The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, August 20, 1805

Lewis, August 20, 1805

Tuesday August 20th 1805.

This morning I sent out the two hunters and employed the ballance of the party pretty much as yesterday. I walked down the river about - 3/4 of a mile and scelected a place near the river bank unperceived by the Indians for a cash, which I set three men to make, and directed the centinel to discharge his gun if he pereceived any of the Indians going down in that direction which was to be the signal for the men at work on the cash to desist and seperate, least these people should discover our deposit and rob us of the baggage we intend leaving here. by evening the cash was completed unperceived by the Indians, and all our packages made up. the Pack-saddles and harries is not yet complete. in this operation we find ourselves at a loss for nails and boards; for the first we substitute throngs of raw hide which answer verry well, and for the last to cut off the blades of our oars and use the plank of some boxes which have heretofore held other articles and put those articles into sacks of raw hide which I have had made for the purpose. by this means I have obtained as many boards as will make 20 saddles which I suppose will be sufficient for our present exegencies. The Indians with us behave themselves extreemly well; the women have been busily engaged all day making and mending the mockersons of our party. In the evening the hunters returned unsuccessfull. Drewyer went in search of his trap which a beaver had taken off last night; he found the beaver dead with the trap to his foot about 2 miles below the place he had set it. this beaver constituted the whole of the game taken today. the fur of this animal is as good as I ever saw any, and beleive that they are never out of season on the upper part of the Missouri and it's branches within the Mountains. Goodrich caught several douzen fine trout. today. I made up a small assortment of medicines, together with the specemines of plants, minerals, seeds &c. which, I have collected betwen this place and the falls of the Missouri which I shall deposit here. the robe woarn by the Shoshonees is the same in both sexes and is loosly thrown about their sholders, and the sides at pleasure either hanging loose or drawn together with the hands, sometimes if the weather is cold they confine it with a girdel arround the waist; they are generally about the size of a 21/2 point blanket for grown persons and reach as low as the middle of the leg. this robe forms a garment in the day and constitutes their only covering at night. with these people the robe is formed most commonly of the skins of Antelope, Bighorn, or deer, dressed with the hair on, tho they prefer the buffaloe when they can procure them. I have also observed some robes among them of beaver, moonax, and small wolves. the summer robes of both sexes are also frequently made of the Elk's skin dressed without the hair. The shirt of the men is really a commodious and decent garment. it roomy and reaches nearly half way the thye, there is no collar, the apperture being sufficiently large to admit the head and is left square at top, or most frequently, both before and behind terminate in the tails of the animals of which they are made and which foald outwards being frequently left entire or somtimes cut into a fring on the edges and ornimented with the quills of the Porcupine. the sides of the shirt are sewed deeply fringed, and ornamented in a similar manner from the bottom upwards, within six or eight inches of the sieve from whence it is left open as well as the sieve on it's under side to the elbow nearly. from the elbow the sieve fits the arm tight as low as the wrist and is not ornimented with a fringe as the sides and under parts of the sieve are above the elbow. the sholder straps are wide and on them is generally displayed the taste of the manufacterer in a variety of figures wrought with the quills of the porcupine of several colours; beads when they have them are also displayed on this part. the tail of the shirt is left in the form which the fore legs and neck give it with the addition of a slight fringe. the hair is usually left on the tail, & near the hoofs of the animal; part of the hoof is also retained to the skin and is split into a fring by way of orniment. these shirts are generally made of deer's Antelope's, Bighorn's, or Elk's skins dressed without the hair. the Elk skin is less used for this purpose than either of the others. their only thread used on this or any other occasion is the sinews taken from the back and loins of the deer Elk buffaloe &c. Their legings are most usually formed of the skins of the Antelope dressed without the hair. in the men they are very long and full each leging being formed of a skin nearly entire. the legs, tail and neck are also left on these, and the tail woarn upwards; and the neck deeply fringed and ornimented with porcupine qulls drags or trails on the ground behind the heel. the skin is sewn in such manner as to fit the leg and thye closely; the upper part being left open a sufficient distance to permit the legs of the skin to be dran underneath a girdle both before and behind, and the wide part of the skin to cover the buttock and lap before in such manner that the breechcloth is unnecessary. they are much more decent in concealing those parts than any nation on the Missouri the sides of the legings are also deeply fringed and ornimented. sometimes this part is ornimented with little fassicles of the hair of an enimy whom they have slain in battle. The tippet of the Snake Indians is the most eligant peice of Indian dress I ever saw, the neck or collar of this is formed of a strip of dressed Otter skin with the fur. it is about four or five inches wide and is cut out of the back of the skin the nose and eyes forming one extremity and the tail the other. begining a little behind the ear of the animal at one edge of this collar and proceeding towards the tail, they attatch from one to two hundred and fifty little roles of Ermin skin formed in the following manner. the skin is first dressed with the fur on it and a narrow strip is cut out of the back of the skin reaching from the nose and imbracing the tail. this is sewed arround a small cord of the silk-grass twisted for the purpose and regularly tapering in such manner as to give it ajust proportion to the tail which is to form the lower extremity of the stran. thus arranged they are confined at the upper point in little bundles of two-three, or more as the disign may be to make them more full; these are then attatched to the collars as before mentioned, and to conceal the connection of this part which would otherwise have a course appearance they attatch a broad fringe of the Ermin skin to the collar overlaying that part. little bundles of fine fringe of the same materials is fastened to the extremity of the tails in order to shew their black extremities to greater advantage. the center of the otterskin collar is also ornamented with the shells of the perl oister. the collar is confined arond the neck and the little roles of Ermin skin about the size of a large quill covers the solders and body nearly to the waist and has the appearance of a short cloak and is really handsome. these they esteem very highly, and give or dispose of only on important occasions. the ermin whic is known to the traiders of the N. W. by the name of the white weasel is the genuine ermine, and might no doubt be turned to great advantage by those people if they would encourage the Indians to take them. they are no doubt extreemly plenty and readily taken, from the number of these tippets which I have seen among these people and the great number of skins employed in the construction of each timppet. scarcely any of them have employed less than one hundred of these skins in their formation.- This morning Capt. Clark set out at 6 in the morning and soon after arrived near their camp they having removed about 2 miles higher up the river than the camp at which they were when I first visited them. the chief requested a halt, which was complyed with, and a number of the indians came out from the village and joined them after smoking a few pipes with them they all proceeded to the village where Capt C. was conducted to a large lodge prepared in the center of the encampment for himself and party. here they gave him one salmon and some cakes of dryed berries. he now repeated to them what had been said to them in council at this place which was repeated to the village by the Cheif. when he had concluded this address he requested a guide to accompany him down the river and an elderly man was pointed out by the Cheif who consented to undertake this task. this was the old man of whom Cameahwait had spoken as a person well acquainted with the country to the North of this river. Capt. C. encouraged the Indians to come over with their horses and assist me over with the baggage. he distrubuted some presents among the Indians. about half the men of the village turned out to hunt the antelope but were unsuccessfull. at 3 P.M. Capt. Clark departed, accompanyed by his guide and party except one man whom he left with orders to purchase a horse if possible and overtake him as soon as he could. he left Charbono and the indian woman to return to my camp with the Indians. he passed the river about four miles below the Indians, and encamped on a small branch, eight miles distant. on his way he met a rispectable looking indian who returned and continued with him all night; this indian gave them three salmon. Capt. C. killed a cock of the plains or mountain cock. it was of a dark brown colour with a long and pointed tail larger than the dunghill fowl and had a fleshey protuberant substance about the base of the upper chap, something like that of the turkey tho without the snout.