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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For October 1:
Captain Clark (current)
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The wind blew hard all last night from the S.E. Very cold. Set out early, the wind still hard. Passed a large island in the middle of the river. Opposite the lower point of this island, the Arikaras formerly lived in a large town on the L.S. - remains only a mound, circular, walls three or four feet high. Above the head of the island about two miles, we passed the River Chien, or Dog River [Cheyenne] L.S. This river comes in from the S.W. and is about 400 yards wide. The current appears gentle, throwing out but little sand, and appears to throw out but little water. The head of this river is not known. In the second range of the Côte Noire its course, generally, about east. So called from the Cheyenne Indians who live on the head of it. A part of the nation of Dog Indians live some distance up this river, the precise distance I can't learn. Above the mouth of this river, the sand bars are thick and the water shallow. The river still very wide and falling a little. We are obliged to haul the boat over a sand bar, after making several attempts to pass. The wind so hard, we came to and stayed three hours. After it slackened a little, we proceeded on round a bend, the wind in the after part of the day, ahead. Passed a creek on the L.S. which we call the Sentinel. This part of the river has but little timber, the hills not so high, the sand bars more numerous, and river more than one mile wide, including the sand bars. Passed a small creek above the latter, which we call Lookout Creek. Continued on, with the wind immediately ahead, and came to on a large sand bar in the middle of the river. We saw a man opposite to our camp on the L.S. which we discovered to be a Frenchman. A little off from shore, among the willows, we observed a house. We called to them to come over. A boy came in a canoe and informed that two Frenchmen were at the house with goods to trade with the Sioux, which he expected down from the Arikaras 6 every day. Several large parties of Sioux set out from the "Rees" [Arikaras] for this place to trade with those men.
This Mr. Jean Vallé informs us that he wintered last winter 300 leagues up the Cheyenne River under the Black Mountains. He informs us that this river is very rapid and difficult even for pirogues to ascend, and when rising the swells are very high. One hundred leagues up, it forks; one fork comes from the S., the other, at 40 leagues above the forks, enters the Black Mountains. The country from the Missouri to the Black Mountains is much like the country on the Missouri, less timber and a great proportion of cedar.
The Black Mountains, he says, are very high, and some parts of them have snow on them in the summer. Great quantities of pine grow on the mountains. A great noise is heard frequently on those mountains. No beaver on Dog River. On the mountains great numbers of goats, and a kind of animal with large circular horns; this animal is nearly the size of a small elk. White [Grizzly] bears are also plenty. The Cheyenne Indians are about 300 lodges. They inhabit this river principally, and steal horses from the Spanish settlements to the S.W. This excursion they make in one month. The bottoms and sides of River Cheyenne are coarse gravel. This Frenchman gives an account of a white-booted turkey [prairie cock], an inhabitant of the Côte Noire.
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.