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Scientific Data accompanying the Journals of Lewis and Clark;
Geography, Ethnology, Zoölogy


CREEKS, which discharge thems[elves] into the Mis-
souri; containing a discription of their characters and
peculiarities, their sources and connection with other rivers
and Creeks, the quality of the lands, and the apparent face of
the country through which they pass, and the width, and
distance of their entrances from each other; to which is also
added a short discription of some of the most remarkable
points and places on the Missouri; taken from the informa-
tion of Traders, Indians & others; together with our own
observations, from the junction of that river with the Mis-
sissippi, to Fort Mandan.
The confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers is situated in
89° 57'. 45" Longitude West from Greenwich, and 38°. 55'. 19". 6.
North Latitude. Ascending the Missouri from hence, at the distance
of 21 miles, you arrive at the Village of S.t Charles, situated on the
North bank of the river, in a narrow tho’ elivated plain, which is
bounded in the rear by a range of small hills; hence the appellation
of Petit cote, a name by which, this village is better known to the
inhabitants of the Illinois, than that of S.t Charles. The village is
bisected or divided into two equal parts by one prinsipal street about a
mile in length, runing nearly parallel with the river. It contains a
Chapple, one hundred dwelling houses and about 450 inhabitants. the
houses are generally small and but illy constructed. a great majority of
the inhabitants are miserably poor, illiterate, and when at home, exces-
sively lazy; tho’ they are polite, hospitable and by no means deficient
in point of natural genious. they live in great harmony among them-
selves, and place as implicit confidence in the doctrines of their
speritual pastor, (the Roman Catholic priest) as they yeald passive
obedience to the will of their temporal master, the Commandant. A
small garden of vegetables is the usual extent of their cultivation. this
labour is commonly imposed on the old men and boys; those in the
Found in Codex O, pp. 19-128, and apparently written at Fort Mandan during
the winter of 1804-05. – ED.

[ 29 ]

vigor of life view the cultivation of the soil as a degrading employment,

and in order to gain the necessary subsistence for themselves and
families, either undertake hunting voyages on their own account, or
engage themselves as hirelings to such as possess sufficient capital to
extend their traffic to the natives to the interior parts of the country.
on those voyages in either case, they are frequently absent from their
families or homes, the term of six, twelve, or eighteen months, during
which time they are always subjected to severe and incessant labour,
exposed to the ferosity of the lawless savages, the vicissitudes of the
weather and climate, and dependant on chance and accedent alone,
for food, raiment, or relief in the event of malady; yet they undertake
those voyages with cheerfullness, a n d p r e f e r t h e o c c u p a t i o n o f t h e
hunter, or engage, to that of the domestic, and independent farmer.
Ascending the Missoury at the distance of 12 miles, Bonhomme Creek
discharges itself on the S. side. it is 23 yards wide at it’s entrance
is of no great length, & passes through a fertile well timbered country,
inhabited by American emigrants principally.
At the distance of 9 miles higher up we pass the mouth of the Osage
w o m a n ’ s river, which discharges itself on the N. side; it is 30 yards
wide at it’s entrance, heads with two small streams which discharge
themselves into the Mississippi a small distance above the mouth of the
Illinois River, is navigable for perogues some miles during the spring
season, and waters a fertile well timbered country inhabited by about
fifty American families. this part of the country is generally called
Boon’s settlement, having derived it’s name from it’s first inhabitant
Co1° Daniel Boon, a gentleman well known in the early settlement of
the state of Kentucky.
About 9 miles higher up, and 69, from the Mississippi, Chaurette
Creek falls in on the N. side. it is 20 yards wide at it’s mouth, waters
a tolerable country well covered with timber, but is of no great extent.
it heads with the waters of the River Ocuivre1 a branch of the
Mississippi. immediately below the mouth of this creek five French
families reside, who subsist by hunting and a partial trade w[h]ich they
mantain with a few detached Kickapoos who hunt in the neighbourhood.
this is the last settlement of white persons which we meet with in
ascending the Missouri.
At the distance of 34 miles higher up the Gasconade disembogues on
the S. side behind a small Island covered with willow, at it’s entrance
it is 157 yards wide, but is much narrower a little distance up, and
The Cuivre River, which falls into the Mississippi a little below Hastings,
Ill. – ED.

is not navigable, (hence the name gasconade) this river is of no great

length, heads with the Marameg & S.t Francis rivers. the country
watered by this river, is generally broken, thickly covered with timber
and tolerably fertile. the hills which border on the Missouri near
the mo[u]th of this river are about 300 feet high, containing excellent
limestone in great abundance. I have observed in ascending the Mis-
souri to this place, that whenever the river washes the base of the
hills on either side, it discloses large quarries of this stone, lying in
horizontal stratas, from 10 to 40 feet in thickness. this stone is
of light brown colour, with a smal tint of blue; fracture imperfect
conchoidal; when broken it presents the appearance of a variety of
small shells and other marine substances, of which it seems to be
entirely composed. in this solid and massive rock, are inclosed stones
of yellowish bro[w]n flint, of bulbous and indeterminate shapes, from
an ounce, to ten or twelve pounds weight. these stratas of limestone
are not unusually found overlaying a strata of freestone, or soft sand-
stone, from two to twenty feet in thickness. this stone produces lime
of an excellent quality, and is the same with that, which makes it’s
appearance on the Mississippi from Cape Gerrardeau, to the entrance
of the Missouri.
F[i]fteen miles up we pass Muddy River which falls in on the N
side. this river waters a most delightful1 country; the land lies well
for cultivation, and is fertile in the extreem, particularly on the
Missouri, both above and below this river for many miles; it is covered
with lofty and excellent timber, and supplyed with an abundance of
fine bould springs of limestone water. this river is 50 yards wide
several miles above it’s mouth.
2 miles higher up Muddy creek discharges itself; it is 20 yards wide
at it’s mouth, heads with cedar Creek, and the branches of Muddy
river. the country through which it passes is similar to that last
At the distance of 19 miles higher up, you arrive at the mouth of the
Osage River; being 137 miles from the junction of the Missouri and
Mississippi. it is 397 yards wide at it’s mouth, opposite to which,
the Missouri is 875 yards wide. it disembogues on the S. side just
above a cluster of small Islands. it takes it’s rise in an open country
of Plains and Praries, with some of the Northern branches of the
Arkansas; some of it’s tributary streams on it’s North side, also have
their sou[r]ces in a similar country, with the Southern branches of
the Kanzas river. The rivers Arkansas and Kanzas circumscribe
the length of this river, and interlock their branches to the West of
[ 3 1 ]


F ROM a small blank-book of Lewis’s,l which he had

also used when an army paymaster in 1800. These
notes were apparently written during the winter of
1803-04, at River Dubois. The book also contains mete-
orological data, which will be given post. – ED.]

The Kickapoo calls a certain water plant with a large Circular float-
ing leaf found in the ponds and marshes in the neighbourhood of Kas-
kaskias and Cahokia, Po-kish'-a-co-mah', of the root of this plant the
Indians prepare an agreeable dish, the root when taken in it’s green
state is from 8 to 14 inches in circumpherence is dryed by being
exposed to the sun and air or at other times with a slow fire or smoke
of the chimnies, it shrinks much in drying. The root of this plant
grows in a horrizontal direction near the surface of the rich loam or
mud which forms the bottoms of their ponds or morasses, generall[y]
three, sometimes four or more of these roots are attatced together by a
small root or string of a hearder substance of a foot or six inches in
length, the root of the plant thus annually progresses shooting out a
root from a bud at the extremity of the root of the presceeding years
groath, this in the course of the summer p[r]oduces a new root pre-
pared with a bud for the progression of the next season, also one leaf
and one seed stalk the stem of the former supporting or reather attatched
to a large green circular leaf 18 inches to two feet in diameter which
fl[o]ats while green usually on the serface of the water, the sta[l]k is
propotioned to the debth of the water, and of a celindrical form, is an
inch and a half in circumpherence at or near it’s junction of the root
thence regularly tapering to the leaf where it is perhaps not more than
an inch, the large fibers of the leaf project from the extremity of the
stalk in every direction at right angles from it to the circumpherence of
the leaf like rays from the center, there are from twelve to eighteen of
those fibers. the leaf is nearly a circle smoth on both sides and even
and regular on it’s edges near the same part of the root from which the
leaf stalk project the seed stalk dose also it is about the same size and
form of it but usually a foot longer standing erect and bearing it [s]
In possession of American Philosophical Society. – ED.

[ 137 ]

blossum above the surface of the water which I am informed is of a

white colour.
The seed vessel or matrix is the form of a depressed cone the small
extremity of which is attatc[h]ed to the uper end of the stalk; before it
has attained it’s groath it resembles an inverted cone but when grown
the base obtains a preponderancy and inclining downwards rests it’s
edge against the stalk the base is a perfect circular plain from eighteen
to twenty inches in circumpherence in it’s succulent state, and from two
to three inches in hight. the surface of the cone when dryed by the
sun and air after being exposed to the frost is purforated with two cir-
cular ranges of globular holes from twenty to 30 in number arond one
which forms the center placed at the distance of from an eighth to ¼
of an inch assunder, each of those cells contains an oval nut of a light
brown colour much resembling a small white oak acorn smothe ex-
treemly heard, and containing a white cernal of an agreeable flavor;
these the native [s] frequently eat either in this state or roasted; they fre-
quently eat them also in their succulent state the bear feed on the leaves
of this plant in the spring and summer in the autumn and winter the
Swan, geese, brant, ducks and other acquatic fowls feed on the root.
the cone is brown, pithy and extreemly light, and when seperated from the
stalk flots on the suface of the water with its base down. the Indians
procure it and prepare it for food in the following manner – they enter
the ponds where it grows, barefooted in autumn, and feel for it among
the mud which being soft and the root large and near the surface they
readily find it they easily draw it up it having no fiborus or colateral
roots to attatch it firmly to the mud they wash and scrape a thin bleack
rind off it and cut it croswise into pieces of an inch in length when it
is prepared for the pot it is of a fine white colour boils to a pulp and
makes an agreeable soupe in which way it is usually dressed by the na-
tives when they wish to preserve it for any length of time they cut it
in pieces in the manner before discribed string it on bark or leather
throngs of a convenient length and hang it to dry in the sun, or expose
it to the smoke of their chimnies, when thus dryed it will keep for sev-
eral years, it is esteemed as nutricius as the pumpkin or squash and is
not very dissimilar in taste The Chipiways or sateaus call this plant
Wab-bis-sa-pin or Swan-root. The ferench or Canadians know it by two
names the Pois de Shicoriat or Graine de Volais. the roots of this
plant are from one foot to eighteen inches in length.
The common wild pittatoe also form another article of food in savage
life this they boil until1 the skin leaves the pulp easily which it will do
in the course of a few minutes the outer rind which is of a dark brown
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