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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For May 8:
Captain Lewis (current)
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Most of the hunters turned out by light this morning; a few others remained without our permission or knowledge until late in the morning. We chided them severely for their indolence and inattention to the order of last evening. About 8 o'clock Shields returned with a small deer, on which we breakfasted. By 11 A.M. all our hunters returned. Drouilliard and Cruzat brought each a deer. Collins wounded another, which my dog caught at a little distance from the camp. Our stock of provision now consisted of 4 deer and the remnant of the horse which we killed at Colter's Creek.
At half after 3 P.M., we departed for the lodge of The Twisted Hair, accompanied by the chief and sundry other Indians. The relation of The Twisted Hair left us. The road led us up a steep and high hill to a high and level plain mostly unlimbered, through which we passed parallel with the river about 4 miles when we met The Twisted Hair and a party of six men. To this chief we had confided the care of our horses and a part of our saddles when we descended the river last fall.
The Twisted Hair received us very coolly, an occurrence as unexpected as it was unaccountable to us. He shortly began to speak with a loud voice and in an angry manner. When he had ceased to speak, he was answered by the Cutnose Chief, or Neeshneparkkeook. We readily discovered that a violent quarrel had taken place between these chiefs but at that instant knew not the cause We afterwards learned that it was on the subject of our horses. This controversy between the chiefs detained us about 20 minutes.
In order to put an end to this dispute, as well as to relieve our horses from the embarrassment of their loads, we informed the chiefs that we should continue our march to the first water and encamp. Accordingly, we moved on and the Indians all followed. About two miles on the road, we arrived at a little branch which ran to the right. Here we encamped for the evening, having traveled 6 miles today. The two chiefs with their little bands formed separate camps a short distance from ours. They all appeared to be in an ill humor. To obtain our horses and saddles as quickly as possible is our wish, and we are somewhat apprehensive that this difference which has taken place between these chiefs may militate against our operations in this respect. We were therefore desirous to bring about a good understanding between them as soon as possible.
The Shoshone boy refused to speak. He alleged it was a quarrel between two chiefs, and that he had no business with it. It was in vain that we urged that his interpreting what we said on this subject was not taking the responsibility of the interference on himself. He remained obstinately silent.
About an hour after we had encamped, Drouilliard returned from hunting. We sent him to The Twisted Hair to make some inquiries relative to our horses and saddles, and to ask him to come and smoke with us. The Twisted Hair accepted the invitation and came to our fire.
The Twisted Hair informed us that, according to the promise he had made us when he separated from us at the falls of the Columbia, he collected our horses on his return and took charge of them. That about this time The Cut Nose, or Neeshneparkkeook, and Tunnachemootoolt, or The Broken Arm, returned from a war excursion against the Shoshones on the south branch of Lewis's River which had caused their absence when we were in this neighborhood. That these men had become dissatisfied with him in consequence of our having confided the horses to his care, and that they were eternally quarreling with him insomuch that he thought it best, as he was an old man, to relinquish any further attention to the horses; that they had consequently become scattered; that most of the horses were near this place, a part were in the Forks between the Chopunnish and Kooskooskee rivers, and three or four others were at the lodge of The Broken Arm, about half a day's march higher up the river.
He informed us with respect to our saddles that on the rise of the water this spring, the earth had fallen from the door of the cache and exposed the saddles. He, being informed of their situation, had taken them up and placed them in another cache, where they were at this time. He said it was probable that a part of them had fallen into the water but of this he was not certain. The Twisted Hair said if we would spend the day, tomorrow, at his lodge, which was a few miles only from hence and on the road leading to The Broken Arm's lodge, he would collect such of our horses as were near this place, and our saddles; that he would also send some young men over the Kooskooskee to collect those in the forks and bring them to the lodge of The Broken Arm, to meet us. He advised us to go to the lodge of The Broken Arm, as he said he was a chief of great eminence among them, and promised to accompany us thither if we wished him.
Reprinted by permission of the American Studies Programs at the University of Virginia.
The complete text can also be downloaded for printing from their website.