Lewis and Clark Diary Entries About Shannon

August 26, 1804
Patrick Gass

About 10 o’clock Captain Lewis and Captain Clarke with the party accompanying them came to camp; but had not been able to discover any of those small people. The hill is in a handsome prairie: and the party saw a great many buffaloe near it.

August 26, 1804
Joseph Whitehouse

they informd us that their was nothing but Birds to be Seen & that it is about nine miles from the Missouri & a handsom round hill in a [im]mence large prarie. they Saw a Great many Buffelow from the hill. they were all most famished for water &c.

August 27, 1804
William Clark

… could neither find Shannon nor horses, …

… above this Bluff we had the Prarie Set on fire to let the Soues See that we were on the river, and as a Signal for them to Come to it.

August 28, 1804
William Clark

Capt. Lewis & my Self much indisposed owing to Some cause for which we cannot account …

… Shannon had the horses ahead and that they Could not overtake him This man not being a first rate Hunter, we deturmined to Send one man in pursute of him with some Provisions.

August 29, 1804
William Clark

Sent on Colter with Provisions in pursute of Shannon, …

… the Scioues Camps are handsom of a Conic form Covered with Buffalow Roabs Painted different colours and all compact & handsomly arranged, … a Fat Dog was presented as a mark of their Great respect for the party of which they partook hartily and thought it good and well flavored.

August 29, 1804
Patrick Gass

We are generally well supplied with Catfish, the best I have ever seen. Some large ones were taken last night.

August 29, 1804
Joseph Whitehouse

… Serg pryor & the 2 men returned brot with them 60 Indians of the Souix nation they appear to be friendly. they camped on the opposite Shore we carried them over Some provisions & capt Lewis Sent them Tobacco &c. Sergt. pryor informed us that their Town was abt. 9 miles from the Missouri, and consisted of 40 lodges, and built with dressed Buffelow Skins &c. painted different coulers &c.

August 30, 1804
William Clark

… a Council under an Oak Tree near where we had a flag flying on a high flagstaff … The Souex is a Stout bold looking people, & well made, the greater part of them make use of Bows & arrows, Some fiew fusees I observe among them, notwith standing they live by the Bow and arrow, they do not Shoot So Well as the Nothern Indians the Warriers are Verry much deckerated with Paint Porcupine quils & feathers, large leagins and mockersons, all with buffalow roabs of Different Colours. the Squars wore Peticoats & a White Buffalow roabe with the black hare turned back over their necks and Sholders.

This Nation is Divided into 20 Tribes, …

August 30, 1804
Patrick Gass

At nine o’clock the Indians came over the river. Four of them, who were musicians, went backwards and forwards, through and round our camp, singing and making a noise. After that ceremony was over they all sat in council. Captain Lewis and Captain Clarke made five of them chiefs, and gave them some small presents. At dark Captain Lewis gave them a grained deer skin to stretch over a half keg for a drum. When that was ready they all assembled round some fires made for the purpose: two of them beat on the drum, and some of the rest had little bags of undressed skins dried, with beads or small pebbles in them, with which they make a noise. These are their instruments of music. Ten or twelve acted as musicians, while twenty or thirty young men and boys engaged in the dance, which was continued during the night. No Squaws made their appearance among this party.

August 30, 1804
John Ordway

(Indians) the talk was finished by our Comdg officers about 4 oClock, … after dark we Made a large fire for the Indians to have a war dance, all the young men prepared themselves for the dance. Some of them painted themselves in curious manner Some of the Boys had their faces & foreheads all painted white &. C. a drum was prepared the Band began to play on their little Instruments & the drum beat & they Sand [and] the young men commenced dancing around the fire. it always began with a houp & hollow & ended with the Same, and in the intervales, one of the warrier at a time would rise with his weapen & speak of what he had done in his day, & what warlike actions he had done &. C. this they call merrit &. C. they would confess how many they had killed & of what nation they were off & how many horses they had Stole &. C. they Camped along side of us & behaved honestly & cleaver &. C. &. C.

August 30, 1804
Joseph Whitehouse

the fog is so thick on the river this morning that we could not See across the river, untill late in the morning. about 9 oClock the Indians was brought across the river in our pearogue our Captains counseled with them read a Speech to them, & made 5 of them chiefs & Gave them all Some Marchandize &c &c. They received them verry thankfully divided them out among themselves, & play on their juze harps, Sung &c. they [their] Boys Shot with their Bows and arrows for Beeds and appeared to be merry, and behaved well among our parte[y]. Capt. Lewis Shot his air gun told them that their was medician in hir & that She would doe Great execution, they were all amazed at the curiosity, & as Soon as he had Shot a fiew times they all ran hastily to See the Ball holes in the tree they Shouted aloud at the Site of the execution She would doe &c. The Captains Gave them provisions &c. as Soon as it was dark a fire was made a drum was repaired among them. the young men painted themselves different ways. Some with their faces all white others with their faces part white round their forehead, & breasts &c. then they commenced dancing in curious manner to us. their was a party that Sung and kept time with the drumm. they all danced or all their young men especially. they Gave a houp before they commenced dancing, they would dance around the fire for Some time and then houp, & then rest a fiew minutes. One of the warrirs would git up in the centre with his arms & point towards the different nations, & make a Speech, telling what he had done, how many he had killed & how many horses he had Stole &c. all this make them Great men & fine warriers, the larger rougues [are] the best men &c or the Bravest men & them that kills most gets the greatest honoured among them

August 31, 1804
Patrick Gass

Some of them had round their necks strings of the white bear’s claws, some of the claws three inches long.

August 31, 1804
John Ordway

… the weuche, head chief, of the Bob [Brois] Brulee tribe my great father, his 2 sons I See before me this day You see me, and the rest of the Chiefs & warries we are verry poor, we have neither powder, Ball or knifves, nor the women at the village has no Cloaths nor our children to war [wear] and wishes that my fathers Sons would be charitable enofe to Give them Some things, … the Captains told them that they were not traders, that they had only come to make the road open for the traders to come & that in a Short time their would be pleanty of traders on with Goods and would Supply their wants on better terms than ever they had got them before.

4th Chief began again, … you made my old chief so fine that I will not go to war but take his advise, and burry the tomahawk and knife in the ground and go with my old chief to See my Great father, when I was a young man I went to the Spanish; and did not like their Sayings So well as yours &C. … we want a little powder & lead … their is one tribe of red men my fathers that have not their Ears open, but the old chief & us will do the best we can for you,

September 03, 1804
William Clark

Some signs of the two men Shannon & Colter, Shannon appeared to be ahead of Colter.

September 03, 1804
Patrick Gass

There is no timber in this part of the country; but continued prairie on both sides of the river. A person by going on one of the hills may have a view as far as the eye can reach without any obstruction, or intervening object; and enjoy the most delightful prospects.

September 04, 1804
Joseph Whitehouse

we looked for tracks of Shannon but could not See whether he had passd. or not.

September 05, 1804
William Clark

… one of the men Sent to the Village Killed a Buffalow in the town, the other, a large Buck near it,

September 06, 1804
William Clark

I saw Several goats on the hills on the S. S. also Buffalow in great numbers.

(These “goats” were antelopes (Antilocapra Americana).)

(The antelope was first made known to scientists by the Lewis and Clark expedition.)

September 06, 1804
Joseph Whitehouse

colter joined us had not found Shannon. the hunters kille 1 Buffalow one Elk 3 Deer one woolf 1 Deer & four Turkies.

September 07, 1804
William Clark

… discovered a Village of Small animals that burrow in the grown (those animals are Called by the french Petite Chien) Killed one and Caught one a live by poreing a great quantity of Water in his hole we attempted to dig to the beds of one of those animals, …

 

… Contains great numbers of holes on the top of which those little animals Set erect make a Whistleing noise and whin allarmed Step into their hole.

(The prarie-dog (Cynomys ludovicianus), then unknown to scientists …)

September 07, 1804
John Ordway

Shields killed a prarie dog, which was cooked for the Capts dinner. the Captains went out with Some men of the party to See the Ground where those little dogs make their village & they found more than an acre of Ground covered with their holes, they attempted to drown Several of them out of their holes, but they caught but one which they brought in alive, they are a curious animal about the Size of a little dog, & of a grayish coulour resembles them nearly except the tail which is like a Ground Squirrel. they will Stand on their hind feet & look …

September 07, 1804
Joseph Whitehouse

one of the hunters killed a prarie dogg & Sd. he Saw a village of them we halted the Capts. went out with 10 men and drounded out one & took it alive & kept it. it is a curious annimal much like a little dog, & live in holes all in a compact place like a village.

September 09, 1804
William Clark

I saw at one view near the river at least 500 Buffalow, … every Copse of timber appear to have Elk or Deer.

September 10, 1804
John Ordway

we Saw the rack of Bones of a verry large fish the Back bone 45 feet long.

September 10, 1804
Joseph Whitehouse

(Curiosities: Prairie dogs & fish skeleton, and increasing buffalo.)

we Saw a ruck of Bones on the Bank S.S. which appeared to be the Bones of a monstrous large fish the Back Bone is 45 feet long.

September 11, 1804
William Clark

here the Man who left us with the horses 22 (16) days ago George Shannon He started 26 Augt.) and has been a head ever since joined us nearly Starved to Death, he had been 12 days without any thing to eate but Grapes & one Rabit, which he Killed by shooting a piece of hard Stick in place of a ball. … thus a man had like to have Starved to death in a land of Plenty for the want of Bullitts or Something to kill his meat. … I saw Several foxes & Killed a Elk & 2 Deer & Squirels. the men with me killed an Elk, 2 Deer & a Pelican

September 11, 1804
John Ordway

George Shannon who had been absent with the horses 16 days joined the Boat about one oclock. he informed us that the reason of his keeping on so long was that he see some tracks which must have been Indians. he to[ok] it to [be] us and kept on, his bullets he Shot all away & he was with out any thing to eat for about 12 days except a fiew Grapes, he had left one of the horses behind, as he Gave out, only one horse with him … he Shot a rabit with Sticks which he cut & put in his gun after his Balls were gone.

September 11, 1804
Joseph Whitehouse

he had been absent 16 days and 12 of them he had eat nothing but Grapes. the reason was his balls ran Short. … one of the horses which Shannon had with him Gave out & he left him 7 days ago. … we have only the one now