About the Expedition
Rivers, Forests & Prairies
Links We Like
Book: Adventuring Along the Lewis and Clark Trail
Join an Outing!
The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For January 8:
Captain Clark (current)
|<< Previous Entry (1/7/1806)||(1/9/1806) Next Entry >>|
Proceeded to the place the whale had perished. Found only the skeleton of this monster on the sand, between 2 of the villages of the Tillamook nation. The whale was already pillaged of every valuable part by the Tillamook Indians in the vicinity, of whose villages it lay on the strand, where the waves and tide had driven up and left it. This skeleton measured 105 feet. I returned to the village of 5 cabins on the creek, which I shall call Ecola or Whale Creek. Found the natives busily engaged boiling the blubber, which they performed in a large, square wooden trough, by means of hot stones. The oil, when extracted, was secured in bladders and the guts of the whale. The blubber, from which the oil was only partially extracted by this process, was laid by in their cabins, in large flitches for use. Those flitches they usually expose to the fire on a wooden spit, until it is pretty well warmed through, and then eat it either alone or with roots of the rush, shanataque, or dipped in the oil.
The Tillamooks, although they possessed large quantities of this blubber and oil, were so penurious that they disposed of it with great reluctance, and in small quantities only; insomuch that my utmost exertions, aided by the party, with the small stock of merchandise I had taken with me, were not able to procure more blubber than about 300 pounds and a few gallons of oil. Small as this stock is, I prize it highly; and thank Providence for directing the whale to us; and think Him much more kind to us than He was to Jonah having sent this monster to be swallowed by us, instead of swallowing of us, as Jonah's did.
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.