The Journals of Lewis & Clark: August 25, 1804
August 25, 1804
Augt. 25th Satturday 1804 This morning Capt Lewis & my Self G D. Sjt. Ouderway Shields J. Fields colter Bratten Cane Labeeche corp Wovington Frasure & York Set out to Visit this mountain of evel Spirits, we Set out from the mouth of the White Stone Creek, at 8 oClock, at 4 miles Cross the Creek in an open plain, at 7 ms. the dog gave out & we Sent him back to the Creek at 12 oClock we rose the hill Some time before we got to the hill we obsevd. great numbers of Birds hovering about the top of this Mound when I got on the top those Birds flw off. I discovered that they wer Cetechig a kind of flying ant which were in great numbers abought the top of this hill, those insects lit on our hats & necks, Several of them bit me verry Shart on the neck, near the top of this nole I observed three holes which I Supposed to be Prarie Wolves or Braroes, which are numerous in those Plains. this hill is about 70 foot high in an emince Prarie or leavel plain from the top I could not observe any woods except in the Missourie Points and a few Scattering trees on the three Rivers in view. i e the Soues River below, the River Jacque above & the one we have crossed from the top of this Mound we observed Several large gangus of Buffalow & Elk feeding upwards of 800 in number Capt Lewis being much fatigued and verry thursty obliged us to go to the neares water which we Could See, which was the W Stone Creek at right angles from the Course we came out, and we got water in three miles in the Creek above whre the beaver had darned it up after a Delay of about one hour & a half we Set out for our boat, Cross the Creek three times wast deep, passing down an ellgent bottom of about a mile in width bordered by a ridge of about 50 feet from the top of which it was leavel to the river, we proceeded on by a Circular Derection to the place we Crossed this Creek going out where we delayed for the men to rest themselves about 40 minits in a small grove here we got Great quantities of the best largest grapes I ever tasted, Some Blue Currents still on the bushes, and two kind of Plumbs, one the Common wild Plumb the other a large Yellow Plumb growing on a Small bush, this blumb is about double the Size of the Common and Deliscously flavoured- Those plains are leavel without much water and no timber all the timber on the Stone River would not thickly timber 100 acres of land- we returned to the boat at Sunset, my Servent nearly exosted with heat thurst and fatigue, he being fat and un accustomed to walk as fast as I went was the Cause- we Set fire to the Praries in two Places to let the Sons know we were on the river and as a Signal for them to Come to the river above, our Party in the Boat & one Perogue undr. the Comd of Sergt. Pryor answered us by firing a prarie near them. we proceeded on to the place we Camped last night, and as it began to rain and verry dark, we Concluded to Stay all night, our boys prepared us a Supper of jurked meet and two Prarie Larks (which are about the Size of a Pigeon and Peculier to this country) and on a Buffalow roabe we Slept verry well in the morning we proceeded on and joined the boat at 6 miles, they had camped & were Jurking an Elk & 5 Deer which R. Fields & Shannon had brough in. from the Mound to the Hill S. S. mo. of R. Soues S 70° E. to the opsd. Hills S. 45° E. and to the woods near River au Jacque is West
Augt. 25th Satturday wind S E The Boat under Serjt Pryor after drying some goods which got wet in the french Perogue & jurking the meet killed yesterday Set out at 12 oClock and proceeded on Six miles and Camped on the L. S. passed a Bluff of blue earth at 3 miles and a large Sand Island in a bend to the S. S. at 5 miles, R Fields brought in 5 Deer, G Shannon an Elk this eveng. rain at 3 oClock Murcky. 86 abo 0,
25th August Satturday 1804
a Cloudy morning Capt Lewis & my Self Concluded to go and See the Mound which was viewed with Such turrow by all the different Nation in this quarter, we Selected Shields J. Fields, W Bratten, Sergt. Ordway, J Colter, Can, and Corp Worbington & Frasure, also G. Drewyer and droped down to the mouth of White Stone River where we left the Perogue with two men and at 200 yards we assended a riseing ground of about Sixty feet, from the top of this High land the Countrey is leavel & open as far as Can be Seen, except Some few rises at a Great Distance, and the Mound which the Indians Call Mountain of little people or Spirits this mound appears of a Conic form & is N. 20° W. from the mouth of the Creek, we left the river at 8 oClock, at 4 miles we Crossed the Creek 23 yards wide in an extensive Valley and continued on at two miles further our Dog was So Heeted & fatigued we was obliged Send him back to the Creek, at 12 oClock we arrived at the hill Capt Lewis much fatigued from heat the day it being verry hot & he being in a debilitated State from the Precautions he was obliged to take to provent the affects of the Cobalt, & Mini. Substance which had like to have poisoned him two days ago, his want of water, and Several of the men complaining of Great thirst, deturmined us to make for the first water which was the Creek in a bend N. E. from the mound about 3 miles- aftr a Delay of about 1 hour & a half to recrut our party we Set out on our return down the Creek thro the bottom of about 1 mile in width, Crossed the Creek 3 times to the place we first Struck it, where we geathered Some delisious froot Such as Grapes Plumbs, & Blue Currents after a Delay of an hour we Set out on our back trail & arrived at the Perogue at Sun Set we proceedd on to the place we Campd. last night and Stayed all night.
This Mound is Situated on an elivated plain in a leavel and extensive prarie, bearing N. 20° W. from the mouth of White Stone Creek Nine Miles, the base of the Mound is a regular parallelagram the long Side of which is about 300 yards in length the Shorter 60 or 70 yards- from the longer Side of the Base it rises from the North & South with a Steep assent to the hight of 65 or 70 feet, leaveing a leavel Plain on the top of 12 feet in width & 90 in length. the North & South part of this mound is joins by two regular rises, each in Oval forms of half its hight forming three regular rises from the Plain the assent of each elivated part is as Suden as the principal mound at the narrower Sides of its Bass
The reagular form of this hill would in Some measure justify a belief that it owed its Orrigin to the hand of man; but as the earth and loos pebbles and other Substances of which it was Composed, bare an exact resemblance to the Steep Ground which border on the Creek in its neighbourhood we Concluded it was most probably the production of nature-.
The only remarkable Charactoristic of this hill admiting it to be a naturial production is that it is insulated or Seperated a considerable distance from any other, which is verry unusial in the naturul order or disposition of the hills.
The Surrounding Plains is open void of Timber and leavel to a great extent; hence the wind from whatever quarter it may blow, drives with unusial force over the naked Plains and against this hill; the insects of various kinds are thus involuntaryly driven to the mound by the force of the wind, or fly to its Leward Side for Shelter; the Small Birds whoes food they are, Consequently resort in great numbers to this place in Surch of them; Perticularly the Small brown Martin of which we saw a vast number hovering on the Leward Side of the hill, when we approached it in the act of Catching those insects; they were So gentle that they did not quit the place untill we had arrivd. within a fiew feet of them-
One evidence which the Inds Give for believeing this place to be the residence of Some unusial Spirits is that they frequently discover a large assemblage of Birds about this mound- is in my opinion a Suffient proof to produce in the Savage mind a Confident belief of all the properties which they ascribe it.
from the top of this Mound we beheld a most butifull landscape; Numerous herds of buffalow were Seen feeding in various directions, the Plain to North N. W & N E extends without interuption as far as Can be Seen From the Mound to the mouth of Stone River is S. 20° E 9 miles.
to the woods near the mouth of River Jacque is West
to the High land near the mouth of Souis River is S. 70 E.
to the high land opposit Side or near the Maha Town is S. 45 E.
Some high lands to be Seen from the mound at a Great distance to the N. E Some Nearer to the N W. no woods except on the Missouris Points
if all the timber which is on the Stone Creek was on 100 acres it would not be thickly timbered, the Soil of those Plains are delightfull Great numbers of Birds are Seen in those Plains, Such as black bird, Ren or Prarie burd a kind of larke about the Sise of a Partridge with a Short tail &c. &.
25th Augt the Boat under the Comd. of Sergt. Pryor proceeded on in our absence (after jurking the Elk I Killed yesterday) Six Miles and Camped on the Larboard Side R Fields brought in five Deer. George Shannon Killed an Elk Buck Some rain this evening.
we Set the Praries on fire as a Signal for the Soues to Come to the river.
August the 25th on our return from the mound of sperits saw the first bats that we had observed since we began to ascend the Missouri
also saw on our return on the Creek that passes this mound about 2 M. distant S. a bird of heron kind as large as the Cormorant short tale long leggs of a colour on the back and wings deep copper brown with a shade of red. we could not kill it therefore I can not describe it more particularly.