The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, May 10, 1806

Lewis, May 10, 1806

Saturday May 10th 1806. This morning the snow continued falling 1/2 after 6 A.M. when it ceased, the air keen and cold, the snow 8 inches deep on the plain; we collected our horses and after taking a scant breakfast of roots we set out for the village of Tunnachemootoolt; our rout lay through an open plain course S. 35 E. and distance 16 ms. the road was slippery and the snow clogged to the horses feet, and caused them to trip frequently. the mud at the sources of the little ravines was deep black and well supplyed with quawmash. Drewyer turned off to the left of the road in order to hunt and did not join us this evening. at 4 in the afternoon we decended the hills to Commearp Creek and arrived at the Village of Tunnachemootoolt, the cheeif at whos lodge we had left a flag last fall. this flag was now displayed on a staff placed at no great distance from the lodge. underneath the flag the Cheif met my friend Capt. C. who was in front and conducted him about 80 yds. to a place on the bank of the creek where he requested we should encamp; I came up in a few minutes and we collected the Cheifs and men of consideration smoked with them and stated our situation with rispect to provision. the Cheif spoke to his people and they produced us about 2 bushels of the Quawmas roots dryed, four cakes of the bread of cows and a dryed salmon trout. We thanked them for this store of provision but informed them that our men not being accustomed to live on roots alone we feared it would make them sick, to obviate which we proposed exchangeing a good horse in reather low order for a young horse in tolerable order with a view to kill. the hospitality of the cheif revolted at the aydea of an exchange, he told us that his young men had a great abundance of young horses and if we wished to eat them we should by furnished with as many as we wanted. accordingly they soon produced us two fat young horses one of which we killed, the other we informed them we would pospone killing untill we had consumed the one already killed. This is a much greater act of hospitality than we have witnessed from any nation or tribe since we have passed the Rocky mountains. in short be it spoken to their immortal honor it is the only act which deserves the appellation of hospitallity which we have witnessed in this quarter. we informed these people that we were hungry and fatiegued at this moment, that when we had eaten and refreshed ourselves we would inform them who we were, from whence we had come and the objects of our resurches. a principal Cheif by name Ho-hast,-ill-pilp arrived with a party of fifty men mounted on eligant horses. he had come on a visit to us from his village which is situated about six miles distant near the river. we invited this man into our circle and smoked with him, his retinue continued on horseback at a little distance. after we had eaten a few roots we spoke to them as we had promised; and gave Tinnachemootoolt and Hohastillpilp each a medal; the former one of the small size with the likeness of Mr. Jefferson and the latter one of the sewing medals struck in the presidency of Washington, we explained to them the desighn and the importance of medals in the estimation of the whites as well as the red men who had been taught their value. The Cheif had a large conic lodge of leather erected for our reception and a parsel of wood collected and laid at the door after which he invited Capt. C. and myself to make that lodge our home while we remained with him. we had a fire lighted in this lodge and retired to it accompanyed by the Cheifs and as many of the considerate men as could croud in a circcle within it. here after we had taken a repast on some horsebeef we resumed our council with the indians which together with smoking the pipe occupyed the ballance of the evening. I was surprised to find on decending the hills of Commearp Cr. to find that there had been no snow in the bottoms of that stream. it seems that the snow melted in falling and decended here in rain while it snowed on the plains. the hills are about six hundred feet high about one fourth of which distance the snow had decended and still lay on the sides of the hills. as these people had been liberal with is with rispect to provision I directed the men not to croud their lodge surch of food in the manner hunger has compelled them to do at most lodges we have passed, and which the Twisted hair had informed me was disgreeable to the natives. but their previous want of hospitality had induced us to consult their enclinations but little and suffer our men to obtain provision from them on the best terms they could. The village of the broken arm as I have heretofore termed it consists of one house only which is 150 feet in length built in the usual form of sticks matts and dry grass. it contains twenty four fires and about double that number of families. from appearances I presume they could raise 100 fighting men. the noise of their women pounding roots reminds me of a nail factory. The indians seem well pleased, and I am confident that they are not more so than our men who have their somachs once more well filled with horsebeef and mush of the bread of cows.- the house of coventry is also seen here.-