The Journals of Lewis and Clark

Lewis, January 18, 1806

Sunday January 18th 1806. Two of the Clatsops who were here yesterday returned today for a dog they had left; they remained with us a few hours and departed. no further occurrence worthy of relation took place. the men are still much engaged in dressing skins in order to cloath themselves and prepare for our homeward journey. The Clatsops Chinnooks &c construct their houses of timber altogether. they are from 14 to 20 feet wide and from 20 to 60 feet in length, and acommodate one or more families sometimes three or four families reside in the same room. thes houses are also divided by a partition of boards, but this happens only in the largest houses as the rooms are always large compared with the number of inhabitants. these houses are constructed in the following manner; two or more posts of split timber agreeably to the number of divisions or partitions are furst provided, these are sunk in the ground at one end and rise perpendicularly to the hight of 14 or 18 feet, the tops of them are hollowed in such manner as to receive the ends of a round beam of timber which reaches from one to the other, most commonly the whole length of the building, and forming the upper part of the roof; two other sets of posts and poles are now placed at proper distances on either side of the first, formed in a similar manner and parrallel to it; these last rise to the intended hight of the eves, which is usually about 5 feet. smaller sticks of timber are now provided and are placed by pares in the form of rafters, resting on, and reaching from the lower to the upper horizontal beam, to both of which they are attatched at either end with the cedar bark; two or three ranges of small poles are now placed horizontally on these rafters on each side of the roof and are secured likewise with strings of the Cedar bark. the ends sides and partitions are then formed with one range of wide boards of abut two inches thick, which are sunk in the ground a small distance at their lower ends and stand erect with their upper ends Taping on the outside of the eve poles and end rafters to which they are secured by an outer pole lying parallel with the eve poles and rafters being secured to them by chords of cedar bark which pass through wholes made in the boards at certain distances for that purpose; the rough roof is then covered with a double range of thin boards, and an aperture of 2 by 3 feet left in the center of the roof to permit the smoke to pass. these houses are sometimes sunk to the debth of 4 or 5 feet in which cace the eve of the house comes nearly to the surface of the earth. in the center of each room a space of six by eight feet square is sunk about twelve inches lower than the floor having it's sides secured with four sticks of squar timber, in this space they make their fire, their fuel being generally pine bark. mats are spread arround the fire on all sides, on these they set in the day and frequently sleep at night. on the inner side of the hose on two sides and sometimes on three, there is a range of upright peices about 4 feet removed from the wall; these are also sunk in the ground at their lower ends, and secured at top to the rafters, from these other peices ar extended horizontally to the wall and are secured in the usual method by bark to the upright peices which support the eve poles. on these short horizontal pieces of which there are sometimes two ranges one above the other, boards are laid, which either form ther beads, or shelves on which to put their goods and chattles of almost every discription. their uncured fish is hung on sticks in the smoke of their fires as is also the flesh of the Elk when they happen to be fortunate enough to procure it which is but seldom.