The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, May 27, 1806
Clark, May 27, 1806
Tuesday 27th May 1806
A cloudy morning Serjt. Pryor and party Set out at 7 A.M. Serjt. Ordway and two men are ordered to cross this river and proceed on through the plains to Lewis's and precure Some Salmon on that river, and return tomorrow if possible he Set out at 8 A.M. we Sent Rub. Field in Serch of the horse which the indians had given us to kill. at 10 A. M he returned with the horse and he was killed and butchered; he was large and in good order. hohastillpilp told us that most of the horses which we Saw running in those plains in this neighbourhood at large belonged to himself and his people, and whenever we were in want of meet, he requested that would kill any of them we wished; this is a piece of liberallity which would do honour to Such as host of civilization. Serjt. Pryor, Gibson & Shields returned from the Village with a good Stock of roots and bread. Shabono Lapage & Yourk whome we had Sent to purchase roots for ourselves remained at the Village all night. Drewyer, Labiech & Crusat return at 4 P.M. with 5 Deer which they had killed at Some distance up Collin's Creek on this Side, that Stream Still continue So high that they could not pass it.
Shabono's child is much better to day; tho the Swelling on the Side of his neck I believe will termonate in an ugly imposthume a little below the ear. The Indians were so anxious that the Sick Chief (who has lost the use of his limbs) Should be Sweted under our inspection they requested me to make a 2d attempt to day; accordingly the hole was enlargened and his father a very good looking old man performed all the drugery &c. we could not make him Swet as copously as we wished. being compelled to keep him erect in the hole by means of Cords. after the oppiration he complained of Considerable pain, I gave him 30 drops of Laudnom which Soon composed him and he rested very well-. I observe the Strongest marks of parental affection. they all appear extreemly attentive to this Sick man, no do they appear to relax in their ascituity towards him not withstanding he has been Sick and helpless for near 5 years. The Chopunnish appeare to be very attentive & kind to their aged people and treat their women with more respect than the nativs on the Missouri.
There is a Species of whistleing Squirel common in these plains which in their habit Somewhat resembles those of the Missouri but are a distinct Species. this little animale measures 1 foot 5 inches & a half from the nose to the extremity of the tail, of which the tail occupies 21/4 inches only; in the girth it is 11 inches the body is perpotionably long, the neck and legs Short; the ears are Short, obtusely pointed, and lye close to the head; the aperture of the ear is larger proportionably than most animals which burrow. the eyes are of Moderate Size, the puple black and iris of a dark dusky brown. the teeth are like those of the Squirel as is it's whole contour. the whiskers are full, long and black; it has also Some long black hars above the eye-. it has five toes on each foot; the 2 iner toes of the fore feet are remarkably Short, and have Short blunt nails. the remaining toes on these feet are long Slightly Curved, black and Sharply pointed. the outer and inner toes of the hind feet are not Short yet they are by no means as long as the three toes in the Center of the foot which are remarkably long but the nails are not as long as those of the fore feet tho of the Same form and colour. the bars of the tail tho thickly inserted on every part respects the two Sides only. this givs it a flat appearance and a long oval form. the tips of the hair which forms the outer edges of the tail are white. the bace of the hair are either black or a fox red. the under disk of the tail is an iron gray, the upper a redish brown. the lower part of the jaws, under part of the neck, legs and feet from the body down and belly are of a light brick red. the nose as high as the eyes is of a darker brick red. the upper part of the head neck and body are of a curious brownish gray colour with a cast of the brick red. the longer hairs of these parts being of a redish white colour at their extremities fall together in Such a Manner as to give it to the appearance of being Spekled at a little distance. these animals form large ascoations as those of the Missouri, occupying with their burroughs one or Sometimes 200 acres of Land. the burrows are Seperate and are each occupyed perhaps by 10 or 12 of those Animals. there is a little Mound in front of the hole formed of the earth thrown out of the burrow and frequently there are three or four distinct holes forming what I call one burrow, around the base of the mound, which Seams to be occupied as a watch tower in common by the inhabitents of those Several holes. these Mounds are Sometimes as much as 2 feet high, and 4 feet in diameter, and are irregularly distributed over the tract they occupy at the distance of from ten to 30 or forty yards. When you approach a burrow the Squirels one, or more, usially Set erect on these Mounds and make a kind of Shrill whistleing nois, Something like tweet, tweet, tweet &c. they do not live on grass as those of the Missouri but on roots. one which I examoned had in his mouth two Small bulbs of a Species of grass, which resembles very much what is Sometimes Called the Grass Nut. the intestins of these little animals are remarkably large for it's Size; fur Short and very fine. the grass in their village is not Cut down as in these of the plains of the Missouri. I preserved the Skins of Several of these animals with the heads feet and legs entire-.-. The Black Wood pecker which is found in most parts of the rocky Mountains as will as the Western and S W. mountains, I had never an oppertunity of examineing, untill a fiew days Since when we killed and preserved Several of them. this bird is about the Size of the lark woodpecker or the turtle dove, tho it's wings are longer than either of these birds. the beak is black, one inch long reather wide at the base, Somewhat cirved, and Sharply pointed; the chaps are of equal length. around the bace of the beak including the eye and a Small part of the throat is of a crimson red. the neck and as low as the croop in front is of an iron gray. the belly and breast is of a curious mixture of white and blood red which has much the appearance of haveing been artifically painted or Stained of that colour, the red reather predominates. the top of the head, back, Sides, upper Surface of the wings and tail are black, the under Side of the wings and tail are black. it has ten feathers in the tail, Sharply pointed, and those in the center reather longest, being 21/2 inches in length. the tongue is barbed, pointed, and of an elastic cartalaginous Substance. the eye is moderately large, puple black and iris of a dark yellowish brown. this bird in it's actions when flying resemble the Small redish woodpecker common to the altantic States; it's note also Somewhat resembles that bird. the pointed tail Seems to assist it in sitting with more ease or retaining it, in it's resting position against the perpendicular Side of a tree. the legs and feet are black, and covered with imbricated scales. it has four toes on each foot, of which two are in rear and two in front; the nails are much curved long and remarkably Keen or Sharply pointed. it feeds on bugs, worms and a variety of insects.-.