Bibliographical Information on
Larocque's Rocky Mountain Journal
Larocque's narrative was originally published by the Canadian Government Printing Bureau, Ottawa, 1910.
Larocque's Journal has more recently been included in:
The Journal of Francois Larocque. Published by Ye Galleon Press, Fairfield, WA. 1981.
A copy of the original journal is in the Library of Laval University, Montreal.
Journal of a Voyage to the Rocky Mountains
From My Leaving the Assinibois River on the 2nd June, 1805
Francois Antoine Larocque
JOURNAL OF A VOYAGE TO THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS FROM MY LEAVING THE ASSINIBOIS RIVER ON THE 2nd JUNE, 1805.
At my arrival at Rivière Fort de la Bosse I prepared for going on a voyage of discovery to the Rocky Mountains and set off on the 2nd June with two men having each of us two horses, one of which was laden with goods to facilitate an intercourse with the Indians we might happen to see on our road. Mr. Charles McKenzie and Mr. Lassana set out with me to go & pass the summer at the Missouri, and having to parsue the same road we Kept Company as far as the B.B. village.
Mr. McKenzie with the other men set of about at two in the afternoon, but I having [been] so very busy that I had not as yet been able to write my letters to my friends remained and wrote letters and settled some little business of my own. After sunset we supped & bidding farewell to Mr. Chabelly & Henry & to all the people, departed, every one being affected at our departure thinking it more than probable that I should not return with my men, and I confess I left the fort with a heavy heart but riding at a good rate I soon got chearful again, and thought of nothing but the [means] of ensuring success to my undertaking.
At 10 at night I arrived at the River aux Prunes where I found the people encamped asleep.
Monday 3rd. I sat of early in the morning and stopped at 12 to refresh our horses, and encamped at night at River la Sorie, where we had not been two hours encamped when three, and after many other Assiniboins rushed in upon us, a few endeavouring to take our horses, but seeing our guns and running to them we made them depart. They ran afterwards to our fire and seeing us well armed and by our looks that we would well defend ourselves and our property they remained quiet. There were 40 tents of them not 10 acres from us without that we had perceived them. I gave 1 fm. tobacco to their Chief to make his young men smoke & engage them to remain peaceable. Some of them offered to accompany us to the Missouri, but upon being told that we would like it well they spoke no more of it.
Thinking it hower not prudent to pass the night so close to them we saddled our horses and departed although they did all in their power of engaging us to sleep at those tents. One of them conducted us to a good fording place of River la Sourie which we crossed striking in the plain. We walked all night to come out of their reach for they are worst cunning horse thieves that ever I said or heard of. A little before day light we stopped and took a nap.
Tuesday 4th. We proceeded on our journey early in the morning having very fine weather all day, and at night encamped on the banks of the River la Sourie at a place called Green River for its having no wood on its side for about 30 miles. We saw no other animals but four cabois of which we killed two.
Wednesday 5th. We followed the Green River till eleven o'clock when we arrived at the woods, where being an appearance of rainy weather we encamped. There was no Buffalo in seight. At 12 it began to rain and continued hard and uninterruptedly until next morning. Here we saw plenty of wild fowls, Ducks, Bustards, Geese, Swans, &c., and killed a number of them.
Thursday 6th. There being an appearance of fine weather, we sat off and walked about three miles, when the weather being cloudy we stopped to encamp, but before we could make a hut for our goods the rain began again, and fell amasingly hard so that in a few hours every hollows or valley in the plains were full of water, and every brook or creek was swellen to rivers. There were plenty of Buffaloes and the rain ceasing in the evening we killed a very fat young bull and a fat Elk deer. At night the rain began again and continued without intermission until morning.
Friday 7th. The weather continued cloudy, but the sun appearing now and then we hoped for fair weather and past of but as yesterday it began to rain at 12, at two we found some wood on some sandy hills in the plains where we stopped to cook our goods, being completely trenched [drenched]. There being no water on the sand hills, we raised a Bark of Elm tree and pulling one end in a Kettle, the other end a little higher, all the water that fell on the Bark ran into the kettle and we had presently a sufficient quantity; we also made a tent with bark and passed the night comfortably enough.
Saturday 8th. We sat of to go to a hill called Grosse Butte to dry our things, and water our horses, but their being none here, arrived there two hours and a half where we stopped for the remainder of the day & night. The Grosse Bute is a high hill which is seen at 20 miles off on either side. At its foot on the north side is a Lake of about 8 miles in circumference in which there are middle sized pikes. Between the Lake and the hill there is some wood chiefly Elm; all around are many lakes, which by the late rain communicated with each other. From the top of the hill the turtle mountain was soon being due North, River la Sourie likewise was of in N.N.E. and south and south west, being seen on all sides of the hill excepted west.
Sunday 9th. We sat of early in the morning, in a course S.S.W. and at 1 o'clock in the afternoon we arrived on the Bank of the River la Sourie. The water being amazing high we made a raft to cross our things over the River and the horses swam over. We saddled immediately and encamped in a Coulé about three miles from the River.
Monday 10th. Leaving this we went and slept in the Mandan plain, saw plenty of buffaloes all along, but did not dare to fire at them, being on the enemies lands is Sioux. It rained a little in the night.
Tuesday 11th. At 8 in the morning I saw the banks of the Missoury, at 12 arrived at the River Bourbeuse, when we unsad[dl]ed our horses where we unloaded our horses and crossed the property on our shoulders there being not more than 2 feet of water, but we sunk up to our middle in mud, the horses bemired themselves in crossing and it was with difficulty we got them over the bank beings bogs as also the bed of the river. We intended to get the villages today but being overtaken by a Shower of rain we encamped in a coulé at the Serpent lodge, being a winter village of the B. Belly's at the Elbow of the River, where I passed part of last winter. Being unwilling to untie my things before the Indians of the village as I was necessarily be put to some expence I took here a small equipment of different article for present expense, as the sight of my goods would perhaps cause the B.B. to refuse our passage to the Rocky Mountains.
Wednesday 12th. I arrived at 9 o'clock in the morning on the banks of the Missoury, fired a few shots to inform the Indians of our being there and in a few hours many came over with Canoes to cross us and our things.
Lafrance proceeded to the Mandans but I and my men with Mr. McKenzie crossed here at the B. Belly's & entered into dift lodges, gave my men each a small equipment of Knives Tobacco and ammunition to give the landlords.
Thursday, 13th. Three Assiniboins arrived in the evening. 4 Canadians from the Illinois, who are hunting Beaver in these parts, came to see me. I gave each of them 6 inches of [Brazil] Tobacco which pleased them very much as they had for several months not smoked any but Indian Tobacco.
Fryday 14th. The Indians here are exceedingly troublesome to sell their horses to us, the prise that we usually pay them for a horse can purchas two from the Rocky Mountain Indians who are expected dayly, & they would wish us to have more goods when those Indians arrive, so as to have the whole trade themselves. I told them that the purpose of our coming was not to purchase horses either from them or the Rocky Mountains, that we came for Skins and Robes and that for that purpose one of us was to pass the summer with them and one at the Mandans; that I and two men were sent by the white people's Chief to smoke a pipe of peace & amity with the Rocky Mountain Indians and to accompany them to their lands to examine them and see if there were Beavers as is reported & to engage them to hunt it, that we would not purchase a horse from none, therefore that their best plan would be to dress Buffalo Robes, so as to have ammunition to trade with the Rocky Mountain Indians.
They pretend to be in fear of the surrounding nations, that is Assineboines, Sioux, Cheyennes & Ricaras, so as to have an excuse for not trading their guns with the Rocky Mountain Indians, and likewise to prevent us. Some of those Rocky Mountain Indians have been here already and are gone back, but more are expected, with whom I intend to go.
Saturday 15th. I was sent for by one of the Chiefs who asked me what I intended to do with the pipe stem I had brought, upon my telling him that it was for the Rocky Mountain Indians he made a long harangue to dissuade me from going there, saying that I would be obliged to winter there on account of the length of the way, that the Cheyennes and Ricaras were enemies and constantly on the Road, and that it was probable we should be killed by them. He gave the worst character possible to the Rocky Mountain Indians, saying they were thieves and liar, of which he gave an example that is of a Canadian of the name of Menard, who had lived here about 40 years and a few years ago sett of to go to the Rocky Mountains to trade horses and Beavers, these Indians did all in their power to prevent him, but seeing him absolutely bent upon going they let him go, he arrived at the Rocky Mountain Indians tents, where he was well treated, & got 9 horses and 2 female slaves, besides a quantity of Beaver, he left the lodge very well pleased, but were followed by some young men who in the night stole 7 horses, a few nights after his 2 Slaves deserted with the other horses and other young men coming took from him everything he had even to his knife, he came crying to the B. B. Village almost dead having but his robe to make shoes (with flint stone) which he tied about his feet with cords, which so pained the B.B. that they killed some of the Roche Mountain for revenge & &. he told me many other stories, to all which I answered that my Chief had sent me to go, and that I would or die.
There is seven nights that 5 young men are gone to meet the Rocky Mountain Indians, they are expected dayly & the Rocky Mountain with them.
Sunday 16th. This Evening the Indian women danced the scalp of a Black feet Indian which they killed the last spring. The Canadians from below said they had killed some white men at the same time, that they had seen cloths such as Corduroy jackets and trousers, collars, shirts, part of Linnen Tents, Casimer waist coats, and many other things belonging to the whites. The Borgne the Great Chief of this village told me that war party had fired upon and killed people who were going down a very large River, in skin canoes, but that they could not tell whether they were Crees or Sauteux or whites. I spoke to old Cerina Grape the father of the Chief of that party, and to the Chief himself, they prove by the fire, Earth and Heaven that they were not whites. They made a plan of the Country through which they passed, and in my opinion it is some where [about] the Sas Ratchewini or its branches. They showed me part of what they plundered but I saw nothing that could prove them to have killed Whites except the quantity of gun powder he had, for it was no less than half a Keg and at least 200 balls. Their plunder was parted among all the warriors and their relations. Among the articles that the Cerina Grappe showed me there was a Coat made of the skin of a young horse wrought with porcupine quills and human hair, 2 skunk skins guarnished with red stroud and blue beads which those Indians generally wear round their ancles, one musket by Ketland one gun by Barnett, and lastly one scalp which was evidently that of an Indian. But I really believe they have killed some white people about Fort Des Prairies for they brought more goods than ever I saw in the possession of Indians at one time.
Monday 17th. I went down to the Mandan Village on horse back and purchased a saddle there for which I paid 30 lbs ammunition desired Lafrance to get some provision made for my voyage as there is no corn where I live. I returned home to my lodge. In the evening having settled some business with a man of the name of Jusseaux who was indebted to the Company.
Tuesday 18th. The son of the White Wolf fell from his horse and bruised his leg terribly, the flesh was taken clean of the bone from the ancle, round the leg to the calf. The Indian doctor was sent for who began his cure by blowing and singing while the child suffered quietly. Thunder storm.
Wednesday 19th. There being another sick person in my Lodge and there being rather too much fuss about medicines, conjuring & singing I went & lived in another lodge where I had placed one of my men before. Went to see the Borgne our Chief and being desirous that he should stand by me in case of need I made him a present of ¾ lb. Tobacco, one knife and 50 Rounds of ammunition at which he was well pleased—he is the greatest Chief in this place, but does not talk against our going to the Rocky Mountains as the other Chiefs do—Thunder and rain at night.
Thursday 20th. I was again teased by some of the Chief to purchase horses and was told the Big Bellys had two hearts and that they not know whether they would allow me to go to the Rocky Mountains, and in the course of a long harangue they made use of all their art to induce me not to go representing the journey as dangerous to the last degree and that the Rocky Mountain would not come, for they were afraid of the Ricaras & Assiniboines to all which I could make no answer but by signs, as there was no one present that could speak to them properly, one of my men of the name of Souci spoke the Sioux language but there was no one there that understood that language. About [noon] two of the young B.B. that had been sent to meet the Rocky Mountains arrived, they left the Rocky Mountain Indians in the morning and they will be here in 3 or 4 days. Upon the receipt of those news, the Chief pretended to have received information that the Crils & Assiniboines were assembled to come and war upon them (which is false) and harangues were made to the people to keep their guns and ammunitions and not to trade them with the Rocky Mountain Indians, &c. All this I believe a scheme to prevent me from going, for as yet they do not like to tell me so exactly, but are for ever saying that they have two hearts which means that they are undetermined in what manner to act.
Fryday 21st. I went to see the Borgne enquired of him what he and the Big Bellys thought of our going to the Rocky Mountains and whether they have a mind to prevent us. He answered to my wish, that the Rocky Mountains were good people, that they had plenty of Beaver on their hands, and that his adopted son, one of the Chiefs of the Rocky Mountains & the greater would take care of us, for that he would strongly recommend to him to put the white people in his heart and watch over them. I told him that the B.B. had no reason to be displeased for that one of us remains with them who has plenty of ammunition, Knives, tobacco, Hatchets and other articles, where with to supply their wants, whenever they would be disposed to trade. He said it was true that none would molest us. He is the only Chief that speaks so, but as he has the most authority of any I hope by his means we will pass. A certain method to get the road clear would be to assemble the Chiefs, make them a present of Tobacco and ammunition, make them smoke & speak to them what occasion I may have for them in future. I like not to do it only when I see that I cannot otherwise for assembling a Council and haranging without a present is no better than speaking to a heap of stones. Besides I am apprehensive that paying as it were for our first going to these nations will give a footing to the B. Bellys which they will endeavoure to improve every time we should go there if a trading interest takes place. So we pass this time without making them any present at all, I believe it will be done away for ever. If the Borgne retains that authority he formerly had he alone will be able to clear the Road for us and he appears to be sincerely our friend.
Saturday 22nd. In the beginning I went to an Indian's tent whose two sons had been in that party that defeated the White on the Saskatchion, he gave me a full account and more like truth than any other. He says there were four Linnen tents and four leather on the sides of the River where there were Skin Canoes; they fired upon the largest leather tent and Killed three men, two of whom were Indians, the other they believe to be a White man but not certain. They brought one scalp & if it is that which they showed me, it is an Indian. There was plenty of tents in all kinds besides goods. What they could not take with them, they broke and threw in the River.
Sunday 23rd. Three men and one woman arrived from the Rocky Mountains about noon, the other are near hand and would have arrived today but for rain which fell in the evening.
In the evening I went to see the Brother of the Borgne, where I found two Rocky Mountain Indians, one of whom was the Chief of whom the Borgne had spoken with me . I smoked with them for some time when the Borgne told them that I was going with them and spoke very much in our favor. They appeared to be very well pleased.
Monday 24th. Lafrance, with the other white people from below who reside at the Mandans came to see the people which were arrived from the Rocky Mountains, who were prevented from coming by appearance of bad weather. It thundered the whole day but it did not rain. I gave a small knife to my Land Lady.
Tuesday 25th. About one in the afternoon the Rocky Mountain Indians arrived, they encamped at a little distance from the village with the warriors, to the number of 645, passed through the village on horseback with their shields & other war-like implements, they proceeded to the little village, Souliers and then to the Mandans and returned.
There did not remain 20 persons in the village, men women and children all went to the newly arrived camp carrying a quantity of Corn raw and cooked which they traded for Leggins, Robes and dried meat. There are 20 lodges of the snake Indians & about 40 men. The other bands are more numerous.
This morning the Borgne sent for me, he showed me the Rocky Mountain Chief of the Ererokas, and told him before me that I was going with him & to take good care of us & he spoke very much in our favour telling me that the B. Bellys were undetermined whether they would allow us to go or not, but that we would go if we liked it for that he would clear the road before us if necessary. I gave to two of the Ererokas each 6 [feet] of tobacco and 20 Rounds of ammunitions.
Wednesday 26th. The Mandans, Souliers, little village people & the people of the Village, went on horse back and arived to perform the same ceremonys round the Rocky Mountain Camp, as the Rocky Mountains did yesterday here, they were about 500, but a great many Wariors are absent being gone to war.
Thursday 27th. Assembled the chiefs of the different Bands of the Rocky Mountains and made them a present of
2 Large Axes
2 Small Axes
8 Ivory Combs
10 Wampum Shells
8 fire steels and Flint
6 Masses B.C. Beads
4 f. Tobacco
8 Cock feathers
16 large Knives
12 Small do
2 lbs. Vermillion
8 doz. Rings
4 papers co'd Glasses
4 Doz. Awls
11/ lb. Blue Beads
2 Doz. do
1000 balls & powder
Made them smoke in a stem which I told them was that of the Chief of the White people who was desirous of making them his Children & Brethren, that he knew they were pitiful and had no arms to defend themselves from their enemies, but that they should cease to be pityful as soon as they would make themselves brave hunters. That I and two men were going with them to see their lands and that we took with us some articles to supply their present want. That our Chief sent them those goods that lay before them, to make them listen to what we were now telling them, that he expected they would treat all white people as their Brethren for that we were in peace and friendship with the Red skined people and did not go about to get a scalp, that probably they would see White people on their lands from another quarter but that they were our brethren and of course we expected they would not hurt them, that a few years ago they pillaged and ill treated a white man who went to trade with them, that we would see how they would treat us and if they have behaved well towards us and kill Beavers, Otters & Bears they would have white people on the lands in a few years, who would winter with them and supply them with all their wants & &. I told them many other things which I thought was necessary and closed the Harangue by making them smoke the Medicin Pipe. They thanked [me] and make a present of 6 robes, one Tyger skin, 4 shirts, 2 women Cotillons 2 dressed Elk skins, 3 saddles and 13 pair leggins. I clothed the Chief of the Ererokas at the same time and gave him a flag and a Wanpoon Belt and told them that our Chief did not expect that we would pass many different nations and therefore had sent but one Chief Clothing, but that in the course of the summer we would fix upon a spot most convenient for them all where we would build & trade with them, if we saw that they wished to encourage the white people to go on their lands by being good hunters and that then all their Chiefs who would behave well would get a Coat.
The ceremony of adopting Children was going on at the same time, but I was so very busy that I could not attend, but about the middle of the ceremony, and therefore can give but an imperfect account of it from my own observation, but as the two people were present I will give an account of it in another place.
Fryday 28th. I preferred to go of in the evening to the lodge of the Ereroka Chief in order to be ready with them in the morning but he and the other Chiefs were called to a farewell Council in the Borges Lodge so that I did not Stir.
Saturday 29th. Saddled our horses and left the B. Belly village. We remained about half an hour in the Rocky Mountain Camp where they threw down their tents and all sat of. We marched along the Knife Rivers for about eight miles when we stopped and encamped. The Borgne and many other B. Belly's came and slept with us.
Sunday 30th. We followed a south course for about 4 mile and stoped to dine and resumed a S.S.W. course and encamped for night, Knife River in Sight when no hills intervened, about 6 miles on our right, a thunder storm in the evening.
July 1st, Monday. We sat [out] at 8 o'clock in the morning and encamped at 12 having followed a South West course; we crossed three small creeks running North and N. East into the Knife River. It began to rain as soon as the lodges were pitched and continued so all day. The Indians hunted and Killed a few Bulls. I gave the people of my lodge a few articles, as Beads, Knives.
Tuesday 2nd. We sat out at 9 o'clock followed a south Course and encamped at 2 after noon. It thundered very much the whole of the afternoon and at sun set there fell such a shower of hail as I never saw before, some of the hail stones being as large as hen eggs and the rest as a Yolk; they fell with amazing violence and broke down several tents. The wind during the storm was West, it breesed to the North and continued during the whole night.
Wednesday 3rd. We continued our journey for about 4 hours, through a very hilly country and encamped at the foot of a very high Hill on the top of which I ascended, but could see at no considerable distance, another range of hills surrounding this on all sides. I lost my spy glass in coming down the hill and could not find it again. Our course was south.
Thursday 4th. We stopped after a south course for the night on the side of a small hill at a Creek which empties in the Missouri above the Panis village about 5 leagues distant from our last encampment having crossed another a little before emptying in the Missury about one mile below the Mandans. The Scouts reported that Buffaloes were at hand.
Fryday 5th. We discovered a thief last night in the act of stealing a gun from under our loads thinking we were asleep. The Chief sent two young men to sleep behind the lodge and guard our property. After three hours and a half march in a southerly direction we espied Buffaloes, and stopped all. The Chief harangued and the young men set out to hunt after which we marched on for about a league and a half and encamped. There was no Creek or River here for water only a few ponds of stagnant water which by reason of so many dogs and horses bathing in them was not drinkeable being as thick as mud.
Saturday 6th. A Big Belly found my spy glass and returned it to me, we set of at 8. At 11 the scouts reported that they had seen enemies. We all stopped, the men armed themselves and mounting their fleetest horses went in pursuit. They returned in a few hours, as what the scouts had taken for enemies were a party of their own people who were gone hunting and not been seen. We proceeded and encamped at one on the side of a small River running West and emptying in the lasser Missouri. It blew a hurricane in the evening. Course south about four leagues.
Sunday 7th. At ten o'clock we rose the Camp and at 3 we saw Buffaloes, harangues were made to the Young Men to go and hunt while a party of these latter who are a guard of soldiers paraded before the body of the people preventing any one from setting off till all the huntsmen were gone; after which we set off again and encamped at the foot of a hill, which we had in sight since the day before yesterday. Course S. West about 18 miles.
Monday 8th. Before we rose the camp a general muster of all the guns in the Camp was taken and the number found to be 204 exclusive of ours. Our huntsmen had brought in a plenty of Buffaloes. We marched this day by a south Course about 7 miles.
Tuesday 9th. From the Big Belly village to the place I lost my spy glass the country was very hilly, from that to this place it was much more upon a level though not entirely so. The plains produce plenty of fine grass. In the course of this days journey we passed between two big hills on the top of which as far as the eye could discern Buffalo were seen in amazing number, we camped on the side of a small Creek running West into the lesser Missouri. The Indian hunted and killed many Buffaloes. Course South S. West & S.W. 9 miles. It blew a hurricane at night without rain. Many lodges were thrown down although well tied and picketted.
Wednesday 10th. We remained the greatest part of the day at this place to dry the meat and bury a woman that died here, and sat of at 4 in the afternoon and pitched the tents by a small creek running west after having pursued our road S.W. by West for 5 miles. The Country was hilly but produsing plenty of grass and numberless flowers of different Kinds.
Thursday 11th. We passed through a range of hills of about 3 miles broad, on the top of every one was a heap of stones appearing as if burnt, part of the rocks had fallen down the hills. Leaving those hills we had a pretty level plain till we reach a small brook running N. West where we encamped, the lesser Missouri in Sight at about 4 miles on our right, by a course south west, we had advanced about 12 miles. On our way we saw a few Rattle Snakes but none of them very large; they are the first I saw in the Indian countries and none are to be found more northwards.
Fryday 12th. This day we passed through a pleasant plain and pitched the tents by a small brook 5 miles S.W. of our last encampment.
Saturday 13th. We set of at 9 through hilly and barren Country, in crossing two small Creeks, and arrived at 12 on the bank of lesser Missouri. We crossed it and encamped on its border about 2 miles higher. The River is here about 3/4 of an acre in breadth from bank to bank but there is very little water running, the bed appearing dry in many places and is of sand and gravel. A few liards scattered thinly along its banks. The rugged and barren aspect of the hills which are composed of Whitish Clay looking like rocks at a distance. The ground on which [we] stood [was covered] with a prickly heap of..... so very thick that one does not know where to set ones feet, no grass at all. The whole forms a prospect far from pleasing. Our Course was for 12 miles S.S.W. A few days ago a child being sick I gave him a few drops of Turlington balsam which eased him immediately of his cholic. This cure gave me such a reputation of being a great physician that I am plagered to cure every distemper in the camp. A man came today to me desiring me to act the man mid wife to his wife.
Sunday 14th. We remained the whole day here the Indians being busy with drying meat. I went a little distance up the River and saw a little Beaver work.
Monday 15th. We crossed the river at three different times in the Course of this days journey when it happened to intersect the line of our course which was S.S.W. and encamped on its borders about 14 miles higher up. It had the same appearance in every respect as when we arrived at it. The Indians Killed a few Beavers of which I got two dressed by my men to show them how to do it.
Tuesday 16th. We remained here the whole day. The Indians tried to dance the Bull dance in imitation of the B. Belly's but did it very ill.
Wednesday 17th. It rained in the morning, at 11 before noon the weather clearing up, we sat of following the river in a Course S.S. West about 9 miles. The bed and Banks in many places were solid Rock; there is very little water running. There is a few trees in the decline of the hill here.
Thursday 18th. I went hunting with the Chief while the camp flitted, we killed one cow and returned to the river at 3 in the after noon where we found the people encamped 15 miles S.W. of our last encampment. The banks and bed of the river are rocks; the plains are a continual series of high rocky hills whose sides and tops are partly covered with the red pine and other wood such as poplar, Elm, Ash, and a kind of Maple.
Fryday 19th. We [stopped] at an hour before sun set and encamped 5 miles higher up the river.
Saturday 20th. Some one being sick we did not stir. Here the point of the River was pretty large and well stocked with wood, viz. Liard, Ash and a kind of shrub resembling the prickly Ash which bears a fruit of the size of a small pea, red and of a sourish taste but not disagreeable.
Sunday 21st. The Camp rose at 8 in the morning and proceeded along the River for about 15 miles in a S.S. Westerly direction; the banks and bed of the river are of soil but muddy. I saw a beaver lying dead on the banks, here the river is fordable, without wetting ones feet in stepping over upon loose large stones, as we trotted almost the whole of this day's journey the unusual jolting of the Packages on the horses back occasioned the breaking of my thermometre. From this place we left the lesser Missouri on our left, its Course above this appears to be South to north, and stopping in the plains we encamped at one in the after noon on the side of a little river running into the lesser Missouri our course S.W. The Banks of L.M. [Lesser Missouri] in sight. We crossed two small Creeks in which there was no running water but many deep ponds in which there are Beavers. We saw this day plenty of Buffaloes.
We remained at this place 2 days. I have been very sick since some time, and so weak that it was difficult I could keep my saddle, the Indians on that occasion did not flit. I traded a few Beavers.
Thursday 25th. We sat of this morning at 10 following the little Creek on which we were encamped for 4 miles by a S.W. course and encamped. Wind S. E.
Fryday 26th. We passed through a Range of hills whose tops and sides are covered with pine, and at the foot are many small creeks well wooded with Ash and Maple, there are plenty of different kinds of mint here which emit a very odoriferant smell. We crossed three small Creeks running north and N.W. into the Powder River whose bancs we had in sight from the top of those hills. The wind was N.W. & very strong, a hurricane blew at night. The course we have pursued on a very barren soil for 22 Miles was West.
Saturday 27th. We arrived at noon at the Powder River after 6 hours ride by course West by South for about 20 miles. The Powder River is here about 3/4 of an acre in breadth, its waters middling deep, but it appears to have risen lately as a quantity of leaves and wood was drifting on it. The points of the river are large with plenty of full grown trees, but no underwood, so that on our arrival we perceived diverse herds of Elk Deers through the woods. There are Beaver dams all along the river. Three of these animals have been felled by our Indians.
When we arrived here the plains on the western side of the river were covered with Buffaloes and the bottoms full of Elk and jumping deers & Bears which last are mostly yellow and very fierce. It is amazing how very barren the ground is between this and the lesser Missouri, nothing can hardly be seen but those Corne de Raquettes. Our horses were nearly starved. There is grass in the woods but none in the plains which by the by might with more propriety be called hills, for though there is very little wood it is impossible to find a level spot of one or two miles in extent except close to the River. The current in that river is very strong and the water so muddy as to be hardly drinkable. The Indians say it is always so, and that is the reason they call it Powder River, from the quantity of drifting fine sand set in motion by the coast wind which blinds people and dirtys the water. There are very large sand shoals along the river for several acres breadth and length, the bed of the river is likewise sand, and its Course North East.
Sunday 28th. We remained here the whole day to let the horses feed, the women were bussily employed in dressing and drying the skins of those animals that were Killed Yesterday. I traded one 3 Beavers and one Bear skin.
Monday 29th. We rose the Camp late in the evening and pitched the tents about 4 miles higher up the river having followed for that short space a course S. W.
Tuesday 30th. Early this morning we set out; the body of the people followed the river for about 17 miles S.W. while I with the Chief and a few others went hunting. We wounded Cabrio, Buffalo, and the large horned animal, but did not Kill any, which made the Chief say that some one had thrown bad medicin on our guns and that if he could Know him he would surely die.
The Country is very hilly about the river, but it does not appear to be so much so towards the North. About two miles above the encampment a range of high hills begins on the west side of the River, and Continues North for about 20 miles, when it appears to finish. The tongu River is close on the other side of it. There is a parting ridge between the two Rivers.
I assended some very high hills on the side of which I found plenty of shells of the Comu amonys Species by some called snake shell, likewise a kind of shining stone lying bare at the surface of the ground having to all appearance been left there by the rain water washing away the surrounding earth, they are of different size and form, of a Clear water Colour and reflect with as much force as a looking glass of its size. It is certainly those stones that have given the name of shining to that Mountain. The hills are high, rugged and barren mostly Rocks with beds of loose red gravel on their tops or near it which being washed down by the rain water give the hills a redish appearance. On many hills a heape of calomid stone among which some time I find pumice stone.
When we left the encampment this morning we were stopped by a party of their soldiers who would not allow us to proceed, as they intended to have a general hunt, for fear that we should rise the Buffaloes, but upon promise being made by the Chief whom I accompanied that he would not hunt in the way of the Camp, and partly on my account we were suffered to go on. We were however under the necessity of gliding away unperceived to prevent Jealousy.
Wednesday 31st. We sat out at 7 in the morning and proceeded up the River in a Southern course for about 13 miles and encamped about mid day; the weather being very warm and the wind from the south. I traded a few Beaver skins.
Thursday August 1st. Rain and thunder storm prevented our stirring this day. The water rose about 6 inches in the river and is as thick as mud. The current very swift.
Fryday 2nd. Last night some children playing at some distance from the Camp on the river, were fired at. The Camp was allarmed and watchers were set for the night but nothing appeared. It rained hard during most part of the night. We rose the Camp at one in the afternoon following the river for about 9 miles in a south course. The hills of the River are at a less distance from one another than they were here tofore. The bottoms or points of the river are not so large nor so well wooded and the grass entirely eat up by the Buffaloes and Elk.
Saturday 3rd. We sat out at sun rise and encamped at one in the afternoon having pursued a South Course with fare [fair] weather and a south east wind. We followed the River as usually; its bends are very short not exceeding two miles and many not one. The face of the Country indicates our approach to the large Mountains and to the heads of the River. A few jumping [deer] or chevreuils were Killed today. It has been very Cold these few nights.
Sunday 4th. We did not rise the Camp till late in the evening. In the morning we assended the hills of the River and saw the Rocky Mountains not at a very great distance with Spy Glass, its clifts and hollows could be easly observed with the wood interspersed among the Rocks. We removed our camp about 4 miles higher up the River having pursued a S.E. Course.
Monday 5th. We had a thick fog in the morning, the night was so Cold that one Blanket could not Keep us warm enough to sleep, so that I purchased two Buffaloe Robes. About midday however it is generally very warm. We sat of at 7 and continued our way for about 12 miles by a south course along the River and with a north West wind. We arrived at the forks of the Pine River which are assunder for about one mile, and encamped. The water in this River is clear and good issuing from the Mountains at a short distance from this, and is very cold, while that of the Powder River was so muddy that the Indians were under the necessity of making [holes] in the Beach and drink the water that gathered in them. We left this last mentioned river on our left where we went up the Pine River which is between 20 & 30 yards in breadth and runs over rocks. There is a rapid at every point and very little wood along its banks.
Tuesday 6th. We rose the Camp at 7 and proceeded upwards along the Pine River in a S. Western direction for 12 miles, having the Rocky Mountains ahead and in sight all day. The weather was foggy with a N.W. wind. An Indian shot another mans wife in the breast and wounded her dangerously. Jealousy was the occasion thereof. The Indian after inquire when I intend to depart. They appear to wish me to be off. I have 23 Beaver skins which they think a great deal, and more than we have occasion for. They thought that upon seeing the Rocky Mountains we would immediately depart as they cannot imagine what I intend to see in them. It is hard to make them understand by signs only, especially in this case for they do not want to understand.
Wednesday 7th. We sat of at 6 and pitched the tents at 9 miles higher up the River having followed a South course. The Indians hunted and killed many Buffaloes and one cow came and took refuge among the horses where she were killed. At 5 in the evening we again flitted and encamped 5 miles higher up having pursued the same course as in the morning with a head wind.
Thursday 8th. We marched 24 miles in a south West course along the Pine River. Many small Branches fall in it at a little distance from one another. A man and horse were wounded by a Bear but not dangerously. There is much fruit here about and many Bears. Wind S.E. We are here encamped at the foot of the mountain.
Fryday 9th. The people went out hunting and returned with many skins to be dressed for tents. The weather is Cloudy and the wind south. Rapids succeed each other in the River here very fast and the current between is very swift running on a bed of Rocks.
Saturday 10th. Some Indians arrived from hunting and brought 9 Beavers which I traded for Beads. Weather the same as yesterday.
Sunday 11th. They are undetermined in what course to proceed from this place they have sent a party of young men along the Mountains Westerly and are to wait here until they return. They often enquire with anxious expectation of our departure when I intend to leave them and to day they were more troublesome than usual. What I have seen of their lands hitherto has not given me the satisfaction I look for [in] Beavers. I told them that I would remain with them 20 or 30 days more. That I wished very much to see the River aux Roches Jaunes and the place they usually inhabit, otherwise that I would be unable to return and bring them their wants. They saw it was true, but to remove the objection of my not knowing their lands a few of them assembled and draughted on a dressed skin I believe a very good map of their Country and they showed me the place where at different season they were to be found. The only reason I think they have in wishing my departure, is their haste to get what goods I still have. Besides we not a little embarrass the people in whose tent we live. They pretend to be fond of us, treat us well and say they will shed tears when we leave them.
Monday 12th. In the evening the young men that had been sent to reconnoitre returned and reported that there was plenty of Buffaloes & fruit on the tongue and small horn River, that they had seen a lately left encampment of their people who had not been at the Missouri (about 9 lodges) that they were gone across the Mountains that they had seen no appearance of their being enemies on that side. A Council ensued, and harangues were made to raise the Camp in the morning and proceed along to the River aux Roches Jaunes.
Tuesday 13th. We sat of at half after 8 in the morning following a West Course along the Mountain, through Creeks and hills such as I never saw before, it being impossible to climb these hills with Loaded Horses we were obliged to go round them about the middle of their hight from whence we were in imminent danger of rolling down being so steep that one side of the horses load rubbed against the side of the hill. One false step of the horse would certainly have been fatal to himself and rider. The wind was S. E. in the morning and north W. in the evening and the weather sultry. We encamped at 12 on the banks of a small branch of the Tongue River, whose water was very clear and cold as Ice. The people Killed two Bears to day. I traded a few Bears. I saw a few crows today which are the only birds I have seen since I left the Missouri except a few wood Peckers.
Wednesday 14th. It rained part of the morning, as soon as the rain ceased we sat off when it began again and continued raining until we reached another branch of the Tongue River, where we encamped. We went close along the mountain all the way for about 10 miles by a West Course crossing many small Creeks all running into the Tongue River, most of them were dry but thickly wooded with the Saule blanc; there was no Beaver work I saw a few Cranes.
Thursday 15th. Fine clear weather. I traded 8 Beavers and purchased a horse for which I paid a gun 200 balls, one flanel Robe, one shirt, one half axe, one battle do, one bow iron, one comb, one But Knife, one small do, 2 Wampoon hair pipes, one......., 2 axes, one Wampoon shell, 40 B. Blue Beads, 2 Mass Barley Corn do and one fm W.S. Red Stroud. We left this place at 11 before noon and proceeded 9 miles in a North West Course and encamped on another branch of the Tongue River. Wind N.W. fine warm weather. The Indians Killed Buffaloes and a few Bears, the latter they hunt for pleasure only as they do not eat the flesh but in case of absolute necessity. Perhaps the whole nation is employed about a bear, whom they have caused to take refuge in a thicket, there they plague him a long while and then Kill him, he is seldom stript of his skin.
Fryday 16th. I purchased a saddle and [bridle?] for the horse I purchased yesterday for which I paid 40 shots Powder Being short of Balls. I gave 20 pounds Powder only for a Beaver 1 Knife, I sell 2 Beavers 10 String Blue Beads, 1 Beaver & so on. We proceeded along the mountain as usual by a N.W. Course about 15 miles, crossed 3 small Creeks emptying in the Tongue River where we arrived at one in the afternoon, we forded it and encamped on the north side, N. & N.E. is a small Mountain lying between this river and the large Horn River, they call it the Wolf Teeth. (Se la is in the Rocky Mountain language and Seja in the Big Belly's.) Fine weather wind N.W.
Saturday 17th. The Indians having hunted yesterday we did not rise the Camp but remained here all day. There were many Bears here about, who are attracted by the quantity of Choak Cherries and other fruit there is here. The Woods along the Rivers are as thickly covered with Bears Dung as a Barn door is of that of the Cattle, large Cherry trees are broken down by them in Great number. The Indians Kill one or two almost every day. The Tongue River here is small being only about 20 feet broad with two feet water in the deepest part of the rapids. It receives many additional small stream in its way to the River Roches Jaunes. The points of the River are pretty large and well stocked with wood viz.... & maple.
Sunday 18th. At 7 o'clock we left our encampment and proceeded Northward; at noon we stopped on a branch of the small Horn River & the greatest part of the Indians went on to the small Horn River to hunt. At half past two in the afternoon we sat off again and crossing the River we encamped on its Borders where we found the hunting party with their horses loaded with fresh meat. We travelled about 15 miles this day and are farther from the mountain than yesterday though still close to it.
Monday 19th. Since we are close to the mountain many women have deserted with their lovers to their fine tents that are across the mountain, there are no Cattle in the mountain nor on the other side, so that they are loth to go that way, while the desertion of their wives strongly Call them there. Harangues were twice made to rise the Camp, and counter order were given before the tents were thrown down. The reason of this is that the wife of the Spotted Crow who regulates our mo[ve]ments has deserted, he is for going one way while the Chief of the other bands are for following our old course. Horses have been Killed and women wounded since I am with them on the score of jealousy. Today a snake Indian shot his wife dead but it seems not without reason for it is said it was the third time he found her and the Gallant together. The Small Horn river runs East from the Mountain to this place here it makes a bend N by East and passing round of the wolf teeth it falls into the large Horn river. The bed of the River here is Rocks a continual rapid, the water clear and cold as Ice, the ground barren and the banks of the river thinly wooded with same Kind of wood as heretofore. I traded 6 Beavers.
Tuesday 20th. We flitted and encamped 3 miles higher up the River on a beautiful spot where there was plenty of fine grass for the horses, our Course West. I traded 3 Beavers.
Wednesday 21st. I made a present of a few articles to the Chief and a few other Considered Persons. We remained here all day. There is plenty of ash here. There were very few persons in the Camp that were not employed in making themselves horse whip handles with that wood; it was with that design they came here, as that wood is seldom found elsewhere. I saw some Beavers work on that River.
Thursday 22nd. Water frose the thickness of paper last night in horsetracks. I was called to a Council in the Chiefs Brothers tent Lodge, where the Spotted Crow resigned his employment of regulating our marches, an other old man took the office upon himself and told me that he intended to pursue their old course to the River aux Roches Jaune. I traded 8 Beavers with the Snake Indians in whose possession I saw a Kettle or Pot hewn out of a solid stone, it was about 11/ inch thick & contained about 6 or 8 quarts; it had been made with no other instrament but a piece of Iron.
Fryday 23rd. We rose the Camp at 11 in the forenoon and followed a N.E. Course for one mile N.W. 6 de, & encamped on a branch of the .... River, where there is a Beaver Dam and other work occasionally found. I traded -- 4 Beavers. Wind S.E. the only roads practicable to Cross the mountain are at the heads of this and the Tongue River.
Saturday 24th. This morning we were allarmed by the report that three Indians had been seen on the first hill of the mountain and that three Buffaloes were in motion and that two shots had been heard towards the large Horn River. Thirty men saddled their horses and immediately went off to see what was the matter while all the other Kept in readiness to follow if necessary. In a few hours some came back and told us that they had seen 35 on foot walking on the banks of one of the branches of the Large Horn River. In less time than the Courrier Could well tell his news no one remained in the Camp, but a few old men and women, all the rest scampered off in pursuit. I went along with them we did not all Set off together nor could we all Keep together as some horses were slower than others but the foremost stopped galloping on a hill, and continued on with a small trot as people came up. They did the dance when the Chief arrived, he and his band or part of it galloped twice before the main body of the people who still continued their trot intersecting the line of their course while one of his friends I suppose his aide de Camp harangued. They were all dressed in their best Cloths. Many of them were followed by their wives who carried their arms, and who were to deliver them at the time of Battle. There were likewise many children, but who could Keep their saddles. Ahead of us were some young men on different hills making signs with their Robes which way we were to go. As soon as all the Chiefs were come up and had made their harangue every one set off the way he liked best and pursued according to his own judgement. The Country is very hilly and full of large Creeks whose banks are Rocks so that the pursued had the advantage of being able to get into places where it was impossible to go with horses & hide themselves. All escaped but two of the foremost who being scouts of the party had advanced nearer to us than the others and had not discovered us, they were surrounded after a long race but Killed and scalped in a twinkling. When I arrived at the dead bodies they had taken but his scalp and the fingers of his right hand with which the outor was off. The[y] Borrowed my hanger with which the[y] cut off his left hand and returned it [the knife] to me bloody as a mark of honour and desired me to...... . at him. Men women and children were thronging to see the dead Bodies and taste the Blood. Everyone was desirous of stabbing the bodies to show what he would have done had he met them alive and insulted & frotted at them in the worst language they could give. In a short time the remains of a human body was hardly distinguishable. Every young man had a piece of flesh tied to his gun or lance with which he rode off to the Camp singing and exultingly showing it to every young woman in his way, some women had whole limb dangling from their saddles. The sight made me Shudder with horror at such Cruelties and I returned home in quite [a] different frame from that in which I left it.
Sunday 25th. The Scalp dance was danced all night and the scalps carried in procession through the day.
Monday 26th. It rained in the morning as it did yesterday, at noon the Weather Clearing we sat off Course S.W. wind S.E. fine weather. We encamped in the mountain 9 miles distant from our last encampment by a small Creek in which there was little running water, but an amazing number of Beaver Dams. I counted 6 in about 2 points of the River but most of them appeared to be old Dams. The young men paraded all day with the scalps tied to their horses bridles sing[ing] and keeping time with the Drum and Sheskequois or Rattle.
Tuesday 27th. We remained here all day, 10 Young Men were sent to observe the motions of those who were routed lately, they are afraid of being attaked having seen the road of a numerous body of people on the large Horn River. In the evening news came that the Buffaloes were in motion on the Large Horn River, and harangues were made to guard the Camp.
Wednesday 28th. Two hours before day light, all the Indians horses were saddled at their doors, they put all their young children on horse back & tied to the saddles, then they slept the remainder of the night. They likewise loaded some horses with the most valuable part of their property while they in the expectation of being attacked sat in the tents their arms ready & their horses saddled at the door. At broad day light nothing appearing they took in their children and unloaded their horses. At 9 in the morning 4 young men arrived and reported that they had seen nothing of the enemy, that there were party Buffaloes between the Large Horn and the River aux Roches Jaunes.
Thursday 29th. We rose the Camp this morning and marched a Course West by North. The Indians hunted and saw Strange Indians. There was a Continual harangue by different Chiefs the whole night which with the singing and dancing of the scalp prevented any Sleep being had. We pitched the tents on a small creek running into the large Horn River distant about 20 miles from our last encampment.
Fryday 30th. We left the place and encamped on the Large Horn River close to the foot of the mountain and of very high Rocks. Course West about 5 miles.
Saturday 31st. We remained at this place the whole day. Some young one who had been en découverte returned from a deserted camp of about 30 Lodges where they found Chief Coats N.B. straud Wampoon shells and other articles, which it seems had been left by the people inhabiting those tents upon some panic. This is what these Indians say but it is my opinion that those goods are rather an offering to the supreme being which those Indians often make and leave in tree well wrapt up, and which our young men found. This River is broad deep and clear water strong courrent, bed stone and gravel about 1/2 mile above this encampment, the River runs between 2 big Rocks & loses 2/3 of its breadth but gains proportionally in depth. There is no beach at the foot of the Rocks, they are but perpendicular down to the water. It is aweful to behold and makes one giddy to look down upon the river from the top of those Rocks. The River appears quite narrow and runs with great rapidity immediately under our feet, so that I did not dare to look down but when I could find a stone behind which I could keep & looking over it to see the foaming water without danger of falling in. This river does not take its rise in this mountain, it passes through the mountains and takes its water in the next range. There is a fall in this River 30 or 40 miles above this where presides a Manitoin or Devil. These Indians say it is a Man Wolf who lives in the fall and rises out of it to devour any person or beast that go to near. They say it is impossible to Kill him for he is ball proof. I measured a Ram's horn which I found when walking along the River, it was 5 spans in length and was very weighty, it seems to me that the animal who carried it died of old age for the small end of the horn was much worn and broke into small splinters, which was not the case in any of the animals I saw Killed, nor were their horns of that size neither.
The Mountain is here a solid Rock in most places bare and naked, in other places Cloathed with a few Red Pine. The sides of some Coulé are as smooth and perpendicular as any wall, and of an amazing hight; and in places there are holes in those perpendicular Rocks resembling much those niches in which statues are placed. Others like church doors & vaults, the tout ensemble is grand and striking. Beautiful prospects are to be had from some parts of those Rocks, but the higher places are inaccessible. The Large Horn River is seen winding through a level plain of about 3 miles breadth for a great distance almost to its conflux with the River aux Roches Jaunes.
Sunday, September 1st. We Left this place and pitched our tents about 3 miles lower down where we remained two days, while we were here a Snake Indian arrived, he had been absent since the Spring and had seen part of his nation who traded with the Spaniards, he brought a Spanish B[r]idle and Battle ax, a large thick blanket, striped white and black and a few other articles, such as Beads, etc. A Missouri Big Belly fished here and cought 14 moyens Cat fish in a very short time.
We had much dancing at this place still for the scalps. There are Islands in the River here but most of them are heaps of sand. The Wooded points of the River do not join the open plain is seen between them but there is plenty of wood in some places. The leaves beg[in] to fall.
Wednesday 4th. We left the encampment and proceeded N.W. by North about 15 miles and pitched the tents on a Small Creek running into the Large Horn River. Where we left the River we had a level plain for about 4 or 5 miles when the Country became hilly and barren.
Thursday 5th. We Kept the same Course as yesterday and encamped on a most small Creek running as the former about the same nature.
Fryday 6th. We rose the Camp early and at 11 before noon arrived at Mampoa or Shot stone River, from whence the Indians went out to hunt, there being plenty of Buffaloes on the road to this place, the mountains were as follows. The mountain along which we travelled from the Pine River lay S. E. another called Amanchabé Clije south, the Boa [or Bod] Mountain S.W. but appeared faintly on account of a thick fog that covered it.
Saturday 7th. We remained all day here, the Indian women being very bussy to dry tongues and the best part of the meat and dressing skins for a great feast they are preparing while their war exploits are recapitulated.
Sunday 8th. I sat off early this morning with two Indians to visit the River aux Roches Jaunes and the adjacent part. I intended to return from this place as the Indians will take a very round about road to go there. We were not half ways, when we fell in with Buffaloes, my guides were so bent upon hunting that they did not guide me where I wanted, and we returned at night to the tents with meat, but with rain as it rained from noon till night. The Indians showed me a mountain lying North West which they told me was in direct line to the Missouri falls and not far from it. We passed through two new raised Camps of strange Indians at the door of the largest tent were 7 heaps of sticks each containing 10 sticks denoting the number of lodges in the Camp, to have been 70.
Monday 9th. I purchased a horse we had information that four strangers had been seen who likewise saw our people & hid themselves. At night a young man arrived who saw and conversed (I cannot say he spoke for the whole conversation was carried on by signs they not understanding one another language) with a fort de prairie Big Belly, they wanted to bring each other to their respective Camps but both were afraid and neither of them dared to go to the other Camp. The B.B. are encamped on the large Horn River behind the mountain and are come on peaceable terms they are 275 or 300 Lodges.
Tuesday 10th. We rose the Camp at 9 and took a N. West Course to the River aux Roches Jaunes where we arrived at two in the afternoon distant 16 miles we forded into a large Island in which we encamped. This is a fine large River in which there is a strong current, but the Indians say there are no falls. Fordable places are not easly found although I believe the water to be at its lowest. The bottoms are large and well wooded.
Wednesday 11th. 5 Big Bellys arrived and came into our lodge being the Chief Lodge. They brought words of peace from their nation and say they Come to trade horses. They were well received by the Indians and presents of different articles were made them. They told me they had traded last winter with Mr. Donald whom they made Known to me a[s] crooked arm. I went round the Island in which we are encamped, it is about 5 miles in circumference and thickly wooded in some places all along the North Side of the Island. The Beaver has cut down about 50 feet of the wood. 9 Lodges of the people that were left in the Spring was joined in they are 15 tents at present, they encamped on the opposite side of the River.
Thursday 12th. I traded six large Beavers from the Snake Indians. We crossed from the Island to the West side of the River & proceeded upward for about 9 miles south West and encamped in a point where they usually make their fall medicine.
Fryday 13th. I bought a Horn Bow & a few Arrows a Saddle & pichimom, part of a tent and a few of those blue Glass Beads they have from the Spaniards, and on which they set such value that a horse is given for 100 grains.
Saturday 14th. Having now full filled the instructions I received from Mr. Chaboillez, which were to examine the lands of the Crow Indians and see if there is Beaver as was reported, and I to invite them to hunt it, I now prepared to depart, I assembled the Chiefs in Council, and after having smoked a few pipes, I informed them that I was setting off, that I was well pleased with them and their behaviour towards me, and that I would return to them next fall. I desired them to kill Beavers and Bears all winter for that I would come and trade with them and bring them their wants. I added many reasons to show them that it was their interest to hunt Beavers, and then proceeded to settle the manners of Knowing one another next fall, and how I am to find them which is as follows. Upon my arrival at the Island if I do not find them I am to go to the Mountain called Amanchabé Chije & then light 4 dift fires on 4 successive days, and they will Come to us (for it is very high and the fire can be seen at a great distance) in number 4 & not more, if more than four come to us we are to act upon the defensive for it will be other Indians. If we light less than 3 fires they will not come to us but think it is enemies. They told me that in winter they were always to be found at a Park by the foot of the Mountain a few miles from this or there abouts. In the spring and fall they are upon this River and in summer upon the Tongue and Horses River.
I have 122 Beavers 4 Bears and two otters which I traded not so much for their value (for they are all summer skins) as to show them that I set some value on the Beavers and our property. The presents I made them I thought were sufficient to gain their good will in which I think I succeeded. I never gave them any thing without finding means to let them know it was not for nothing. Had more been given they would have thought that good[s] were so common among us than to set no value upon them, for Indians that have seen few White men will be more thankful for a few articles given them than for great many, as they think that little or no value is attached to what is so liberally given. It was therefore I purchased their Bears and likewise as a proof that there is Beaver in those parts, besides it saved to distribute the good I had into the most deserving hands, that is the less lazy.
We departed about noon 2 Chiefs accompanied us about 8 miles, we stopped and smoked a parting pipe, the[y] embrased us, we shook hands & parted they followed us about one mile, at a distance gradually lessening their steps till we were almost out of sight and Crying or pretending to Cry they then turned their backs and went home. At parting they promissed that none of their young men would follow us, they took heaven and earth to witness to attest their sincerity in what they had told us, and that they had opened their ears to my words and would do as I desired them, they made me swear by the same that I would return and that I told them no false words (and certainly I had no intention of breaking my oath nor have I still. If I do not keep them my word it certainly is not my fault).
Our course was N.E. 20 miles, a little before sun set we were overtaken by a storm which forced us into a point of the River where we encamped & passed the night during which our horses were frightened & it was with difficulty we could get them together again. We Kept watch by night.
Sunday 15th. We followed a N.E. course and crossed the River Roches Jaunes at 9 and proceeded along the South side, at 10 we crossed Manpoa River at its entrance into River Roches Jaunes, Manpoa or the Shot Storm River is about 10 feet in breadth and with very little water it take its waters in Amanabe Chief at a short distance there is wood along its Banks, especially close to the mountain and Beaver on the east side of this River, close to its discharge in the River Roches Jaunes is a Whitish perpendicular Rock on which is painted with Red earth a battle between three persons on horseback and 3 on foot, at 2 in the afternoon we arrived at a high hill on the side of the river called by the Natives Erpian Macolié where we stopped to refresh our horses & killed one Cow. An hour before sun set we sat of again and encamped after dark making no fire for fear of being discovered by horse thieves or enemies. From Manpoa to this p[l]ace our Course was east. Buffaloes and Elk we found in great plenty. Wind S.W.
Monday 16th. It froze hard last night North, Weather Cloudy N.E. 9 miles and stopped to Cook victuals for the day as we make no fire at night. Elk and Buffaloes in the greatest plenty. It rained till 3 in the afternoon, when weather clearing we sat off and encamped at the Rocks of the large Horn River where we arrived at 8 in the evening.
Tuesday 17th. We crossed the river early in the morning, its points here are large & beautiful well stocked with wood, we passed through a most abominable Country and often despaired of being able to get clear of this place enceting (sic) with Rocks which it was impossible to ascend or to go round so we were obliged often to go back on other road which presented us with the same difficulties, at last we ascended the hill but being on the top did not offer a more pleasing prospect, we were often obliged to unload the horses and carry baggage ourselves and the horses being light we made chump [jump] over ..... in the Rock and climb precipices, but were near losing then at last at 3 in the afternoon we passed the whole of that bad road and arrived at the Border of Rocks where we could see a fine level country before us but the sun was set before we could find a practiable road to come down to it, which we effected not without unloading the horses and carrying down their loads part of the way, while: the horses slided down upon their rumps about 25 yards. We broke some of our saddles, and arrived in the plain just as the day was setting and encamped further on by the side of the River. It is probable that had we had a guide with us we could have avoided those Rocks, while our ignorance of the Road made us enter into & once engaged among the difficulty was as great to return as to proceed. We Kept no regular course, but went on as we could to all points of the compass in order to extricate ourselves. We Killed one Elk.
Wednesday 18th. This morning we saw the points of wood where we encamped last night 9 miles south of us from which we were parted by the River on one side and the Rocks on the other. I heard the noise of the fall or Great Rapids yesterday, but now at too great a distance from the River and too busily engaged to go and see it. It froze hard last night, we left our encampment later our horses were tired, but after having set out did not stop till after sun set having followed for 22 miles a north East course wind South West. Fine weather plenty Elk and Buffaloes.
Thursday 19th. Cold and Cloudy and followed the same course as last day for 22 miles stopped at 2 in the afternoon. and Killed a stag which was very poor being its Rutting Season. We resumed our course to the N. East for 8 miles and encamped for the night.
Friday 20th. We sat this day early out, assended the hills which are rugged and barren proceeding N.E. for 36 miles. Killed one large . . , fine weather with a N.E. wind.
Saturday 21st. We had a very bad road. Came down to the River to see if we could find a better passage but it was impossible, the River striking the Rock at every bend and assended the hill again and with difficulty made our way over Rocks. After sun set we encamped on the River a la Langue Killed 2 Elks which were very fat. Course East for 18 miles wind N. E.
Sunday 22nd. We crossed the River a la Langue and passed over a plain of about 9 miles in breadth where we came again to Rocks and precipices without number over which we jogged on without stopping till 2 hours before sun set when we encamped on the side of the River close to a Rapid. There is little or no wood here along the River except a few Liards scattered here and there and no grass at all. Course N.E. for about 18 miles. Wind S.W.
Monday 23rd. We had a pretty level plain the whole of the day 12 miles West and 24 miles N. E. At 10 we crossed the Powder River, 121 it has no wood on its bank here and is much shallower than when we crossed it going; its water is the same being still muddy, we encamped at night by a small Creek, having been unable to find grass for our horses throughout the day we were obliged to cut down three Lair[d]s and let the horses feed on the bark.
Tuesday 24th. Set off early, at 9 in the morning we found a place where there was grass where we stopped and let our horses eat. At three in the afternoon we saddled our horses and went on until we encamped after sunset having followed an Eastern Course for 13 miles. Wind S.W. fine weather. It is 4 nights since it froze.
Wednesday 25th. We passed through a very uneven country, but there being no Rocks we had no very great difficulties and encamped at night in a very large point of wood in which there was plenty of Deer -- watched all night having seen something like a man Creeping on the beach. We had made this day 37 miles by a North Course. The fire is in the plains from which the wind brought columns of thick smoke in abundance so that we could barely see. We shoed our horses with raw deer hide as their hoofs are worn out to the flesh with continual walking since last Spring setting their feet on loose stones lames then & sometimes makes them bleed.
Thursday 26th. What we saw last night and mistook for a man was a Bear whose tracks we found this morning. We sat out at 8 and the plain being even we went on at a great rate, at 2 in the afternoon we stopped to Kill a cow, our provision being out, at three we sat off again and met on our road a female bear eating .... we killed her and took the skin it being good. At five we stopped for the night.
Here the River is divided into many channels forming so many islands, the banks and islands are thickly covered with woods, chiefly Liard, oak and maple. Our course was North which followed for 39 miles having the wind ahead, which brought us thick smoke in abundance. We saw this day plenty Elk and Buffaloes.
Fryday 27th. We crossed a plain of about 6 miles and arrived at a bend of the River where it was impossible to continue on the hill so that we were fain to descend to the River and Beach. We bemired 3 of our horses and got them out but with great difficulty. At one we stopped to let the horses eat. The wind was south and we had no appearance of smoke but the weather threatened rain. We encamped at sun set after having followed a North course for 24 miles and found plenty of grass.
Saturday 28th. This whole day we travelled through a level country having fine weather. We made 30 miles in a Northerly direction and passed 3 Indian encampment of this summer, whom I suppose must have been occupied by warriors for the[y] had no tents.
Sunday 29th. We passed through a most beautiful and pleasant country, the river being well wooded. We found here more fine grass than in any place since I left the Missouri and of course the greatest number of Buffaloes. The wind was N.W. and the weather Cloudy and Cold. Having made 30 miles by a N.N.E. Course we encamped on a small creek round which the river passed.
Monday 30th. We assended the hill which produces plenty of fine grass; about 6 miles further we saw the forks of the River aux Roches Jaunes and the Missouri Course N.E. 27 miles and descended to the River (the Missouri) having but a bend. We had followed the River for 7 miles when we heard the report of a gun twice, and the voice of a woman as crying. We stopped and sent Morrison en decouverté and I and Souci remained to watch the horses and property. Morrison returned in about 2 hours and reported that what we had taken for a Woman's voice was that of a young Cub, and as to the gun we supposed it proceeded from trees thrown down by the wind, as it blew very hard, and the Buffaloes, Bears and Elk were very quiet in the wood and plain, so that there was no appearance of being any human Creature there about. We went on & assended the hills to cut a large bend of the River following an east course for 11 miles and encamped in a large point of Elm trees for the night. The Wind was North West and very strong tearing down trees by their roots every moment.
Tuesday October 1st. Weather Cloudy raining now and then, Wind N.W. very cold Course North 12 miles. Passing through a Coulé yesterday I found a lodge made in the form of those of the Mandans & Big Bellys (I suppose made by them) surrounded by a small Fort. The Lodge appears to have been made 3 or 4 years ago but was inhabited last winter. Outside of the fort was a Kind of Stable in which the[y] kept their horses. There was plenty of Buffaloes heads in the Fort some of them painted red.
Wednesday 2nd. Strong N.W. wind Cold and Cloudy-Course N.E. 26 miles Killed a Cow – Country even plenty of grass.
Thursday 3rd. Set off at 7 through a very hilly and bad country N.E. 20 miles east 15 and encamped on the River it rained part of the day Wind north West very Cold.
Fryday 4th. It rained and was bad weather all night, at break of the day it began to snow and continued snowing very hard till 2 in the afternoon. Strong N.W. wind. We sought our horses all day without being able to find them till after sun set; the bad weather having drawn them in the woods.
Saturday 5th. Sat off early, fine weather Course S.E. by E. 26 miles plenty of Buffaloes on both sides of the River. Killed Cow.
Sunday 6th. All the small Creeks and Ponds were frozen over this morning Course S. E. by S. 20 miles Sout[h] – passed through a thick wood of about 4 miles.
Monday 7th. East 2 miles south 11 we arrived at the lesser Missory which we crossed S.E. 3 miles saw many Bears and Skunks.
Tuesday 8th. Assended the hills, Plains even 39 miles S.S.E. fine warm weather wind S.W.
Wednesday 9th. Proceeded on the hills through a fine Country course E. by S. 12 miles. South 2 miles and arrived at the Big Bellys who were encamped about 3 miles above their village. I found here a letter of Mr. Charles McKenzie to me.
Thursday 10th. I remained here all day to refresh the horses before I proceed to the Assinibois River. Among other news the Indians tell me that there are 14 American Crafts below the [villages?] who are ascending to this place. The Sioux have Killed 8 White men last spring upon St. Peters River & 3 Big Bellys here.
Fryday 11th. I intended crossing over today but was prevented by the strength of the wind which blew all day with amazing violence from the North West. I got a few pair of shoes made and Corn pounded for provision, news came that the Sioux were seen encamped at a short distance below. Expecting to be attacked they [the Big Bellies] were under arms all night.
Saturday 12th. About noon the weather being calm & warm we crossed the River; the horses swam the whole bredth of the River & were nearly spent. We met with 3 Assiniboines and their wives on the North side of the River who were going to the Big Bellys to trade. We went slowly on till sun set when we encamped on the side of a small lake in the Plains which are burning to the West. Course North.
Sunday 13th. Fine weather, wind N.W. plenty of ...... Buffaloes just arriving in the plain. Few being on all sides. The Buffaloes were in motion so that we could not get near enough to get a shot at them, & our horses so tired & fatigued that I did not chuse to run them. We crossed the fire at sun set and encamped by the side of a small lake whose borders had escaped the general Conflagration.
Monday 14th. We watched our horses all that night for fear of Asssiniboines, of whom we had seen the tracks, in the evening; sat off before sun rise and arrived at 10 in the forenoon at the River la Sourie where we stopped for the remainder of the day. The grass on either side of the river here is not burnt but the fire appears on both sides at a distance, West and north. Soon in the evening the Buffaloes were in motion on the North side of the River which made us fear for our horses.
Tuesday 15th. After dark last night we left our encampment and mar[ched] two and a half hours by star light, when Clouds gathering so as to obscure our sight of the stars and of course being unable to regulate our course we stopped in a Creek and there passed the night being free of anxiety.
In the morning we proceeded weather Cold and Cloudy wind N. W. We stopped for the Night on the deep River, which does not draw the name of a Riper, being a hallow ..... in the plain in which there are small deep ponds communicating with each other in the spring and rainy seasons only, nor is there a single twig to be found about. At sun set it began to rain and continued so all night. We covered the property with part of a tent we had, and we passed the whole night Shivering by a small fire made of Cowdung (which we had taken care to gather before the rain began) with the assistance of our saddle on our back, by the way of Cloaks.
Wednesday 16th. It snowed rained and hailed the whole day. Wind N.W. and amazing strong. We arrived after dark at the woods of one of the Elk Head Rivers, wet to the skin and quite benumbed with Cold.
Thursday 17th. Weather Cloudy and wind N.W. and very Cold so we were fain to stop, make a fire and warm ourselves, especially as we are not over and above well dressed to Keep off the Cold. We wrapt ourselves in Buffaloe Robes and proceeded to the Grand Coulé and encamped on the very same spot where we had the quarrel last spring with the Assiniboine.
Fryday 18th. In the morning we met with a few Assiniboines coming from the Fort, we stopped and smoked a pipe with them. They told us that Mount a la Bosse [fort] had been evacuated and that Mr. Falcon was building a house to winter in, about half ways between that and R. qu'il appelle Fort. We arrived at Mount a la Bosse Fort, where I found Mr. Charles McKenzie and 3 men taking care of the remaining property.
I remained here one day and then went to see Mr. Falcon at the Grand Bois about 15 miles above this, returned the next day and then sat out for River la Sourie Fort where I arrived the 22 October.
So ends my journal of my Journey to the Rocky Mountains.