History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/1/10
|←Chapter IX||History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/Volume 1 by
AS early as 1690 it was known that lead ore existed in the upper Mississippi Valley. Nicholas Perrot was one of the early explorers of that region where he for several years carried on a profitable trade with the Indians in furs and skins of elk, deer and buffalo.
On the 8th of April, 1689, he took formal possession of the upper Mississippi Valley for the kingdom of France. His trading post was on the banks of the river and he built a fort for protection against hostile Indians, which he named “St. Nicholas.” The exact location of this post and fort is not known. In 1690 a Miami chief with whom he was trading gave Perrot a specimen of lead ore taken from a creek that flows into the Mississippi which was undoubtedly “Catfish,” the stream that empties into the river near the site of the original Dubuque mines. Perrot visited the place where the ore was found at that early day.
In 1700 the French explorer, Le Sueur, ascended the Mississippi River in search of valuable minerals. He explored as far north as the St. Peter River. In 1752 we find the lead region of the upper Mississippi located on a map published by Phillip Bouche. The mines are mentioned in an article by M. Guetard in a volume of the French Academy of Rheims in 1752. No effort seems to have been made to work or develop the mines in all of these years that lead ore was known to exist in that region.
The first white man who settled within the limits of the State of Iowa was Julien Dubuque. He was a French Canadian, born in the province of Quebec, January 10,1762. He was well educated, an accomplished writer and conversationalist. He had given particular attention to mineralogy and mining. He went to the then far west in 1784, when but twenty-one years of age, settling in the province of Louisiana, near Prairie du Chien. lead mines had been discovered several years before near the Mississippi River and young Dubuque determined to procure an interest in some portion of the mineral region. The Fox Indians then occupied a portion of northeastern Iowa. Dubuque, who was a shrewd, plausible man, succeeded in gaining the confidence of the Kettel Chief and his tribe and explored the country in that vicinity for lead ore, soon finding that it existed in considerable quantities.
The wife of a prominent Fox warrior, named Peosta, had in 1780 discovered lead within the limits of the present city of Dubuque and the shrewd Canadian soon succeeded in persuading the Indians to grant him the exclusive privilege of lead mining on a tract of land extending along the river from the mouth of the Little Maquoketa to the Tete des Morts, a distance of seven leagues, and running westward about three leagues. In drawing up the papers making this grant Dubuque had written, “We sell and abandon to Dubuque all the coast and the contents of the mines discovered by the wife of Peosta, so that no white man or Indian shall make any pretentions to it without the consent of Sieur Julien Dubuque.” The grant was dated at Prairie de Chien, September 22, 1877.
As soon as he had secured the lease, he brought from Prairie du Chien ten Canadians to assist him as overseers, smelter, wood choppers and boatmen. There was a Fox village near where the city of Dubuque now stands, called the village of the Kettle Chief. it consisted of Indian lodges extending back from the river, sufficient to shelter about four hundred people, one hundred of whom were warriors. Dubuque had secured the friendship of the Indians who permitted him and his companions to maketheir homes in this village. He employed Indian women and old men of the tribe to work in the mines. He learned the habits, superstitions and traditions of the Fox nation and in the course of a few years had acquired great influence with them. They gave him the name of “Little Cloud.”
He opened farms, built fences, erected houses and a horse mill. He put up a smelting furnace on a point now known as Dubuque Bluff. He opened stores, bought furs, sold goods and Indian trinkets, carrying on a large business, including the preparation of ore for market. Twice a year he took boatloads of ore, furs and hides to St. Louis, exchanging them for good, supplies and money.
He became well known in that city as the largest trader of the upper Mississippi Valley and his semi-annual trips were events of importance to that frontier town. Dubuque is described as a man of medium size, wiry and well built, with black hair and eyes, very courteous an affable, with all grace of the typical Frenchman. He was an accomplished diplomat but was not successful in making money. After eight years in mining and trading he made an effort to secure a title to his leased lands, the only title he held being the permit granted by a council of Fox Indians. The instrument executed was a concession or permit from the Indians to Dubuque to mine for lead ore on the lands described. He now claimed that he had paid for the lands in goods and in October, 1796, he presented to the Spanish Governor of Louisiana a petition asking a title to the lands.
Dubuque fully realized the value which time and development must bring to his munificent possessions and took every precaution to perfect his title to the grant. The petition was referred by Governor Carondelet to Don Andrew Todd, a prominent merchant who had secured a monopoly of the Indian trade with the tribes of the Mississippi Valley. Todd was requested to examine into the nature of Dubuque's claim and report to the Governor. In his report Todd stated that he saw no reason why the land claimed by Dubuque should not be granted to him, provided Dubuque should be prohibited form trading with the Indians, unless with the written consent of Mr. Todd upon such terms as he should require. Governor Carondelet, on the 10th of November, 1796, made the grant to Dubuque as requested in his petition and indorsed upon it these words: “Granted as asked for under the restrictions mentioned by the merchant, Don Andrew Todd, in his report.” Monuments were erected by the Fox chiefs and Dubuque to mark the boundaries on the three sides from the river front, soon after the grant was made.
The right of the Indians to sell their lands had always been recognized by Spain and Dubuque now considered his title secure. The right of the Indians to sell their lands had always been recognized by Spain and Dubuque now considered his title secure. As the years passed he carried on a large trade with Auguste Chouteau of St. Louis and became heavily indebted to him. In October, 1804, he conveyed to Chouteau in settlement of his indebtedness, an undivided seven-sixteenths interest of his land, estimated to consist of seventy-three thousand three hundred and twenty-four acres. It was also provided that at the death of Dubuque all of the remainder of his interest in the lands should belong to Chouteau or his heirs. In 1807 Chouteau sold one-half of his interest in the lands to John Mullanphy, of St. Louis, for $15,000.
Dubuque and his little white colony lived among the Indians, worked the mines, carried on trade for twenty-two years, in the limits of the future State of Iowa. many of the French Canadians married Indian wives and in a measure adopted the Indian mode of living. Families of half-breed children were growing up and the place became widely known and the “Mines of Spain.”
On the 24th of March, 1810, Dubuque was attacked with pneumonia and died after a short illness. The highest honors were bestowed by the Indians upon their dead friend. The entire population followed him to the grave and his virtues were eloquently set forth by the Indianchiefs. His death brought a great change to the village, the mines and the white colony.
John T. Smith, a famous Indian fighter and western pioneer, bought an interest in Dubuque's grant, after his death, and took possession of some of the lead works. He attempted to carry on mining and smelting but the Indians refused to recognize his title. They claimed that the grant to Dubuque was a permit or lease to him personally and conveyed no ablsoute title to the lands and could not be used by other parties. The Fox chief, Pia-no-sky, gathered his warriors and destroyed the buildings, driving all of the whites out of the village and across to the east side of the river.
In 1805 Dubuque and Chouteau had filed a claim with the United states for title to all of the land which Dubuque had originally leased of the Indians, embracing a tract nine miles wide west from the Mississippi and extending twenty-one miles up and down the river. It included all of the then known lead mines and all of the present city of Dubuque. For nearly half a century this claim was pending before various tribunals. Finally, by agreement, in order to settle the titles to a vast amount of valuable property, a suit of ejectment was instituted by the heirs of the claimants of the grant, against a farmer in Dubuque County, Patrick Molony, who held a United States patent for his farm. The suit was tried in the United States District Court, John J. Dyer, judge, and judgment was rendered in favor of Molony. An appeal was taken to the United States Supreme Court and in March, 1853, the judgment of the lower court was confirmed.
The Chouteau heirs employed several able St. Louis attorneys, assisted by Reverdy Johnson, the great Maryland lawyer, while the Dubuque settlers were represented by Caleb Cushing, of Massachusetts, Judge T. S. Wilson and Platt Smith of Dubuque. It was one of the most important and closely contested law cases in Iowa litigation.The titles to hundreds of farms and thousands of city lots and homes, and all of the lead mines in Dubuque County and vicinity, were involved. The decision turned largely upon the legal construction given to the original grant made by the Indian council in Dubuque, in 1788, and also upon the nature of the Spanish grant made by Governor Carondelet to Dubuque in 1796. The courts held that both grants were in the nature of permits or leases to mine lead on the lands described and were not intended to convey actual title to the land. From a statement made by Dubuque to Lieutenant Pike, in September, 1805, it is learned that at that time the Dubuque mines yielded but from twenty to forty thousand pounds of lead and that traces of copper were also found.
During the twenty-two years that Dubuque and his Canadian assistants lived in Iowa, from 1788 to 1810, the territory was owned by three different nations, viz.: Spain, France and the United States. The mines and the village which were first named by Dubuque the “Mines of Spain” were, after his death, called “Dubuque Lead Mines.” The burial place of the pioneer was on a high bluff two hundred feet above the river and close to it, near the site of the old Indian village of Kettle Chief. Inscribed on a cedar cross in large letters was, “JULIEN DUBUQUE, Miner of the MINES OF SPAIN, died March 24th, 1810, aged 45 years and 6 months.” His friend, the Fox chief, was buried near his grave. For ten years after the death of Dubuque little was known of the lead mines, as the Indians had undisputed possession.
In 1820 Henry R. Schoolcraft, in company with Hon. Lewis Cass, who was then Governor of Michigan Territory, went on a journey to the sources of the Mississippi River. Schoolcraft was a distinguished scientist and had spent many years studying the habits, customs and history of the North American Indians. It was on this voyage that Mr. Schoolcraft visited the Dubuque Lead Mines. He writes as follows of that locality: “I left Prairie du Chien in a canoe manned by eight voyageurs, including a guide, at half-past eleven, a. m., August 6, 1820. Opposite the entrance of the Wisconsin River is Pike's Hill, the high elevation (near where the city of McGregor stands) which Pike recommended to be occupied as a military post. His advice was not adopted. * * * I camped at seven p. m. on the site of a Fox village on the east bank, a mile below the Turkey River form the west. The village, consisting of twelve lodges, was deserted, not even a dog left behind. My guide informed me that the cause of the desertion was the fear of an attack from the Sioux in retaliation for a massacre lately perpetrated by a party of Fox Indians of their people on the head waters of the St. Peter. I embarked on the 7th at half-past three a. m. and landed at the Fox village of the Kettle Chief, at the site of Dubuque's house, which had been burned down. The village is situated fifteen miles below the entrance of the Little Makokety River, consisting of nineteen lodges built in two rows, pretty compact, having a population of two hundred and fifty souls.
“There is a large island in the Mississippi directly opposite this village which is occupied by traders. I first landed there to get an interpreter of the Fox language, and obtained some information about the location of the mines. I succeeded in getting Mr. Gates as interpreter, and was accompanied by Dr. Muir, a trader, who politely offered to go with me.
“On entering the lodge of Aquoqua, the chief, and stating the object of my visit, some objections were made by the chiefs who surrounded him, and they required time to consider. In the meantime I learned from another source that since the death of Dubuque, to whom the Indians had formerly granted the privilege of working the mines, that they had manifested great jealousy of the whites, were afraid they would encroach on their rights, denied all former grants, and did not make it a practice even to allow strangers to view their diggings. I had provided some presents, and directed one of my voyageurs to bring in some tobacco and whisky; and in a few moments I received their assent and two guides were furnished. They led me up the cliff where Peosta, the Indian woman, first found lead ore. After reaching the level of the bluffs we pursued a path of undulating hills, exhibiting a half prairie and a picturesque aspect. On reaching the diggings the most striking part of them exhibited excavations such as Indians only do not seem persevering enough in labor to have made.
“The principal mines are situated on a tract of one square league, beginning at the Fox village of Kettle Chief, and extending west. This is the seat of the mining operations carried on by Dubuque, as well as of what are called the Indian diggings. The ore is now exclusively dug by Indian women. Old and superannuated men also partake of the labor, but the warriors hold themselves above it.
“In this labor the persons engaged in it employ the hoe, shovel, pickaxand crowbar. These implements are supplied by the traders at the island, who are the purchasers of the crude ore. They dig trenches until they are arrested by the solid rock. There are no shafts and the windless, buckets and the use of gunpowder mining operations are unknown to them. Their mode of going down into the deepest pits is by digging an inclined way, which permits the women to keep erect in walking. I descended into one of these inclined excavations, which had been probably carried down forty feet at the perpendicular angle. When a quantity of ore has been taken out it is carried in baskets to the bank of the Mississippi and ferried over to the island. The Indians received at the rate of two dollars for a hundred and twenty pounds, payable in goods. At the rate these are sold the ore may cost the traders at the rate of seventy-five cents or a dollar, cash value, per hundred weight. The traders smelt the ore in furnaces on the island. Formerly the Indians were in the habit of smelting the ore themselves on log heaps, by which an unusual proportion was converted in lead ashes and lost. They are now induced to collect these lead ashes, for which they receive a dollar a bushel. There are three mines in addition upon the upper Mississippi which are worked by the Indians: Sinsinaway mines, fifteen miles below the Fox village, on the east shore; Mine Au Fevre, on the River Au Fevre, which enters the Mississippi on its east bank below the Dubuque mines—the lead ore is found ten miles from its mouth; Mine of the Makokety, fifteen miles above Dubuque's mine. The mineral character and value of the country has been but little explored.
“After the death of Dubuque in March, 1810, the Indians burnt down his house and fences, he leaving no family. He had lived with a Musquakee squaw. There is I believe no instance in America where the Indians have annulled grants or privileges to persons settling among them and leaving families founded on the Indian element. They have erased every vestige of civilized life, and revoked or at least denied the grant, and appear to set a very high value on the mines.
“Having examined the mines with as much minuteness as the time allowed me would permit, and obtained specimens of its ores and minerals, I returned to Prairie du Chien.”
The next white settlement attempted in the limits of Iowa was by Basil Giard, a French American who obtained from the Lieutenant-Governor of Louisiana, in 1795, a grant to a tract of land in the limits of Clayton County, known as the “Giard Tract.” It contained five thousand eight hundred and sixty acres and was occupied several years. When Louisiana was acquired by the United States, a patent was issued to Giard by the Government, which was the first legal title obtained by a white man to land in the limits of Iowa.
The third settlement was made by Louis Honore Tesson, a French Canadian, in 1799. He procured authority from the Lieutenant-Governor of upper Louisiana to establish a trading post at the head of the Des Moines Rapids of the Mississippi River. His selection was made in Lee County, where Montrose now stands. Tesson at once proceeded to erect a trading post and other buildings. He enclosed a farm with a rail fence, raising corn, potatoes and other crops. He brought from St. Charles, Missouri, upon a mule, a hundred small seedling apple trees, which were planted on his farm. This was the first orchard planted upon the soil of Iowa. The trees grew and proved to be well adapted to the country and some of them were living in 1876. In 1803 the property was sold on execution to Thomas F. Reddick. The sale was confirmed to Reddick by an act of Congress. Attorney-General Felix Grundy gave an opinion confirming the title to the Reddick heirs and a patent was accordingly issued to them for six hundred and forty acres, February 7, 1839.
An act of Congress of October 3, 1803, authorized the President to take possession of the Territory of Louisiana, lately ceded by France, and establish a temporary government. On the 26th of March, 1804, an act was passed organizing the Territory of Orleans, which embraced what subsequently became the State of Louisiana, while the remainder of the purchase was made the District of Louisiana and placed under the jurisdiction of the Governor of Indiana Territory. This District of Louisiana was an immense country, the boundaries of which were not clearly defined. It embraced all of the region lying north of the present State of Louisiana, including that State, to the British possessions and west of the Mississippi River into some uncertain portion of the Rocky Mountain region and the Pacific Ocean. On the 3d of March, 1805,Louisiana was organized into a separate territory, with General James Wilkinson as Governor. The white population at this time did not exceed one thousand and the capital was St. Louis.
Soon after the purchase of Louisiana, the Government fitted out expeditions to explore the upper Mississippi and Missouri rivers, their tributaries and the regions through which they flowed. The one set up the Missouri was under the joint command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clark. Captain Lewis was the private secretary of President Jefferson when selected for this important command and was well qualified for the work. His associate, Captain Clark, who was selected at his request, was a brother of the famous General George Rogers Clark. The forty-three men chosen to accompany them were mostly young, vigorous and experienced frontiersmen, well equipped for the important work. The boats which were to convey them were fitted expressly for the expedition. One of them was fifty-five feet long and half-decked. The others were strongly built, open boats.
The expedition embarked at St. Louis on the 14th of May, 1804, to explore a vast unknown region inhabited by tribes of Indians of which almost nothing was known. All felt that it was a hazardous undertaking for so small a body of men; but they were courageous spirits, accustomed to the perils and hardships of pioneer life and entered upon the long, uncertain journey with enthusiasm and undaunted courage.
They pulled out into the great river, depending upon oars to propel their boats against the powerful current for thousands of miles. When they reached the Missouri the waters were gray and muddy with the soil washed from its shores by a resistless, grinding flood that bore great numbers of uprooted trees upon its swift current. Sandbars were continually being formed, holding huge trees in their grasp, then undermined by the wash, quickly crumbled away from the volume of swift waters thatground them to atoms. The channel and shores were daily changing.
The progress of the party was slow as the men toiled at the oars through the day and went into camp at night in the dense forests along the shores. It was the 8th of July when they reached the mouth of the Nodaway River which they found navigable for several miles. As they passed up along the west shore of Iowa they describe the country as a vast prairie, the great valley of the Missouri broadening out on the Iowa side into immense meadows, many miles in width, and level as a floor, covered with a dense growth of tall waving grass. Beyond could be seen a high range of steep bluffs, often treeless, broken into sharp points and deep ravines. Roaming over the prairies were large herds of buffalo, elk and deer. Their record says:
“The greatest river merging its waters with the Missouri from the west is the Platte, which rises among the mountains of the great Rocky or Snowy Range in about longitude 112'. It winds through the Great American Desert to its union with the Missouri. Its sources are on the Spanish frontier not far distant from those of the Rio del Norte, which traverses the kingdom of New Mexico and empties into the Gulf of Florida. It is six hundred yards wide at its mouth, and is not more than six feet in depth, and from its rapidity and the great volume of sand it carries down, it is not navigable for boats larger than Indian canoes.”
On the 22d of July the explorers camped on the east shore of the river ten miles above the mouth of the Platte to hold an interview with the Indians. The commanders had determined to cultivate the friendship of all Indian tribes they should meet on their journey through an unknown country and far beyond the reach of aid in any danger they might encounter. The regions they were to explore were known to be peopled with some of the most powerful and warlike Indian nations of America. It was realized that the success and safety of the little company of but forty-five must depend upon the establishment of friendly relations with the natives.
President Jefferson fully realized the perils likely to beencountered by a small band of men cut off entirely for months, or possibly years, from all communication with their countrymen, in an unknown and unexplored region, remote from civilization. But it was of great importance to examine and learn something of the capabilities and natural resources of this recently acquired region. The prudence, skill and courage displayed by Lewis and Clark in leading their party through this journey in safety, confirmed the excellent judgment of the President in his selection of the commanders of the successful expedition.
The first encountered were the Ottoe and Pawnee Indians on the Papillion and Mosquito, streams emptying into the Missouri. The party at once established friendly relations with them in a conference not far from where Omaha stands. On the 29th they came to a region occupied by the Ayauway (Iowa) Indians before they moved to the Des Moines Valley.
On the first of August they camped on a high wooded bluff some distance back from the river, at an elevation of more than seventy feet above the plains. From here they obtained a fine view of the surrounding country, the great prairies stretching in every direction as far as the eye could reach; the winding valley of the river fringed with woods in various places. On the 3d of August a friendly council was held with six Indian chiefs, accompanied by many members of their tribes. Captain Lewis explained to them that the Americans had now become the rulers of this great valley and that they wanted to live at peace with all of the Indians who occupied it. The tribes at this council were the Ottoes and Missouris and they asked that the Great Father would protect them from the Omahas, with whom they were at war. After a friendly conference presents were distributed among them and the council closed. Lewis and Clark gave this camp the name of “Council Bluffs.”
A week later the explorers camped near the mouth of a river named by the French “Petite Riviere de Sioux”(the Little Sioux River). Most of the tributaries of the Missouri had been visited by French adventurers and trappers from 1705 up to the close of French dominion in the Mississippi Valley. They had given them names and to some extent explored them in their search for furs and game. Lewis and Clark were told by the Indians that the Little Sioux took its rise not far from the west branch of the Des Moines River; that within ninety miles of that river it passes through a lake sixty miles in circumference, divided into two parts, the banks of which approach very close to each other. “It varies in width, contains, several islands, and is the 'Lake of the Great Spirit.'”
On the 10th the party passed a high bluff near the river where they were told by the Indians that the Omaha chief, Black Bird, was buried. He had died of smallpox four years before. Over the grave a mound twelve feet in diameter and six feet high had been piled up on an elevation three hundred feet above the river. Near this bluff was formerly a village of the Omahas, where were now buried nearly one thousand members of the tribe who had perished from smallpox the year their chief died. They had buried the dead and then burned their village consisting of three hundred wigwams.
Lewis and Clark now estimated that they had traveled by the river more than a thousand miles. On the 18th of August they landed on the west bank of the river opposite a point at the southwest corner of what is now Woodbury County, Iowa, and held a council with a band of Ottoe and Missouri Indians. The next day a young soldier of their party, Sergeant Charles Floyd, was prostrated with a sudden and very severe attack of bilious colic. The next morning presents were distributed among the Indians, who then mounted their ponies and departed westward over the prairie. The explorers embarked in their boats soon after and ascended the river thirteen miles, going into camp on the east shore. Here Sergeant Floyd died. His body was conveyed some distances to a high bluffoverlooking the river, where he was buried with military honors. A cedar post, planted at the head of the grave, bore this inscription:
He is the first white man known to have been buried on Iowa soil.
A river which the explorers passed emptying into the Missouri from the east, about a mile north of their camp, was named Floyd in memory of the young soldier whose grave was made in that lonely region. More than half a century later Sioux City was laid out near the spot where Floyd was buried.
For more than fifty years the annual floods of the great river encroached upon the bluff, wearing away its shore, until in 1857 the current had undermined the point upon which the grave was made, leaving the bones of the soldier exposed to view. Some of the residents of Sioux City assembled upon “Floyd's Bluff” and, with appropriate ceremonies, reburied the remains of Sergeant Floyd farther back from the shore. They found the red cedar-head board which had been planted by Captain Lewis fifty-three years before, thus identifying the grave.
Remarkable windings of the river were frequently observed by the explorers. At a place at which they took meridian observations, they found themselves so near a point they had passed the day before, that a man was sent to step across the narrow neck which separated the two stations. He stepped nine hundred and thirty-four yards,while the distance by river was more than eighteen miles. No large bodies of timber were mentioned as occurring along the river valley, until the explorers reached the mouth of the Great Sioux River. Few Indians were found, and large flocks of prairie chickens, geese, ducks and sandhill cranes were frequently seen.
At the mouth of the Great Sioux River they were assured by the interpreter, M. Durion, that the river was navigable for a distance of more than two hundred miles, where the great falls would be found. He also described a creek which emptied into it just below the falls, which he said passed through a bluff of red rock, out of which the Indians made their pipes. These pipe stone lands were by agreement among the Indians, far and near, declared to be neutral grounds, where hostile tribes often met peaceably upon the banks of Pipestone Creek to secure their caluments of peace.
The further progress of the expedition cannot be given here in detail, as the history of its great explorations fills volumes. It need only be stated that it was conducted with courage and judgment and was eminently successful in procuring a vast fund of information as to the character of our newly acquired possessions. The explorers ascended the Missouri River to its source in the Rocky Mountains and crossed the divide to the head waters of the Columbia, which empties into the Pacific Ocean in Oregon. They proceeded down this river, making friends of all Indian tribes they met, often procuring supplies of them.
On the 16th day of November, 1805, they pitched their tents on the shores of the Pacific Ocean at Haley's Bay. Selecting a grove of lofty pines below the mouth of the Columbia River, the party erected comfortable cabins and went into winter quarters for the second winter since leaving St. Louis. Game was plenty and large numbers of Indians visited them, exchanging provisions for goods, and thus they passed a comfortable winter in the remotewilderness thousands of miles from the nearest white settlement.
On the 23d of March, 1806, they began their long journey homeward. Before leaving the winter camp, Captains Lewis and Clark took the precaution to post up in a secure place a brief statement, giving notice to whoever might visit that remote shore, that this party (giving their names) had explored the interior of the North American Continent by way of the Missouri and Columbia Rivers, giving the date of the arrival on the Pacific coast and the time of the departure homeward. If any disaster should overtake them on the perilous return journey, here would be evidence of the success of the expedition and the results of their explorations would not be entirely lost to the world.
It is remarkable fact that this brief notice was discovered by some Indians, taken by them and delivered to a Captain Hill, who was coasting near the Columbia River, carried by him to Canton, China, and sent from there to the United States, reaching Washington in January, 1807, nearly a year after the safe return of the explorers. This was one of the most important expeditions ever sent out by our Government. It gave our country the first authentic information of its vast western possessions from the mouth of the Missouri along the eastern shores of Kansas and Nebraska, the western shore of Iowa, the interior of Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon. It gave the first knowledge to civilization of numerous Indian tribes and nations, the lofty mountains of the Snowy Range, several of the greatest rivers and valleys of the west, the fir and pine forests, natural scenery not surpassed in grandeur by any other portion of the globe.