Oregon Historical Quarterly/Volume 14/Number 3
Oregon Historical Society
VOLUME XIV SEPTEMBER, 1913 NUMBER 3
Copyright, 191 3, by Oregon Historical Society The Quarterly disavows responsibility for the positions taken by contributors to its pages
LETTER BY DANIEL H. LOWNSDALE TO SAMUEL R. THURSTON, FIRST TER- RITORIAL DELEGATE FROM OREGON TO CONGRESS
Introduction by Clarence B. Bagley
In December, 1912, the writer spent several days in the rooms of the Oregon Historical Society, in Portland, examin- ing old manuscripts and newspapers. The collection belonging to that Society is large and of historic value that but few even of its own members appreciate.
From 1852 to 1860 our family lived; in and near Salem, it being the capital of Oregon Territory, where nearly all the notable people of those early days congregated at some time of the year; thus their faces and reputations were familiar to me. The reading of these letters and documents bearing dates of more than sixty years ago from Joseph Lane, James W. Nes- mith, Asahel Bush, Matthew P. Deady, et al., brought to my mind hundreds of incidents of my childhood when these men and their contemporaries controlled affairs in Old Oregon.
Among these papers and docume'nts were several from Daniel H. Lownsdale to Samuel R. Thurston, Oregon's first delegate in Congress. The document presented herewith in the Quarterly is unsigned, but while reading it the handwriting seemed familiar and after a careful comparison with letters a'nd documents signed by Mr. Lownsdale, Mr. George H. Himes and I, both, by the way, expert in deciphering poor chirography and in the recognition of individual penmanship, unhesitatingly pronounced it the work of Mr. Lownsdale.
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The paper throws many sidelights upon incidents and con- ditions existing in those early days and has the greatest value because of the prominence of the writer.
In a recent letter to me from Mr. Himes, he says:
"The Diary of Hon. Samuel R. Thurston, beginning No- vember 29, 1849, and ending on August 28, 1850, relating to his official duties in Washington, D. C, as Delegate in Con- gress from Oregon Territory, together with a large number of letters received by him, principally from his constituents, were secured from the daughters of Mr. A. W. Stowell, whose wife was a daughter of Mr. Thurston. Mr. and Mrs. Stowell died several years since.
"My acquaintance with Mr. Stowell began fully thirty years ago, but ho reference was ever made to the Thurston material until about 1903 ; then, learning that he had it in his custody, I urged him to give it to the Oregon Historical Society, which he promised to do in the near future. But he failed to do so during his lifetime. Then I took the matter up with his brother and through his influence with his nieces the material was finally secured. I have the diary partly copied. It ought to go into the Quarterly before long."
The rivalries and disputes between the Americans and the representatives of the Hudson's Bay Company and between the missionaries belonging to the several church organizations began in the late thirties, and are familiar to all students of Oregon history.
A large American Exploring Expedition visited and sur- veyed Puget Sound and lower Columbia River waters in 1840- 41, with Lieut. Charles Wilkes at its head. Either he or one of his trusted lieutenants visited all the American settlements on both sides of the Cascade mountains and an exhaustive re- port of the expedition was later printed by the United States Government. Wilkes was in frequent consultation with the missionaries and the leading men among the settlers, and later became the object of most acrimonious criticisms, charging him with disloyalty to American interests and unwarranted friendship toward the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company.
LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON 215
For many years it has been a puzzle to me as to the reason for this antagonism toward Captain Wilkes, as it has ever seemed to me that he exercised good judgment and sound dis- cretion at all times in his visits to the Oregon people. The tone of this document is unfriendly to the extreme of bitter- ness, which seems to have been caused by the report he made about the difficulties and dangers attendant upon the naviga- tion of the Columbia river. There were "townsite boomers" in those days as well as at the present time, and Mr. Lowns- dale was easily their leader at that time.
Daniel H. Lownsdale was a native of Kentucky and a descend- ant of an old southern family. For a time he lived in Indiana, then went to Georgia, and in 1845 came to Oregon. In his early manhood he acquired a liberal education and then widened his knowledge and broadened his views by devoting two years to travel and study in Great Britain and Continental Europe.
The first to lay claim to land on the site of Portland was William Overton, of whom little is known. A. L. Lovejoy is credited with being the first to entertain the idea of making a city there. He came to Oregon in 1842, and in 1843 or 1844 acquired; an interest in Overton's claim. Francis W. Petty- grove, who later founded Port Townsend, Washington, soon acquired the remainder of Overton's interest, and Lovejoy and Pettygrove began work on the embryo city. Its boundaries were surveyed, a log cabin was put up in 1844, and in 1845 the original plat of sixteen blocks was laid off. Overton's cabin, put up in 1843, was merely a shed, open in front.
Oregon City was the first place selected as a townsite in Oregon. In 1843 Linn City was founded by Robert Moore on the west bank of the Willamette, opposite Oregon City ; and Hugh Burns soon after laid off a town below Linn City and called it Multnomah. In 1843 M. M. McCarver, who founded Burlington in Iowa, Sacramento in California, and Tacoma in Washington, together with Peter H. Burnett selected a site a few miles below Portland and called it Linnton, in remem- brance of Senator Li'nn, of Missouri, one of Oregon's earliest and most influential friends during its formative period. In
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1846 Captain Nathaniel Crosby laid off Milton at the mouth of Willamette Slough opposite the north end of Sauvie's Island, and about the same time Capt. H. M. Knighton founded St. Helens, still further dow'n the river. In 1847 Lot Whitcomb laid off Milwaukie, which indeed was a rival to Portland for many years. In the same year James Johns founded St. Johns, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. Sometime prior to 1850 "Pacific City, Lewis County, Oregon," was laid off by Elijah White and he sold lots there. One of his printed deeds is among the papers of the Oregon Historical Society. Later, Rainier was established on the west bank of the Columbia, and in 1870 the land ring of the Northern Pa- cific Railway Company founded its first "Pacific Terminus" on the east bank of the river nearly opposite its earlier rival, Rainier. They called their bantling Kalama, which, by the way, was the name of a native of the Sandwich Islands that the Hudson's Bay Company brought over to work for it in the later thirties. Early in the game of founding cities Astoria and Pacific City were earnest rivals and for years made faces at each other across the broad waters of Columbia's mouth. All of these embryo cities from the ocean to the Falls of the Willamette were equally affected by Wilkes' report, and they seem to have made common cause against its author.
'Mr. Lownsdale "took up" a claim back from the river, and at the same time recognizing the value of the water front pur- chased Pettygrove's interests. A few months prior to the date of the document under discussion, Stephen Coffin, W. W. Chap- man and D. H. Lownsdale became the sole owners of the claim and the three set to work methodically to make Portland a city. They combined large capital for those early days. They were able men, of wide experience, and were courageous and ener- getic, as, indeed, were nearly all of the pioneers of that period.
In passing, I may call attention to the references to Doctor Whitman in several places in the document. Those interested in the "Whitman Myth" will find much to attract their atten- tion in that connection.
It would not be a matter of surprise if the publication of this paper should revive many topics for discussion among those interested in the history of Old Oregon.
SUPPLEMENTARY INTRODUCTORY NOTE
By the Editor of The Quarterly
The first strong impulse with a document like the Lownsdale letter is to withhold it from publication. But it is a document contemporary with the public affairs with which it has to do; and, moreover, it is in a large measure representative of the views of those in the ascendant at the time. While it is utterly worthless as a clear source of abstract facts, it cannot be discredited as an expression of the deeper feelings and of the attitude of probably a majority of the Oregon community of the later forties. Every statement in it contains an element of perverting prejudice, yet it is explicit and it tells what must largely have been believed and acted upon at the time. It is saturated with poison but it contains what was no doubt in the thought and hearts of the majority that elected Samuel R. Thurston as Oregon's first delegate to Congress. It interprets the first insurgency of the Oregon demos. It is the first function of history to understand, so if Oregon history of that time and throughout is to be fully understood, this letter of Daniel H. Lownsdale is an absolutely indispensable source.
It will be noted that the writer presents it virtually as the brief of the American interests when vital conflicting claims between settlers of American antecedents and those of British antecedents were about to be brought to an issue before Congress. This Lownsdale letter was calculated to serve the needs of Thurston as he struggled to realize the purposes for which he had been sent to Washington. Its resume of the course of events through which the Oregon situation had been evolved was just what Thurston had to have in hand as his residence in and acquaintance with Oregon had been very brief. The document reflects the basis of the attitude of the dominant party in the first great marshalling of forces in Oregon's political history.
Portland, August 10th, 1849.
Dear Sir: Since your departure, I have been writing and know not whether I shall have time to finish all I had intended and even what I have has been written without proper revision
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and is very imperfect, and perhaps may not, without a great deal of trouble in preparing it for the press, answer much pur- pose, but if it does no more than give you some of the facts of vital importance to know, it will have accomplished some- thing, but it all resolves itself into this, that the Hudson's Bay interest will represent itself ably, no doubt, during the next two years and you cannot too scrupulously watch the American interest, and the treaty gives ample scope for them to have their rights and also a few which should be turned over to Americans. As an advocate of holding treaties sacred, I should give it as my desire to see the treaty fulfilled but at the same time where there is any matter left to legislate on, that the American rights should be attended to, and if neces- sary to comply with the treaty that British claimants should be paid by the United States Government and not give away individual rights to fill the stipulations of treaties. This appears to be the aim of the British interests here ; instead of throwing themselves on the liberality of their own government, they think they should seize all in their power and thereby wrong individual citizens of what they have a right to expect from our own government. Instead of their surrendering anything which a preference as an American, they should be entitled to, the government should give the American the preference and if the government is indebted to the Hudson's Bay Company, let them be paid out of the public treasury and 'not from the dearly earned interest of individuals. I allude particularly to the interests of the settlements on land claims and the choice of locations on which a grant or pre-emption may be anticipated. There has been various instances of American settlers actually having been driven from their settlements by force and their houses pulled down and at other times burned ; and other times on refusal to relinquish their improvements have been put in prison by this same Hudson's Bay Company. Now if an American has any preference on American territory, why should these men be allowed to hold in defiance of that preference? From the wording of the Organic Act (latter clause of the 14th section : "But all laws heretofore passed in said territory, making grants of land or otherwise affecting or incumbering the title to lands shall and are hereby declared null and void," etc.) by Congress, that body may have had this thing in view; but our best judges have given it as worded thus from the grants by the territorial compact or old organic law of this territory. It is clear if the latter has been the cause of this clause being inserted; but that body has taken the same im
LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON 219
pression as is generally taken by many here. That it is the fact that the old organic law gave grants of land, this same thing is plainly the opinion expressed in the memorial to Con- gress of 1846; but notwithstanding the English-Scotch me- morial of '46, notwithstanding many of our wise men at home and our most wise congress should be of this opinion if you or they look again you will not find any grant given by that old instrument. It makes certain rules by which any man shall be governed who was then holding or wishing to hold a claim of land in this territory ; and not granting either formally or vn*~ formally any right to the soil whatever; but laid down the rules as above described to keep down strife among the settlers with each other, but at the same time leaving to the anticipation of what every American citizen has an undoubted right to ex- pect from our mother government a donation o>f land, and this too in preference to any occupant of any other nation. If the former has been the cause of these words of the organic act of Congress for this territory, then have they taken the right view of the case ; for by the old organic law the preference has been in favor of the foreigner, not as it was dared to be openly expected by the then tzvo-fold character given to that instrument, but by the bribery of these monsters who have dealt in this manner up to the present in Oregon, to the advan- tage of their masters, the H. B. Co. and foreigners.
A law, however, that has in view justice to Americans set- tled in this country cannot give a more just bearing to dona- tions or pre-emptions than this same old organic law, for the simple reason that by this they would secure their claims as they have laid them ; yet it needs considerable qualifications to prevent foreigners and those who have not been at any trouble to settle and improve the country from sharing with those who have a right to their choice and inalienable right to what their toil and privations necessarily borne by the first settlers. I know of no better mode of a donation law than the following which I extract from a letter from one of my friends in Missouri; in which he shows the clear necessity of framing the law with an eye to the rights of the Americans composed of farmers, mechanics and professional men, all of which it takes to make a community, and when you fall short of meeting this community (and not individuals) you fall short of the spirit of every vital interest of any country in its settle- ment. There is one thing, however, which should be kept in view. That is, a course to prevent speculators from retarding those settlements ; therefore, the more simple, plain and de
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cisive the law can be worded the better. I will here quote his wording, not as your criterion, but it is not amiss to hear all that can be said on any subject.
Said he, "I think the wording of any donation or pre-emption law for Oregon should be in these words, namely, (in the body). "Every American citizen who has settled permanently in Ore- gon territory previously to the proclamation of Joseph Lane, the governor of this territory, declaring the laws of the United States in force In the said territory, shall be entitled to a grant of 640 acres of land, laid out as described in the organic law or compact adopted by the people of Oregon territory on the twenty-sixth day of July, A. D. 1845, with these qualifications ; the said donation or pre-emption as above described shall be to the American citizens who have been the actual settlers or purchasers from the first settler the improvements made on the before described donation or pre-emption, who has con- tinued to reside in this territory for the term of three years and occupied the same and cultivated the soil during that time ; and in all cases giving the preference in location to the oldest occupancy as before described having made permanent im- provements or purchased the same from the original or as- sig j nee of the original settlement ; and continued his occupancy as assignee or purchaser of the former settler or settlers orig- inal ; in person ; or if a mechanic or professional man contin- uing to reside in the territory by cultivation by himself or hired hand or hands, so to occupy ; but this, however, shall not en- title any to hold but one such location or claim, entitling him to a donation or pre-emption. No non-resident living in any other place than this territory shall be allowed a location or claim entitling him to a donation or pre-emption in preference to a resident citizen. But in all cases the actual possessor and settler, original or purchaser of the same from the original, or his assignee, shall be entitled to the preference in location and donation, or pre-emption, on which he or his legal prede- cessors had selected and improved. Nothing, however, in the foregoing shall be construed as to give any legal claimant as before described a right to lay his claim on lands covered by another previously laid and occupied as before described but in all cases the oldest occupant and claimant shall have the pref- erence if he has continued to occupy as before described ; and be it further enacted that any widow, old maid or young girl
over the age of shall be entitled to the same dobation as
before described if such shall occupy previous to the proclama- tion or shall have resided in this territory three years or con
LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON 221
tinue to do so after moving into the same and shall have de- scended from a free white citizen of the United States, and otherwise be governed by the general stipulation for males."
These wordings may be a little imperfect but I thi'nk, ex- cept the definition of age and the requiring a proper surveyor to lay out such claims and report to the proper surveyor-general, where they are situated, etc., the majority of the people's case would be heard and their rights respected.
The custom house location is another matter which the people are interested in. All the objections to the matter being easily disposed of, are, the assertions of the Hudson's Bay Company and their clique who, if they cannot run the trade into the mouth of Clamet river, they will endeavor to gull the people and Congress with an assertion that Tongue Point Chanell [sic] and the mouth of the Willamette are impracticable and stop the trade anywhere but where the people need it, and although the Tongue Point bar and the mouth of the Willamette always afford as much water as the mouth of the Mississippi, they plead it is useless to be at the convenience of having trade in our vicinity but put as many trammels on it as if we were obliged to cut our own throats because they wished our death and could not otherwise kill us. It is well known that at the mouth of the Willamette (on the narrow bar of thirty yards) there is never less than 12 feet water at low tide and low water, and that the tide rises at that place to the height of four feet and yet it is impossible, as James Douglas, Ogden and Doct. McLaughlin says, to have the trade come so near the settlements as Portland.
The obstruction to any depth of water necessary to vessels of any size would be but a trifling matter to remove and in the only mo'nth that we have low water in the Willamette dur- ing the year we would be relieved from paying tribute in a useless expense where the country profited by this, is but a speck compared with the upper country, but not so bad, Johnny Bull, we will not take your advice, nor take your medicine. At any season of the year except when we have had but little rain in the fall season ; at full tide we have 17 feet of water at present and of course every inch the bar is taken off will add to the depth of water (which is a sand bar) but during the month of November we sometimes have but 16 feet, but this is even more than the highest tide gives the mouth of the Missis- sippi by one foot.
The history of no country now in existence is of more im- portance at the present to the world at large than that of Oregon
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Territory. Up to the present it has been enveloped in mystery and kept, as the fern among the towering fir groves, shut out from the sunlight, and in this enchanted condition, for pur- poses best known to those who have not only fattened from this seclusion but also gives ground to suppose that there are sinister motives for the future. At the discovery of the mouth of the Columbia river by Captain Gray who entered its mouth and ascended to where Astoria is now situated, in the year 1792, there was no white settlements on this, nor its tributaries. After this discovery and report by Captain Gray, the Hudson's Bay Company by their agent, Mr. McKinzie, conceived the idea of converting the trade of this coast by a chain of trading posts to the Atlantic and reported accordingly, the probable interest it might make to the English crown by giving the United charter to the Hudson's Bay Company and the North- west Fur Company and we will see how far their designs have been carried out before we come to the present date.
In the year 1808 John Jacob Astor, after hearing the report of Lewis and Clark, came to the conclusion to settle a trading post at this point and sent by land a company of men while his ship Tonquin sailed around by sea, to their destination, where they arrived, the Tonquin entering the mouth and ascending to the station at Astoria, 1811. During the short period of two years, Astor's establishment flourished amazingly, and, as requested by the energetic traveler, McKinzie, the Hudson's Bay Company forced their way westward and commenced their course of opposition to the Americans, and in 1813 a British brig entered and captured his station, and in 1814 built a fort at the place now known by the name of Fort George and re- tained the same until the present, notwithstanding the required relinquishing the country by treaty ; they did indeed give up the site of Astoria but retained their hold at Fort George when the treaty required the surrender of the trade of the whole country on its former footing to the Americans.
Thus, cramped by the Hudson's Bay Company and a con- tinuation of their posts up the river, the company continued virtually to hold possession of the whole Columbia valley, on the east and west of the Cascade mountains, Astor relinquished the trade and, although in direct opposition to justice, England virtually, by the Hudson's Bay Company, possessed what treaty had guaranteed to the American citizen. They entered Oregon territory in the year 1810 ; still continuing westward 1812 they made another fort still lower on the Columbia, thence down to Walla Walla in 1811 and where Vancouver now stands,
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1825, thus completing their chain, with that at Fort George, to the Pacific. After having the run of the whole fur trade of this immense valley and its productions, from the Indian manu- facture of skins and in their fisheries until the year 1842 when they became alarmed about the prospect of the country's be- ing peopled by Americans under the treaty as conveying it from its original claimants the Spanish. In 1843, Doctor Mc- Loughlin received orders, as the governor of the western branch of this company, to dispatch agents to Fort Hall and order them to stop the emigration who had come on that far, and if possible prevent them from crossing the Blue Moun- tains. This can perhaps at this date be denied by the managers of this band of friends to the American interest, but I will just cite you to proof of the fact; to Mr. McKinlay of the Hudson's Bay Company, to Mr. Spalding and Eells, mission- aries, who were there a'nd know the particulars ; and if that lamented friend, Marcus Whitman, had not since been mur- dered as well as his papers burned we should have had that evidence which they feared to face. When Whitman, who piloted the emigration of 1843, arrived at Fort Hall, the diffi- culties of the journey was offered as an objection to their con- tinuing on their journey ; next the danger of Indians ; and when they found these men could not be deterred by any other mode they threatened to bar them by the Hudson's Bay Company having possession of the country and would not allow them to settle without coming under their rule. Whitman being a well informed man at once told the emigrants they should have no difficulty as they were making assertions which they could not carry out. Some, however, were deterred, and (by this stratagem being presented to them). The great traveler Hast^- ings (Hastings is now in California at the present and takes sides with the Indians, who have murdered many of the citi- zens of Oregon, and when those who had relations thus mur- dered has made exertions to bring them to a summary justice, he has tried to keep the Indians from being detected and has ever acted in unison with the Hudson's Bay Company against the Americans in Oregon, and not only a splendid description of California given but some say a little golden influence also, several were induced to turn to California. Nevertheless, Whitman succeeded in bringing several to the west of the Blue Mountains, and from thence many into the Willamette valley. On their arriving, they found the best portions selected by the Hudson's Bay Company and several trading posts, and one place in particularly the Willamette Falls, where some ar
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rangements for manufacturing flour and cutting lumber, etc., had been made^, and for fear the American government should not recognize their right to take up the lands, Doct. McLaugh- lin, or Hudson's Bay Company, for the whole of the company's business to this day is under his control, fell upon a plan of adapting himself to the circumstances and give it out he was going to become an American citizen ; and accordingly, to carry out his plan of proceeding profitably, looked out who was the most influential among the Americans and make them his tools for operation in his new course. Accordingly selected for his purpose a lawyer, a general, a judge, and some former legis- lators. These he first made his servants by taking advantage of their needy condition after their long journey, letting them have goods to the amount of from five hundred to fifteen hun- dred dollars on a credit, and continued to let them have goods as they wished at any time. The next thing to be done was to set two or three of these men to writing a description of the country as given by them, or him, and colored everything to their notion. Four years previous to this settlement in 1843, a few of the rocky mountain trappers had worked themselves down into the westward of the blue mountains and commenced farming on a small scale, and hunted and trapped at intervals ; and kept up a half-Indian, half-farmer trade with the Hudson's Bay Company. A Mr. Griffin, also a missionary, had settled in the Tuality plains during the year 1838 as a missionary, and had intercourse with the same and was well acquainted with the proceedings of those of the American navy who had vis- ited Fort Vancouver. Through him and some seven of the trappers in the same section of the country, I obtained my in- formation with regard to their reception and treatment at the fort. As is usual, they have evinced great hospitality to the American officers, and made every show of ki'nd feeling for their country. After this course of treatment, it may be well understood how it has been possible to so corrupt the reports to our government, respecting the mouth of the Columbia and other matters vitally affecting the interests of this territory. After enjoying a week of leisure and living well, and not in- frequently a "spree" in which a free use of the wine and brandy was common, it softened the heart and opened the disposition to get written statements from the honourable governor of the Hudson's Bay Company of all the particulars of the trade, navigation and history of events connected with the country, and such, I venture the assertion, from good authority, are the reports sent to Congress as being his official productions
LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON 225
and research. It is a well known fact that the description of places and circumstances correspond at least, with what they have made it, and particularly the mouth of the Columbia, "a nest of dangers," Their leaders even refer to Wilkes' re- ports with great satisfaction, although at the same time charge him with having but little "brave seamanship" See the Oregon Spectator where Doct McLaughlin and Douglas over the signature of Truth Teller give their views (in Vol. 1, No. 26), or rather their report to the world. But now comes the secret : It is well known that their plans and management have always been to keep out the American trade, and thereby always have the Americans under their management in trade, and this is what made the "nest of dangers" at the mouth of the Colum- bia, and now for facts : first, whether it was manufactured for the benefit of their plans or not, such is the fact, that there is an old chart which has been put into the hands of such strangers as intended sailing to the mouth of Columbia river, by the Hudson's Bay Company's agent at Honolulu, which has falsely marked on it the bearings of the various bars, breakers, chan- nels, etc., and woeful experience has told these same strangers that there was marked for the channel places where no ship could ever have run without falling into their "nest of dangers," and further that one of these charts has been in the hands of Nathaniel Crosby, Jr. (the only man who has entirely suc- ceeded in any great degree to develop the facts.) This same Nathaniel Crosby has been engaged in the Sandwich Islands and California trade from this place for the space of four years, making a voyage to and from each of these places to Portland about once every 2 months, and without a single accident in passing out and into the mouth of the Columbia river and further gives it as a fact from the depth of water, the width of channel and everything connected with the passage to be as easy to pass as any entrance in the United States, and this you will see by looking over Crosby's chart made from the year 1845 up to the present.
The ship Main was an example of the effects of the Hud- son's Bay agents' advice, etc., [ ?] at Honolulu for by this chart as before described the master sailed. And now for the pro- ceedings of the Naval officers' reports and proceedings dur- ing their stay in Oregon.
In 1841, I believe in August, having previously got an old chart from the Company's agent at Honolulu, Lieutenant Wilkes made an attempt to come into the river and his re- ports will show the result. Feeling chagrined that he should
226 LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON
have lost this old vessel taken during the last war with Great Britain, and fearing to have his "seamanship" and other mat- ters appear very slack, it can easily be accounted for by our knowing the circumstances from good authority, why his re- ports have made the mouth of the Columbia out in accordance with the Doctor-Governor, and Sir Edward Belcher's reports "the nest of dangers." And before leaving this subject, will just say that since August, 1848, the operations of the golden region of California, we have been without any stationed pilot at the mouth ; and that during that time we have had thirty- one departures and 28 arrivals, and not a single (up to August 1849) accident of a serious 'nature happened; and seven of these arrivals by entire strangers, one of which was the steam propeller Massachusetts drawing 17 feet water, which not only came and departed but ascended as far as Portland and took in a cargo of lumber. And also that these vessels running in and out have do'ne this without having any pilot to direct their course, which thing is certified by Crosby and others who have been constantly in the trade, and all corroborate the statement that with an efficient stationed pilot there would be no necessity for more disasters there than any other entrance in the United States. But to the reception and treatment, etc., of our officers and their reports after the disastrous wreck of the Peacock. The then Commodore Wilkes was insisted to go up the river to Vancouver, where the principal trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company is situated, and to which post there has been a messenger sent from Fort George giving intelligence of the wreck and probability of the officers visiting the Doctor and Governor. About the middle of the month of August, accord- ingly, a canoe, with supplies and formal invitation to come up and spend the leisure time at Vancouver, our officers, Wilkes at their head, started the next day up the Columbia. Arrived within 80 rods of the fort when they were saluted for effect by the guns of the fort (for this and the rest of the forts have bastions and artillery mounted.) This, however, being only intended to pay respect to the American Flag, the naval offi- cers of that proud republic felt a little raised by the token of respect received from these haughty Aristocrats. The boat's crew was ordered to pitch the markee on the green and make ready for their dinner, but at this moment a gray headed, stout built, athletic appearing personage, bearing in his left hand a snuff box and in his right an oaken cane, his manner being on the whole affable yet to an acute observer it was manifest he felt his aristocratic dignity and at the same time
LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON 227
seemed to consider he should approach Americans with Amer- ican freedom and ease on his left hand was a somewhat short but corpulent man a pace in rear of the former and off to the right, and several paces in rear, a slender dark complected individual, whose keen eye appeared to scan the group of Amer- icans with scrutiny, but as the leader came up and commenced the harangue the other two appeared to divide to right and left, and face inwards to the speaker comme'nced with these words, "Ye are Americans, I suppose. I am ," etc., etc., soon showing by his dialect that he had known in his younger days the "Highlands of auld Scotland" and with the affability, mixed with hasty blustering words often repeated, as if to give them their proper place and bearing, he greeted the American camp, taking off his hat at the same time, to give effect, but immediately placing it on his head again. With all his native warmth he offered the young Americans the accommodations and any assistance the fort and company could render. A little fired with the affable manner in which they had been offered and the desire to obtain what information they might be able to obtain, after a short consultation on the retiring of mine host, a messenger was dispatched to the elevated steps to notify him of their acceptance, not, however, until some canvass. Lieutenant Wilkes asked the younger officers in con- sultation if they were satisfied to accept the hospitalities which had been offered in this characteristic manner. All asserited
but one, Mr. , about 20 years of age, usually taciturn
and rarely offering but little objections to the apparent wishes or his fellows. He arose from his seat on a small box con- taining some spirituous liquors, which had been brought from the wreck and, gracefully bowing towards the senior officers, at the same time sayi'ng in a clear but not loud voice, "Sir and gen- tlemen: I am sorry at any time to differ in the slightest de- gree from your wishes or sentiment, but in this I do here see some ground to differ in opinion with you, wherein I feel called upon by my sense of duty to object to receiving these hospitalities in the manner in which they are offered. Do 'not mistake my words as being opposed to the receipt or recipro- cation but I am opposed to laying myself under obligations to any nation or their representatives whereby the weakness of my nature and the very feeling which makes me willing to receive these ki'nd demonstrations of hospitality, unhinges my efficiency as an officer of the United States, from reporting the facts which may exist in the relations we bear as a gov- ernment to that of Great Britain, of whose interests this same
228 LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON
Hudson's Bay Company are the representatives. This is what is meant by the presents forbidden to be accepted by any offi- cers of our government, spoken of in the constitution, but if I could be certain these kindnesses should cease with the offer- ing and receiving in person should be accomplished, I should have no objection but I know by all precepts and example this will not be the case to the letter." The speaker resumed his seat, and in a jocular manner one of a more lively tempera- ment replied, Well, Charles, we will give you the task of making out the reports, while we drink the champagne and by this we will accomplish the wishes of our government and use up John Bull's wine at the same time." The witty saying raised a smile of approbation on the lip of the Co. and of sat- isfied resignation on the countenance of the former speaker, the question being carried to accept; and all repaired to the fort inside the walls or pickets where the lively jokes and yarns passed for several days in succession. To still add to the comforts and convenience of the party, runners were started to various sections of the country where the company's bands of horses ran to bring in such as were sprightly and fit for the saddle. Various excursions were proposed and made to the various places giving a pleasant view and convenient ride. Until late in the Fall, these amusements and hospitable recreations and enjoyments, such as now, in this country, al- though there were a few Americans here, there were none able to compete with their neighbors in kind treatment of their countrymen; consequently, the vital influence, or any descrip- tion of this country which would have any bearing upon Amer- ican interest, prejudicial to John Bull, was impossible.
All appeared to go off well until just before the gallant com- pany should leave for their destination, join the exploring squadron and proceed with their discoveries. But during the
time this party remained, the same before mentioned Mr. ,
who objected to receiving their hospitalities, had kept a journal of all he had seen and heard, but not taking the Scotch version of it, but according to facts. Now it was a void of some three months in the chain of official reports which would make a gap in the connected chain of glory to which our Commodore aspired. He now commenced making some arrangements for recording the facts, and, naturally enough the questions regard- ing the locality and internal, as well as external, situation of business and prospects of the country should be put to his honor, the Doctor, Governor, who, with his clerks, was ready to give all answers and descriptions in writing, a copy of which
LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON 229
was invariably kept, to answer the purposes of negotiations hereafter to* be made by the British government, and, accord- ingly, copied and forwarded to the Minister of Foreign Af- fairs. These written answers to questions and descriptions of places so well agree with what has been published and referred to in common conversation, shows how well these answers and descriptions suited their purposes. After examination of these subjects so ably described by the Doctor, this was the course pursued : to save time for recreation and give a proper bearing to all the interests concerned, the famed explorer thought it the shortest and easiest mode to make these written
reports (as the clerk and Mr. can testify) by the famed
doctor and Governor was signed and countersigned as the true reports. You can see how effectual they have answered the purpose as you can see from the orders given to the Com- mander of the Squadron in the bay of San Francisco in dis- patches sent by the Collector destined for the mouth of Colum- bia river, requiring him to convey the collector to be landed in Latitude 42, the mouth of the Clamett, and furnish an escort to convey him to Oregon City. Just see the order to the Com. as aforesaid, and which would have been much easier to have been accomplished from Slitter's fort on the Sacramento.
But to my history again, and beginning where I left the company having, after they could not prevent the emigration of 1843 from coming into the territory, they fell into this managing course of turning circumstances to good account by the influence of the writings and action of the lawyer, the judge and the general with their helpers, the former legislators. Several letters were accordingly written home and not a few with the Governor-Doctor's name couched in them ; as a speci- men of aristocratic Republican and Scotch Democracy; in such a jumble that I for one came to the conclusion that our people had been humbugged, or I had formed but a slight idea of how these Hudson's Bay managers were, but finally thought I was perhaps prejudiced against them and had taken a former view through colored glasses. But the result of all told a dif- ferent tale, for these men, first employed by the company, had each also a private interest to serve and accordingly when they came in contact with each other one by one fell off, and, like the noted Catholic priest, Humbolt, told on the rest, and as soon as one was found to think more of the American interest than the company's, they were not only denounced by the fra- ternity, but the account from the Hudson's Bay Company was presented showing their indebtedness, with a polite note ap
230 LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON
pended, saying "We are in much need of the 1500 dollars (or greater sum, as it might be)." And now comes the tug of war, and a man in their service (I do not mean industrial) must become a good Christian, of the Jesuit order, before he could receive any of these favors (formerly carelessly bestowed) as the former Governor and Doctor knew best how to use such being of the same persuasion himself. This is not fancy, for in reality the o'nly ones who were trusted with their business and who had labored for them for years joined the Catholic Jesuits.
At the first establishment of a temporary government, the way was prepared by these leaders to let in the English sub- ject with the American citizen on an equal footing, so far as word was concerned, and having our principal men broken into their service and so very tractable that for the first two years they took by storm all the fortification of American principle. The year forty-five, however, brought a large emigration and with that crowd many who were aware of the difficulties they had to encounter, but these same men only opened the way for greater struggles. At the opening of the second session of that after the Organic Law was formed, being in the fall of '46, the former controlling influence presented itself in the councils of the territory ; first in this shape, that the prospects being good for the difficulties having been settled between the two nations as was represented by treaty least by trickery former legislation, the company would suffer by any action, therefore, proposed an adjournment to await the extension of jurisdiction of the United States. As all legislation was in their favor formerly and any alteration would likely result to their injury; accordingly, Robert Newell, the American who was known to be a professed Hudson's Bay man of the first water, put in motion, but awful to tell the thing would not work as they expected, and a rally of all the troops made to secure their success ; but all in vain they now fell back onto the old expedient of using (not the Irish blarney) but Scotch affability o'n such as resisted their wishes but it is as awful to tell as in the first instance. There was a majority fell victims to their wiles. One had looked at a claim of land adjoining Fort Vancouver that pleased him and which he wished to record as an American citizen. But Mr. Douglas, now gover- nor of the Hudson's Bay Company, peremptorily ordered him not to do it, and this stirred the American's feelings so that he had declared vengeance against them and dared say so out of Douglas' presence ; but now this would come in good play ;
LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON 231
accordingly a letter was dispatched to the Colonel, stating that "we have concluded to move our lines that you can have the claim of land where you desired and I herewith send you the field 'notes of the survey made by your brother who has surveyed forty of our claims in this vicinity and you have our consent to have it recorded in the books of the territory." (See the record of Dec., 1846, made in the name of this Colonel, Sir -named Lawrence Hall, and with regard to these claims sur- veyed by them his brother can testify. ) Being spoken to by the Colonel on the subject, he read the quotation above. The gilded bait was taken and ere the session closed we found him at the head of a committee to draft a memorial to Congress from this legislature, and with his own pen writing the preamble and leading paragraph of the memorial, as follows, "We, your memorialists, are Scotch, English, French and Americans," and after another preliminary remark, continued, "We would re- spectfully ask your honorable body to grant us our lands as we have laid them, having laid them in accordance with the Organic Law." Here would just say I think this is misunder- stood by many as giving a grant of land when if you will look at them it is only a requisition of the territory of any person holding or wishing to hold a claim. Thus was one allured. Another, who liked to toss the brandy bottle, was glad to re- ceive their aid to pass a liquor law, and for and in consideration of which Hudson's Bay Company be the only speculators in liquor. See the liquor license law of 1846. Importers paid no duties but the manufacturer paid $100 for the privilege to make, as they should be charged no duty for importing it but he that distilled should pay his $100 license for their benefit. Another wished to have the company enjoy all the privileges we enjoyed as American citizens, and privileged to throw res- ervoirs across public roads a'nd prevent them from going to the only public mill then in the territory that could grind any quantity of wheat, &c. And during the action of that body the mill had a notice posted on the door and other places near but after their friends thot fit to leave this public mill as it had ever been before, was opposed to grinding the wheat of the people without they would sell 70 Ibs. wheat for about 60 cents and buy flour at three dols. per hundred. McLaughlin's, or, as it was then called, by themselves, H. B. Co. mill, never ground for the people, yet advertised during the time of debate on obstructing the road the member from Vancouver said this H. B. Co. mill was a public mill. By the next day, however, they refused to grind for ind. To conclude the proceedings of
232 LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON
the legislature of '46 and up to the present: there has been but little change until the extension of jurisdiction when the company became sheared of a portion of their power, partic- ularly those of the Hudson's Bay Company's servants, who, with their half-breed people, were barred from voting. This, however, being the last struggle, they got up a plan to split the American interest and throw in by their exertions one as a delegate who would be under obligations to them, and so have an advocate to their interest.
I will return to the history of the doctor and the company's history as far back as '45. On the arrival of the emigration of '45, those leading the caravan, being twenty in number, landed in boats from Walla Walla, sending their cattle down by land. When they arrived at the fort on the 23rd of Septem- ber, they were asked into the fort and the apparent leaders were asked into the doctor's reception room where they were ques- tioned closely as to the numbers of emigration and probable expectation of donations of land, and in short all that could give him any clue to his best future course. After he had all the information he could get the next thing was to act according to his interest. In his characteristic manner he observed, speaking very fast, "a host of you Americans coming, ha ! glad to see it ! Am going to take the oath of allegiance ! Am going to leave Hudson's Bay Company, move to the falls. Have bought out the store and mills at the falls of Willamette going to move next week." After we had heard all that he had to say, left for the Willamette valley, ruminating on the doctor's fanciful Americanism. He, however, did not move to the falls until about the time the bulk of the emigration came in, when he took possession of the store, mill and claim and settled himself as the sole proprietor of Oregon City sta- tion and mills, apparently entire owner, but from the moves with regard to ownership as a chess player he changed his position as to the trading post mill &c. as follows : In 1845, Doctor McLaughlin was owner of the trading post, mills and claim ; in the summer of 1846, the company owned all ; during the session of the legislature in December, 1846, John Mc- Laughlin owned the mills and claim, but the Hudson's Bay Company re-purchased their trading post again. To explain this, you will only have to refer to the propositions of the treaty to see his moves and you find it corresponds with his and their changes. These propositions, unfortunately for them, were as often published as the substance of the treaty expected ; when the first definitio'n of the treaty came to hand, after he
LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON 233
had thrown all into the hands of the Hudson's Bay Company (published in a dispatch from the consul at Tepic, the descrip- tions of the articles or substances being kept from the public for fear of the cause of the transfer of property had to be made before it could be seen) ; the purport of the treaty was to give sixteen miles square to the Hudson's Bay Compa'ny at each trading post, but during the session of the legislature in Dec. '46 the company's express was brought over the mountains, bringing the true treaty. But he was again foiled, if he could not have time to make the papers correspond with the treaty before publication therefore, although the members of that body insisted to have the favor of looki'ng at the papers brought by the express, not a single individual American could get that favor, nor did any publication show the treaty, until an American vessel brought files by sea, and in the debate concern- ing the removal of the reservoir, the member from Vancouver cited in evidence of the facts necessary to carry their point "the Hudson's Bay Company's mill (not Doctor McLaughlin's) is a public mill." But the treaty came three days after this, and the mill and claim of land with that splendid water power belonged to John McLoughlin. A'nd the member from Lewis, alias Doct. Tolmie of the Hudson's Bay Company's chief clerk, fell from his post, and now after the true definition of the treaty giving special privileges to the Puget Sound Agricul- tural Society, he fell into the management and head of the said society but yet returned 'not only to his station in fort Nis- qually but continues to this day, as does Doctor McLaughlin, the chief governor of the Hudson's Bay Company's business as effectually as they ever did, and although the said John McLaughlin and said Tolmie have said to change positions, and intend to profit by the treaty after their avowal of their intentions to apply and take the oath of allegiance to the United States, I should not be surprised if they refuse. And the said McLaughlin is selling lots to the people of the United States, and he at the same time a subject of Great Britain the facts have so often been talked over with their admission of these facts, it is useless to refer to individual testimony, for they are notorious. How it is that they are permitted to have such a hold on our government that they should be permitted even to the throwing houses down and putting the American occupant into prison is a mystery that is hard to solve and it says not a little of the forbearance of an American people, particularly of those in Oregon.
I will now return to the history of the country in general from forty-three. After the company found Doctor Whitman opposed the doctrine that the Hudson's Bay Company had or dared to hold possession of Oregon, it now was their policy to get him from among the Indians that they might use them as they had been used by Great Britain during the revolution and last war, as a check to what they thought dangerous to their interest, i.e., settling Oregon by Americans or to assist in a war, if thought expedient, against the United States. Accordingly the Indians were encouraged in anything that seemed like opposition to his plans. Doctor Whitman was advised to sell his station and abandon the missionary enterprise. This he, however, refused to comply with; then to further annoy the settlers the prospect of an outbreak of the Indians, (Many times have we heard this assertion made as if by prophecy that in case the United States gave no land to all that then had the right of suffrage (including half-breeds and British subjects) they would massacre all the whites in Oregon as the Indians should join the half-breeds and make it an easy matter to subdue them,) at any time any of the plans which had been laid were thwarted, particularly those kind of petty thievings and robberies of emigrants on their journey through the different tribes east of the Cascade mountains, and the matter always known to the Hudson's Bay Company, who, although they said they could not prevent such occurrences, encouraged such acts by paying for the articles of which the Americans were robbed, and exacted from those Americans the amount of the goods so purchased of the Indians, at least what they said they had paid to the Indians to release the goods. It is also notorious that they, the H. B. Co., have always possessed entire sway over the Indians and that they represented to the Indians that the "King George people" (as termed the H. B. Co. by the Com.) were not friends of the "Bostons" (the name by which the Americans were called,) and that they were not one people, and when they offended the "Bostons", the "King George people" were not "sylex" (Indian word of Chinook language,) or displeased, and would not "mamoke sylex," that is to go to war with the Siwash (or Indians,) but if the Siwash Cochshut icht King George Tilicum, capshawalla ictas King George hias sylix mamoke poo (or if any Indian should do harm to the persons or property of the Hudson's Bay Company's people they would go to war with and shoot everyone that were guilty.) To explain more fully here what I mean I will just relate a conversation between the
LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON 235
Chief of the Walla Wallas with Mr. McBane [McBean] on this subject during the late Cayuse war, in presence of the Commis- sary General, one of the commissioners to treat with the Indians, the Ordinance master of the regiment, and a Lieutenant of the army as they called at Fort Walla Walla on their march to Wayalatpu, After Mr. McBane, through the interpreter, had labored some time to keep the impression on the chief that they (the H. B. Co.) had nothing to do with the war and that they only should consider the Americans their enemies, and at the same time they were friends to both Americans and In- dians After this harangue to the chief who sat as it were ruminating for several seconds, after the cessation of McBane, in rather a spirited manner, he replied to McBane in these words, "We (the Indians) have always been told by you this same thing, but I cannot understand what you say you say you and the Americans are not friends you say you and the Indians are friends you say you and the Americans are not friends, and you say you are not afraid of the Americans and you say you are afraid of the Americans you have always told us that King George was master of all the white people in this country and when we come to you for powder and balls you tell us you cannot let us have it because you are afraid the Boston Tyee (American chief) will be mad and how is this? I do not understand it that you shall be afraid of the Bostons if you are masters? And how is it if you are not friends of the Bostons you will not let us have powder and lead? For you always bought what the Indians 'capswalla' (stole) from the Bostons and told us the Americans had come here to capswalla our lands and horses and kill us. I do not understand your talk." (Explanatory to this I will just refer to a law being enacted called the Organic law that was framed by the people in Oregon, assuming that all in the territory should be mutually protected and benefited by this compact and all bound to support the laws enacted by this compact, and a law under this compact at the time of a declaration of war against the Cayuse Indians was made, forbidding the Indians in the territory being furnished with powder and lead. This brought the Indians and their former allies in contact, and this was the matter which brought out the former advice and connivance of the H. B. Co. out), but their opposition to the furnishing the Indians held a two-fold interest at stake, first, the trade, and, second, the destruction of American influence with the tribes.
236 LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON
All things continued much in the same channel until the year 1847 when it appeared evident something was wrong. As Humbolt said would be, there appeared various priests mixed with the American congregation, some from Canada, others from France and as they were in the foremost com- panies, had time to spread out among the Indians before the whole of the emigration got into the Willamette valley. Either from former arrangement as explained by Humbolt, or some other view, the Hudson's Bay Company's managers at Fort Hall and Fort Walla Walla (being near Whitman's) made a proposal to that lamented victim to buy him out and let the Catholic Jesuits have it. This was refused by Whitman. They then advised him to leave or the Indians would murder him. He yet refused to abandon. The priests then, through the in- fluence of Mr. McBane, chief clerk at the fort, bought and obtained the privilege of settling for the priests in the Cayuse nation near the Utilla river, at the foot of the Blue Mountains, and within a short distance of Whitman's; and commenced giving lectures to the Indians on religious matters, and at the same time told the Indians that Doct. Whitman was a heretic and bad man and ought not to live. This fired their minds and anything which formerly appeared to them mysterious was turned into the works of the Devil, and particularly his giving medicine in sickness. They represented it as dangerous and that the Indians were punished by the Great Spirit in heaven with the diseases which had, that fall, been brought with the emigration, such as measles and whooping cough, and it was sent to punish them for obeying the American doctor and he should have said he would poison all the Indians when they came to him for medicine, and that the Americans only came into their country to steal and take their land and horses and cattle. To conclude the whole from good evidence, consider- able of which has been published in the Oregon-American, the aim appeared to remove the American and plant the Jesuits in their stead and we will find how it resulted, when the history of only about three months will show that Doctor Whitman was murdered with his whole family and a number of Amer- icans who had stopped for the season at and near his place, together with various robberies and such deeds of barbarism even in the presence and sanction of the biship and priests who yet remained at his station. These deeds that were done are here too horrid to appear before the public, not as a truth that should not be told, but deeds of the most atrocious nature, to be committed by those Indians on the persons of the young
LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON 237
females taken prisoners and reserved from slaughter only to glut their brutal passions, and that with the sanction and advice of these same Jesuitical priests and bishop.
But let us go on with our history : After these were slaugh- tered like so many sheep, some of which as though it was in- tended to torture them, others shot down as beeves, and the women such as were reserved being most of them of single females under 25 years of age were divided out and the most shocking course of prostitution forced upon them, one of which was taken to the bishop and deposited. When the man who brought her there (being a chief man among the Indians) asked the bishop how he should proceed to make her submit to him, when he, the bishop, could coolly give directions on which the Indian dragged her off to his lodge, and she crying with supplication entreaties that she might be spared this dreadful task, but, no, he, the bishop, in an angry manner bid her to go off with this Indian and not to come back to him again without having submitted to his will. This and many other such horrible deeds were committed could be related, but I will net here take the time as the most have been pub- lished in the Oregon American.
The legislature met shortly after and on the receipt of the news declared war against the Cayuse Indians, and passed the law forbidding any trading establishment or individual from trading powder and lead to the Indians, but in the face of the territory P. Skeen Ogden, the chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, and mock governor at Vancouver, passed up the river into the country of the Indians who had become our enemies and sold a considerable quantity of powder and balls, and as had always been their practice when they robbed the Americans, they took the prisoners (after having become tired of their brutal sports) to Walla Walla to sell them and their booty taken at the same time, and receive from him at Walla Walla powder, lead and guns in exchange. So far as the return of children to parents, brothers to sister, and property of the rightful owners, it was well enough ; but this conniving at such deeds and always having done the same thing, when the Indians were always subservious to their wishes and fur- ther, this at the same time when all were pledged mutually to protect each other. War now having been declared made them agreeable to all the laws of nations, part and parcel of the American side of the question. Now see how far they went with their former agreement of alliance.
238 LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON
Commissioners were appointed by the legislative body who had declared war to negotiate a loan of one hundred thousand dollars from the Hudson's Bay Company, being the only chance of the kind in Oregon to carry on the war but will you be surprised when I say they refused to loan ; but be not surprised they would not let it go, yet had abundance and to spare ; neither would they let a single man in their employ go to the campaign, but, in everything, opposed the going to war. Doctor McLaughlin being the controlling genius of all the French and half-breeds forbid them to go, but this stirred up the American feelings a little and after he saw the Americans were determined to avenge what had been done by these merciless bands and what was being said about the part the Jesuits had taken in the case, he called Peter H. Burnett, one of his counsellors, and advised with him what should be done ; he being not only acquainted with the American character but also hearing, as he was an American, what they said about it, and as a good Christian of the same order with himself and the priests, he wished his advice. His advice was : if you can let a few go, I can fix it so as to have its effect, and they stay as long as will give the coloring to it, as being favorable to the American cause, and after a service of about two months they can return home, and I will do the same myself, for you know it is necessary for me to not lose my American character.
In accordance, Captain Thos. McKay was ordered by the doctor to raise a company of men and make as great a show as possible from among the French Catholics and volunteers for but two months, for it will take you about three weeks to march there at this season of the year and three weeks to come back and unless you get into close quarters you can evade the fighting our Indians ; and this will entitle the Catholics to have their land donated to them whether they are citizens or not.
"Yes," says Peter H. Burnett, "and I will go out home and make a hue and cry and make believe I shall go to war too." And sure enough he did for at that time there was a man left by Colonel Gillam to take up a list of a company in Tuality plains and Burnett took occasion to make a fiery speech and proposed to march at once but never would agree to put his name on the list. (That would bind him.) Yet 45 others did and he, with about fifteen of the company, started to go to the rendezvous at Portland when, (whether by design to flustrate the meeting of the company or whether it was through fear to face the foe, we cannot say, but one thing is certain,
LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON 239
Peter H. Burnett and his particular friends never went) ready to leave the plains there was a report started saying the Cayuse Indians had come to the settlement and were at a certain Indian lodge in the plains and wonderful to say they met at the lodge on the morning the troops were to leave Portland for the up country and found one crippled old woman, t\vo small children and an old Indian man, but this answered the purpose for which it was got up, and out of 45 men twenty-eight met at rendezvous, the rest following Burnett twenty miles the other way to take by storm this Indian camp as before described. Thus he foiled this part of the army, at least as far as the 17 men which were reported as defaulters. The balance, 28, left for the Cayuse country in boats and arrived and was reported at The Dalles to Col. Gill [i] am ready for service. The band, at first published in the Spectator (being edited at that time by a member of the Jesuit order) numbered a full company of 67 rank and file, but when they appeared had to gather some three of the cultas or trifling Americans to make their number thirty who did advance with the rest of the army to Wayalatpu. To suit everything to their wishes, the Hudson's Bay Company advised what should be done in the progress of the war (this suited them.) They quickly answered the governor, who by the by, except being an entire peace man, was not disposed to bear the insult on the American people without summarily punishing it. But at this time all were poor and had their families to supply in a new country and not the means to be spared for an emergency like the present and but few in- dividuals could contribute means to sustain the territory. A few, however, did contribute out of their scanty means enough to fit out and provision the army of about four hundred for a short time.
The Hudson's Bay Company still held out against the will of the people and they having almost all the moneyed business in the country under their control gave them an influence on the war that perhaps can now be traced to its defeat, for by the moves of that party to have a controlling influence they plead that there was danger of having the whole of the tribes on this side of the mountains join against us and thereby en- danger the families of those engaged against the murderers murdered in their absence until they succeeded in getting our leaders to give way to their direction, which was to appoint commissioners to treat with other tribes in the vicinity of the Cayuse nation which gave them the advantage by the neces- sity for their servants or men who were under their control
240 LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON
to act as interpreters or literally those commissioners. Accord- ingly, Robert Newell being well qualified for the purpose, being acquainted with the Indian character and a firm Hud- son's Bay man, could rule the interpreters as he pleased, and to cap the whole with the pointed sheaf, there must be two inter- preters and they of the doctor's profession, indeed one of them his own wife's son and the other being his servant.
In the only engagement which took place after the arrival of McKay's company, one of these was sent for by the com- missioners, who were in advance of the main body, and asked to interpret for them ? to speak with one of the enemy who had come up to talk and draw the attention of the main force in front while the Indians were flanking us on right and left. The commissioners asked what this Indian wanted. The inter- preter replied that the Indians said they did not want to fight but wished to be friends. (At this same time the Indians were advancing in the shape of a half moon and in numbers suffi- cient to encompass our lines.) The commissioners again said that the interpreter desired for no firing, that the Indians were friendly. Orders were given accordingly by the commissioners not to fire. Thus stood the Americans, while the interpreter continued to talk with the Indians until they were entirely flanked and the Indians closed the entire circle of our lines. As soon as the decoy had galloped out of our reach he fired the signal gun for the attack. Now it was too late to do any- thing without breaking and facing from the 'center outwards, which was done, and the Indians retreated, not until they had surrounded some eight or nine of our men and, as they had taken ravines on either side of us and come up within gun- shot, they had the advantage of being covered from us by the banks of the ravines, until forced from them by a charge when they fled and being mounted on fleet horses they easily got out of our reach. Thus was our first engagement with the Cayuses, while these friends of the doctor were managers. After arriving at Wayalatpu, these same commissioners and interpreters kept us 8 days waiting within twenty-five miles of the Indians while they treated and talked with other tribes who were camped with the Cayuses and had daily intercourse ; and yet the murderers of our friends within twenty-five miles, their numbers not exceeding ours and they having to take care of some twenty thousand head of horses and cattle while be- fore us lay bleaching the bones of Whitman, wife, family and many of other Americans who had shared the same fate and yet, the commissioners must hold the hands of those who had come
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to avenge the blood of the innocent, and they in one short day's march. Thus the H. B. Co. held the cords of vengeance for the purpose of letting these murderers have time to run off their stock, women and children, and these alone knew our horses were not fleet enough to overtake them. After the ninth day had passed and they had ample time to clear with the stock and families, the commissioners proclaimed a treaty with the Nez Perce tribe and started home satisfied. The troop rallied and on marching to where they had camped during the 8 days while they drove off their stock, but behold they had departed and without any hope of overtaking them. In fol- lowing them to Snake river about sixty miles found they had crossed and left the side of the river we occupied in charge of a few Indians who professed friendship. They, as always had been the case when any of the Indians fell into our hands, professed friendship and through the interpreter they made the shift to get away and afterwards we could hear of these same being our most inveterate enemies. With but little success ended the campaign of '47 and '48 with the Cay- uses, but not with the Hudson's Bay Company and the Jesuits, not that I intend to make a crusade against them or any other denomination, but as the Doctor, the Scotch-English-Ameri- can, has called them to his aid, I just intend to speak of none who had kept hands off in the struggle between Americans and English, or Hudson's Bay interest in Oregon, but if they will put themselves in the way they must hear what an American Oregonian has to say in the cause of the free-born American principles. Shortly after the return of the commissioners from the Cayuse country, one of the Jesuit priests went to the Fort Vancouver and bought several boxes of guns and two thou- sand pounds of lead and one thousand pounds of powder and shipped them secretly, as they thought, up the Columbia in the direction of the Cayuse country, but our boatmen, being more honest than they suspected, instead of landing them as directed two miles below the fort at The Dalles, or Wascopum, where the priest had built a new station, carried the arms and ammuni- tion to the fort at Wascopum ; there gave information to the officers of the fort who immediately seized; them. It then ap- peared that the priests before described had continued to occupy the stations made among the Indians, notwithstanding the governor had ordered them not to remain among the Indians. The Doctor in the Free Press, a newspaper, published in Oregon City, informed the people that the ammunition was intended for the Flatheads and not the Cayuses, but it is
242 LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON
certain it had to pass the country inhabited by the Cayuses who at this time were scarce of this useful ingredient of war and blood shed and how easy to capture it and supply themselves with more ammunition than could be procured by the Ameri- cans during the whole war without impressment and then have a protest entered in writing. This same thing was done during the before-named war by the before-named Hudson's Bay Company as can be proven by Major Lee who acted as officer of impressment, when at the same time this company claimed to be American in feeling and intend to become citizens of a country against whom they would enter a protest. They even went so far at Vancouver as to erect bastions and mount bat- teries (see Douglas' letter to Governor Abernathy iiTVol 2, No. 26, Oregon Spectator) to prevent impressment of goods, etc., as it was expected to be needful to supply the army and still they hang on for donations of land in preference to these who bared their own arm and exposed themselves to face the ruthless massacre ! caused by whom ? Not by Americans, but rumor pretty well backed by facts that it was those who had always made it appear that the Americans came here to rob the Indians of their lands and kill them. The American trap- pers can answer this question. Up to the present the moneyed power in Oregon has been in the hands of the Hudson's Bay Company. None can tell but them who have seen the influence brought to bear can form the slightest idea of its bearing. Not a merchant dared put his head into Oregon without the expectation of losing everything, unless he fell into the track marked out by the Company; not an officer dared act inde- pendent in his course, but he had all the opposition could be thrown in his way (and men cannot live on the wind and could buy but little until latterly of any but the company and when he was disposed to act independent he could buy nothing he wanted from them). And no mechanic could get the raw material from them to carry on their trade and nothing was brought by anyone else to supply them. As if they had con- sulted their wishes, none of our merchants brought anything like woolen goods all had to be bought of them, when they pleased to sell them, but in no case could a man buy anything which was not kept by other merchants if they knew the man to be of American principle. Everything has been written and said to kill the country in a commercial view with American merchants and as if by magic almost all the American mer- chants, as well as our government officers, have fallen into the train and such a description of the trade and navigation,
LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON 243
etc., as cannot best astonish those disconnected with them ; and future generations will laugh at the idea of our people at home being so easily humbugged and we submit to this so tamely. Just now to think that a country capable of sustain- ing comfortably without even removing a stick of timber except for roads and fencing, etc., at least four millions of people west of the Blue Mountains, and then not one-fifth of the land suit- able for cultivation by clearing, spoken of ; and having a river affording at the lowest water three fathoms water for one hundred and twenty miles into this and no' more pretty streams to navigate, thence spreading east, north and south in streams navigable for small vessels for hundreds of miles into various sections of these fertile plains an entrance from the Pacific with five fathoms water at any tide and three quarters of a mile of beating channel in any port; as good water power in almost all sections of the country as the world can boast of ; a climate so mild that grass grows green and abundant during the whole year; a country where stock of every description flourish well, healthy and salubrious of climate; soil growing any of the grasses ; growing wheat more prolific than any of the states ; and yet the Hudson's Bay Company would have it this country is worthless and no trade can be carried on to any extent. I will ask if any country on the globe can, with only our small population, load in and out more vessels than we, even at a more advanced age, being now only six years since the first emigrants came here in 1843. Thirty-one cargoes of produce and lumber have left Oregon by American traders within twelve months, and four or five by the Hudson's Bay Company, and yet there is ready for shipment perhaps one- fourth as many more for which vessels have not been possible to be obtained to keep down the supply, and still the word "no trade from Oregon worth attention" sounds in my ears. We do indeed see some sign that the doctor's people being not dis- posed to believe his assertions for lately the Barque Morning Star of Havre (the same that brought in the priests and nuns of 1847) bringing several priests, and gives the intelligence that six more emigrant vessels all consigned to the doctor for the Catholic mission, bringing 400 emigrants, and one hundred and fifty priests and nuns. (Well we will have priests and women. Who are these ? Are they those Humbolt prophesied of two years ago, or are they a new stock for Hudson's Bay Company, independent?) I will now refer you to what moves have been made during the last year and what the bent of Hudson's Bayism is now taking. During the last year up to
244 LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON
the arrival of Governor Lane on the 1st of March last they had continued to work their usual games of trying to get the Cath- olic Church in supremacy. This I do not object so much to, for I am always glad to see the churches keep pace with each other and thereby one keep the other in check, but whenever one gets the ascendency it then becomes dangerous to itself and the government and, in short, to religious as well as civil liberty. This makes perhaps the influence of the Hudson's Bay Com- pany at this time able to yet struggle with free principles and trade and they mutually will assist each other by degrees to overturn our government if permitted to receive the help of the United States in their designs. If they obtain what they aim for at present to receive every privilege of native born citizens and at the same time go so far as to enter a protest, as to a for- eign nation, to impressment where necessary, and to arm and mount forts with cannon avowedly to prevent the government from taking what they had a just right to have taken from them. As public supplies when they professed to be part and parcel of this government, and then share lands with us and take the first choice themselves it is preposterous. Hear what Peter S. Ogden says about the influence the Hudson's Bay Company has over the Indians among whom they planted the priests previous to Whitman's murder, when speaking of the purchase of the prisoners from the Indians, but as I have before said this has too often been manifest when among the Indians their property was safe and they (the Indians), well, all tell you that the Hudson's Bay Company had always told them that the Bostons came to steal their lands and horses and kill them and have always encouraged their robbery of the Americans, buying what they took from the Americans and thus encour- aged them to do so again, for the sake of the price of what they took. But hear what he says about the purchase of the prisoners "But the mead of praise is not due to me alone. I was only a mere acting agent of the Hudson's Bay Company, for, without its powerful aid and influence, nothing could have been effected, and to them the praise is due." (See Oregon Spectator, Vol. 3 ? No. 1.) It sickens my very heart when I think of the weak condition of Oregon at the time of the declaration of war with the Cayuses and yet they, after having encouraged all the continued robberies and finally these mur- ders, eleven in number, and they with their powerful influence used for what? for safety for Oregonian Americans? No! But to pull us down and give them a chance of a final grasp of this territory. But to continue our history at the proclama
LOWNSDALE LETTER TO THURSTON 245
tion of Governor Lane: As usual and with their effrontery everything that could be done in paying attention to him and the other publick officers was done, every stratagem to interest him in his course of action as governor in a manner to suit their views among the rest the asking leave to permit the priest who had been detected in taking powder and lead to the Indians, petitioned him to permit him to take and carry the same to the Indians. This much he granted them, but how much farther I know not, but I rather think that his as well as the rest of the publick officers might have sense enough to see that Doctor McLaughlin and those he can ride are not the majority of the people of Oregon. The prospect at present shows their representatives elected to serve them intend to report matters as they are to the mother country and if their aim (the publick officers) is to come here to speculate on the trade of Oregon instead of administering the laws, that they (the people's representatives) will permit them so to do, but they (the representatives) will not take the trouble to ask Doctor Me to give them a copy for their reports, and yet we have some who think this lumber business should be kept out of the hands of our officers. "No odds where they got the money," and others say "Judges and collectors buying claims of land might meet a claimant on the bench and in the custom house ;" others again say "If I was collector and had only to make my return once and a while I should not feel fearful to undertake the paying $15,000 dollars for a half of one and to spend twice as much in building steam saw-mills particularly when in six months the duties collected would pay the whole." But then, people will talk, and a man may be a 'man for a' that'/* After the Hudson's Bay Company found the officers expected they would be looked to and not them they thought their only chance was to render it impossible for us to send a man as delegate to Congress in whom we could confide and if we did they would dog and harrass such an one as they have ever done who would not carry their opinions foremost and particularly if he carried any documents with him bearing on the settle- ment of matters against them; in some of these cases of previous occurrence shows how well they have carried out their plans, for in the year '45 when Doctor White was known (by Hudson's Bay Company or Doctor Me ) to have papers from the legislature favorable to the American side of the question he was assailed on the way and his papers demanded. (I do not say whether he was safely clear of the same influ- ence himself, but he gave them not up.) But this was the
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course taken by their managers. They blustered and fright- ened some ; others they persuaded ; and others perhaps bribed I cannot say ; but this much I do know that the same body that sent dispatches by him also ordered his acts as illegal and not warranted, and sent these latter documents on as a rebutter against all his papers proposed. Another man was advised to go to Washington by the governor to represent to the Congress the situation of matters in 1847, but when it was found he was expected to lay some grave things before Congress "such a sputter as would have astonished the natives," and nothing could be satisfactorily passed through the legislature against him ; the only plan was now to frighten him ; or in the failure to do this to bribe him into the service of the H. B. C. The former failed and the latter must now be tried, but horrible, the bait was not swallowed. He had been offered a bribe by the H. B. Co. agent to give it as his legal decision that H. B. Co. should be entitled by treaty to more than the American minister would allow. This H. B. Co. man was a Mr. Sanders and by his maneuvers no doubt things were kept unsettled for a time ; and now if they shall let the present delegate go without attempting to render all his influence powerless or to set on foot anything that would get things fairly understood (for we fear nothing at the hands of justice as our enlightened Congress will act free of the H. B. Co. influence). I say I shall be surprised and almost thunderstruck. But this cannot be, for Hugh Burns and various other foreigners and Jesuits were figuring largely during the election and since the election they thought at one time that they had in a manner suc- ceeded by getting themselves into notice by placing the name of our upright and worthy citizen, Judge Lancaster, who was then in California, before the publick as a candidate for dele- gate unknown to him and without his consent, as favorable to that party. This they did, not that they wished to elect him, but this knowledge of his upright character and splendid talents, if taken up by the Americans, would warrant the idea of his being elected ; and if so they would be defeated in their favorite scheme of getting in one of tried faith to the Doctor's cause, and as the case now stood Lancaster being from home and none of the Americans had no vouchers for his leaving California not even if elected whether he would accept, they knew this would make strong opposition to being served as Burnett had in his judgeship in California and leave us without a delegate.
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To explain the matter more fully I will just give the journal of the Doctor's, not as published by him but as related by one present and the after acts proved he gave the matters pretty fair. Met the Doctor, his Highness the Bishop, his Honor Douglas, his thickness Peter Skeen Ogden, his Laqueys Switz- ler and Burns, with a few others too tedious to mention. The Doctor presiding with general consent and without a division, thus commenced the proceedings:
Doctor: "Mr. Burns shut that door we we don't want don't want people to hear what we talk about."
Burns : "The door is shut, Doctor, and by the Lord Jasus if the first bloody American shows his pate in rache, ile make him think it was Patrick Obrine had struck him."
Doct. : "Now, now, gentlemen, I have have thot best to ask to ask what it is best to do to do about this election this election. We have some grave questions to be settled with this prating American government and also with bloody Hooshers in Oregon, and I should like to hear to hear what you all will recommend."
Douglas: "We have but little to settle with the American government except what few definitions are necessary to be made to the treaty and there is but little hope of our getting a delegate from Oregon at present. Our people are leaving us every day and of them that can be made to take the oath of in- tention are not enough to elect Meek, and no other man ought to be sent by us for he has nothing to lose as an American and all to gain by serving us but at present I do not see how he is to be elected. I think however, that our agent, Mr. San- ders, will succeed in smoothing some one's conscience, whose opinion will be taken by the American Government, and we shall have a fair decision. That flare-up of Thornton's however may make it necessary to get hold of some other person beside Sanders for he will be watched by these cunning Americans."
Doctor : " 'Twont do 'twont do. Must have some body as delegate from here must have somebody to see our claims independent of the treaty independent of the treaty and that must be attended to by the next session or we won't have a foot of land but what the treaty gives us. These grants have to come through Congress and these Democrats can't be hum- bugged as easy as one or two individuals."
Ogden : "I think the doctor is right but then the company has great influence and our agents will be busy enough to have considerable bearing on these things among our Amer
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Douglas:"! see the doctor is right and in our situation at present requires us to have an advocate there who could be managed by our agents, and Meek is the only man who is out as a candidate who could be managed. But how to have him elected is the mistery."
Doctor: "Let's see let's see Bishop, how many people have we that can be made to take the oath of intention? This gives them privilege to vote if they never mature this intention."
Bishop : "How many sir? I can safely say, sir, all, but stop ! Part of them will leave for California, and well I will just count my diocese. In Champoeg country there will be after striking of one-third who will likely go to California, leaving one hundred and five voters. From Vancouver and Nisqually inclusive seventy-three and at the falls of Willamette thirty- seven and I think twelve that are scattered through other coun- ties, making in all 227 votes and with what influence these can have on those who are unsuspecting I think for our people who may count 250 and I must say they must support the man who we know to be our friend."
Doctor: "That will do that'l do that'l do this this with what Mr. Ogden, he being an American and Mr. Douglas being a Church of England man can get will make our number pretty powerful and you know I have lead by the nose many of these boasted Democrats whenever I wanted their help."
Douglas: "Yes, your ideas are good but it will require a good deal of management. They now have their officers here and the course that should be taken more effectually, secure the help of those who they can influence is to get into their good graces as much as possible and endeavor to impress on them the necessity of electing Meek and then make an assault on the American strength by splitting their votes on various candi- dates. This will weaken them and give us a chance for success."
Doctor: "Very good plan very good plan very good plan, Mr. Douglas, and in addition to what you have said take care to salute the governor from these batteries we built about the commencement of the Cayuse war to fight of the American's Colonel that hotheaded colonel we handled so well at Waiilatpu when he would have been onto the Indians so snugly if we hadn't had our good friend Bob Newell and the interpreters there to hold him back. We will now use these batteries on their new governor's vanity and perhaps do as much good in this way as they did on Governor Abernathy's peace feelings during the war with the Cayuses."
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(Rap-rap-rap at the door.)
"Mr. Burns, see who that is that has any business with me at this time of night."
(Mr. Burns goes to the hall door and returns.)
Burns : "It is Mr. Newell. Shall I tell him to come in ?"
Doctor: "Yes, yes."
(Enter Robert Newell, in familiar manner.)
Doctor : "Well, well, I'm astonished ! But I've often heard it said 'speak of the devil and his imps will appear.' I was just speaking about you. What news?"
Newell: "Nothing of much importance, except I want to see the Governor and if possible get him to go with me up the Columbia. Some of our Indians are down and say the Americans are up there buying horses and horses have become scarce and I want a few before the troops come on to speculate on out of Mr. Quartermaster before it is too late."
Doctor : "Capital ! capital ! Just what I want good opera- tion. Well, Robert, I will go with you in the morning to see the Governor and persuade him he ought to see the Indians and if he is not made of better democracy than Wilkes
(NOTE From the above abrupt ending it is evident that a part of the manuscript is missing.)
JOURNAL OF E. WILLARD SMITH WHILE WITH THE FUR TRADERS, VASQUEZ AND SUB- LETTE, IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN REGION, 1839-1840
Mr. E. Willard Smith was an architect and civil engineer. He was born at Albany, N. Y., in 1814, and died at Washing- ton, D. C. He married Miss Charlotte Lansing, of Lansing, Mich. This interesting account of his expedition to the Rocky Mountain region was copied from a manuscript belonging to his daughter Margaret, who married Edwin Forest Norveil, son of Senator John Norveil of Michigan, and was obtained through the courtesy of her daughter, Mrs. E. Oliver Belt, of Washington, D. C.
J. NEILSON BARRY,
The journal printed below throws new light on the fur trading situation in the Rocky Mountains in its waning stages. It touches on the human, or possibly better designated in- human, rather than on the economic aspects of the operations of those engaged in the business. Specifically it is a realistic account of the incidents experienced on one of the later ex- peditions setting out from St. Louis to the Rocky Mountain posts and rendezvous. Some eleven months were used in making the trip out and back, from early August, 1839, to July 3, 1840.
The expedition was probably capitalized by one of the most distinguished of the Rocky Mountain fur traders, William L. Sublette. He was one of the young men in the employ of William H. Ashley when the Rocky Mountain Fur Company was organized in 1822. Among those who began their careers with Sublette were Jedediah S. Smith, David E. Jackson, Rob
JOURNAL OF E. WILLARD SMITH 251
ert Campbell, James Bridger and Thomas Fitzpatrick. William L. and his brother, Milton G. soon rose to prominence and took charge of independent enterprises. William's partner in this undertaking was Vasquez, who seems to have been more active in personally conducting the expedition which Sublette had probably the larger share in fitting out.
Their post was located on the upper South Fork of the Platte. Its site was about fifty miles north of that of the pres- ent city of Denver.
In the immediate neighborhood there were three other fur trading forts. Lupton's was above and St. Vrain's and the other were below. All were within a day's journey of Long's Peak.
Colonel H. M. Chittenden seems to have had no data at hand bearing upon the operations in this vicinity, while writing his "American Fur Trade in the Far West." He is aware only of the bare fact of the existence of these posts.
The expedition which E. Willard Smith, the author of this journal, accompanied had probably proceeded up the Missouri River from St. Louis by boat to Independence. From that point it set out equipped, as the journal describes, following the Santa Fe Trail for some four hundred miles to the ford of the Arkansas, the Cimarron crossing; thence its route was along the mountain branch of the Santa Fe Trail, on the north bank of the Arkansas, to Bent's Fort. They of the Sublette and Vasquez party overtake and pass Lupton's company of a char- acter similar to their own and having a destination separated only four or five miles from theirs. But Lupton's oxen were not as fleet as Vasquez's mules.
Bent's Fort marked a turning point in their course. They had traveled westward some 530 miles from Independence. A ten days' march northward was still ahead of them to reach their fort on the South Fork. Bent's Fort which they were passing was so situated as to be in touch both with the Santa Fe trade and with that of the mountains. Chittenden speaks of this post as "the great cross roads station of the South- west. The north and south route between the Platte River
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country and Santa Fe, and the east and west route up the Arkansas and into the mountains, found this their most natural trading point."
Bent and St. Vrain, the firm owning Bent's Fort and St. Vrain's to the north, is mentioned by Chittenden as the chief competitor of the American Fur Company at this time. But of Vasquez and Subletted operations his sources seem to have afforded him no information as he is certain only of the mere fact of the existence of their fort.
Turning now to the contents of the journal, we are givon a very clear picture of the face of the country traversed on this northward stretch and of the Indians encountered and game found. After tarrying only three days near the middle of September at the Vasquez and Sublette fort the expedition was on its way westward across the Rocky Mountains. Its route crossed the Cache a la Poudre and the upper North Fork of the Platte and traversed the new or North Park of the northwestern portion of the present state of Colorado and the northeastern corner of Utah. The pass used is some two hundred miles southeast of South Pass.
The ultimate destination of the expedition and proposed winter quarters was Brown's Hole. This is an amphitheater- shaped basin where the Green River emerges from the Wind River Mountains. The "Snake River" mentioned is a small tributary of the Green.
The narrative indicates that horse-stealing by both renegade whites and by the Sioux Indians, and the retaliations, developed a veritable reign of terror in the early winter of 1839-40 in this Rocky Mountain fastness. At any rate the fear of attempted retaliation by the whole force of the Sioux nation caused a change of plans and the Vasquez-Sublette party instead of re- maining at Brown's Hole all winter essayed a mid-winter return across the mountains to its fort on the South Fork of the Platte. After all but two of their horses had perished and they had been compelled to scaffold their collection of beaver skins, they reached the upper North Fork of the Platte, still one hundred and fifty miles from the shelter of their fort and a
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new outfit of horses. From this encampment Smith and two companions venture to penetrate the wintry wilderness ahead to secure from the fort the necessary horses with which to convey the party and its collection of furs to the fort. In- superable difficulties of travel and signs of proximity of large bands of Indians ahead of them bring dismay. They return to the encampment and a more successful venture is made by their leading trader, Biggs. Resupplied with horses, and their packs of beaver brought up, they were on their way to the South Fork about the middle of April. From their fort the trip to St. Louis was made in a "Mackinaw" boat.
There are interesting references to the I. R. Walker, who as assistant to Captain Bonneville had in 1833 penetrated from the Great Salt Lake to California. Smith mentions him as commissioned to guide another party to California. It is said of him that he "requested the epitaph on his tombstone record the fact that he discovered the Yosemite wonderland."
There are also interesting references to the natural won- ders that have since been included in the Yellowstone National Park.
August 6th, 1839. Left Independence. The party at start- ing consisted of thirty-two persons under the command of Messrs. Vasquez and Sublette. There were four wagons loaded with goods, to be used in the Indian trade, drawn by six mules each. The drivers accompanied the wagons, the rest of the party riding on mules. These men were French, American, Spanish and half breeds.
After leaving the boundary line of Missouri State we lost all traces of civilization. The soil appeared to be very fertile for about one hundred miles, being well watered by streams running south into the Arkansas. On the banks of these streams were many dense groves, while the intervening country con- sisted of prairies. The grove on the last stream we met with was called Council Grove, one hundred miles from the state
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line, which place we reached on the 15th of August. It had formerly been a favorite place for the Indian council fires.
On the night of the 15th we had a very severe rain, which was a pleasant introduction to a life on the prairies. Our food consisted of bacon and bread baked in a frying pan. The two gentlemen who had command of the party were old Indian traders, having followed this mode of life for more than ten years, there were also with us Mr. Thompson who had a trading post on the western side of the mountains, and two half breeds employed as hunters. One of them was a son of Captain Clarke, the great Western traveler and companion of Lewis. He had received an education in Europe during seven years.
16th August. Today we saw several antelopes.
17th August. We came in sight of the Arkansas River, quite a large stream about two hundred yards wide. The banks were low and sandy, with a few scattered trees. We con- tinued to travel along its banks for several days at a short distance from the stream. There were a large species of spider whose bite was mortal. We had several moonlight nights to cheer the guard.
21st. Some of the party killed two antelope, an old and a young one, which were prepared for dinner. We found them not very palatable, but still acceptable after having lived so long on bacon alone, our stock of flour being exhausted some days previous. The meat resembles venison somewhat, though not equal to it in flavor. This animal is smaller than the com- mon deer, which it very much resembles in color and quality of hair, but its horns are different, being smaller and less branching. It is very fleet, even more so than a deer, and requires a very swift horse to overtake it. Their great watch- fulness renders it difficult to approach them.
On this same day we saw seven buffaloes as we were pre- paring dinner. The sight of them quite enlivened the party, who were most of them strangers to a life in the prairies. Mr. Sublette gave chase to one of them, being mounted on a horse trained for the purpose, and fired several times without effect.
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22nd. At noon we saw a large herd of two or three hundred buffalo cows. Some of the hunters gave chase, but returned unsuccessful. Several of them were thrown from their horses, and severely injured, as they were riding over a village of prairie dogs, the horses' feet sinking into the holes. We suffered much today from want of water. Saw also the first village of prairie dogs, which was quite a curiosity. One of the dogs was killed and eaten. They look somewhat like a squirrel, being nearly the same size. Sometimes the same hole is occupied by an owl, rattlesnake and prairie dog. Today the grass begins to be short, and there is little dew. Before the dew has been so heavy as to wet us thoroughly during the night. No buffalo meat today. At evening two of the party went out to hunt and shot a bull, being much pleased with their success. They thought they heard the Indians whoop, but it was nothing more than the howling of wolves. Bulls at this season are poor and unfit to eat. They are therefore rarely killed when cows are to be obtained.
August 23rd. Today all the hunters started after buffalo, and we anxiously awaited their return. Took breakfast this morning at day break, somewhat out of the usual course. We generally arose at break of day, traveled till ten or eleven, then encamped and cooked our breakfast. We then continued our journey till within an hour of sunset, when we encamped for the night, prepared our supper and picketed the horses. This is done by tying a rope, eighteen or twenty feet long, to a horse's neck, and attaching to it a stake driven into the ground, which allows them to feed, without permitting them to wander off. We stand guard by turns at night, each one being on duty three hours. After the night arrangements were made we spread our blankets and courted sleep which speedily came alter the fatigues of the day. The canopy of heaven was our only covering. There was a severe storm during the night.
At noon of the 23rd the hunters returned with meat, having killed three cows. All turned cooks, and ate voraciously of the first buffalo meat we had tasted. I think with most others who have eaten it, that it is preferable to any other meat. We saw
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several thousand buffalo today, two or three herds containing about three hundred. All feel in good spirits although the water is extremely bad, indeed we have had good water but twice since we started. Towards evening we passed a great number of buffaloes, the prairie being actually alive with them. They extended probably about four miles, and numbered nearly two hundred thousand. We were amazed with a scene so new to us, so strange to one accustomed to cities and civilization.
24th. Today we saw nearly as many buffaloes as yesterday. So many are not generally met at this season so far East. We are now about three hundred miles from Independence. We had grown weary with the monotony of traveling till we met buffalo, but the excitement of hunting soon revived us.
26th. We have met with nothing very interesting today, but have seen a great many buffaloes, and at evening en- camped on the banks of the Arkansas. The river here is pretty wide, but not more than two or three feet deep. We shall now continue to travel along the Arkansas for ten or twelve days. The river here is the boundary between Mexico and Missouri Territory.
26th. A pleasant day, but the evenings are becoming cool. We are not as much troubled with mosquitoes as for several nights previously. This has been a long day's journey. We now live on buffalo meat altogether, which requires very little salt. Our party now consists of thirty-six persons, having been joined by four on the sixteenth.
27th. Another pleasant day. We are getting along rapidly, traveling about twenty-five miles a day. Our hunters go out again today for meat. There are two ways of hunting buffaloes. One called approaching, the other running. When a hunter approaches he puts on a white blanket coat and a white cap, so as to resemble a white wolf as much as possible, and crawls on his hands and knees towards the buffalo, until he gets within one hundred and fifty yards, then sinks his knife in the ground, lies prostrate, rests his gun on his knife, and fires at the animal. It generally requires more than one shot to kill a buffalo, even if he should be shot through the heart. The way of hunting
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by running is on horseback. The man mounts a fleet horse trained for the purpose, rides full speed toward the herd, and fires a light fowling piece, which he carries in one hand, while he guides the horse with the other. The moment the hunter fires his piece, the horse springs out of the reach of the buffalo to escape injury from the infuriated animal. This is the most exciting method of hunting, but it is attended with consider- able danger, the horse being liable to stumble over the rough ground. The Indians prefer this mode of hunting, substi- tuting the bow and arrow for the gun. This weapon they use with such dexterity as to shoot an arrow entirely through the animal, piercing the ground on the opposite side. It is very difficult for a bullet, at the regular shooting distance to pass through the body. We saw ten antelopes today. Every night we have a grand concert of wolves, relieved occasionally by the bellowing of buffalo bulls.
During the last week we passed several places where men belonging to former parties had been killed by the Indians. The other day we passed a place where Mr. Vasquez had a narrow escape. He and one of his men started for his fort in advance of the party. The man being taken sick, he left him on an island in the Arkansas. He then went back for medicine, hav- ing to travel a day and a half. While returning he was chased by a party of Indians on foot, who overtook him while he stopped to drink, and were at his side before he could mount his horse. He presented the muzzle of his gun, and the Indians stepped back, allowing him time to mount his horse, which taking fright, ran away with him. The Indians gave up the pursuit. They were a party of Pawnees. The part of the road we are now traveling runs through the general war ground of the different tribes of Indians.
28th. Nothing very remarkable today. The weather still continues pleasant.
29th. Nothing interesting today. Buffalo have been very scarce for several days. The hunters went out this afternoon and could get nothing but antelope meat, which afforded us a good meal as we were hungry.
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30th. We still travel as usual. We had been expecting to overtake Mr. Lupton every day. He is a mountain trader, on his way to the trading post on the river Platte. We overtook him today about noon. His party had stopped to eat dinner and allow their animals to feed. He had six wagons drawn by oxen. They had started about twelve days before us. He mistook us for Indians as we approached, and was somewhat alarmed. We saw three deer today on an island, one of them a buck was very large.
31st. This is the last day of August and of summer. We saw six elk today, one of them being an old one, was quite large. Mr. Lupton encamped with us today as well as last night. He is trying to keep in company with us, but probably will not succeed, as our mules can travel much faster than his oxen. We had a buffalo hunt today. Our men killed one. Mr. Lupton's men another. It is a fine sight to see them running a large herd. This is Saturday. It is difficult to mark the Sabbath as there are no church bells to remind us of it.
September 1st. Today we came in sight of what is called Big Timber, sixty miles from Bent's Fort on the Arkansas. We had no fresh buffalo meat today, and there are no buffalo to be seen.
2nd. Today we left Big Timber at noon. The prairie here is more rolling and sandy than we have seen it before. We had a view of the mountains this afternoon, but they are still one hundred and fifty miles distant. We are enabled to see this great distance on account of the clearness of the atmos- phere. There is no dew at night, the atmosphere being very dry and clear. The weather is very warm. No fresh meat today. Buffalo is very scarce.
3rd. Today we passed Bent's Fort which looks quite like a military fortification. It is constructed of mud bricks after the Spanish fashion, and is quite durable. Mr. Bent had sev- enty horses stolen from the fort this summer by a party of the Comanchee Indians, nine in number. There was a party of these Indians, consisting of three thousand lodges, a few miles distant.
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4th. Today we passed a Spanish fort about two miles from Bent's. It is also built of mud, and inhabited by a few Spanish and French. They procure flour from Towse [Taos], a town in Mexico, eight days' travel from this place. They raise a small quantity of corn for their own use. We still continue along the Arkansas River. Last night we saw the northern lights very plainly. Three of our party have now left to go in advance to the fort on the Platte.
5th. Today we came in sight of Pike's Peak, which can be seen at a very great distance. It has snow on its summit at present. We have had no fresh meat today. The soil along the river is very sandy. We still continue on its banks. The ground here is covered with prickly pears. There is a shrub growing here called grease wood. It is peculiar to this country. The Indians use it for making arrows. It is very heavy and stiff, and burns quickly. There is also here a plant called Spanish soap plant. The Mexicans use the root as a substitute for soap. We have been obliged to eat bacon today as the stock of buffalo meat is exhausted.
6th. Today our hunters killed two buck deer. They tasted very well. We still keep approaching the mountains, which have a very fine appearance. The Peak is very high, it was dis- covered by General Pike when in company with Major Long on his expedition to the mountains. Pike and his party were taken prisoners at this mountain by the Mexicans. One of his companions was kept four years in prison.
7th. We have been going uphill all day and have reached some high ground, which gives us a splendid view of the plain below. We can see at least eighty miles in either direction except where the mountains bound our view at the distance of forty miles. We ate our dinner beside a stream called Fontaine qui bouille, boiling spring, called so on account of the manner in which it boils from the mountains. We found a great quan- tity of wild plums on the banks of this stream and saw signs of grizzly bears in this vicinity. This is a famous resort in the winter for the Arapahoos and Shian Indians. The traders have houses here for trading with them in the winter.
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8th. Today we saw a few scattering buffaloes, we had not seen any in some time, and, with the exception of a little ven- ison, had been living on bacon. Towards evening the hunters came in with some bull's meat, which made our supper, although rather unpalatable. We had a very severe storm of wind and rain last night. The wind is always strong on these plains, like a gale at sea. It is almost impossible to travel here in winter.
9th. Today we met several large herds of buffalo, and the hunters succeeded in getting some good meat, which was quite an agreeable change. We all ate voraciously. It would astonish the inhabitants of the city to drop in upon us at some of our meals, after we had been on short allowance for two or three days. It is incredible what a large quantity of buffalo meat a man can eat without injury.
10th. Today and yesterday we passed through some strips of pine timber, the first I have seen in this part of the country. It is quite a relief after seeing nothing but cottonwood along the prairie streams. As we were about encamping for the night we saw some Indians, who proved to be Arapahoos. One of them immediately galloped off to their village, as their large encampments are called which was about five miles distant, and informed the others that we were in the vicinity. At dusk twenty-two, most of them chiefs, came out to see us. They were all fine looking fellows, rather lighter colored than our Eastern Indians. Two or three squaws accompanied them, pretty good looking. The chiefs seated themselves around the fire, forming a ring with Mr. Vasquez, and commenced smok- ing their long pipes, which they passed around several times, every one smoking out of the same pipe. They were all well acquainted with Mr. Vasquez, and remained with him two or three hours. Before leaving we presented them with some tobacco and knives. Among their number was one Shian and one Blackfoot.
llth. Nothing new today. We expect to reach the fort soon. We are still eating bull's meat.
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12th. Living nearly the same as yesterday and traveling pretty fast. Almost out of provisions. In the evening we arrived at the Platte river and encamped.
13th. Today about four o'clock we passed Mr. Luptoris Fort. A little after five we reached the fort of Messrs. Sub- lette and Vasquez, the place of our destination. Our arrival caused considerable stir among the inmates. A great many free trappers are here at present. The fort is quite a nice place, situated on the South Fork of the River Platte. It is built of adobies, or Spanish bricks, made of clay baked in the sun. This is the Mexican plan of building houses, and, as the atmosphere is very dry, and there is little rain, the buildings are quite durable. This fort is opposite Long's Peak, and about twenty miles distant. We slept all night at the fort and supped on some very good meat. This is the first time I have slept under cover for thirty-seven days.
14th. Today I moved my quarters to Mr. Thompson's camp, a mile and a half from the fort, and shall remain with him till we start to cross the mountains, which will be in a few days. There are a few lodges of the Shian Indians near us. We have smoked with and embraced two today.
15th. We are still at the camp. Nothing remarkable has happened. The men at the fort have been carousing, etc., hav- ing got drunk on alcohol. There are about twelve lodges of Shians encamped at the fort who have been trading with the whites. They had a scalp dance in the fort today, dancing by the music of an instrument resembling the tambourine. They were armed with short bows, about three feet long.
16th. Today we left our encampment, and started to cross the mountains. Our party consisted of eight men, two squaws and three children. One of the squaws belonged to Mr. Thompson, the other to Mr. Craig. They are partners, and have a trading fort at Brown's Hole, a valley on the west of the mountains.
17th. One of our mules was nearly drowned today in cross- ing the stream, a branch of the River Platte. It was with great
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difficulty that he was extricated from his perilous situation. The middle of the day is quite warm now, but the mornings and the evenings are cool.
18th. We encamped last night on a small stream cache la Poudre, called so because powder was hidden there some time since. Our camp was just at the foot of the mountain, in a very pleasant place. During the day we passed several pools and creeks, the water of which were impregnated with salt- petre.
19th. Today we began to travel among the hills at the foot of the mountains. The change is very pleasant after the prairies in hot weather. One soon becomes tired of traveling over a prairie, all is so monotonous. The road we are traveling now is surrounded by hills piled on hills, with mountains in the back- ground. The water in all the small streams is very good and cold.
20th. Today the road became more rough. We had some very high and steep hills to climb. One would scarcely think from their appearance that a horse could ascend them, but we crossed without any great difficulty. Messrs. Thompson and Craig went before us and killed three buffaloes. Before this we had plenty of fat venison. In the afternoon they killed three deer. At night it was quite cold and frosty.
21st. Today it is quite cold. We have been climbing more hills. At noon the hunters came to us, having killed six buf- faloes and a calf. We saw a great many buffalo today. We are encamped in a beautiful valley. It is probably more than sixty miles long, as far as the eye can reach. The view from the surrounding mountains is grand. The valley is surrounded by high hills, with mountains in the back ground. Large herds of buffalo are scattered over it. There is a large stream flow- ing through it, called Laramie's Fork, tributary to the North Fork of the Platte. It has several small streams flowing into it. The timber on all these hills and mountains is yellow pine, some of it being quite large. In this plain there is a very large rock, composed of red sandstone and resembling a chimney. It is situated on a fork of the Laramie called Chimney Fork.
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22nd. Nothing remarkable today except beautiful scenery. We travel more than twenty miles a day. The weather is very pleasant, quite warm at noon while it freezes hard at night.
23d. This morning the road was very rough. At noon we entered a very large valley, called the Park, at the entrance of which we crossed the North Fork of the River Platte, a very fine stream. We saw a great number of buffalo today, prob- ably about two thousand.
24th. Today we are still traveling in the park and surround- ed by herds of buffalo. The weather is still pleasant and we have moonlight nights. It is so cold at night that the water freezes. A beaver was caught this morning in a trap set last night by one of the party.
25th. Today we have had a very rough road to travel over, and at evening encamped on a ridge called The Divide. It divides the water of the Atlantic from the Pacific, and ex- tends a great distance north and south. On the west side of it are the head waters of the Columbia and the Colorado of the West, the former emptying into the Pacific, and the latter into the Gulf of California. On the east side are the head waters of the Missouri and its tributaries, and also the Ar- kansas. We had a slight shower in the evening. We have seen no buffalo today.
26th. Today we have traveled only fifteen miles. The scenery is very rough. We saw only a few bulls and no cows. Nearly all the hills and valleys, since we came among the moun- tains, are covered with wild sage or wormwood, which grows in stiff bushes, seven or eight feet high. The stalks are as large as a man's arm. There are a great many black currants among the mountains, also plums and sarvis [service] and hawthorn berries.
27th. Today we have traveled about twenty miles. The weather still continues very pleasant. At evening just before we encamped for the night we passed a place where the Whites had encamped a few days previous, for the purpose of killing buffalo and drying the meat. From the signs around us, we thought they must have had a fight with the Indians, prob
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ably Sioux. We saw the skeletons of four horses killed in the fight. The Whites had thrown up a breastwork of logs for a defence. Tonight we put our horses in an old horse- pen we found at our camping place, which is on Snake River, a tributary of the Colorado of the West.
28th. Today we had a good road and got along well. We are still on Snake River. No buffalo have been seen, but the hunters killed an elk out of a herd of about twelve. The meat resembles venison very much in taste, though not quite so tender.
29th. Today we left Snake River and about noon found Indian signs. We supposed there must have been about forty Indians, probably a war party of Sioux, that had passed but two or three hours previous to our coming. If they had seen us we must have had a fight.
30th. Yesterday afternoon my horse gave out and I was obliged to lead him three miles. The day was quite warm and we suffered very much from want of water. We encamped at some sulphur springs. The hunters shot an old buffalo. Today I was obliged to walk and let my horse run loose. I was afraid that he would be unable to travel all day, even in this way. My boots were torn to pieces and I could procure no moccasins. I traveled forty miles in this way over a very rough road, covered with prickly pears. My feet were very much blistered. The day was very warm. After traveling forty miles without water I lost sight of the party who were in advance of me. As it was growing dark and my feet pained me very much, I concluded to stop for the night and encamp by myself on a stream called the Vermilion that we had just reached. I did so and remained there all night alone. I have never suffered so much from thirst as I did this day.
October 1st. I left my lonely camp early and walked rapid- ly over the gravel and prickly pears that lay in my path, not expecting to see my companions until I arrived at Brown's Hole, but after traveling two miles I discovered them encamped by a small lake in a valley. My pleasure can be easily imagined. They were just eating breakfast of which I partook with de
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light, having eaten nothing the day before. At evening we arrived at Brown's Hole, our place of destination. This is a valley on Green River in which is a fort.
October 2nd. Today I heard from Kit Carson the partic- ulars of the fight at the breastworks at Snake River, referred to a few days since. It appears that the party was composed of seven whites and two squaws who had come there from Brown's Hole for the purpose of killing buffalo and drying the meat. They had been there several days and had dried a large quantity of meat when they were attackd by a party of Sioux, about twenty in number. The attack was made toward morning while it was yet dark. The Indians fired principally at one man, named Spillers, as he lay asleep outside of the horse-pen, and they pierced him with five balls without wound- ing anyone else. This awakened the rest of the men, and they began to strengthen a horse-pen they had made of logs, to form it into a breastwork. They digged some holes in the ground for the men to stand in, so as to protect them as much as possible. As soon as it became light, they commenced firing at the Indians, of whom they killed and wounded sev- eral. After exchanging several shots the principal Indian chief rode up toward them and made offers of peace. One of the white men went out, and induced him with several others to come toward them, when they were within shooting distance, he fell back behind some trees, and gave the signal to his companions, who fired and killed the head chief. The Indians kept up a firing for a short time and then retreated. When the chief was shot he jumped up and fell down, the others were very much excited, and raved and tore around. He was a dis- tinguished chief.
October 3rd. Still at the fort which is situated in a small valley surrounded by mountains, on Green River, a tributary of the Colorado. This is quite a stream, about three hundred yards wide. It runs through a narrow passage or canyon in the mountains, the rocks forming a perpendicular wall on each side five hundred feet high.
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October 6th. We had a snow storm today. It fell about six inches deep. I had intended to go to Fort Hall, a fort belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, situated at the head waters of the Columbia, but the party disappointed me.
10th. I have been at the fort since my first arrival, nothing of importance has occurred. The weather is still very pleasant. Today we started for a buffalo hunt, to make dried meat. There were about thirty in the party, about half of them being squaws, wives of the white trappers. We had sixty horses with us. We were ten days in reaching the buffalo herds, although we met a few scattered animals the second day. We made our first camp for drying meat on Snake River, at the mouth of a creek called Muddy. We had stormy weather for several days, and after remaining at this encampment for three days, we moved farther down the river where we remained several days. Dur- ing the whole time we were out we killed one hundred buffalo and dried their meat. Some of the party had also killed six grizzly bears quite near the camp. The hunters gave me one of the skins of a beautiful grizzly brown color, and some of the meat very much like pork.
November 1st. We arrived at the fort the first of Novem- ber, and remained there until the eighth. On the evening of the first there were one hundred and fifty head of horses stolen from the vicinity of the fort by a party of Sioux, as we after- wards learned. This was very unexpected as the trappers and Snake Indians had been in the habit of letting their horses run loose in this vicinity, unattended by a guard, as the place was unknown to any of the hostile Indians. This event caused considerable commotion at the fort, and they determined to fit out a war party to go in search of the stolen horses, but next morning this project was abandoned. A party of twelve men went over to Fort Hall, belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, and stole several horses from that company, not- withstanding they had been very well treated by the man who had charge of the fort. On their return they stopped at a small encampment of Snake Indians, consisting of three lodges. One of them belonged to a very old man who invited them to
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eat with him and treated them with great hospitality. At eve- ning the whites proceeded on their journey taking with them all the old Indian's horses. On returning to Green River, the trappers remaining at the fort expressed their displeasure so strongly at this act of unparalleled meanness that they were obliged to leave the party and go to a trading post of the Eutaw Indians. The whites in the valley, fearing that the Snake Indians might retaliate upon them for the loss of their horses pursued the thieves and compelled them to restore the stolen property.
8th. We moved up the river a short distance to a log cabin, built by some young men, who had come to the mountains last spring, intending to remain there until the following spring.
December 17th. There are here now, and have been for some time, about twenty lodges of Indians of the Snake tribe. They call themselves Shoshonies. We obtained a few skins from them in exchange for trinkets. They are very good look- ing Indians. The men are generally tall and slightly made, the women short and stout. There is a large salt lake in the mountains about four days travel from Brown's Hole. This lake is a hundred miles long from north to south and thirty miles wide. There are islands in the midst of it which have never been explored. These islands have high hills and are well wooded. The water of the lake is very strongly im- pregnated with salt. Salt of the best quality is found crys- talized along the shores in great abundance. There are several fresh water streams running into this lake, one of which is Great Bear River. The surrounding country is rocky and gravelly, and there is considerable timber around the lake. There is also a salt creek near it, the water of which is very similar, where the Indians find beautiful salt. There are a great many salt springs in this vicinity.
Near the headwaters of the Missouri is a valley filled with mounds, emitting smoke and vapor, the ground composing this valley is very soft, so much so that a horse will sink to his girths in the ground.
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On the west side of the mountains, are streams that seem to ebb and flow like the tide. In the mornings their banks are overflowing, at noon they are perfectly dry, the next morning flowing again.
The country around the headwaters of the Yellowstone, a tributary of the Missouri, abounds in natural curiosities. There are volcanoes, volcanic productions and carbonated springs. Mr. Vasquez told me that he went to the top of one of these volcanoes, the crater of which was filled with pure water, forming quite a large lake.
There is a story told by an Arapahoo chief of a petrified buffalo standing in the lake on the east side of the mountains. It was in a perfect state of preservation, and they worship it as a great medicine or charm. There are also moccasin and buffalo tracks in the solid rock along the shore of the lake. Nothing would induce this Indian to tell where this sacred buffalo is to be found. Great presents were offered to him in vain.
There is a party, going in boats from this valley in the spring down Grand River, on the Colorado of the West, to California. They will be led by Mr. Walker who was with Bonneville in the mountains. They intend trapping for beaver on the way.
The weather in this valley is extremely pleasant this winter, with scarcely any snow. It is as warm in the middle of the day as in June in New York, the latitude of the place is sup- posed to be forty-two degrees.
We intended to spend the winter in the valley of Brown's Hole, but soon had reason to fear an attack from the Sioux. The party before mentioned, who had lost their chief in an encounter with some whites, had returned to their principal tribe and intended coming in numbers to attack us in the spring.
We therefore thought it unsafe to remain until then, but were fearful of crossing the mountains during the winter, a thing never before attempted. But some men arrived at our encampment from the fort on the South Fork and assured us that there was no snow in the mountain passes. Then we con
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eluded to leave the valley immediately, and to re-cross the moun- tains, preferring 1 the probability of the danger thus before us to the almost certain contest with the Indians.
We left the valley of Brown's Hole on the twenty-fourth of January, 1840, to return to the trading- post on the South Fork of the Platte. The weather when we started, as for some time previous, was warm and pleasant. Our party consisted of twenty persons, fourteen men, four squaws, wives of the trap- pers, and two children. There were two traders in the com- pany, one, Mr. Biggs, who was a trader for Sublette and Vasques, the other, Mr. Baker, a trader for Bent and St. Varian [St. Vrain]. There were also 1 three free trappers. The others were men hired to the two traders.
On the 26th of January we met a party of Eutaw Indians who had been out hunting buffalo. These Indians are the best marksmen in the mountains, and are armed with good rifles.
On the 27th of January we arrived at Snake River and re- mained there four days. While there the snow fell two feet deep. We had three Indian lodges with us, in which we slept at night.
On the 2nd of February we encamped at a creek called Muddy. We found considerable difficulty in traveling through the snow during the day. Our hunters killed some buffalo today and provided us with fresh meat.
On the 4th the snow became very deep, and in a few days we found ourselves surrounded by snow six feet deep, and no buffalo to be seen, our stock of provisions was nearly ex- hausted.
On the 17th of February we encamped on a high hill, and one of the horses gave out, being unable to carry the load any farther. Here we encountered one of the most severe storms I ever witnessed. Considerable snow fell, and the wind blew for two nights and a day. During the night one of the lodges blew down, and its occupants were obliged to remove to one of the others to prevent being frozen. We started with thirty- nine horses and mules, all in good order. Some of them were now dying daily for want of food and water. We traveled
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but three or four miles a day, on account of the depth of snow. By this time many of us were on foot and were obliged to go before and break the way for the horses.
Our provisions were being exhausted, we were obliged to eat the horses as they died. In this way we lived fifteen days, eating a few dogs in the meantime. In a few days we were all on foot. We suffered greatly from want of wood. There was no timber to be seen on our route. We were obliged to burn a shrub called sage, a species of wormwood, which one could only obtain in quantities sufficient to keep up a fire for an hour in the evening. We obtained no water except by melting snow.
During this time we had some very severe storms of wind and snow. Often one or two of the lodges were thrown down in the night. We were now obliged to make a scaffold of some trees which we found, and leave our beaver skins on it, with all the furs we had collected. It was made sufficiently high to prevent the bears from reaching it. We were unable to carry them farther, as so few horses remained. All had died except two ? and they were so weak as to be almost unable to drag the tents.
On the 23rd our hunters killed a buffalo which was very poor, the meat, however, was very pleasant to us, after having lived so long on poor horse meat.
On the 24th the hunters killed three fat buffalo, which was the first fat meat we had seen for twenty days. All ate a large quantity of the raw tallow, having been rendered voracious by our wretched food and near approach to starvation. On the afternoon of this day we encamped on the North Fork of the River Platte, which here runs through a small valley sur- rounded by mountains. At this place there was scarcely any snow to be seen, and the weather is quite warm. We were still one hundred and fifty miles from the trading fort. This valley was filled with herds of buffalo.
After remaining here four days, three of us started on the 29th of February to go to the fort for horses. We traveled until noon the first day without finding any snow. In the
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afternoon we met pretty deep snow, and towards night it was two feet deep, covered with a very hard crust. We found it very difficult traveling, but went, notwithstanding, fifteen miles that day. About dark we stopped on the summit of a hill which was bare, the wind having blown the snow off. At this place we could find nothing with which to build a fire to warm our- selves. We were very wet, having traveled through the snow all day. We were obliged to lie down on the bare ground, with only a blanket apiece to cover us, and were unable to sleep from the severe cold. Next morning we started by daylight and found the snow deeper than the day before, the crust was hard but not sufficiently so to bear one, which made walk- ing very fatiguing. Notwithstanding the difficulty we traveled fifteen miles that day. At sundown we came in sight of a stream, the banks of which were covered with timber. We hoped to spend a comfortable night beside a large fire but were again disappointed. Before we had proceeded many steps we saw Indian tracks in the snow, which could have been made but a few hours previous. We judged from the number of these tracks that there must have been a large party of Indians.
One of my companions had traveled this same route before with two others, and at this same place had been attacked by a large party of Sioux. One of his companions was killed, while the others were robbed of everything and obliged to walk a hundred and fifty miles to reach a trading post.
My companions being both afraid to proceed, we were obliged to return to our party on the North Fork of the Platte. We concluded to return that same night, although very much fatigued. We were near what was called Medicine Bow Butte, which takes its name from a stream running at its base, called Medicine Bow Creek. We traveled all night and stopped just as daylight was appearing, made a fire and rested half an hour. The next night we found ourselves quite near the encampment on the Platte.
Our party was very much disappointed to see us return. Four days afterwards Mr. Biggs and a half breed started for the fort by another route, where there was very little snow, and
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no danger of meeting Indians. They took a horse with them to carry their blankets and provisions.
In the meantime the party on the Platte were hunting daily, and supplied themselves abundantly with provisions.
After waiting thirty days for the return of Mr. Biggs with horses, we began to be fearful that he had been murdered by the Indians, but on the forty-second day from the time of his starting, just as we had given up all hope of seeing him, he and Mr. Vasquez arrived, bringing with them horses sufficient to carry the furs, but not enough to furnish saddle-horses for all the party, consequently some were obliged to walk. They also brought some men with them, increasing our number to twenty-two.
Mr. Biggs immediately started to return for the beaver that had been left some distance back, and was absent five days.
When Mr. Biggs started for the fort in search of horses we built a fort of logs on the Platte to protect us from Indians. We now left this fort on the 14th of April on our way to the fort on the South Fork.
On the 16th we ate dinner at the Medicine Bow Creek, and on the 19th arrived at Laramie Fork, a tributary of the Platte. At the junction of this stream with the North Fork of the River Platte the American Fur Company have a large trading fort, called Fort Laramie. We saw a great many buffalo every day as we passed along.
On the 22nd we met a small party of Arapahoo Indians coming to visit their friends the Shoshonies, or Snake Indians.
On the 24th of April, in the afternoon, we crossed the South Fork of the Platte with considerable difficulty, as the water was very high. After traveling six miles we arrived at the Fort of Sublette and Vasquez. We remained at the fort nearly two days.
April 26th we started in a mackinaw boat, which had been made at the fort at the foot of the mountains. This boat was thirty-six feet long and eight feet wide. We had seven hun- dred buffalo robes on board and four hundred buffalo tongues. There were seven of us in company. The water of this river,
JOURNAL OF E. WILLARD SMITH 273
the South Fork of the Platte, was very shallow and we pro- ceeded with difficulty, getting on sand bars every few minutes. We were obliged to wade and push the boat along most of the way for about three hundred miles, which we were forty- nine days traveling. We had to unload the boat several times a day when it was aground, which was very hard work.
May 8th. We saw the body of a Shoshonie squaw which had been placed on a scaffold in the top of a large tree on the bank of the river. This is the usual manner of disposing of the dead among these Indians.
On the 9th, 10th and llth the wind blew violently, accom- panied with heavy rain. We were unable to proceed. On the eleventh three Shian Indians came to us. They belonged to a party which had been out catching wild horses. They had suc- ceeded in taking two hundred. One hundred of them had died in a very severe storm a few days previous. The method adopt- ed by the Indians for catching them is as follows : An Indian mounts a fleet horse, having a rope twenty feet long, with a noose at the end, fastened to his saddle. He rides close to the animal he wishes to catch, and throws the noose, or lasso, over its head. The horse rinding the noose over his head, jumps, which chokes him and causes him to stop. As we found no buffalo, we had eaten all of the four hundred tongues we had brought.
On the 12th we killed the first buffalo we had seen since we left the fort.
On the 13th we arrived at the camp of the Shian Indians, the party mentioned before. They consisted of twenty-five men and boys and one squaw. They were headed by a chief called the Yellow Wolf. His brother was of the party having a name which signified in the Indian language Many Crows. We gave them some spirits, in exchange for a little meat, on which they became very much intoxicated.
On the 14th and for many days after we saw a great many dead buffalo calves strewed along the banks of the river. They were about a week old and must have been killed by some dis
274 JOURNAL OF E. WILLARD SMITH
ease raging among them, as the wolves would not touch them, although here in great numbers. There were probably two thousands of these calves.
On the 18th it stormed all day and night. Toward evening we saw about three hundred wild horses, who came quite near us. We have seen several large herds of buffalo for several days past.
June 12th. We arrived at the fork of the Platte. The water in the North Fork of the Platte was pretty high, and we were able to proceed quite rapidly. We sometimes traveled fifty miles a day. The main Platte is very wide, and has many islands in it, which were covered with roses as we passed them. In one place this river is four miles wide. One of its islands is one hundred miles long. The country from the forks of the Platte to the Missouri is claimed principally by the Pawnee Indians.
June 14th. We met five buffalo, the last we saw, as we left the country in which they range.
18th. In the morning we arrived at a Pawnee village. It consists of a hundred and fifty lodges, made of poles covered with mud. Each lodge contains three or four families. This village is situated on the south bank of the river. These In- dians raise excellent corn. The squaws perform all the labor in the fields. We gave them some dried meat in exchange for corn. This was the first vegetable food we had eaten in eleven months.
19th. We were obliged to lay by on account of a violent wind. At night we were much annoyed by mosquitoes.
20th. We passed the Loup Fork and also Shell Creek.
21st. We passed Horse Creek, a large stream coming in from the north, also Saline, a large stream from the south. The scenery here is very different from that farther up the river. The banks of the Platte from the foot of the mountains to this place have been low and sandy, with scarcely any trees on the banks, but here the river has bluff banks thickly covered with timber. There is a village of Pawnees, called the Pawnee Loups, on the Loup Fork. The Pawnees have their heads
JOURNAL OF E. WILLARD SMITH 275
shaved closely, with the exception of the scalping tuft in the middle, which gives them a very savage appearance. The river below the Loup Fork is much narrower than above. We are now in the country of the Otoe Indians.
On the evening of the 21st we arrived at a missionary sta^ tion, about fifteen miles from the mouth of the River Platte. There are about twenty Otoe lodges near the missionary station. These lodges are built of mud, in the same manner as the Paw- nees. We went up to the missionary houses, expecting to find some whites, and were much disappointed at finding them deserted, the missionaries having removed to another place.
June 22nd. This morning we arrived at the mouth of the river Platte. The Missouri, where we entered it, is rather narrow. This is about eleven hundred miles from St. Louis. In the afternoon we stopped at a log house on the bank of the river. Here we saw the first whites who had gladdened our eyes since leaving the mountains. They were at first afraid of us. At this place was a small encampment of Pottawattamie Indians. They had been drunk a few days before, and several were killed in a fight. This is the part of the country to which they had been removed. The banks of the Missouri here are quite hilly. Some of the shores are composed of limestone.
23rd. In the evening we arrived at a settlement, where we procured some fresh meat, bread and coffee. This place was in the Iowa country and we saw several Indians of that tribe.
24th. We stopped at another settlement in the State of Missouri, in Buchanan county. On the south side of the river is Missouri Territory, and on the north the state of Missouri. We saw some Sacks and Fox Indians today. We now traveled rapidly, sometimes eighty miles a day.
July 3rd. We arrived at St. Louis, having come two thou- sand miles from the mountains in sixty-nine days.
When traveling down the River Platte in our mackinaw boat, as before stated, we often ran aground on sand bars, and were obliged to unload the boat to lighten, push it off the bar, and then reload. This occurred several times in the course of each day, and of course kept us wading in the water most
276 JOURNAL OF E. WILLARD SMITH
of the time. We seldom found it more than waist deep. One afternoon we tied up our boat about four o'clock, as was our custom, to hunt buffaloes, as we were in want of provisions. This would give us time to kill, and get the meat to the boat before dark. It was usual for one of the party to remain with the boat while the rest went to hunt. This afternoon it was my turn to remain, which I accordingly did, and the rest of the party went off about three miles from the boat in search of game. This was rather a dangerous practice, as we were in the Pawnee country, and very much exposed. The day was quite pleasant with a strong breeze, and I was lounging on the piles of furs in the boat, with my coat off. Alongside of me lay a fine buffalo robe, that was damp, exposed to the sun to dry. The wind blew it off into the river. I jumped off the boat into the stream, ran down some distance so as to get beyond the floating robe, which was rapidly going down the stream, and jumped into the river, which I supposed was not more than waist deep, but very much to my surprise, I found the water over my head. This was an awkward predicament, for I could not swim, but my presence of mind did not for- sake me, I knew sufficient of the theory of swimming to keep perfectly still, conscious that if I did so, I would float, and the result proved that I was right. As I before stated, the current was quite swift, and I was carried down stream rapidly. Finding that I floated, I paddled with my hands, keeping them under water, and found that I could swim quite readily, I paddled out toward the robe, and secured it with some diffi- culty, as it had become partly soaked with water and was quite heavy. At last I succeeded in dragging it on shore, and crawled out of the water well saturated, and feeling most grateful for my deliverance. It was rather a lonely adventure, as all my companions were several miles distant. On their return they congratulated me on my narrow escape.
As we were coming down the River Platte, and had nearly gotten out of the range of buffaloes, which they frequent, it occurred to me that, as I had not yet killed any, I should try what I could do. On my journey out across the plains, I had
JOURNAL OF E. WILLARD SMITH 277
broken my rifle, and had substituted a fusee, or short gun, from which we fire balls. This was a very rude specimen of fire arm, and of very litle use for hunting, but useful in case of an attack from Indians.
This afternoon we had, as usual, tied up our boat and the hunter, Mr. Shabenare, went out a short distance from the river bank to shoot a buffalo for his meat. At the time there were several large buffalo bulls near us. After killing one we assisted the hunters in butchering it, and in carrying portions of the meat to the boat. It was at this time that I concluded to try my luck, so taking up my gun, which was loaded, and slinging my powder horn and pouch on my shoulder, I start- ed off toward the range of low hills running parallel to the shore and about a quarter of a mile distant. Several bulls were grazing quietly at the foot of these hills. I intended to walk up stealthily to within five hundred yards of one of the largest and then crawl up to within one hundred and twenty yards of him before I fired. For unless you approach as near as that to them your ball takes no effect. I had reached to within five hundred yards of him when he noticed me and becoming alarmed started off up the hill on a run. It was a damper on my prospects, for they run quite fast, generally as fast as a horse can trot, but as he had to run up hill, I thought I would give chase, and I accordingly did so, and after running a short time I found that I gained upon him and felt quite encouraged.
After running him about a mile and a half I came to a valley where I found several buffaloes grazing. The bull I was chasing finding these buffaloes quietly grazing, stopped also and began to eat grass. Finding him so quiet I also stopped to rest for a minute. I examined my gun and found the priming all right. I then approached cautiously to within fifty feet of him, which I could not have done if he had not been very tired from the long chase up hill. I then kneeled down and resting my ramrod upon the ground to support the gun took deliberate aim at his heart and fired. He jumped
278 JOURNAL OF E. WILLARD SMITH
at me with great ferocity, but I sprang on one side and avoided him. The ball had evidently taken effect.
I loaded the second time and approached somewhat nearer, to within about forty feet of him and took deliberate aim in the same manner and fired. The second ball also took effect and seemed to weaken him. He jumped at me again with the same ferocity, and I avoided him in the same way. After loading my piece the third time I found that my powder was exhausted and that this must be my last shot.
I approached to within the same distance and took aim and fired in the same manner as before. Again he jumped at me ferociously and then laid down panting and apparently in great pain. Having no powder my gun was now useless. I did not like the idea of losing my game after all the trouble I had had with him, I therefore determined to try my knife, which was a butcher knife six inches long, I crawled up cautiously toward his hind legs and attempted to cut his ham- strings with my knife thereby disabling him so that I could stab him. I had no sooner cut through the thick skin of his leg when smarting with pain the infuriated animal arose and plunged at me and would probably have killed me if it had not been for the miraculous arrival of our bull dog Turk. I had left him at the boat asleep, but finding that I had gone he followed me and arrived at the spot just in time to take the bull by the nose and prevent his injuring me. I now despaired of being able to secure my game. I took my powder horn and shook it in desperation and succeeded in obtaining enough powder from it for half a charge, with this I loaded my gun, using grass for wadding around my bullet instead of patches, as these as well as my stock of powder had become exhausted. The bull was now lying down with his head erect, and panting violently. I walked up to him, and putting the muzzle of my gun to his mouth, I fired down his throat. This was too much for him and he rolled over in his last struggle. I jumped upon him and stabbed him several times in the heart.
It had now grown dark. A large circle of white wolves had formed around and were yelling in a most hideous
JOURNAL OF E. WILLARD SMITH 279
manner, old Turk keeping them at bay. I cut out the tongue of the bull, and part of his meat and prepared to return to the boat, but on looking about I was at a loss which way to go, in the confusion and excitement I had forgotten from which direction I had; come. I chose my direction and after a walk of about twenty minutes came to the river, much to my relief. I was again at a loss which way to go to find the boat, but finally walked down the stream, and in half an hour reached the boat, at which I was very much rejoiced. My companions had become very much alarmed at my absence, but knew not where I had gone. We were in the Pawnee country and I was liable to meet some of them at any time and I was without ammunition or any means of defending myself. Old Turk after fighting the wolves off until he could eat some of the bull, returned, and was ever after considered the Lion of the party. Thus ended my first and my last buffalo hunt.
JOURNAL OF JOHN WORK'S SNAKE COUNTRY EXPEDITION OF 1830-31
SECOND HALF Editorial Notes by T. C. Elliott
This Quarterly printed in Vol. XIII., No. 4 the first install- ment of the journal of John Work, a trader of the Hudson's Bay Company, covering his trapping expedition to the Snake Country in the year 1830-31, with an editor's introduction; the second and final installment is now presented. The original of the first part of this journal was found in London but curiously enough this latter half comes from quite another source, namely from the family papers of the late William Fraser Tolmie of Victoria, B. C. ; Dr. Tolmie married one of the daughters of John Work. No opportunity has been afforded for the writer of these notes to compare his copy with the original but some few apparent errors, chiefly in proper names, cannot affect its general reliability.
We left Mr. Work with his large party of trappers and their families on the 18th of March, 1831, at the Portneuf river in Southern Idaho, probably not far east of the present city of Pocatello; we now resume our acquaintance with him April 21st, a month later, on the upper waters of the Bannock river, south of the Portneuf. After very successful trapping here he follows down Snake river past American Falls to Raft river ( Mr. Work designates this stream both as Raft and as Roche- Rock-river, but evidently it was the former), and ascending that river to one of its sources he crosses the divide to the plain at the north end of Great Salt Lake. He was then not far from Kelton, Utah, a place which held prominence for a time after the completion of the Central Pacific Railway as the eastern terminus of the stage lines from Walla Walla, which was one of the regular lines of travel for people going East from Oregon and Washington. This stage line crosses the Snake river below Salmon Falls.
Mr. Work then proceeds westward across the divide to the waters of the Humboldt river (called by him Ogden's river)
JOURNAL OF JOHN WORK 281
and for more than a month is upon the waters of the Humboldt flowing west and south and of the Bruneau and Owyhee flowing north, in northern Nevada. Late in June he turns north across Eastern Oregon by way of Malheur lake, Silvies river and the John Day river to his starting point at Fort Nez Perce at the mouth of the Walla Walla river. But little attempt will be made at long range to trace the itinerary closely. On this his first expedition into this region Mr. Work followed closely the track of his worthy predecessor, Peter Skene Ogden, in 1828-29, whose journals published in volumes X and XI of this Quarterly are now the more intelligible.
Thursday, April 21st, 1831.
Stormy, raw, cold weather.
Moved camp, and marched 10 miles S. E. up the river. 1 The river here is a narrow deep stream with steep clayey banks which have some willows growing upon them, and appear well adapted for beaver, a good many marks of which are to be seen. This little stream is not known ever to have been hunted by whites. Just above our last encampment it spreads into a kind of swamp which was probably taken by the hunters to be its source. The valley through which the river runs here is pretty wide, and seems to have been but a very short time free of snow, the mountains on each side of it have still a considerable depth upon them, and banks of it remain in sundry places along the shores of the river. The valley seems to produce little else but wormwood. There is a little coarse, dry grass in some points along the river. Owing to the unusual lateness of the spring the young grass is barely beginning to shoot up so that our horses, lean as they are, can gather very little to eat, which is much against them and also retards our progress as it is out of power to make such day's journeys as we would wish. Some of the people went in pursuit of buffalo but with little success. Nearly all the people set their traps, only two beaver were taken. Two of the men, A. Findlay and A. Hoole, who went after buffalo
i Bannock river.
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towards the mountains discovered a party of 14 Blackfoot with 8 or 10 horses. The Indians immediately fled, and the men foolishly pursued them some distance before they returned to the camp. On their arrival a party immediately went in pursuit of them but could not overtake them. They had got across the mountain notwithstanding the depth of the snow. F. Payette and 4 or 5 of the half breeds ascended the mountains after them but it was too late to continue the pursuit and they returned. A mare and colt which they left in their hurry was brought to the camp. There were the tracks of some women and children with the party. It is conjectured that the horses were stolen from the Snakes and that the women and children were also of that nation and made slaves of by the Blackfeet. They threw away several cords in their haste. A. Letender, who was up the river setting his traps, saw three Blackfeet with a horse, they immediately went off. P. Brinn and L. Kanottan saw and pursued another party of 5 men, two of them in their haste to escape them threw away their robes and cords. It is to be regretted that the two men who saw the party with the horses did not come to apprise us at the camp immediately and the whole party with their horses would probably have been taken.
Friday, April 22nd.
Cloudy, cold weather, some heavy rain and sleet in the night and fore part of the day.
Did not move camp. The people visited their traps and set some more. Twenty-five beaver and one otter were taken. There is the appearance of a good many beaver.
Saturday, April 23rd.
Stormy, cold weather.
Moved camp 5 miles farther up the river in order to find some feeding for the horses, and even here the grass is very indifferent and scarcely any of it. Though there are few buffalo to be seen now they have been very numerous here a short time ago and eat up the most of what little grass was. The men
JOURNAL OF JOHN WORK 283
visited their traps and took 33 beaver. The river here divides into two forks and falls in from the other rivers and the Costen from the south. The former is that which the Indians rep- resented to be richest in beaver. We are mortified to find that as far as the men proceeded up it it is choked up with snow except in small spots here and there, and the valleys through which it runs, though of considerable extent, still covered with snow to a considerable depth in places 3 to 4 feet deep and farther up probably much deeper. The men who went farther up the south branch 15 and 20 miles suppose they have reached its head, a kind of swamp ; here though the valley is larger than in the other branch yet the snow lies equally deep, and farther on through a fine valley appears still deep. The wormwood is covered with the snow. In this state of the snow we can neither trap these little rivers in the mountains nor attempt to cross the mountains without the risk of losing some of our horses from the depth of snow and want of food. The only step we can take now is to abandon this road and seek another pass more practicable. It would take too much time to wait till the snow melts. Thus are the prospects of the little hunt which we expected to make of 600 or 700 beaver in this quarter blasted. The unprecedented lateness of the spring is greatly against our operations. The oldest hands even in the severest winters never witnessed the season so late. The men saw some buffalo on the verge of the snow, probably they had been driven there by the Blackfeet Indians whom we found here. The people killed some of the buffalo but they were so lean that they were scarcely eatable. Three of the men drew a herd of bulls into a bank of snow yesterday and killed 16 of them.
Sunday, April 24th.
Frost in the morning, clear, cold weather for the season during the day.
The men visited their traps, 14 beaver were taken. The water is rising, which is against the trappers. Two of the men saw 6 Blackfeet Indians high up the river yesterday,
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they made to the mountains. Some were prowling about our camp last night the tracks of two who passed close to in the night were observed this morning.
Monday, April 25th.
Cloudy, cold weather.
Returned down the river to near our encampment of the 20th. The people visited the traps but only one beaver was taken. The water in this little river rose several feet in the night. Though only a day's journey from our encampment of this morning there is a material difference in the appearance of the country. Vegetation has here made considerable progress, and we found pretty good feeding for our horses.
Tuesday, April 26th.
Rained the greater part of the day, bright in the morning but heavy towards evening.
Moved camp and marched 10 miles S. W. across a point to Snake river. Here ~we had the satisfaction to find excellent feeding for our horses. One beaver was taken in the morning. The men were out in different directions setting their traps. Some buffalo were seen and two or three of them were killed in the plains, they are still very lean. The hunters observed the fresh tracks of some parties of Blackfeet, and thought they saw one on horseback. One of the party had a few horses with them which they had probably stolen from the Snakes.
Wednesday, April 27th.
Heavy rain in the night, and stormy with rain all day.
The unfavorable weather deterred us from raising camp. The people revisited their traps, and set some more. Twenty beaver were taken, 16 of them in a small rivulet towards the foot of the mountains, which appear never to have been trapped nor even known notwithstanding parties of trappers having so frequently passed this road. C. Plant, M. Plant, Bt. Dubrille and J. Desland found it yesterday.
JOURNAL OF JOHN WORK 285
Thursday, April 28th.
Cloudy, fair weather.
Moved camp and proceeded 6 miles down Snake river to near the American falls, here we had good feeding for the horses. All hands out visiting and setting their traps. Twenty- two beaver and two otter were taken, 1 1 of the beaver from the little creek in the plains. Below the rapids there is some little appearance of beaver notwithstanding the Americans 1 passed this way last fall. Some of our hunters had trapped big river down to near the falls early in the spring.
Friday, April 29th.
Stormy weather, very heavy rain mixed with hail and sleet.
The unfavorable weather deterred us from moving camp but it did not prevent the people from visiting their traps and setting several more. 19 beaver were taken.
Saturday, April 30th.
Heavy overcast weather with some rain in the morning. Cloudy, fine weather afternoon.
The unfavorable appearance of the weather in the morning prevented us from raising camp. The men visited their traps, and took 50 beaver in a small creek called the big storm river. This little stream appears to have been hunted by the Americans last fall, yet there are marks of beaver being still pretty numerous. Several of the people's horses became jaded and gave up by the way, some had to be left behind, and it was dark by the time others reached the encampment. The poor horses are still so lean and weak that they are unable to bear any kind of a hard day's work. They are in much want of a week's repose and good feeding, but the lateness of the season will not admit of our allowing them so much.
Sunday, May 1st, 1831. Heavy, cloudy weather, some showers in the afternoon.
i See note on page 370, Vol. XIII.
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Moved camp and proceeded 12 miles S. by W. across a point to the little creek 1 where the people have their traps set near the mountains, the road, though a little hilly, was good, con- siderable patches of snow occupying the north side of the little hills and the bottoms of the deep gullies. This little river is a narrow deep stream resembling the river Bannock, running between steep clayey banks. Where we are encamped is at the entrance of the mountains, the valley is not wide and no wood but some willows on the banks of the river. There is pretty good feeding here for the horses, but farther up the valley, where the snow has but lately disappeared, the men represent the grass as very indifferent, in many places scarcely any. All hands visited their traps, 65 beaver and 1 otter were brought to the camp, but the greater part of them were taken yesterday and left in cache. The traps this morning did not yield according to expectation.
Monday, May 2nd.
Cloudy, fine weather, some showers in the afternoon.
Did not move camp in order to allow the horses to feed, pretty good grass being at this place, and to allow the men time to take up their traps before we descend again to the Snake river. Some of the people have been up this river as far as there is any wood or beaver. 11 beaver were taken. Some of the men set their traps in the big river.
Tuesday, May 3rd.
Cloudy, fine, warm weather forenoon; stormy with thunder and some rain towards evening.
Moved camps, and proceeded 10 miles S. W. to the Snake river, where we encamped among hills on the small crawfish river. The road very hilly and fatiguing on the horses, many of whom were much fatigued on making the encampment. They were recompensed by excellent grazing. The men were on ahead setting their traps. 12 beaver and 1 otter were taken.
i Rock Creek.
JOURNAL OF JOHN WORK 287
Wednesday, May 4th.
Cloudy, stormy weather.
Marched 10 miles W. S. W. to Raft river which we fell upon 10 or 15 miles from its junction with Snake river. The road good but very hilly the forepart of the journey. Raft river is now very high and muddy owing to the melting of the snow. There are some appearance of beaver in it though this part of it was hunted by the Americans last fall. The men visited and changed their traps. 11 beaver were taken. Some tracks of buffalo were seen on the opposite side of Snake river, and the tracks of some herds ascending the river. We have, if possible, to procure a stock of provisions as we have a long way to march through a country nearly destitute of animals of any kind, and this is the last place where we are likely to find any buffalo.
Thursday, May 5th.
Cloudy, stormy weather, thunder and some very heavy rain towards morning.
Marched 5 miles south up the river, when we encamped, and sent the most of the people after a large herd of buffalo which was discovered feeding in the mountain. Our horses have improved a little and are now able to catch them. The buffalo are beginning to get a little older, and though scarcely the appearance of fat is to be found on the meat, is tolerably palatable. The people visited their traps in the morning, 14 beaver were taken. Gave orders for the people not to go ahead lest they would disturb the buffalo and drive them farther off.
Friday, May 6th.
Cloudy, fine weather.
Did not move camp in order to allow the people to dry the meat which was killed yesterday. The buffalo are so lean now that they scarcely yield as much dry meat, and of an inferior quality, as one would do in the fall or early part of the winter. 5 beaver were taken.
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Saturday, May 7th.
Cloudy, fine weather.
Marched 12 miles south up the river. The road good, but very indifferent feeding for the horses. A number of the people went after a herd of buffalo which was grazing on the opposite side of the river, and killed several, the meat of which the women are now busy drying. It is fortunate we find buffalo here as it saves us the trouble of going a long day's march to the Eastward, to a place out into the plains called the Fountain where buffalo are always said to be found. It would lose at least three days going to this plain. I had some trouble in preventing some of the men from running ahead of the camp with their traps and raising the animals. Some of them want no provisions themselves and are indif- ferent whether others have it in their power to get any or not. By missing the opportunity of collecting a little provisions now the people would be obliged to eat several of their horses before reaching the Fort, 1 as animals of any kind are uncertain. (?) beaver were taken.
Sunday, May 8th.
Cloudy, fine weather.
Marched 12 miles south up the river. The road still good, but grass for the horses very indifferent. A number of the people went in pursuit of a large herd of buffalo which was feeding on the opposite shore of the river, and killed a number of them, the meat of which is now being dried. Blackfeet are still following our camp. Two of the young men, who went out into the plain yesterday to discover buffalo, saw them, but were not sure, on account of the haze, whether it was men or antelopes. Two of the men who went back this morning for some traps which they had (left) behind saw the Indians coming to our camp after all the people had left it some time. (?) beaver were taken.
i Fort Nez Perce.
JOURNAL OF JOHN WORK 289
Monday, May 9th.
Did not move camp in order to give the people time to kill some more buffalo. Some large herds were found at the foot of the mountains on this side of the river, a number of whom were killed. The most of the people have now nearly enough provisions, what little a few of the people still want we expect to find as we advance up the river. Some marks of Blackfeet were seen near the camp this morning. In the morning the buffalo were observed flying from the mountains to the eastward, and it is conjectured they were disturbed by a band of those marauders.
Tuesday, May 10th.
Unpleasant, stormy weather.
Raised camp, and proceeded 10 miles south up the river, the Roche, 1 where it becomes confined in a narrow valley. Here we found good feeding for the horses. No buffalo to be seen today until towards evening when a small band were observed in the mountain. Some of the people went after them, but only one was killed. One of the men, M. Plante, who went after the buffaloes was behind the others when returning and discovered a Blackfoot Indian on horseback and fired upon him but missed. The Indian made off towards the mountain, when five other Blackfeet were observed afoot. These scamps are still following us seeking an opportunity to steal.
Wednesday, May llth.
Cloudy, rather cold weather.
Marched 10 miles S. S. W. up the river, the road good. We deviated a little from our straight road today in order to send off a party of our men to hunt in another direction tomorrow. The people visited some traps which were set yesterday and took 6 beaver. No buffalo nor the marks of any to be seen today.
i Must refer to branch of Raft, not Rock river.
290 JOURNAL OF JOHN WORK
Thursday, May 12th.
Fine weather in the morning, but heavy rain and snow and very cold afterwards.
Raised camp and marched 10 miles across the mountains, and encamped on a small rivulet of snow water. The head of Raft river appears in a deep valley to the west of us. The road on the mountains hilly and rugged and some places stony, and in places very boggy. The snow still lies in banks of considerable depth, and appears but very recently to have disappeared off most of the ground. The grass is barely be- ginning to spring up except on small spots exposed to the south, which has been some time clear of snow, where vegeta- tion has made some progress. From the very ruggedness of the road and the badness of the weather this was a harassing day both on horses and people. For want of water we could not encamp sooner. In order that we may make a better I sep- arated a party this morning and sent 8 men, viz. C. Plante (who is in charge of the party), J. Deslard, F. Champagne, L. Rondeau, L. Quenstall, A. Dumarais, Bt. Dubrielle and A. Longtin to hunt to the Westward on the heads of small rivers which run into Snake river and on the Eastern fork of Sand- wich Island River, 1 while I with the remainder of the party proceed to the southward to Ogden's river, and then to the head of Sandwich Island river.
Plante was directed to push on and make a good encamp- ment today so that he might get out of the reach of the Black- feet who are still following our track, but instead of doing so some of the people who went in pursuit of a horse that fol- lowed the party found the encampment only a few miles from our last night's station. If they push on they will in a short time be out of the reach of the Blackfeet.
Friday, May 13th. Raw, cold weather, froze keen in the night.
i Owyhce riyer.
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Marched 15 miles S. E. to the entrance to the plain 1 of Great Salt Lake. The road very hilly and rugged, numerous gullies to pass, several of which are still full of snow, through which the horses sometimes with difficulty dragged them- selves. Nearly all this day's journey through the mountains the snow has but recently disappeared even in patches, and the grass is still so imbedded with water that the horses nearly bog in it. Except a few spots here and there the grass is barely beginning to shoot up, and in many places vegetation is not yet commenced. Where we are encamped there is a little grass for the horses.
This was a fatiguing day on both men and horses, many of the latter with difficulty reached the encampment.
Saturday, May 14th.
Cloudy, cold weather.
Marched 12 miles S. along the foot of the mountains, and encamped on a small river on Mr. Ogden's usual road to Odgen's river. The road today was good and pretty level though intersected by several gullies, some of which are still full of snow. The mountains to the West are still partially covered with snow, and appear very rugged. To the eastward lies the great plain thickly studded with clumps of hills. About this neighborhood we expected to find some buffalo, and that such of the people as are short of provisions would furnish themselves with some more, but not the mark of a buffalo is to be seen. There are a good many antelopes in the plains and some black-tail chevereau.
Sunday, May 15th.
Cloudy, fine weather. The air rather cool in the neighbor- hood of the snow-clad mountains.
Proceeded on our journey 8 miles south, when we en- camped on a small rivulet which barely yields sufficient water for the horses. No water being found near was the cause of our putting up so early at this place. The road lay along the foot of the mountains, and though hilly was good. It was
i Near to Kelton, Utah.
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intersected by several gullies, some of which are still full of snow. Large hills and points of mountains lay below us and the plains than yesterday. Found an old Snake Indian woman who said her people were encamped near some of the people ; also found three men of the same nation with horses. These people seldom venture from the mountains, they are now employed collecting roots, none of them have yet ventured to our camp.
Monday, May 16th.
Cloudy, cool weather in the morning, fine weather after- wards.
Continued our route 13 miles south to what is called the Fountain, which is a small spring of indifferent brackish water in the plain where the soil is mixed with saline matter. Not only water is scarce here but there is very little grass for our horses. The road though hilly is pretty good, it lay down a deep gully and over several hills before we reached the plain. Ranges of mountains covered with snow ran to the westward, besides the plain is studded with detached hills, several of which are still covered with snow. On reaching the plain it appears to be eastward like an immense lake with black, rocky hills, here and there like islands large tracts of the plain appear perfectly white and destitute of any kind of vege- tation it is said to be composed of white clay. A small lake appears in it at some distance. To the South E. is the Utah lake and river, to the southward the ( ? ) is said to be destitute of water for a long way, yet snow-capped mountains appear in that direction. We found a few Snake Indians en- camped here, and a party of 20 men visited us from farther out in the plain. Some leather and other trifles were traded from them by the people.
Tuesday, May 17th.
Continued our march 10 miles W. S. W. to small rivulet of indifferent brackish water which winds through a salt, marshy valley. There is pretty good feeding for the horses.
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The road pretty good and level though there are detached hills on each side of us. The rivulet is lost in the plain a little below our encampment.
Wednesday, May 18th.
Fine, warm weather.
Proceeded 7 miles W. S. W. up the little rivulet, which continues of the same appearance and about the same size. We encamped early on account of no water being to be found farther on. Tomorrow we have a very long encampment to make.
Thursday, May 19th.
Cloudy, fine, warm weather.
Continued our journey at an early hour and marched 25 miles S. S. W. to a range of mountains which we crossed, and then across a plain to a small rivulet which we found un- expectedly in the middle of it. The road good but hilly crossing the mountains. Not a drop of water to be had all the way. We found water near two hours march sooner than we ex- pected, yet several of the horses were much jaded, some of them nearly giving up. That and the dirt were more oppres- sive upon them than the distance they came. The mountains round this valley 1 and plain are not very high, yet in places still covered with snow. The track of elk, black-tail deer are seen in the mountains but could not be approached. Cabins ( ? ) are seen in the plains, but all very shy. The hunters saw some Indians; the naked wretches fled to the mountains. None of them visited our camp.
Friday, May 20th. Fine, warm weather.
Continued our course 12 miles S. S. W. across the plain where we encamped on a small stream of brackish water which runs through salt marsh, and in a short distance is lost in the plain.
Saturday, May 21st. Fine weather, a thunder storm and a little rain.
i Grouse Creek Valley.
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Proceeded on our journey 16 miles W. S. W. over a rough, stony though not high mountain, and then across a plain to a lake, where we had the satisfaction to find good water. The road over the mountains stony and rugged, but across the plain very good. A range of high mountains covered with snow appear ahead of us. Some antelopes are seen in the plains, but no appearance of any other animals.
Sunday, May 22nd.
Sultry, warm weather.
Marched 20 miles W. N. W. to the W. end of a steep snowy mountain, there we encamped in a small creek which rises from the mountain, the waters of which are lost in the plains below. This morning we left Mr. Ogden's track to Ogden's river in hopes to reach the river sooner and fall upon it a few day's march higher up than the usual route. Our road good, lay through an extensive plain. From the heat of the day and the distance marched the horses were much jaded and 4 the people fatigued on nearing the encampment. However, we have good water and excellent feeding for the horses. Sev- eral naked starved looking Indians visited the camp. We have been seeing the tracks of these people every day, but seldom any of them venture to approach us.
Monday, May 23rd.
Continued our journey at an early hour and marched 16 miles W. N. W. through a small defile across the end of the mountain and down a plain to the E. fork of Ogden's 1 river. This branch river runs through a low part of the plain which is now a swamp owing to the height of the water, the river having overflowed its banks. Several of the people were ahead both up and down the river with their traps. No ves- tiges of beaver are to be seen on the fork where we are en- camped, though some of the people ascended it to near the mountains. In the middle or principal fork the water is so high that the river can only be approached in places the banks
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being overflowed and the low ground in its neighborhood inundated it is difficult to discern any marks of beaver, never- theless, several traps were set at a venture.
Tuesday, May 24th.
Warm, sultry weather.
Marched 15 miles W. N. W. across the plain to the middle fork of the river. We had some difficulty crossing the E. fork, several of the horses bogged in its swampy banks. The road across the plain pretty good; the low ground through which the river runs is nearly all flooded. The river here has a good deal of willows on its banks. Only three beaver were taken. The people begin to apprehend there are but few beaver in the river, and from the height of the water these few cannot be taken. This part of the river was hunted two years ago by a party of hunters which Mr. Ogden sent this way, they found a good many beaver and supposed the river was not clean trapped.
Wednesday, May 25th.
Overcast, thunder and heavy rain afternoon.
Proceeded 10 miles up the river which here runs from N. to S., the road good, the banks of the river everywhere over- flowed. Four beaver and 1 otter were taken. The part of the river we passed today is well-wooded with willows, and appears well-adapted for beaver, yet few appear to be in it. A party of Indians visited our camp this morning and ex- changed two horses with the people. Some of the people were out hunting. F. Payette and L. Kanotti killed each an antelope. These are the only animals to be seen here, and they are so shy that it is difficult to kill any of them. Several of the people are getting short of provisions, and not finding beaver here as was expected is discouraging the people.
Thursday, May 26th.
Overcast weather, blowing fresh.
Did not raise camp in order to allow our horse to feed and repose a little, of which they are in much want, they have been nearly 16 days without one day's rest, they are all very
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lean and many of them much jaded. I was still expecting to find some beaver that we might allow the horses to recruit a little and hunt at the same time, and was induced to push on even to the injury to some of the horses. The people visited their traps but only four beaver were taken. Those who went farther up the river bring no better accounts of the appearance of beaver. The water is falling a little above. A party of Snake Indians visited us. They inform us that there are a few small streams in the mountains where there are a few beaver.
Friday, May 27th.
Cloudy, fine weather.
Continued our journey 12 miles up the river to a small branch which falls in from the north, the main stream running here from the west. The head of this small fork is close to the head of the Big Stone 1 river which falls into Snake river. The road pretty good till we reached the fork, where, on account of the water, it is a perfect bog and we had much difficulty in crossing it, several of the horses bogged and some of the things were wet. 4 beaver were taken. No better signs of beaver. Some of the people were hunting antelopes, which are the only animals to be seen here, but only one was killed.
Saturday, May 28th.
Stormy, cold weather.
Proceeded on our journey 16 miles up the river west to above where it is enclosed between steep, rocky hills. The road part of the way very hilly and rugged and so stony that the horses ran much risk of breaking their legs. Here we found a place where the river is fordable. The water has subsided a little within these few days. During this day's march the river is well wooded with poplar and willows, yet there is very little appearance of beaver, only three were taken today. Four of the young men who left the camp on the 25th arrived in the evening. They struck across the country to the W.
i Probably Salmon river.
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fork of the river which they ascend to the mountains, and did not find a mark of a beaver to induce them to put a trap in the wet. That branch, like the one we are on, has over- flowed its banks. The young men on the way here passed two small streams which run towards Snake river.
Sunday, May 29th.
Stormy, raw, cold weather.
Crossed the river in the morning and proceeded across the mountains 10 miles S. S. W. to a small stream which falls into Bruneau river. The road hilly and rugged and very swampy on the banks of the little river which we crossed. There is still a good deal of snow in large banks in the moun- tains, it appears not to have been long since it disappeared in the valleys as the grass is still very short and vegetation but little advanced. A few of the people who imagined the river was not fordable above remained at a narrow part in the rocks yesterday evening and made a bridge by felling trees so that they fell across the river over which they car- ried their baggage but in crossing their horses one belonging to G. R. Rocque was drowned.
Monday, May 30th.
Mild weather in the morning, which was succeeded by a violent thunder storm which continued a considerable time. Stormy, cold weather during the remainder of the day. The unfavorable weather deterred us from raising camp.
Thursday, May 31st.
Stormy, cold weather, some showers in the morning, and a heavy snow storm in the evening, keen frost last night.
Continued our journey 13 miles across the mountains to a small stream which we suppose falls into Sandwich Island river. The road very hilly and rugged, being over a number of deep gullies. There is also a good deal of snow on the mountains, some bars of which we had to cross. The country has a bare appearance. Not an animal except a chance antelope to be seen.
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Friday, June 1st.
Keen frost in the night, stormy, cold weather during the day.
Continued our route 12 miles W. across the mountains and down into the valley where a number of small branches fell in from the mountains and formed the head of the E. fork of Sandwich Island river. This little valley is about 20 miles long and 15 wide. A small fork falls in from the S., 2 from the eastward, one from the W., all of which form one stream which runs to the N. W. through a narrow channel bordered by steep, impassable rocks. The different forks in the valley have some willows on the banks and seem well adapted for beaver, yet the men who have been out in every direction setting the traps complain that the marks of beaver are scarce. The water has been lately very high and all the plain over- flowed, though this valley has not been known ever to have been hunted, but is now subsiding. To the southward there is a small height of land which separates the waters of this river from a fork of Ogden's river, to the westward there is a high rugged mountain covered with snow. Our road today was very rugged and hilly, and in many places boggy, the snow having but very recently gone off the ground, indeed, we passed over several banks of it.
Saturday, June 1st.
We are like to be devoured by mosquitoes. Did not raise camp that we might see what beaver might be taken. The people visited and changed their traps. Only 12 beaver were taken, which is nothing for the number of traps, 150, which were in the water, and what is worse the men complain there is little signs of any more worth while being got. Several of the people were out hunting, but with little success, which I regret as provisions are getting pretty scarce in the camp. Not an animal to be seen but antelopes and but few of them, and even these are so shy that it is difficult to approach them. There are some cranes in the valley but almost as difficult to
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be got at as the antelopes. The hunters observe the tracks of some sheep in the mountains, but they appear to have been driven off by some straggling Indians whose tracks are seen. Altogether this is a very poor country. Owing to the late- ness of the Spring the Indians who frequent these parts to collect roots have not yet assembled so that even a few roots, bad as they are, are not to be got to assist those who are scarce of food.
Sunday, June 3rd.
Qoudy, fine weather.
Continued our journey 12 miles S. S. W. to a branch of Ogden's river where it issues from a steep, snow covered mountain. This stream is well wooded with poplar and wil- lows, and appears well adapted for beaver, yet the people found only one solitary lodge in it and scarcely a mark of beaver either old or new, though they examined it for a considerable distance. One man set a few traps. Seven of the men : A. Findlay, P. Findlay, M. Findlay, M. Plante, A. Plante, Bt. Gardipie and Soteaux St. Germain, separated from the party this morning in order to proceed down the river, if practicable and thence by the usual road to the fort by Snake river, and endeavor to pick up a few beaver by the way, but principally to procure some animals to subsist on. These men are all half Indians, some of them with large families, and placing too much reliance on their capacity as hunters did not take so much precaution as the other men to provide a stock of food previous to leaving the buffalo, they are, therefore, now en- tirely out of provisions, and it is expected they will have a little chance of killing antelopes and cheveau when only a few than when the camp is all together. 7 beaver were taken this morning, making 19 in all in this valley where we expected to make a good hunt.
Monday, June 4th.
Very stormy, cold weather.
Crossed the mountains a distance of 18 miles S. S. W. to a small stream which falls into the W. branch of Sandwich
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Island river. The road very hilly and rugged and in places stony; we had several banks of snow to pass. The road was in places nearly barred with burnt fallen wood. The little fork, where we are encamped, is well wooded with poplar and willows, yet only in two places are the marks of beaver to be seen. Some of them men have proceeded on to the main branch and set 22 traps where they saw the ap- pearance of some beaver.
Tuesday, June 5th. Stormy, cold weather.
Continued our route 9 miles S. S. W. to the main branch of the river, road hilly and rugged. Crossed a small stream with a number of hot springs on its. banks, some of them near a boiling temperature. The river here has been lately very high, and overflowed its banks, but the waters are subsiding, and river about 10 yards wide. Have fallen a good deal. The traps which were set yesterday produced only 6 beaver. This seems to be a miserably poor country, not even an ante- lope to be seen on the plains. The tracks of some sheep are to be seen on the mountains, but they are so shy there is no approaching them. Some Indians visited our camp this morn- ing and traded a few roots, but the quantity was very small.
Wednesday, June 6th. Stormy, cold weather.
Did not raise camp. The men out in different directions with their traps. Those which were in the water yesterday provided 14 beaver. The men begin to have a little more expectations. The Indians stole two traps in the night, one from Kanota and one from A. Hoole. There is no means of pursuing or rinding out the thief as they ran to the moun- tains. There is no doubt they came to attempt stealing the horses, but not finding an opportunity they fell in with and carried off the traps.
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Thursday, June 7th.
Still raw, cold weather, blowing fresh.
Did not raise camp. 10 beaver were taken. Some of the people went with the traps to some small streams which fell in from the eastward which was not hunted by Mr. Ogden's people when they hunted here two years ago. They saw the appearance of a few beaver.
Friday, June 8th.
Weather mild these three days past.
Moved a few miles down the river to a better situation for the horses and where we will be a little nearer the people with their traps. 17 beaver were taken. Some of the people moved their traps a little farther down the river. The road is very hilly, rugged and stony. Some Indians visited our camp this morning with a few roots.
Saturday, June 9th.
Did not raise camp. The people visited and changed their traps. 7 beaver were taken. Some of the men have not re- turned from the traps.
Sunday, June 10th.
Cloudy, cold weather. Did not move camp. 18 beaver were taken. 2 traps stolen from Pichetto. The men who went farthest down the river returned and report that there are but small signs of beaver. Those from the forks to the east- ward say there are a few there. Some Indians visited us with a few roots to trade. Miserably poor as these wretches are and the small quantity of roots they bring yet it provides several people with a meal occasionally which is very accepta- ble to them as provisions previous to the late supply of beaver was becoming very scarce among us.
Monday, June llth. Warm, fine weather,
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Did not move camp. Several beaver were taken. There is still a chance beaver in the little forks to the eastward and down the river towards the rocks where the river bears so rapidly that no beaver are to be found, but not enough to employ all the people or worth while to delay for the season being so far advanced. We, therefore, intend to move up the river tomorrow and hunt the head of it. Tuesday, June 12th.
Cloudy, sultry weather in the morning, which was succeeded by thunder and heavy rain and hail, raw, cold weather after- noon.
Raised camp and moved 7 miles up the river, where we had to encamp with the bad weather. 6 beaver were taken, two traps stolen from Pichette and 1 from Royer. Wednesday, June 13th.
Overcast, blowing fresh towards evening.
Proceeded up the river 1 11 miles S. S. W. to opposite a a branch which falls in from the eastward. Here the trappers with Mr. Ogden crossed the mountains from Ogden's river to this plain two years ago. I meant to have taken the same road but have altered the plan by its being represented to me that several days will be saved and some bad stony road avoided by crossing the mountains farther to the southward, and falling upon Ogden river farther down. In this part of the river we will miss the few beaver to be expected. Some of the men visited the head of the river to the mountain, and two forks that fall in from the eastward to near the same, and though they are well-wooded and apparently well adapted for beaver, yet scarely a mark of them is to be seen. Thursday, June 14th.
Continued our journey 18 miles across the mountains, viz.: S. W. 9 miles to the top of the mountains and S. 9 miles down the S. side of the mountains, the road hilly and uneven and in places stony. The mountains, though not high, have still
i Head of Owyhee river.
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patches of snow here and there upon them. Some of the people are out hunting but without success. A chance ante- lope is the only animal to be seen, and these are so shy that it is very difficult to approach them. The hunters saw three Indians, and the men who were on discovery yesterday saw some more, and their tracks are to be seen in every direction, yet none of them visit our camp.
Friday, June 15th.
Fine, warm weather.
Did not raise camp on account of one of the women being brought to bed. Some of the people were out hunting but without success.
Saturday, June 16th.
Continued our route 12 miles S. over a number of hills and valleys to a small river where we encamped for the night. The road good, but here and there stony and generally gravelly and hard, which much wears down the horses' hoofs and renders their feet sore. These nights past we have had sharp frost, but here the weather is sultry, and we are annoyed with mosquitoes, which will neither give ourselves peace nor allow the poor horses to feed.
Sunday, June 17th.
Fine, warm weather.
Marched 21 miles S. S. W. along the side of an extensive plain to near Ogden's river. The plain here is partially over- flowed and become a swamp, we can scarcely find a spot to encamp. Among the lodges the horses are nearly bogging, and to mend the matter we are like to be devoured by innumer- able swarms of mosquitoes which do not allow us a moment's tranquillity, and so torment the horses that notwithstanding their long day's march they cannot feed. All hands are ahead of the camp with their traps, but found the river so high, having overflowed its banks, that they could not approach it except in chance places. Three of the men set 9 traps, which were all that could be put in the water. I much regret finding
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the river so high that it cannot be hunted as the people's last reliance was upon the few beaver which they expected to take in it in order to make up the hunt, but, more particularly, for food. The most of them are becoming very scarce of pro- visions, and they have now no other recourse but to kill horses. Some of the people nearly devoured their horses crossing the swamp on their way to the camp. They saw a small herd of antelopes in the plain, but they could not be approached. A few wild fowl were killed, of which there a good many in the swamp.
Monday, June 16th.
Cloudy, warm, sultry weather.
Pursued our journey 14 miles S. S. W. and 7 miles W. down the river. Marched longer today than was intended not being able to find a place to encamp in consequence of the swamping of the banks of the river, which are almost everywhere over- flowed. The men were sent along the river with their traps, but not one could be set. Only one beaver was taken in the 9 which were set yesterday. It is the opinion of the more ex- perienced hunters that there are a few beaver still in this part of the river, but owing to the height of the water they cannot be taken. People passed twice this way about this season of the year before but never saw the water so high as at present. We expected to have found some Indians here and obtained some eatables from them, either roots or anything or another, but none are to be seen in consequence of the height of the water; they cannot remain on the river but are off to the mountains.
Tuesday, June 19th.
Clear, very warm weather.
Continued our journey 16 miles down the river which here runs to the N. W. The river is still full to the banks and all the low plains overflowed. The men again visited the river but could not put a trap in the water. Both people and horses are like to be devoured by innumerable swarms of mosquitoes and sand flies. The horses cannot feed they are so much
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annoyed by them, the banks of the river are so swampy that they bog when they approach to drink.
Wednesday, June 20th.
Overcast, thunder and very heavy rain afternoon.
Continued our journey 19 miles to the N. W. along the river and then to the foot of the mountains, where we found a little water and some grass for the horses. These three days the river runs through an extensive plain, the mountains approach close to it. The farther we descend the river it be- comes more difficult to approach on account of its banks being overflowed. Two of the men, J. Toupe and G. Rocque, killed a horse having nothing to eat, the provisions being all done. On leaving the buffalo the people calculated on getting a few beaver and did not lay in such a stock of provisions as they otherwise would have done. This is really a miserable, poor country, not even an antelope to be seen.
Thursday, June 21.
Cloudy, fine weather, blowing fresh in the morning.
Proceeded across the mountain, and then across an extensive plain 20 miles W. to a small fork which falls into Ogden's river. By this route we saved two days' journey besides going round by the river. To our great disappointment and contrary to our expectations we found the little river had overflowed its banks and the plain in its neighborhood in a swamp so that we could not approach it ; it is to be apprehended we will have much trouble crossing it. The different parties which formerly passed this way found this little creek with very little water in it. Several of the people were out hunting but did not see an animal. They expected to find some antelopes in the hills.
Friday, June 22nd.
Warm, sultry weather.
Proceeded up the river three miles N. N. W. and succeeded in crossing it by means of a bridge of willows. The river here is narrower but very deep with clayey banks so steep and
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soft that the horses could not get out of it were they thrown in to swim across. Too, near this plain its banks were so over- flowed that it could not be approached. This was a hard day's work both on people and horses. The horses, as well as people, are like to be devoured by swarms of mosquitoes and gadflies. The river here is well flooded, and seems remarkably well adapted for beaver, yet there is not the least mark of any to be seen in it.
Saturday, June 23rd.
Fine, warm weather.
Continued our journey 15 miles W. N. W. across the plain to the foot of the mountains. We crossed two other forks of the same river we left in the morning, one of them much larger than it, but we found a good ford. Some Indians were seen along the mountains, but they fled on our approach.
Sunday, June 24th.
Clear, fine weather.
Crossed the mountain 19 miles W. N. W. Road very hilly and stony. From the steepness and highness of the mountain and the badness of the road this was a most harassing and fatiguing day on both men and horses. We find tracks of Indians but none of them approach us. The best hunters of the party were out in the mountains, which have still a good deal of snow on them, in quest of sheep, but without success. They saw the tracks of some, but could not find them.
Monday, June 25th.
Clear, warm weather.
Marched seven miles N. N. E. along the foot of the moun- tain, and 15 miles across the plain to a little river which runs to the southward, and which we found impassable, its banks having been lately overflowed, and remain still like a quag- mire. The best hunters are out, but as usual did not see a single animal of any sort. One of the men, P. O'Brien ( ?) , was under the necessity of killing one of his horses to eat. Thus are the people in this miserable country obliged to kill and
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feed upon these useful animals, the companions of their labors. We passed a small Indian camp, but the poor, frightened wretches fled on our appearance and concealed themselves among the wormwood. Only two men who were on ahead saw any of them.
Tuesday, June 26th.
Very warm, sultry weather.
Marched five miles N. up the river to a place where we crossed one of its forks with little trouble, but the other which was close, too, was very difficult, the men had to wade across it with the baggage, its banks are like a morass, and several of the horses bogged so that they had to be dragged out. Crossed a plain five miles N. N. W. to another fork, which we crossed without further difficulty than bogging a few of the horses. This was a most harassing and fatiguing day both on men and horses.
Wednesday, June 27th.
Blowing fresh, yet very warm weather.
Continued our march 15 miles N. W. along the foot of the mountains to a small rivulet which falls into the river we passed yesterday. The road good but in places stony and embarrassed with wormwood. The hunters were out today but without success. Two antelopes were seen yesterday, which was a novelty.
Thursday, June 28th.
Very warm weather, though blowing fresh the after part of the day. Proceeded on our journey 23 miles N. W. along the foot of the mountains, crossed the head of the river we left two days ago, and over the hill to a small rivulet, which is said to be a fork of the Owhyhee river. The road good, but in places stony. The hunters were out. F. Payette had the good fortune to kill a male antelope. One of the men saw four sheep on the plain, but did not kill any of them.
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Friday, June 29th.
Blowing fresh, which rendered the weather a little cool and pleasant.
Marched 28 miles N. N. W. first across a plain and salt swamp and over a range of hills and across another valley, part of which has the appearance of the bed of a lake, but is quite dry and hard, and encamped near the foot of a mountain covered with snow. The road in some places stony, and from the length of the encampments very fatiguing both on horses and people, neither of which have a moment's quietness either to feed or repose, they are so annoyed with immense swarms of mosquitoes. The hunters were out, but without success. They saw the tracks of some antelopes and sheep. Some Indian tracks were seen, but none of them approach us, some of them had horses.
Saturday, June 30th.
Warm and very sultry in the morning, a breeze of wind afterwards.
Continued our journey along the foot of the mountains 1 18 miles N. by W., the road good. Passed two small lakes, in one of which the people found a good many eggs. S. Kanota killed an antelope, and F. Payette a young one. A. Letendre had to kill one of his horses to eat.
Sunday, July 1st.
Our road lay along the foot of the mountains 12 miles N. W. Part of the road very hilly and very stony. The stony road and continual mounting wearing out the horses' hoofs and rendering them lame. Though the mountains in our neigh- borhood have still patches of snow on them, the little creek where we are encamped barely affords sufficient water for the horses to drink. The hunters killed nothing today. J. Despard killed one of his horses.
i Stein's Mountains.
JOURNAL OF JOHN WORK 309
Monday, July 2nd.
Continued our journey N. W. 19 miles to Sylvalle's Lake. 1 The road part of the day stony. The lake is unusually high, and the water brackish and so very bad that it is like a vomit to drink it. The hunters were out but without success. There are a number of wild fowl in the lake, but they are so shy that they cannot be approached.
Tuesday, July 3d.
Warm, sultry weather, a thunder storm in the evening.
Our road lay along the lake and across a point to Sylvalle's River 2 in rather a circuitous road, nearly W. N. W. 20 miles. The road good. Some of the men set a few traps, they saw the appearance of a chance beaver.
Wednesday, July 4th.
Very warm, but blowing fresh afternoon.
Continued our journey up the river 15 miles N. N. W. to the first rocks. The horses like to be devoured by gad-flies. F. Payette went to hunt yesterday and returned today with two antelopes. L. Kanota also killed two. The traps which were set yesterday produced four beaver.
Thursday, July 5th.
Very warm weather.
Did not raise camp in order to allow the horses to repose, of which they are in much need, they having marched 19 days successively without stopping a day to rest. They have been becoming lean for some time back and their hoofs are so much worn that some of them are becoming lame. The most of the people set their traps yesterday, 13 beaver were taken. The hunters were out. A. Houle killed a chevereau and the boy, Prevost, an antelope. Four Indians paid us a visit; they had nothing with them to trade; they received a few trifles, and promised to return with some roots to trade.
1 Malheur Lake.
2 Silvies' River.
310 JOURNAL OF JOHN WORK
Friday, July 6th.
Marched about 18 miles N. N. W. across a point, and fell again upon the river, by this road it is shorter than by following all the turns of the river. The people out with the traps, five beaver and one otter taken. In the morning one of the men arrived with a load of young herons, he found a place where they were very numerous. Some more of the people who are short of food immediately went to get a supply. These birds are very fat. Some of the people say they are very good, others say that they are scarcely eatable. Some of the people went off to hunt and have not yet returned.
Saturday, July 7th.
Continued our journey 20 miles up the river N. N. W. Road stony, hilly and uneven. Five beaver were taken. The hunt- ers arrived. A. Houle killed one elk and three black-tailed chevereau, and the boy, Prevost, one young elk. The men with the camp caught a wounded deer out of the river.
Sunday, July 8th.
Proceeded up the river 15 miles N. N. W. to the head of the second valley. Three beaver were taken. Some antelopes seen crossing the valley, but none taken.
Monday, July 9th.
Fine, warm weather, blowing fresh afternoon.
Left the river which is enclosed by steep hills, and struck across the hills and fell upon the river at the head of the upper valley at the foot of the mountains, a distance of 13 miles N. W. The road good. The hills we passed in the morning well timbered with lofty pines, the valley is clear of wood except some willows along the different forks of the river. Two hunters were out. A. Hoole killed an antelope, and T. Sen- atoen a chiveau.
JOURNAL OF JOHN WORK 311
Tuesday, July 10th.
Very warm weather, still a breeze of wind in the afterpart of the day. Crossed the mountains to Day's River, 1 a distance of 22 miles N. W. The road very hilly and steep, particularly the N. side of the mountain. The mountain is thickly wooded with tall pine timber. Both people and horses much fatigued on nearing the camp, part of the road stony. Day's River is well wooded with poplar and willows. Two Indians visited our camp this morning and traded five beaver.
Wednesday, July llth.
Very warm sultry weather.
Proceeded down the river 16 miles W. Parts of the road hilly and stony and very fatiguing on the horses, several of whom gave up on the way and with difficulty reached the camp. Some of the men set a few traps yesterday and took two beaver this morning.
, Thursday, July 12th.
Very warm weather.
Continued our route down the river, which still runs to the westward 11 miles, when we stopped near a camp of Snake Indians who have the river barred across for the purpose of catching salmon. We, with difficulty, obtained a few salmon from them, perhaps enough to give all hands a meal. They are taking very few salmon, and are complaining of being hungry themselves. No roots can be obtained from them, but some of the men traded two or three dogs, but even the few of these animals they have are very lean, a sure sign of a scarcity of food among Indians. We found two horses with these people who were stolen from the men which I left on Snake River in September last. They gave up the horses without hesitation, and said they had received them from an- other band that are in the mountains with some more horses which were stolen at the same time. It appears from the ac- count that early in the spring some Snakes stole 13 horses from
i John Day river.
312 JOURNAL OF JOHN WORK
these men at the same time, and immediately made their way to this quarter with them. The uncertainty of rinding the Indians with the rest of the horses in the mountains, the fatigued state of our horses, the advanced state of the season, and above all the scarcity of food among the people deters me from sending some men in search of those horses. I have offered the Indians a reward if they will go and bring them. I also offered them a little remuneration for the two they had here. Part of the way today the road lay over rugged rocks on the banks of the river, and was very hard on the already wounded feet of the horses. Five beaver were taken in the morning.
Friday, July 13th.
Did not raise camp in order to repose the horses for a little. Only three or four salmon could be obtained from the Indians. They complain of being starving themselves. One beaver was taken.
Saturday, July 14th.
Cool, pleasant weather.
Continued our journey down the river 25 miles W. The road very hilly and stony. The horses jaded and the people exhausted on reaching the encampment. Only three or four salmon could be obtained from the Indians in the morning before we started.
Sunday, July 15th.
Fine, cool, pleasant weather.
Continued our course W. eight miles down the river to an- other fork 1 equally as large, which falls in from the N., up which we proceeded seven miles. The road continued hilly and stony. These two days the people found great quantities of currants along the banks of the river.
Monday, July 16th. Fine weather.
i North fork of John Day riv*r.
JOURNAL OF JOHN WORK 313
Proceeded eight miles N. E. up the river, then we took a northern direction for eleven miles across the mountains, which was here thickly wooded, the road in places very stony and very hilly and uneven, and very fatiguing both on men and horses. The hunters were out, but without success except one deer which F. Payette killed. Unfortunately we have but very indifferent feeding for the horses after the hard day's work.
Tuesday, July 17th.
Continued our journey across the mountains 25 miles N. W. The country the same in appearance as yesterday until we got out of the woods in the after part of the day, when the road lay over a number of naked .stony hills. 1 The length of the day's journey and the badness of the road rendered this a harrassing day both on men and horses. Some fresh tracks of red deer were seen in the course of the day, but they could not be come up with.
Wednesday, July 18th.
Cool in the morning but very sultry, warm weather after- wards.
Proceeded ahead of the camp early in the morning accom- panied by seven men and arrived at Fort Nezperces in the afternoon. Mainly through there being soft sand during the heat of the day was excessively oppressive on the horses as well as the riders.
Thursday, July 19th.
Stormy but warm weather.
The different parties who separated from the camp have arrived, Plante and party yesterday, the others some time ago. The party whom I left in September had the misfortune to lose the whole of the horses, nearly 30 in number, early in the spring. They imprudently allowed them to stray a short distance from the camp where there were a few Indians in the evening about sunset. The loss was the result of a great
i Southwest of Pendleton.
314 JOURNAL OF JOHN WORK
degree of negligence on the part of the men. They also put what few skins they had with other articles in cache which the Indians found and carried off, from a pack to a pack and a half of the few beaver they had. The half breeds lost two of the horses by theft, and made but very few skins. Plant and party also found very few beaver, but they lost no horses.
Friday, July 20th.
The people whom I left two days ago arrived safe. Since our spring journey commenced we have traveled upwards of 1000 miles, and from the height of the water and scarcity of beaver we have very little for the labor and trouble which we experienced. Previous to taking up our winter quarters last fall we traveled upwards of 980 miles, which, with the different moves made during the winter makes better than 2000 miles traveled during our voyage.
Total loss of horses during the voyage, 82, viz. : Stolen by the Blackfeet when P. L. Clay was killed, 3; stolen by the Snake Indians from A. Case and party, 22 ; stolen by the Snake Indians from my party during winter, 3 ; stolen by the Snake Indians from the half-breeds in summer after leaving me, 2; died or gave up on the way previous to reaching the three hill plains in the fall, 1 by Toupin, 1 by Dumas, and 3 by the half breeds when they left the party on Salmon River, 5 ; died or left crossing the plain in the fall, 26; died during the winter, 1 1 ; killed for food by A. Carson and party, 3 ; killed for food by my party during summer, 5 ; killed for food by C. Plante's party during summer, 1 ; drowned crossing a riverby Royer, 1 ; total, 82.
WHY NOT A FOLK FESTIVAL IN THE ROSE FESTIVAL?
The readjusting of the character of the Portland Rose Festival, offers an excellent opportunity for transforming it into a real folk festival for the Pacific Northwest. It would not thus be less a rose festival, for in the rose it has a most appropriate designating symbol—one exquisite in beauty and matchless for its distinctive fitness. This charming emblem would still serve to designate and to decorate, but in making it a folk festival it would become an occasion intent on suggesting through music and pageantry the inmost spirit, power and purpose of the people here.
The festival would become an experience instead of a show. With increased depth and volume of meaning the festival would have perpetual youth and become a joy forever.
In a folk festival the people of the Pacific Northwest obtain a new view of their past-making and their traditions. It would be a medium of culture for all. Out of its past alone can a people obtain an inspiration for genius and future greatness. On the past alone must the enduring achievements of a people be built. Vividly interpreted, that past becomes the vehicle to convey to the social mind and heart its working ideals.
That a folk festival of the right kind is an indispensable factor in the making of a people is suggested by the fact that no great peoples have been without it, and those like the Hebrews and Greeks, whose world contributions have been most illustrious, have had festivals most expressive of their peculiar national genius. And if we care to go farther back we find credited to the folk festival the origin of language, music and poetry—those cultural joy-inspiring powers and possessions that made the race human.
Before Christianity there were the midwinter holidays expressive of the joy of returning warmth and longer days; and Easter, too, celebrating the fresh glow of life in grass and tree ; and Thanksgiving and Harvest Home, as a grateful recognition of accumulated Winter store. Christianity could only enrich the meaning with which these were already fraught. The heart of man of the Western races expresses his responsive glow in them. As a nation, we have our Lincoln and Washington birthdays, our Memorial day and Fourth of July to appeal to the best in us. But in this Pacific Northwest there are traditions peculiar and environment that is unique.
These antecedents and these resources entrusted to us involve rare advantages and responsibilities. A Pacific Northwest folk festival would serve as a conscious, collective and joyful espousal of them. It is only as a community "gets onto itself" by "getting onto" what is significant in its past that it is able "to get onto its job."
This Western land has been the scene of great improvements that have left their impress upon the character of its people and have given them their cue and inspiration and even here and now as great or greater movements are in progress.
The folk festival in illuminating the past, in doing over before our eyes the things that inspire, would give us our bearings and the spirit with which to meet the issues of the present and future. Each dweller within our borders, having experienced such a festival occasion, would return to his little round of duty enlightened and sustained, with a clearer vision of the growing whole of which he is an integral factor. This consciousness would be as an inner well-spring of peace, contentment and joy, giving strength and purpose.
Our history thus utilized would become vital, revealing our essential self as a community. The complex social process in which now we are dazed and confused would become visualized. We could each and all then find our ways and take the courses that lead to the up-building of the community.
In a crude way the following illustrates some of the material from which the Northwest may draw for its folk festival:
First—Did not this realm for centuries lie in the shadow of the unknown, as venturesome European mariners were moving all around it, peering wistfully for the water passage to the Orient?
Second—Was not this "Far West" held up as a prize for some three centuries, and did not valiant representatives of Spain, France, Russia and England enter the lists for the winning of it only to be worsted by those hailing from the most youthful member in the family of nations?
Third—Did we not have set up here a veritable feudal regime for the exploitation of its resources in fur-bearing animals?
Fourth—Of the pioneer era of Oregon too much cannot be made. The pioneer conditions of no other people have so much of the dramatic in them. Those annual incoming migrations at the end of a long Summer's trek across a continental waste always will be surcharged with interest.
Fifth—The long decades, with the problem of remote and virtually inaccessible markets, were periods of blight and the relief afforded by the arrival of the transcontinental railways was most joyful.
Sixth—There has been the unique in the development of our grazing, our grain and our fruit industries that challenges admiration.
Seventh—Now our almost untouched forestry and power resources glitter in the eyes of the people of the Nation at large.
Eighth—Our isolated and remote pioneer situation naturally selected the daring and resolute for our population. This dominant temperament of our people almost inevitably exhibited itself in venturesome social experiments with pure democracy, political equality and along all lines of social betterment legislation.
The above listed epochs indicate poorly some of the incidents and situations that call for the work of the poetic imagination for personification and dramatic setting. Annual folk festivals would become the grand medium for interpreting all and getting all into the consciousness of our people to equip them as masters of their destiny here.
F. G. Young.