The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, August 8, 1806
Clark, August 8, 1806
Sunday 8th August 1806
A cool windey morning I derected Shields and Gibson to turn out and hunt this morning. at 8 A.M. Sergt. N. Pryor Shannon, hall & Windsor Came down the river in two Canoes made of Buffalow Skins. Sergt. Pryor informed me that the Second night after he parted with me on the river Rochejhone he arived about 4 P M on the banks of a large Creek which contained no running water. he halted to let the horses graze dureing which time a heavy Shower of rain raised the Creek so high that Several horses which had Stragled across the Chanel of this Creek was obliged to Swim back. here he deturmined to Continue all night it being in good food for the horses. In the morning he could See no horses. in lookg about their Camp they discovered Several tracks within 100 paces of their Camp, which they pursued found where they had Caught and drove off all the horses. they prosued on five miles the Indians there divided into two parties. they Continued in pursute of the largest party five miles further finding that there was not the Smallest Chance of overtakeing them, they returned to their Camp and packed up their baggage on their backs and Steared a N. E. course to the River Rochejhone which they Struck at pompys Tower, there they killed a Buffalow Bull and made a Canoe in the form and shape of the mandans & Ricares (the form of a bason) and made in the following manner. Viz: 2 Sticks of 11/4 inch diameter is tied together So as to form a round hoop of the Size you wish the canoe, or as large as the Skin will allow to cover, two of those hoops are made one for the top or brim and the for the bottom the deabth you wish the Canoe, then Sticks of the Same Size are Crossed at right angles and fastened with a throng to each hoop and also where each Stick Crosses each other. then the Skin when green is drawn tight over this fraim and fastened with throngs to the brim or outer hoop So as to form a perfect bason. one of those Canoes will carry 6 or 8 Men and their loads. Those two Canoes are nearly the Same Size 7 feet 3 inches diamieter & 16 inchs deep 15 ribs or Cross Sticks in each. Sergt. Pryor informs me that the Cause of his building two Canoes was for fear of ones meating with Some accedent in passing down the rochejhone a river entirely unknown to either of them by which means they might loose their guns and amunition and be left entirely destitute of the means of precureing food. he informed me that they passed through the worst parts of the rapids & Shoals in the river without takeing a drop of water, and waves raised from the hardest winds dose not effect them. on the night of the 26th ulto. the night after the horses had been stolen a Wolf bit Sergt. Pryor through his hand when asleep, and this animal was So vicious as to make an attempt to Seize Windsor, when Shannon fortunately Shot him . Sergt. Pryers hand has nearly recovered. The Country through which St. Pryor Passed after he parted with me is a broken open Country. he passed one Small river which I have Called Pryors river which rises in a Mtn. to the South of Pompys tower. The note I left on a pole at the Mouth of the River Rochejhone Sergt. Pryor concluding that Capt. Lewis had passed took the note and brought it with him. Capt. Lewis I expect will be certain of my passing by the Sign which I have made and the encampment imediately in the point. Sergt. Pryor bing anxious to overtake me Set out Some time before day this morning and forgot his Saddlebags which contains his papers &c. I Sent Bratten back with him in Serch of them. I also Sent Shannon over to hunt the bottom on the opposit Side. Shields and Gibson returned at 10 A.M. with the Skins and part of the flesh of three deer which they had killed in this bottom. I derected them to take one of the Skin Canoes and proceed down to the next bottom and untill my arival which will be this evening if Sergt. Pryor returns in time. My object is to precure as many Skins as possible for the purpose of purchaseing Corn and Beans of the Mandans. as we have now no article of Merchindize nor horses to purchase with, our only resort is S kins which those people were very fond the winter we were Stationed near them. after dark Sergt. Pryor returned with his Saddlebeggs &c. they were much further up than he expected.