Lewis, June 2, 1806
Monday June 2cd 1806. McNeal and york were sent on a trading voyage over the river this morning. having exhausted all our merchandize we are obliged to have recourse to every subterfuge in order to prepare in the most ample manner in our power to meet that wretched portion of our journy, the Rocky Mountain, where hungar and cold in their most rigorous forms assail the waried traveller; not any of us have yet forgotten our sufferings in those mountains in September last, and I think it probable we never shall. Our traders McNeal and York were furnished with the buttons which Capt. C. and myself cut off our coats, some eye water and Basilicon which we made for that purpose and some Phials and small tin boxes which I had brought out with Phosphorus. in the evening they returned with about 3 bushels of roots and some bread having made a successful) voyage, not much less pleasing to us than the return of a good cargo to an East India Merchant.- Collins, Sheilds, R & J. Feilds and Shannon set out on a hunting excurtion to the Quawmash grounds on the lower side of Collins's Creek. our horses many of them have become so wild that we cannot take them without the assistance of the Indians who are extreemly dextrous in throwing a rope and taking them with a noose about the neck; as we frequently want the use of our horses when we cannot get the assistance of the indians to take them, we had a strong pound formed today in order to take them at pleasure. Drewyer arrived this evening with Neeshneparkkeeook and Hohastillpilp who had accompanyed him to the lodges of the persons who had our tomahawks. he obtained both the tomahawks principally by the influence of the former of these Cheifs. the one which had been stolen we prized most as it was the private property of the late Sergt. Floyd and Capt. C. was desireous of returning it to his friends. the man who had this tomahawk had purchased it from the Indian that had stolen it, and was himself at the moment of their arrival just expiring. his relations were unwilling to give up the tomehawk as they intended to bury it with the disceased owner, but were at length induced to do so for the consideration of a hadkerchief, two strands of beads, which Drewyer gave them and two horses given by the cheifs to be killed agreeably to their custom at the grave of the disceased. The bands of the Chopunnish who reside above the junction of Lewis's river and the Kooskooske bury their dead in the earth and place stones on the grave. they also stick little splinters of wood in betwen the interstices of the irregular mass of stone piled on the grave and afterwards cover the whole with a roof of board or split timber. the custom of sacreficing horses to the disceased appears to be common to all the nations of the plains of Columbia. a wife of Neeshneeparkkeeook died some short time since, himself and hir relations saceficed 28 horses to her. The Indians inform us that there are a plenty of Moos to the S. E. of them on the East branch of Lewis's river which they call Tommanamah R. about Noon Sergt. Ordway Frazier and Wizer returned with 17 salmon and some roots of cows; the distance was so great from which they had brought the fish that most of them were nearly spoiled. these fish were as fat as any I ever saw; sufficiently so to cook themselves without the addition of grease; those which were sound were extreemly delicious; their flesh is of a fine rose colour with a small admixture of yellow. these men set out on the 27th ult. and in stead of finding the fishing shore at the distance of half a days ride as we had been informed, they did not reach the place at which they obtained their fish untill the evening of the 29th having travelled by their estimate near 70 miles. the rout they had taken however was not a direct one; the Indians conducted them in the first instance to the East branch of Lewis's river about 20 miles above it's junction with the South branch, a distance of about 50 Ms. where they informed them they might obtain fish; but on their arrival at that place finding that the salmon had not yet arrived or were not taken, they were conducted down that river to a fishery a few miles below the junction of the forks of Lewis's river about 20 Ms. further, here with some difficulty and remaining one day they purchased the salmon which they brought with them. the first 20 Ms. of their rout was up Commeap Creek and through a plain open country, the hills of the creek continued high and broken with some timber near it's borders. the ballance of their rout was though a high broken mountanous country generally well timbered with pine the soil fertile in this quarter they met with an abundance of deer and some bighorned animals. the East fork of Lewis's river they discribe as one continued rapid about 150 Yds. wide it's banks are in most places solid and perpendicular rocks, which rise to a great hight; it's hills are mountains high. on the tops of some of those hills over which they passed, the snow had not entirely disappeared, and the grass was just springing up. at the fishery on Lewis's river below the forks there is a very considerable rapid nearly as great from the information of Segt. Ordway as the great falls of the Columbia the river 200 Yds. wide. their common house at this fishery is built of split timber 150 feet long and 35 feet wide flat at top. The general course from hence to the forks of Lewis's river is a little to the West of south about 45 Ms.- The men at this season resort their fisheries while the women are employed in collecting roots. both forks of Lewis's river above their junction appear to enter a high Mountainous country.- my sick horse being much reduced and apearing to be in such an agoni of pain that there was no hope of his recovery I ordered him shot this evening. the other horses which we casterated are all nearly recovered, and I have no hesitation in declaring my beleif that the indian method of gelding is preferable to that practiced by ourselves.