simpson in April, 1825, the timbers framed during the summer of 1825, and actually built in spring and summer of 1826
59. The express boat bound for Boat Encampment at Canoe River, there to meet the officer returning from the annual meeting of the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company at York Factory or elsewhere, bringing the mail and orders for the Columbia District for the next year.
60. This is our last mention of Finan McDonald in the Columbia District; he is returning across the Rocky Mountains with his family. He came to the Columbia with David Thompson in 1807 and had been here continually since then.
61. This mother was brought from Fort Vancouver by canoe route in a crate in March and April of this year, 1826; in her company was a heifer. See page 284, Vol. V., of this Quarterly.