Produced by Gary Martens and Laurie Saikin
THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION.
On the acquisition of Louisiana, the attention of the Government of the United States was directed toward exploring and improving the newly acquired territory. Accordingly, in the summer of 1803, an expedition was planned by the President for the purpose of discovering the courses and sources of the Missouri and the most convenient water communication thence to the Pacific Ocean. The command of it was given to Capts. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, both officers of the army. In general terms it may be said that the object of their mission was toexplore the Missouri. To this end they proceeded to the bank of the Mississippi, opposite the mouth of the river they were to ascend, leaving their encampment for their journey into unexplored regions of the far West, May 14, 1804. The party consisted of nine young men fron Kentucky, fourteen soldiers of the United States army, who volunteered their services, two French watermen, an interpreter and hunter and a black servant belonging to Capt. Clark. All these except the last were enlisted to serve as privates during the expedition. Three Sergeants were appointed among them. In addition to these, a Corporal and six soldiers, also nine watermen, were engaged to accompany the expedition as far as the Mandan nation, in order to assist in carrying the stores or repelling an attack which was most to be apprehended between Wood River and the home of that tribe. The party embarked in three boats, taking with them necessary stores and presents, while two horses were led along the banks of the river to be used in hunting.
About twenty-one miles from the confluence of the Missouri was the town of St. Charles, situated on the north bank of that river. One principal street, about a mile length, and running parallel to the stream, divided the place, which was composed of nearly one hundred small wooden houses, besides a chapel. The inhabitants were about 450 in number, chiefly descendants of the French of Canada. They subsisted chiefly by hunting and trading with the Indians. On the 22d, several small farms were passed on the bank of the river. It was noticed that a small number of emigrants from the United States had settled on the south side on a stream known as Goodman's Creek. On the 23d, they reached a river emptying into the Missouri, on the north side, called at that time Osage Woman River. It had a settlement of thirty or forty families from the United States. On the 25th, La Charrette was reached, a village of seven houses and as many poor families, who had fixed themselves there for the convenience of trade. It was the last settlement of white people on the Missouri, being only a little over fifty miles above its mouth, in, of course, what is now the State of Missouri. From this point onward, there was no civilization. These frontier settlements had all been passed, and henceforth what villages were reached were those of the savages.
The mouth of the Osage River was reached June 1, when the party encamped. The stream owes its name to the tribe inhabiting its banks at that time, a considerable distance above its mouth. Their real name was Wasbashas. They numbered between 1,200 and 1,300 warriors, and consisted of three tribes--the Great Osages, the Little Osages and the Arkansas Band. On the 4th of June, the expedition met a raft, made of two canoes joined together, in which two French traders were descending from eighty leagues up the Kansas River, where they had wintered and caught great quantities of beaver, but had lost much of their game by prairie fires. On the 13th was passed two creeks on the north side of the Missouri, between which was a prairie whereon once stood the ancient village of the Missouris. Of this village, Lewis and Clark found no vestige, nor was there anything to recall the great and numerous nation that once was, except a feeble remnant of about thirty families. They were driven from their original homes by the Sacs and other Indians from the Mississippi. The Kansas River was reached on the 26th of June, where the party remained two days. It was learned that the Kansas Indians had two villages at that time on the stream above; one at twenty, the other at forty leagues distance. Opposite their camp, on the east side of the Missouri, on the night of July 2, was a valley in which was situated an old village of the Kansas Indians. About a mile in the rear of the village, there had been at one time a French fort, but now mostly gone to decay.
The expedition reached and encamped on a large island of sand on the north side of the Missouri, immediately opposite the mouth of the River Nemaha, on the evening of the 11th of July. As the party, from this point to the mouth of the Niobrara, explored much of what is now the eastern boundary of Nebraska, an account of what they saw is of especial interest in this connection. We give their daily journal until the Platte was reached:
"Thursday, 12th [July, 1804]. -- We remained here today for the purpose of refreshing the party and making lunar observations. The Nemahaw empties itself into the Missouri from the south and is eighty yards wide at its confiuence,which is in latitude 39°55´56". Capt. Clark ascended it in the pirogue about two miles, to the mouth of a small creek on the lower side. On going ashore, he found in the level plain several artificial mounds, or graves, and on the adjoining hills, others of a larger size. This appearance indicates sufficiently the former population of this country, the mounds being certainly intended as tombs, the Indians of the Missouri still preserving the custom of interring the dead on high ground. From the top of the highest mound a delightful prospect presented itself--the level and extensive meadows watered by the Nemahaw and enlivened by the few trees and shrubs skirting the borders of the river and its tributary streams; the lowland of the Missouri covered with undulating grass, nearly five feel high, gradually rising into a second plain, where rich weeds and flowers are interspersed with copses of the Osage plum; farther back were seen small groves of trees, an abundance of grapes, the wild cherry of the Missouri, resembling our own but larger, and growing on a small bush, and the choke-cherry, which we observed for the first time. Some of the grapes gathered to-day are nearly ripe. On the south of the Nemahaw and about a quarter of a mile from its mouth, is a cliff of freestone, in which are various inscriptions and marks made by the Indians. The sand island on which we are encamped is covered with the two species of willow--broad and narrow leaf.
"July 13.--We proceeded at sunrise with a fair wind from the south, and at two miles passed the mouth of a small river on the north called Big Torkio. A channel from the bed of the Missouri once ran into this river and formed an island called St. Joseph's, but the channel is now filled up and the island is added to the northern shore. Farther on to the south is situated an extensive plain, covered with a grass resembling timothy in its general appearance, except the seed, which is like flax-seed, and also a number of grape-vines. At twelve miles, we passed an island on the north, above which is a large sand-bar covered with willows, and, at twenty and a half miles, stopped on a large sand-bar in the middle of the river, opposite a high, handsome prairie, which extends to the hills four or five miles distant, though near the bank the land is low and subject to be overflowed. This day was exceedingly fine and pleasant, a storm of wind last night from the north-northeast having cooled the air.
"July 14.--We had some hard showers of rain before 7 o'clock, when we set out. We had just reached the end of the sand island, and seen the opposite banks fall in, and so lined with timber that we could not approach it without danger, when a sudden squall from the northeast struck the boat on the starboard quarter and would have certainly dashed her to pieces on the sand island if the party had not leaped into the river, and, with the aid of the anchor and cable, kept her off--the waves dashing over her for the space of forty minutes, after which the river became almost instantly calm and smooth. The two pirogues were ahead, in a situation nearly similar, but fortunately no damage was done to the boats or the loading. The wind having shifted to the southeast, wecame, at the distance of two miles, to an island on the north, where we dined. One mile above, on the same side of the river, is a small factory, where a merchant of St. Louis traded with the Otoes and Pawnees two years ago. Near this is an extensive lowland, part of which is overflowed occasionally; the rest is rich and well timbered. The wind again changed to northwest by north. At seven and a half miles, we reached the lower point of a large island on the north side. A small distance above this point is a river, called by the Maha [now Omaha] Indians, the Nishnabatona. This is a considerable creek, nearly as large as the Mine River, and runs parallel to the Missouri the greater part of its course, being fifty yards wide at its mouth. In the prairies or glades, we saw wild timothy, lambsquarter, cuckleberries, and, on the edge of the river, summer grapes, plums and gooseberries. We also saw today, for the first time, some elk, at which some of the party shot, but at too great a distance. We encamped on the north side of the island, a little above Nishnabatona, having made nine miles. The river fell a little.
"July l5.--A thick fog prevented our leaving the encampment before 7. At about four miles, we reached the extremity of the large island, and, crossing to the south [side of the Missouri], at the distance of seven miles, arrived at the Little Nemaha, a small river from the south, forty yards wide a little above its mouth, but contracting as do almost all the waters emptying into the Missouri at its confluence. At nine and three-quarter miles we encamped on a woody point on the south. Along the southern bank is a rich lowland, covered with pea-vine and rich weeds, and watered by small streams rising in the adjoining prairies. They, too, are rich, and, though with abundance of grass, have no timber except what grows near the water; interspersed through both are grape-vines, plums of two kinds, two species of wild cherry, hazelnuts and gooseberries. On the south, there is one unbroken plain; on the north, the river is skirted with some timber, behind which the plain extends some four or five miles to the hills, which seem to have little wood.
"July 16.--We continued our route between a large island opposite to our last night's encampment and an extensive prairie on the south. About six miles, we came to another large island called Fairsun Island, on the same side, above which is a shot where about twenty acres ot the hill have fallen into the river. Near this is a cliff of sandstone for two miles, which is much frequented by birds. At this place, the river is about one mile wide, but not deep, as the timber or sawyers may be seen scattered across the whole bottom. At twenty miles distance, we saw on the south an island called by the French l'Isle Chance, or Bald Island, opposite to a large prairie which we called Baldpoint Prairie, from a ridge of naked hills that bound it, running parallel with the river so far as we could see, and from three to six miles distance. To the south, the hills touch the river. We encamped a quarter of a mile beyond this in a point of woods on the north side. The river continues to fall.
"Tuesday, July 17.--We remained here this day in order to make observations and correct the chronometer, which ran down on Sunday. The latitude we found to be 40°27´5". The observation of the time proved our chronometer to be slow by 5´ 51". The highlands bear from our camp north, 25 degrees west, up the river. Capt. Lewis rode up the country and saw the Nishnabatona about ten or twelve miles from its mouth, at a place not more than three hundred yards from the Missouri, and a little above our camp. It then passes near the foot of the Bald Hills and is at least six feet below the level of the Missouri. On its banks are the oak, walnut and mulberry. * * * *
"Wednesday, July 18.--We passed several bad sand-bars in the course of the day, and made eighteen miles and encamped on the south [of the Missouri] opposite to the lower point of the Oven Islands. An Indian dog came to the bank; he appeared to have been lost and was nearly starved. We gave him some food, but he would not follow us.
"Thursday, July 19.---The Oven Islands are small and two in number--one near the south shore, the other in the middle of the river. Opposite to them is the prairie, called Terrien's Oven, from a trader of that name. We encamped on the western extremity of the island, in the middle of the river, having made ten and three-quarter miles.
"Friday, July 20.--We passed, at about three miles distance, a small willow island to the north and a creek on the south, about twenty-five yards wide, by the French called L'eau qui Pleure, or the Weeping Water. Thence we made two and one-half miles to another island; three miles farther to a third; six miles beyond, which is a fourth island, at the head of which we camped on the southern shore; [made] in all eighteen miles.
"Saturday, July 21. -- We had a breeze from the southeast, by the aid of which we passed, at about ten miles, a willow island on the south, near highlands, covered with timber at the bank, and formed of limestone with cemented shells. On the opposite bank is a bad sand-bar, and the land near it is cut through at high water by small channels, forming a number of islands. The wind lulled at 7 o'clock and we reached, in the rain, at the distance of fourteen miles, the great river Platte."
On the morning of the 22d of July, the party again set sail, and, having found, at a distance of ten miles from the mouth of the Platte, a high and shaded situation on the north side of the Missouri, they encamped there to make observations and to send for the neighboring tribes for the purpose of making known to them the recent change in the Government and the wish of the United States to cultivate their friendship. That time of year was the one in which the Indians go out into the prairies to hunt the buffalo; but, as some hunters' tracks had been discovered, and, as the plains were on fire in the direction of the Indian villages, it was hoped that they might have returned to gather the green corn. Two men were therefore dispatched to the Otoe or Pawnee villages with a present of tobacco and an invitation to the chiefs to visit the company at their encampment. Their first course was through an open prairie to the south, in which they crossed Butterfly Creek. They then reached a small beautiful river called Come de Cerf, or Elkhorn River, about one hundred yards wide, with clear water and a gravelly channel. It emptied a little below the Otoe village into the Platte, which they crossed and arrived at the town, about forty-five miles from the point of starting. They found no Indians there, though they saw some fresh tracks of a small party.
The Otoes were once a powerful nation, and lived about twenty miles above the Platte, on the southern bank of the Missouri. Being reduced, they emigrated to the neighborhood of the Pawnees, under whose protection they were then living. Their village was on the south side of the Platte, about thirty miles from its mouth, and their number was 200 men, including about thirty families of Missouris (all that were left), who were incorporated with them. Five leagues above them, on the same side of the river, resided the Pawnees. This nation, once among the most numerous of those inhabiting the valley of the Missouri, had gradually been dispersed and broken, until they were now greatly reduced in numbers. They consisted of four bands--the first was the one just mentioned, of about 500 men to whom of late years had been added the second band called Republican Pawnees, from their having lived previously on the Republican branch of the Kansas River, whence they emigrated to join the principal band on the Platte. They amounted to nearly 250 men. The third was the Pawnees, Loups, or Wolf Pawnees, who resided on the Wolf Fork of the Platte, about ninety miles from the principal Pawnees. These numbered 250 men. The fourth band originally resided on the Kansas and Arkansas, but, in their wars with the Osages, they were so often defeated that they at length retired to the Red River, where they then formed a tribe of 400 men. To the westward of the Pawnees upon the Platte, were a number of wandering tribes supposed to have previously been of the Padoucahs, previously mentioned.
The expedition again started up the Missouri on the 27th of July. At ten and a half miles, there was seen and examined a curious collection of mounds, on the south side of the river. Not far from a low piece of land and a pond was discovered a tract of about 200 acres covered with these prehistoric earthworks of different heights shapes and sizes--some of sand and some of both earth and sand, the largest being nearest the river. After making fifteen miles, the party encamped for the night, on the Nebraska side of the Missouri. The next day (July 28), they reached the place where the Iowa Indians formerly lived. These were a branch of the Otoes and emigrated thence to the river Des Moines. The hunter to the expedition, in the evening, brought to the camp a Missouri Indian, whom he had found with two others dressing an elk. They were perfectly friendly, gave him some of the meat, and one of them agreed to accompany him in. He was one of the few remaining Missouris living with the Otoes. He belonged to a small partv, whose camp was four miles from the river. He reported that the body of the Otoes were hunting buffalo on the plains. He appeared quite sprightly and his language resembled that of the Osage, particularly in his calling a chief inca. This name was probably learned from the Spaniards of New Mexico. Capts. Lewis and Clark sent the Indian back the next morning, with one of their own party, with an invitation to the Indians to meet them on the river above, and the expedition proceeded on its way. What transpired during the next six days is best given in the record of the company.
"Sunday, July 29.--We soon came to a northern bend in the river, which runs within twenty yards of Indian Knob Creek, the water of which is five feet higher than that of the Missouri. In less than two miles, we passed Bower's Creek on the north [side of the Missouri], of twenty-five yards width. We stopped to dine under a shade near the highland on the south, and caught several large catfish, one of them nearly white and all very fat. Above this highland, we observed the traces of a great hurricane, which passed the river obliquely from northwest to southeast and tore up large trees, some of which, perfectly sound and four feet in diameter, were snapped off near the ground. We made ten miles to a wood on the north [of the Missouri], where we encamped.
"July 30. -- We went early in the morning three and a quarter miles and encamped on the south [Nebraska], in order to wait for the Otoes. * * * * *
"July 31.--The hunters supplied us with deer, turkeys, geese and beaver; one of the last was caught alive, and, in a very short time, perfectly tamed. Catfish are very abundant in the river, and we have also seen a buffalo-fish. One of the men brought in, yesterday, an animal called by the Pawnees chocar toosh, and by the French blair eau, or badger.
"We waited with much anxiety the return of our messenger to the Otoes. The men whom we dispatched to our last encampment returned without having seen any appearance of its having been visited. Our horses, too, had strayed; but we were so fortunate as to recover them at the distance of twelve miles. Our apprehensions were at length relieved by the arrival of a party of about fourteen Otoe and Missouri Indians, who came at sunset on the 2d of August, accompanied by a Frenchman, who resided among them and interpreted for us. Capts. Lewis and Clark went out to meet them, and told them that they would hold a council with them in the morning. In the meantime, we sent them some roasted meat, pork, flour and meal, in return for which they made us a present of watermelons. We learned that our man Liberte had set out from their camp a day before them; we were in hopes that he had merely fatigued his horse or lost himself in the woods and would soon return, but we never saw him again.
"August 3.--The next morning, the Indians, with their six chiefs, were all assembled under an awning formed with the mainsail, in presence of all our party, paraded for the occasion. A speech was then made announcing to them the change in the Government, our promises of protection and advice as to their future conduct. All the six chiefs replied to our speech, each in his turn according to rank. They expressed their joy at the change in the Government; their hopes that we would recommend them to their great Father (the President of the United States) that they might obtain trade and necessaries; they wanted arms, as well for hunting as for defense, and asked our mediation between them and the Mahas [Omahas], with whom they were now at war. We promised to do so, and wished some of them to accompany us to that nation, which they declined, for fear of being killed by them. We then proceeded to distribute our presents. The grand chief of the nation not being of the party, we sent him a flag, a medal and some ornaments for clothing. To the six chiefs who were present, we gave a medal of the second grade to one Otoe chief and one Missouri chief; a medal of the third grade to two inferior chiefs of each nation, the customary mode of recognizing a chief being to place a medal around his neck, which is considered by his tribe as proof of his consideration abroad. Each of these medals was accompanied by a present of paint, garters and cloth ornaments of dress; and to this we added a canister of powder, a bottle of whisky and a few presents to the whole, which appeared to make them perfectly satisfied. The air-gun, too, was fired, and astonished them greatly. The absent chief was an Otoe named Heahrushhah, which in English degenerates into Little Thief. The two principal chieftains present were Shongotongo, or Big Horse, and Wethea, or Hospitality; Shosguscan, or White Horse, an Otoe; the first an Otoe, the second a Missouri.
"The incidents just related induced us to give to this place the name of Council Bluffs. The situation of it is exceedingly favorable for a fort and trading factory, as the soil is well calculated for bricks and there is an abundance of wood in the neighborhood and the air being pure and healthy. It is also central to the chief resorts of the Indians; one day's journey to the Otoes; one and a half to the Great Pawnees; two days from the Mahas; two and the quarter from the Pawnees Loups village; convenient to the hunting ground of the Sioux, and twenty-five days journey to Santa Fé."
The ceremonies of the council being concluded, Lewis and Clark set sail in the afternoon and encamped in what is now Nebraska at a distance of five miles above Council Bluffs, where they found the mosquitoes very troublesome. The next day (August 5), after passing a narrow part of the river, they came to a place on the south side of the Missouri, where was a deserted trading-house. Here one of the party had passed two years in trafficking with the Mahas. Fifteen miles from their previous encampment brought the expedition to a place where it was concluded would be a good stopping place for the night--where the hills on both sides of the river were twelve or fifteen miles from each other. From this point, nothing of especial interest transpired during the next three days; meanwhile, a distance of nearly sixty miles was made, when (August 7) four men were sent back to the Otoe village in quest of the missing man, Liberte; also, to apprehend one of the soldiers, who left the party on the 4th of the month, under pretext of recovering a knife which he had dropped a short distance behind, and who it was feared had deserted. Small presents were also sent to the Otoes and Missouris, and a request that they would join the expedition at the Maha village, where a peace might be concluded between them. On the 11th of the month, after having made sixty miles farther up the Missouri, the expedition halted on the south side of the stream for the purpose of examining a spot where one of the great chiefs of the Mahas, named Blackbird, who had been dead about four years was buried. He died of the small pox. This chief seemed to have been a person of great consideration in his nation. August 13 he brought the party, at a distance of over forty miles from Blackbird's grave, to a spot where, on the Nebraska side of the Missouri, a Mr. Mackay had a trading establishment in the years 1795 and 1796, which he called "Fort Charles."
Again we copy from the diary of the expedition: "At fourteen miles [from the previous place of camping], we reached a creek on the south, on which the Mahas reside, and, at seventeen miles and a quarter, formed a camp on a sand-bar, to the south side of the river opposite the lower point of a large island. From this place, Sergt. Ordway and four men were detached to the Maha village, with a flag and a present, in order to induce them to come and hold a council with us. They returned at 12 o'clock the next day, August 14. After crossing a prairie covered with high grass, they reached the Maha Creek, along which they proceeded to its three forks, which join near the villages; they crossed the north branch and went along the south; the walk was very fatiguing, as they were forced to break their way through grass, sunflowers and thistles, all above ten feet high and interspersed with wild pea. Five miles from our camp, they reached the position of the ancient Maha village; it had once consisted of 300 cabins, but was burnt four years ago, soon after the small pox had destroyed 400 men and a proportion of women and children. On a hill, in the rear of the village, are the graves of the nation, to the south of which runs the fork of the Maha Creek; this they crossed where it was about ten yards wide, and followed its course to the Missouri, passing along a ridge of hill for one mile and a half and a long pond between that and the Missouri; they then re-crossed the Maha Creek and arrived at the camp, having seen no tracks of the Indians nor any sign of recent cultivation.
"In the morning of the 15th, some men were sent to examine the cause of a large smoke from the northeast, and which seemed to indicate that some Indians were near; but they found that a small party, who lately passed that way, had left some trees burning, and that the wind from that quarter blew the smoke directly toward us. Our camp lies about three miles northeast from the old Maha village, and is in latitude 42°137´41". The accounts we have had of the effects of the small-pox on that nation are most distressing; it is not known in what way it was first communicated to them, though probably by some war party. They had been a military and powerful people, but when these warriors saw their strength wasting before a malady which they could not resist, their frenzy was extreme; they burnt their village and many of them put to death their wives and children to save them from so cruel an affliction that all might go together to some better country.
"On the 16th, we still waited for the Indians; a party had gone out yesterday to the Maha Creek, which was dammed up by the beaver between the camp and the village; a second went to-day. They made a kind of drag with small willows and bark, and swept the creek. The first company caught 318 fish; the second, upward of 800, consisting of pike, bass, fish resembling salmon, trout, red-horse, buffalo one rock-fish, one flatback, perch, catfish, a small species of perch, called on the Ohio silverfish, a shrimp of the same size, shape and flavor of those about New Orleans and the lower part of the Mississippi; we also found very fat muscles, and, on the river, as well as the creek, are different kinds of duck and plover. * *
"Friday, 17.--In the evening, one of the party sent to the Otoes returned with the information that the rest were coming on with the deserter; they had also caught Liberte, but, by a trick, he made his escape; they were bringing threeof the chiefs in order to engage our assistance in making peace with the Mahas. * * * *
"August 18.--In the afternoon, the party arrived with the Indians, consisting of the Little Thief; and the Big Horse, whom we had seen on the 3d, together with six other chiefs and a French interpreter. * * * *
"August 19.--The chiefs and warriors being assembled at 10 o'clock, we explained the speech we had already sent from Council Bluffs and renewed our advice. * *
"The next morning, August 20, the Indians mounted their horses and left us, having received a canister of whisky at parting. We then set sail, and, after passing two islands on the north, came to one on that side under some bluffs--the first bluffs near the river since we left Ayauwa [Iowa] Village. Here we had the misfortune to lose one of our Sergeants--Charles Floyd. He was yesterday seized with a bilious colic, and all our care and attention were ineffectual to relieve him. A little before his death, he said to Capt. Clark, 'I am going to leave you.' His strength failed him as he added, 'I want you to write a letter for me.' He died with a composure which justified the high opinion we had formed of his firmness and his and good conduct. He was buried on the top of the bluff with the honors due a brave soldier, and the place of his interment was marked by a cedar post, on which his name and the day of his death were inscribed. About a mile beyond this place, to which we gave his name, is a small river, about thirty yards wide on the north side [of the Missouri], which we called Floyd's River, where we encamped. We had a breeze from the southeast and made thirteen miles."
About three miles above Floyd's River, the party the next day (August 21), reached the mouth of the Great Sioux River, where is now situated Sioux City, Iowa. Nothing of importance was seen by the expedition in passing from the mouth of the Sioux to that of the James, or Dakota River, which they reached August 27. As they came to that place, an Indian swam to one of their boats, and, on the landing of the party, they were met by two others, who gave information that a large body of Sioux was encamped near. A spot on the Missouri was determined upon as a proper place to meet these Indians, and three of the men were sent to invite the savages to a council there--at Calumet Bluffs, on the Nebraska side of the Missouri--where the party formed their camp in a beautiful plain, to await the arrival of the Sioux. The chiefs to the number of five and about seventy men and boys of this nation were received at noon, August 30, when Capt. Lewis delivered to them a speech with the usual advice and counsel for the future conduct. An answer was returned on the morrow. They promised to bring the Pawnees and Mahas together, that peace might be established between them, and they themselves agreed to make peace with the Otoes and Missouris, the only nations with whom they were then at war. This was the first council ever held by any agents of the United Slates with any one of the numerous bands of the Sioux. These Indians were Yanktons--the band numbering about 200 men. Their homes wore upon the Dakota, Des Moines and Sioux Rivers.
The Sioux were found by Lewis and Clark to be divided into ten separate tribes or bands---Yanktons. Tetons of the Burnt Woods, Tetons Okandandas, Tetons Minnakenozzo, Tetons Saone, Yanktons of the Plains, Wahpatone, Mindawarcarton, Wahpatoota and Sistasoone. The homes of the Yanktons have already been mentioned. The Tetons of the Burnt Woods, numbering about 300 men, roved on both sides of the Missouri, White and Teton Rivers. The Tetons Okandandas, consisting of about 150 men, inhabited both sides of the Missouri below the Cheyenne River. The Tetons Minnaknozzo inhabited both sides of the Missouri above the Cheyenne; they numbered 250 men. The Tetons Saone dwelt on both sides of the Missouri below the Warreconne River, and consisted of about 300 men. The Yankton of the Plains, or Big Devils, had their homes on the heads of the Sioux, Dakota, and Red Rivers. They were the most numerous of the the tribes; they numbered about 500. The Wahpatone lived upon the St. Peter's just above its mouth; they consisted of 200 men. The Mindawarcarton, or proper, Dakotas or Sioux, possessed both sides of the Mississippi, about the Falls of St. Anthony, and numbered 300. The Wahpatoota, or Leaf Beds, inhabited both sides of the St. Peter's, below Yellow Wood River; their men numbered about 150. The Sistasoone, numbering 150 men, resided at the bend of St. Peter's. >From this it will be seen that the men of the entire nation, in 1804, was over 2,500, representing a population of over 10,000 souls.
From Calumet Bluffs to the Rapid River (or, as it was called by the French, Rivere qui Court, now the Niobrara), nothing of particular importance transpired, so far as the expedition was concerned. But, we must here take leave of the gallant Captains and their company, as they had reached the northeast corner of what is now Nebraska. They soon passed on up the Missouri beyond its present limits, came finally to the Pacific Ocean and returned down the Missouri in the summer of 1806. An account of a remarkable prehistoric earthwork, which they visited before they reached the Niobrara, will not be out of place in this connection. They came to an island fifteen miles above the spot where they held the council with the Sioux, called Bonhomme, or Goodman's Island. It was here the earthworks just mentioned were found. We give particulars as noted in the daily journal of the expedition:
"This interesting object is on the south side of the Missouri [therefore, in what is now Nebraska], opposite the upper extremity of Bonhomme Island, and in a low level plain, the hills being three miles from the river. It begins by a wall composed of earth, rising immediately from the bank of the river and running in a direct course south 76 degrees west, ninety-six yards; the base of this wall or mound is seventy-five feet, and its height about eight. It then diverges in a course south 84 degrees west, and continues at the same height and depth to the distance of fifty-three yards, the angle being formed by a sloping descent; at the junction of these two is an appearance of a horn work of the same height as the first angle; the same wall then pursues a course north 69 degrees west for 300 yards. Near its western extremity, is an opening, or gateway, at right angles to the wall, and projecting inward. this gateway is defended by two nearly semi-circular walls placed before it, lower than the large walls; and from the gateway there seems to have been a covered way communicating with the interval between these two walls. Westward of the gate, the wall becomes much larger, being about 105 feet at its base and twelve feet high. At the end of this high ground, the wall extends for fifty-six yards on a course north 32 degrees west. It then turns north 23 degrees west for seventy-three yards. These two walls seem to have had a double or covered way. They are from ten to fifteen feet eight inches in height and from seventy-five to one hundred and five feet in width at the base; the descent inward being steep, while outward it forms a sort of glacis. At the distance of seventy-three yards, the wall ends abruptly at a large hollow place much lower than the general level of the plain, and from which is some indication of a covered way to the water. The space between them is occupied by several mounds scattered promiscuously through the gorge, in the center of which is a deep round hole. From the extremity of the last wall, in a course north 32 degrees west, is a distance of ninety-six yards over the low ground, where the wall re-commences and crosses the plain in a course north 18 degrees west for 1,830 yards, to the bank of the Missouri. In this course, its height is about eight feet, till it enters, at the distance of 533 yards, a deep circular pond of seventy-three yards in diameter, after which it is gradually lower toward the river. It touches the river at a muddy bar, which bears everv mark of being an encroachment of the water for a considerable distance, and a little above the junction is a small circular redoubt.
"Along the bank of the river and at 1,100 yards distance in a straight line from this mall, is a second wall about six feet high and of considerable width. It rises abruptly from the bank of the Missouri at a point where the river bends and goes straight forward, forming an acute angle with the last wall, till it enters the river again, not far from the mounds just described, toward which it is obviously tending. At the bend, the Missouri is 500 yards wide; the ground on the opposite side, highlands, or low-hills on the bank; and, where the river passes between this fort and Bonhomme Island, all the distance from the bend, it is constantly washing the banks into the stream, a large sand-bank being already taken from the shore near the wall. During the whole course of this wall, or glacis, it is covered with trees, among which are many large cotton trees, two or three feet in diameter. Immediately opposite the citadel, or the part most strongly fortified on Bonhomme Island, is a small work in a circular form, with a wall surrounding it about six feet high. The young willows along the water joined to the general appearance of the two shores induce a belief that the bank of the island is encroaching, and the Missouri indemnifies itself by washing away the base of the fortification. The citadel contains about twenty acres, but the parts between the long walls must embrace nearly 500 acres." 10
10These earthworks are in the north part of what is now Knox County, NE.