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The quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society. Volume XV Oregon Historical Society 1914

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of the
Oregon Historical Society
Volume XV
MARCH, 1914
Copyright, 1914, by Oregon Historical Society
The Quarterly cKsavowt responsibility lor the positions taken by contributor* to its pages
JUDGE WILLIAM C. BROWN-Old Fort Okanogan and the Okanogan
Trail       -       -       -        -        -     5       -        -        -       -       -      1-38
T. C ELLIOTT—Journal of David Thompson     '^SfW&Mt''^^^   39"53
M. C. GEORGE—Address delivered at Dedication of Grande Ronde Military Block House at Dayton City Park, Oregon, August 23, 1912   -   64-70
Entered *t the post office at Portland, Oregon, as second-class matter  I Ifeft>
MARCH, 1914-DECEMBER, 1914
Edited by
Portland, Oregon
The Ivy Press
[13 n
Almanac, An, of 1776
By J. Neilson Barry 147-152
Applegate, General E. L., Some Recollections of
By George Stowell  252-263
Astoria Railroad, History of
By Leslie M. Scott 221-240
"Bargain of 1844/' The, as the Origin of the Wilmot Proviso
By Clark E. Persinger 137-146
Block House, Grand Ronde Military, Address at Dedication
of, at Dayton City Park, Oregon, August 23, 1912
By M. C. George     64-70
Champoeg, Marion County, The First  Grain Market in
By John Minto  .283-284
Constitutional Convention, Delegates to the, of Oregon,
August 17-September 18, 1857
By George H. Himes 217-218
French, Canadian, The Influence of, on the Earliest Development of Oregon
By John Minto  277-282
Fur Trade in the Columbia River Basin Prior to 1811, The
By T. C. Elliott 241-251
Matthhcu, Francis Xavier, Memorial Address for
By Charles B. Moores     73-80
Okanogan, Old Fort, and the Okanogan Trail
By Judge William C. Brown      1-38
Presbyterianism, First Things Pertaining to, on the Pacific
By Robert H. Blossom  81-103
Simpson, Samuel L., Personal Reminiscences of
By W. W. Fidler 264-276
Stickeen, A Tragedy on the, in 1842
By C. O. Ermatinger 126-132
Thompson, David, Note on Autobiography of
By T. C. Elliott        216
Wilmot Proviso, "The Bargain of 1844," as the Origin gf
By Clark E. Persinger 137-146
Applegate, Jesse, Letter Relating to, March 19, 1852.   By
J. M. Peck 208-209
Brooks, Quincy Adams, Letter of, Nov. 7, 1851, An Account
of Crossing the Plains 210-215
Ingalls, General Rufus, Letter of, to Senator James W.
Nesmith, March 23, 1864 135-136
Em] Page
Iowa, Emigration From, to Oregon in 1843.    Reprint from
"The Iowa Journal of History and Politics," July, 1912. .285-298
McLoughlin, John, Letter of, March 1, 1832  .206-207
Thompson, David, Journal of.   Edited by T. C. Elliott. .39-63; 104-125
Thurston, Samuel Royal, Diary of, From Nov. 21, 1849, to
Aug. 28, 1850  153-206
Wright, General George, Letter of, to Senator James W.
Nesmith, June 11, 1861 133-135
Barry, J. Neilson, An Almanac of 1776 147-152
Blossom, Robert H., The First Things Pertaining to Presby-
terianism on the Pacific Coast  81-103
Brooks, Quincy Adams, Letter of Nov. 7, 1851, An Account of
Crossing the Plains 210-215
Brown, Judge William G, Old Fort Okanogan and the Okanogan
Trail .       1-38
Elliott, T. G, The Journal of David Thompson...; 39-63; 104-125
-"Note on Autobiography of David Thompson        216
—Fur Trade in the Columbia River Basin Prior to 1811 241-251
Ermatinger, C. O., A Tragedy on the Stic keen in 1842 126-132
Fidler, W. W., Personal Reminiscences of Samuel L. Simpson. .264-276
George, M. G, Address Delivered at Dedication of Grande Ronde
Military Block House at Dayton City Park, Oregon,
August 23, 1912     64-70
Himes, George H., Delegates to the Constitutional Convention
of Oregon, August 17-September 18, 1857...■ 217-218
Ingalls, General Rufus, Letter to Senator James W. Nesmith,
March 23, 1864  135-136
McLoughlin, John, Letter of, March r, 1832 206-207
Minto, John, Champoeg, Marion County, The First Grain Market
in Oregon  283-284
—The Influence of the Canadian French on the Earliest
Development of Oregon   • 277-282
Moores,   Charles  B.,  Memorial Address  for Francis Xavier
Matthieu     73-80
Peck, J. M., Letter Relating to Jesse Applegate, March 9,1852.. .208-209
Persinger, Clark E., The "Bargain of 1844" as the Origin of
the Wilmot Proviso   137-146
Scott, Leslie M., The History of the Astoria Railroad 221-240
Stowell, George, Some Recollections of General E. L. Applegate .252-263
Thurston,  Samuel Royal, Diary of From Nov.  21, 1849, to
August 28, 1850 153-205
Wright, General George, Letter of, to Senator James W. Nesmith  135-136
of the
Oregon Historical Society
Volume XV
MARCH, 1914
Number l
Copyright, 1914, by Oregon Historical Society
The Quarterly disavows responsibility for the positions taken by contributors to its pages
The first attempt by citizens of the United States to locate
on the northwest coast as permanent residents, occurred in
1811. That was the year in which the first actual American
occupancy was effected within the boundaries of "Old Oregon."
To be sure Lewis and Gark had wintered at the mouth of the
Columbia six years before, but the object and purpose of that
remarkable expedition was to explore, not to occupy, and
nothing was attempted in the way of permanent occupancy.
It cannot be said that any of the sea-faring traders from the
eastern seaboard of the United States, that were constantly
visiting the coast for so many years prior to 1811, ever established a settler or maintained a permanent trader in the land
until that year. They were purely maritime merchants and
they trafficked with the Indians along the coast only, and did
it entirely from their ships. They sailed away over seas when
each venture was completed, with no fixed or definite idea
when they would return again, if at all. Perhaps some exception might be taken to this last statement, in view of the very
creditable and well-nigh successful attempt of the Winships of
Boston to erect in 1810, a trading station inside the mouth
of the Columbia for use in connection with their ships, but
that effort was abandoned before it was carried to an accom-
* Annual" address delivered before the meeting of the members of the Oregon
Historical Society, December so, 1913. Judge William C. Brown
plished fact. In short all the Americans that had been in the
region before 1811, were only temporarily in the country,
either as explorers, adventurers or transient Indian traders,
or all three combined.
The organization of the Pacific Fur Company through the
efforts and influence of John Jacob Astor of New York and
the sending out of the expeditions which gave the Pacific
Northwest its first American occupancy is a theme that looms
large in the annals of Oregon. At two points in Old Oregon
establishments were founded the first year, the one being
"Astoria," the head post of the company at the mouth of the
Columbia, the other its first inland post, which was located
at the mouth of the Okanogan river and called Fort Okanogan.
The former place is where the city of the same name now
stands, but the latter has been deserted and abandoned for fifty
years and is today, a lonely, unfrequented spot on an Indian
Except a few depressions that indicate the old cellars, and
some remnants of masonry scattered here and there, every
vestige of the structures of old Fort Okanogan have disappeared. Except a small Indian ranch house and a cluster of
log stables and corrals that stand near by, no buildings of any
description exist in that vicinity. The ground has reverted
to a virgin waste and the immediate locality is as tenantless,
if not more so, than it was when the whites first set eyes upon it.
It is the purpose of this address to piece together into a
connected narrative, a condensed history of Fort Okanogan
from the beginning to the end, and make the same as complete
as the necessary brevity of this paper will permit.
The name of John Jacob Astor of New York must necessarily be written large when recounting any of the earlier
beginnings of American occupancy in old Oregon. He was
the creator and prime mover in the great enterprise of the
Pacific Fur Company. The plan was his and the backing of
his great wealth and the prestige of his name alone made it
possible. The articles of agreement organizing the concern
were signed in New York, June 23rd, 1810.    The avowed Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail
objects of the company were two; one was commercial conquest and profit for itself, the other was territorial expansion
for the United States. Opinions appear to differ somewhat
as to how much veneration and esteem we Americans of today
should accord Mr. Astor for his efforts, but it seems to us
that the evidence and proofs before the bar of history clearly
entitle him to an unqualified verdict that the Pacific Fur Company substantially fulfilled all its pretentions, and that it is no
more than just to say, that it was an organization created and
maintained by American capital, enterprise and patriotism for
the purpose of securing to the United States, the trade and
the possession of the vast region we now call the Pacific Northwest, the title to all which was then, and for many years afterwards in dispute between this country and Great Britain.
As is well known the initial move in the great undertaking
was to send out two expeditions. One came overland from
St. Louis and attempted to follow the trail traveled by Lewis
and Clark a few years before; the other started from New York
in one of Astor's ships, the "Tonquin," and came around Cape
Horn. The expedition by sea had a prosperous voyage and
reached its destination at the mouth of the Columbia in March,
1811, and the proprietors forthwith proceeded to establish
their head post which was called "Astoria." The overland
expedition came near being a complete failure and did not
arrive at the mouth of the Columbia till nearly a year after the
"Tonquin" and then came straggling in by fragments.
As soon as the Astor project was actually launched it became
an open secret in Montreal, and it is commonly accepted history
that the Northwest Company immediately determined to put
forth strenuous efforts to forestall, if possible, the American
enterprise on the Columbia. But a careful examination into
the subject reveals the fact that the Northwesters had already
for several years been putting forth about all the energies they
could spare from other quarters, in striving to extend their
operations westward to the Pacific ocean. Before Astor ever
started to organize his big scheme of Oregon occupation
by a great American commercial company, men of the North- Judge William C. Brown
west Company had already penetrated the passes of the Rockies
and were trading and exploring both on the Fraser and the
upper Columbia, and a line of trading connections down to
tide-water was their coveted goal. The Astorians at the mouth
of the Columbia knew when they came out that the Northwesters were operating on the west side of the continental
divide, and had been for a number of years, but apparently
they knew this only in a general and indefinite way. They
had no exact information as to the extent of the Northwest
trading operations west of the Rockies, nor how far to the
westward of those mountains that company's men had penetrated, but they were soon to learn. The first direct intimation
that the Northwesters were close at hand came to the Astorians
about two months after they had landed, and while they were
just getting well started with the construction of the buildings
at "Astoria," when two strange Indians from the interior
appeared. They bore a letter addressed to "Mr. John Stuart,
Fort Estekatadene, New Caledonia." They explained that
they had been sent by Mr. Finnan M'Donald, a clerk in the
service of the Northwest Company, who was in charge of a
post recently built on the Spokane, and were commissioned to
deliver the letter to Mr. Stuart on the Fraser. That while
en route they had heard from the Indians up the Columbia, that
there were white men at the mouth, and thinking that Mr.
Stuart would probably be found among them, they had come
to deliver the letter. The Astorians derived much information
from these Indians in regard to the interior and also in regard
to the operations of the Northwesters, and it was decided to
send an expedition into the interior under the command of
the partner, David Stuart, to establish a competing post, and
July 15th was fixed upon as the date when it was to start. The
above is Franchere's version as to when and how it was first
determined to send a trading party into the interior. Alexander Ross, however, makes it appear that it was not decided
to send out such expedition till after July 15th. Anyhow about
noon on July 15th, 1811, the Astorians were considerably surprised by the unexpected arrival of a canoe flying the British Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail
flag, manned by five French-Canadians and two Iroquois Indians, and bearing Mr. David Thompson, a partner in the
Northwest Company.
This famous termination of Thompson's "dash" or "race"
down the Columbia from its headwaters in the interests of his
company, has been the theme of much historical mention, and
we have quite generally been led to believe, that ever since
the previous autumn, when he left the Saskatchewan for the
Columbia, he had been striving and straining every nerve
within him for the sole object and purpose of getting through
to the mouth of the great river in advance of the Astorians.
History appears to have accepted it as a fact, that Thompson
came racing down the Columbia bent on the sole and exclusive
purpose of forestalling the Astorians in the mouth, and arrived
there only to find himself beaten in the attempt and the purpose
of his efforts thwarted by the American company's previous
arrival. But a careful reading and consideration of his journals
now available, together with other contemporaneous writings,
has lately caused students of Thompsonian history to doubt
if there is anything to substantiate or justify any such positive
statements. The frequent stops to confer with Indians, examine
the country along the way, take observations, repair boats,
recruit the men, catch fish, etc., make it appear to the reader
of his original journal that the most of the time he was not
hurrying along at all, but had more in mind, the gathering of
all possible information about the country and the tribes occupying it
The record that Thompson wrote on the ground from day
to day in 1811, makes it very clearly appear that he was seeking
to open out a trade route to the sea at the mouth of the Columbia, and the amount of time he spent in stopping to visit and
get acquainted with the Indians along the way, and also to
inquire about the fur and food producing possibilities of the
various sections, shows that the establishment of trade relations with the tribes occupied an important position in his
mind, and that he certainly was not sacrificing it in order to
rush down the Columbia to seize a strategic point in advance Judge William C. Brown
of the Astorians. To be sure he was traveling with great
vigor, when he did travel, but that was the way of the Northwesters. Taking his original journal for our guidance, it
begins to look as if it would be more proper to say that his
arrival at Astoria was merely the culmination of a plan that
he had been for several years endeavoring to carry forward, as
fast as his opportunities and the means supplied him would
permit, viz.: To open out as soon as possible for the Northwest Company, a trade route and chain of posts on Columbian
waters to the sea. The work of exploring, and at the same
time occupying with self sustaining trading stations, that vast
and rugged country filled with unknown tribes of Indians
whose confidence and friendship had to be won, was a task
that took a great deal of time, hence the four years and over
that elapsed from the time when he first reached Columbian
waters, till he was finally able to push through to the mouth.
It is not necessary to discuss here what happened during
the seven days that Thompson remained at Astoria more than
to say that considerable sparring in the way of fur trade
diplomacy was indulged in by both sides, each endeavoring to
represent its strength to the best advantage, and likewise to
find out as much as possible from the other, without disclosing
too much to the other, but on the whole it appears that both
parties were fairly frank in most respects, and very courteous.
The Astorians being determined to send an expedition up the
Columbia to establish an inland post, it was agreed between
them and Thompson that the brigade made up for that purpose
should start out with the Thompson party on its return up
the Columbia for mutual assistance and protection, as the
Indians along the river in the vicinity of the Cascades were a
plundering, predatory lot of miscreants. Accordingly on the
22nd day of July, 1811, the two parties started up the Columbia ,
from Astoria. Old David Stuart was in charge of the Astor
party, with him were the clerks, Ovide de Montigney, Francis
Pillette, Donald McLennan and Alexander Ross, two or three
Canadian voyageurs whose names are not specified in any of
the accounts and two Sandwich Islanders.   It should be under- Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail
stood that when the "Tonquin" stopped at the Hawaiian
Islands on the way out, quite a number of the natives from those
islands were employed and brought along on the ship. These
proved very efficient boatmen and packers, especially during
hot weather. Alexander Ross in his "Adventures" gives us
a very full and complete account of the trip up the river, of the
establishment of the post at the mouth of the Okanogan, and
the course of events there during the first tWo years of its
existence; and in a subsequent book entitled "Fur Hunters of
the Far West," he gives us a history quite complete of Fort
Okanogan and surrounding country up till about 1816, for
Ross was in charge of the post off and on pretty much all the
time between 1811 and 1816, when he was transferred, first
down to Fort George as staff clerk, afterwards to Kamloops
and still later to the establishment on the Walla Walla. For
our narrative of the first trip of the Astorians up the Columbia
in July and August, 1811, we will very briefly follow the chronicle left by Ross in his "Adventures."
The joint parties of Stuart and Thompson did not continue
far together. The Thompson party was traveling light. Their
canoe was not loaded with any merchandise for trade. On the
other hand Stuart and his men were not only laden, but they
did not have canoes suitable for up-river work. They had
merely obtained from the Indians at the mouth of the Columbia,
two ordinary big dug-outs, such as were commonly used by
the natives of that quarter. Ross says that the Stuart party
traveled in "two clumsy chinook canoes, each laden with fifteen or twenty packages of goods of ninety pounds weight."
By July 24th the combined parties had reached the mouth of
the Willamette. On the 28th they reached and passed the
cascades of the Columbia. On the 31st, Mr. Thompson's party
finding themselves able to travel faster than the canoes of Mr.
Stuart, proceeded on by themselves. On August 6, Thompson
reached the mouth of the Snake river (he called it Chapaton
river). From this point he dispatched a letter to the Spokane
establishment, directing that horses be sent to meet him, as he
proposed to return across country instead of going around up
the Columbia on his way back. 8 Judge William C. Brown
He then proceeded up the Snake to the mouth of the
Palouse river, where he obtained horses from some Indians, and
went overland to Spokane House, arriving there August 13th,
missing the horses sent to meet him. A few days later he
went on to Kettle Falls and shortly afterwards, another dash
took him up through the Arrow Lakes, and thus during the
spring and summer of 1811, Thompson traveled every mile of
the Columbia river from its sources to the sea. As he and his
party on the way down the Columbia were the first white men
to reach the mouth of the Okanogan, and were several weeks
in advance of the Astorians amongst those scenes along the
Columbia in the vicinity of the place where it was shortly to
transpire that old Fort Okanogan was to be established, we
will drop for the time being, the narrative of the progress of
the Stuart party, toiling up the river and briefly mention a few
of the interesting details recorded by Thompson as he was
passing through this section on his way down. He left Kettle
Falls July 3rd, 1811, at 6:30 A. M., in a canoe built there
especially for the purpose. It was manned by seven men
besides himself, five of whom were French-Canadians and two
Iroquois Indians. They also had two San Poil Indians with
them as interpreters and guides. These are the opening entries
for the trip as the same appear in his journals:
"July 3rd, 1811. Voyage to the mouth of the Columbia, By
the Grace of God, By D. Thompson and 7 men on the part of
the N. W. Company.
Wednesday. After arranging several small affairs, we in
number 8 men with 2 Simpoil Indians, set off on a voyage
down the Columbia River to explore this river in order to open
out a passage for the interior trade with the Pacific Ocean.
My men are Michel Beaudreau, Pierre Panet (or Pariel),
Joseph Cote, Michel Boullard, Francois Gregorie, with Charles
and Ignace."
With a small assortment of goods to buy in provisions, etc.,
our course down the river from the Ilthokayape Falls at 6^
A. M. course S. 15 degrees W. 2-3 mile. S. 8 degrees E. y2
a mile.—% oi a mile. The brook of our late portage on the
left about 30 yards wide.   Course plus 1 mile &c &c." Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail
The latter part of the above quotation will give an idea of
what a great part of Thompson's journals are like, filled as
they are with courses and distances, together with observations
as to latitude and longitude and other such like data to be used
in map making.
The canoe reached the mouth of the San Poil river late in
the afternoon where they found a considerable fishing camp
of San Poil Indians and camped with them that night. They
got away about noon the next day and had considerable trouble
in the various rapids that afternoon and put up at seven o'clock
at some place probably a little below the mouth of the Nespelem.
On Friday, the 5th of July, they got away at 6:30 A. M. and
immediately began encountering more bad water, and shortly
met on the bank a Nespelem chief and sixty men with their
women and children. They spent the day with these Indians.
Where these Indians were met and visited with, is hard to say
from the journal entries, but it seems probable that it was some
distance below where the Wild Goose Bill ferry, or Condon's
Ferry as it is also called, is now located, but the entries would
indicate that the start next morning was made from just below
the Box Canyon or "Whirlpool Rapids" as it appears on the
map. They got started at 6:30 the next morning (Saturday,
July 6th). The record of this day is interesting to us. After
reading a considerable number of notations as to courses and
distances covered in the first hour or two of travel, we find
this entry:
"Last course fine view and see the high woody mountains of
the Oachenawawgan River. S. 70 W. Yz mile N. 65 W. 1 M.,
S. 55 W. 1 M.   This course is over flat when the water is low.
 Fine current.  Inepaclis is the name of
the tribe we left this morning, and the home of those we now
arrive at is Smeethowe to whence we came at 10 A. M. We
put ashore. On our approaching they gave several long thankful OYs. I sent my Sempoil to invite them to smoke. The
Chief received the message thankfully and they began to collect a small present, having done which I again invited them
and they came forward and sat down in a ring and began
smoking without any ceremony. The women then advanced
all ornamented with fillets and small feathers, dancing in a body 10
Judge William C. Brown
to a tune of a mild song which they sang. When close to the
men an old man directed them to sit down all around the men
on the outside, with the children etc. Then in place they
smoked with the men.  Having smoked awhile I explained to the chief by means of the Sempoil my intention on
going to the sea to open a road to bring merchandise to trade
with them, which they thankfully received and wished a good
voyage. They said the river was tolerably free hence to
another (branch of) this tribe and that they would inform
me of some distance beyond again, as their knowledge reached
no further. Having accepted of the presents they brought,
3 roasted salmon and about half a bushel of arrowroot berries,
I made them a present of two feet of tobacco, 6 rings, 6 hawks
bells and two awls and 4 in. (tobacco) to the chief. At noon
we left these friendly people and went down S. 46 E. 2 M. ^
M. Put ashore on the right. The Indians brought us horses
and the chief with four young men came with them and brought
part of our goods to the foot of the rapids, the rest was run
down in the canoe on the right for 1 M. The rapid is very
/Strong but good in the middle to near the end, then on the
right. Gave chief 2 feet of tobacco, and each of the young
men 1 & J| feet for their trouble and they thankfully left us.
At 1:10 P. M. embarked canoe. (Here follows several lines
of courses and distances as they proceed down stream, then
journal continues.) At 2:30 P. M. saw the first sheep, Michel
went after it, but the wind had started it. At 2:52 P. M. a
cliff. Killed two rattle snakes. Co. 1 M. S. 20 W. 1 M. S.
56 W. 1 M. End of course S. R. (strong rapids) and islands,
good between the isle on the left. Course S. 65 W. 1 M. S.
55 W. 2 M. The country is now very rude and mountainous
but bare of wood, except on some of the heights. N. 75 W.
1 & Yz M. A very strong head wind most of the day. (More
courses and distances, then journal continues.) We saw mountains before us whose tops have much snow in places, S. 33 W.
1 & y2 M. S. 5 W. 1 & y2 M. y2 M. of Co. gone. Put up
at 6 P. M. on the left among high rude lands. Steep to the
right. The early part of the day was strong rapids, walked
part of the way up a high bank etc. Part fine current, latter
part again very strong R. current and strong whirlpools. Observed for latitude, longitude, etc."
This is the record of Saturday, July 6th, 1811,. left us by
Thompson as he noted it down that day. It shows that they
were making excellent time, almost steamboat time of today. Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail
They started at 6:40 A. M. considerable distance above where
Bridgeport now is and camped that evening at a point that
appears to have been almost down to the present site of
Wenatchee, for the record of the next day shows that they
passed early what appears to be Rock Island Rapids. As
near as we can calculate from the journal entries, it is likely
that he passed the mouth of the Okanogan about 9 in the
forenoon, for he came to the Smeethowe Indians, as he says,
at 10 o'clock. It seems strange that he does not mention
observing the mouth of the Okanogan as he passed, and this
is especially so after having mentioned the fact that they
were approaching it and caught the fine view of "the high
woody mountains of the Oachenawawgan river," as he writes
it. Furthermore, his journal of the day before also shows a
mention of the river. The record indicates that he passed
through across Columbia bar by the way of the channels that
exist there in high water, but which are dry in low water. His
guides must have told him of this, for he mentions it in his
journal as will be observed. As the Columbia was very high
at the time, possibly he failed to distinguish the mouth of
the Okanogan from the many sloughs and water courses that
exist there in high water. It is also apparent that the Indians
were gathered at the mouth of the Methow (Thompson's
Smeethowe) as it was the salmon fishing season and the mouth
of that stream was of old a great Indian fishery, so for that
place Thompson headed and did not stop at the mouth of the
Okanogan. He leaves the Indian camp at the mouth of the
Methow at noon' and after traveling two and a half miles
encounters the difficulties of the Methow rapids. Although
Thompson and his party were undoubtedly the first to reach
this part of the Columbia, nevertheless it is apparent from the
journal entries of this day and the days immediately preceding
and following, that these Indians along here had already become quite well acquainted with white men and also knew
the value of having traders establish regular relations with
them. Possibly some of them had visited the Flathead posts
of the Northwest Company, for the Flatheads are of a kindred 12
Judge William C. Brown
stock and speak very much the same language as the Okano-
gans, Chelans, San Poils, etc., and these tribes were all mutually friendly with each other. We also know that the Okano-
gans and their neighboring tribes used to frequently visit the
coast in the vicinity of the mouth of the Fraser, going thence
sometimes by the Methow route and sometimes by the Simil-
kameen route. On the coast they would come in contact with
the trading ships, or at least with Indians familiar with the
white traders from the ships. Thompson does not, however,
mention that they had any guns or other articles of civilized
manufacture amongst them, and his silence in that regard
indicates that they had none.
Now to return to the Stuart party, which we left on July
31st, a short distance below the Dalles or the long narrows as
they called the place at that time. On August 5th, they finally
got safely over them, but in making the portage, had some
trouble with the Indians gathered there. Day by day Ross
chronicles the progress of the canoes of the Stuart party up
the Columbia. We will not attempt to follow the itinerary
of the party day by day. At "Priest Rapids" they picked up
an Indian who was a medicine man and he continued with
them to the mouth of the Okanogan in charge of their horses,
of which they purchased a goodly number at the various Indian
camps they encountered along the river. This Indian, Ross
constantly refers to as the priest, and says they named the
rapids where they got him "Priest Rapids." On the 24th of
August, they reached the mouth of the Pisquowsh river, the
Wah-na-a-cha of the Lewis & Clark map, the Wenatshapam
of the Yakima language or the Wenatchee of today. The
name is Piskowish on Thompson's map and appears as Pis-
scows on the map of Ross. Here they met Indians in great
numbers and the chief, Sopa, made them a present of two
horses and they purchased four more, giving for each one yard
of print and two yards of red gartering which was so highly
prized by the Indians, that horses from all quarters were
brought to them, but they declined to buy more. On August
25th, they passed the mouth of the Intyclook, the Entiat of Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail        13
today. They camped that night on the wooded point above
the mouth of the Entiat. On the 26th, they reached Whitehill
rapids, a place that is hard to identify satisfactorily, but it is
either the Indian Rapids or the Chelan Rapids of the present
time. Here they saw big horn, white goats and deer on the
bluffs. On the 29th, they reached the foot of the Methow
rapids, and making a portage past them, camped that night at
the mouth of the Methow river. Here the Indians assembled in great numbers and offered them many horses for sale,
and in all respects were exceedingly kind. These were the
same Indians that Thompson had smoked and conferred with
as we have seen a few weeks before. They invited Stuart to
stay and trade through the winter asserting that their country
abounded in beaver and that there was plenty of game for food.
The Astorians remained at the mouth of the Methow over
the 30th. We will now copy verbatim what Mr. Ross has to
say in his book.
"On the 31st we parted from our friendly visitors, and shaping our course in an easterly direction along the bend of the
river, we pushed on for about nine miles till we reached the
mouth of a smooth stream called Oakinacken, which we
ascended for about two miles, leaving the main Columbia for
the first time, and then pitched our tents for the night. A
great concourse of Indians followed us all day, and encamped
with us. After acquainting them with the object of our visit
to their country, they strongly urged us to settle among them.
For some time, however, Mr. Stuart resisted their pressing
solicitations, chiefly with the view of trying their sincerity;
but, at last consenting, the chiefs immediately held a council,
and then pledged themselves to be always our friends, to kill us
plenty of beavers, to furnish us at all times with provisions
and to insure our protection and safety."
"On the 1st of September, 1811, we embarked and descended
the Oakinacken again, landed on a level spot within half a
mile of its mouth. There we unloaded, took our canoes out
of the water, and pitched our tents—which operation concluded
our long and irksome voyage of forty-two days."
"The source of the Oakinacken is 280 miles due north, and
in its course south the stream runs through three lakes to its
junction with the Columbia; it is hemmed in on the east by a 14
Judge William C. Brown
sloping range of high rocky hills at the foot of which the two
rivers meet. On the south bank of the Oakinacken, half a
mile from its mouth, was the site pitched upon for the new
It is clear from this that the Stuart party camped in the
evening of August 31st, 1811, on the banks of the Okanogan
river just about where Mary Car den's ranch is now located,
and that the site of the post which they located next day was
almost exactly where Long Jim's stables and corrals are now
situated. To be absolutely definite, it was in the extreme northwest corner of lot 2, section 17, Township 30 north Range 25
East. The Stuart party built but One building when they
founded the establishment, but others were added from time
to time during the five years that the post was maintained on
that site by the Pacific Fur Company and their successors, the
Northwesters. In the summer of 1816 a new fort was built
by the latter something over a mile away—this latter post is the
one that lasted for so many years and is the one usually referred
to when "Ft. Okanogan" is mentioned. Several large and
distinct depressions still exist on the site of the original Astor
post, plainly showing where the old cellars were, and many
fragments of masonry are scattered about, but none of it in
place. This was the first actual permanent settlement and
occupancy under the American flag in what is now the State
of Washington. At the centennial celebration held in commemoration of that event in 1911 a flag pole was erected on the
site of the old ruins.
But to return to the doings of the Stuart party. As soon
as they got their building well started, Pillette and M'Lennon
with two of the men were dispatched back to Astoria in one
of the canoes, and as soon as they had the building complete,
Mr. Stuart, with Montigny and the two remaining men (one
of which was Michel Boullard) came up the Okanogan river,
traveling with pack and saddle horses. These were the first
white men that ever traveled through the Okanogan valley.
They continued on far to the north, passed along by Okanogan
Lake and proceeded over the height of land on to the Thomp- Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail
son river into the country of the Shu-swap Indians, near where
the city of Kamloops now stands, and they did not return for
a period of one hundred and eighty-eight days. While Mr.
Stuart was on the Thompson river he made arrangements
to establish a trading post there the ensuing winter. He arrived back at Okanogan March 22nd, 1812. During the six
months and over that he was absent, during the winter of 1811
and 1812 Ross was in charge at Fort Okanogan, and he has
this to say in his book in regard to what he did there in the
way of trade that winter:
"During Mr. Stuart's absence of 188 days I had procured
1550 beavers, besides other peltries, worth in the Canton
(China) market 2,250 pounds sterling, and which on an
average stood the concern in but 5y> pence apiece, valuing the
merchandise at sterling cost, or in round numbers 35 pounds
sterling; a specimen of our trade among the Indians."
Ross devotes considerable space in his "Adventures" to his
experiences during that first winter at Fort Okanogan.
On March 22nd, 1812, another party consisting of seventeen
men was made up at Astoria and placed under command of
Robert Stuart, a nephew of David. A portion of this brigade
was to proceed overland to St. Louis, with dispatches for Mr.
Astor at New York, and another portion carried supplies to
Ft. Okanogan and was to bring back the results of the winter
trade. After many vicissitudes and Indian fights on the lower
river, this party arrived at Okanogan April 24, 1812, and after
remaining five days left for Astoria again, carrying approximately 2,500 beaver skins. Mr. David Stuart accompanied
this party and left Ross at Okanogan for the summer. Mr.
Ross left Donald M'Gillis in charge and started with Boullard
and an Indian with sixteen pack and saddle horses on a trading
excursion up the Okanogan river to the country of the Shu-
swaps, following very closely Mr. Stuart's route of the winter
before. They had a very successful trading trip and arrived
back at Okanogan July 12, 1812. David Stuart got back from
Astoria with a stock of goods, August 12, 1812, and on August
25th he and his men left Fort Okanogan to winter among the
Shu-swaps at Kamloops.    Ross was again left in charge at 16
Judge William C. Brown
Fort Okanogan for the winter of 1812 and 1813. He escorted
Mr. Stuart as far as Osoyoos Lake and then returned to prepare his post for the winter operations. After spending the
fall of 1812 in various trading excursions to nearby points,
he left Fort Okanogan, December 2nd, to pay a visit to Mr.
John Clarke, at Fort Spokane, which was a post that had just
been established by the Astor Company along side of "Spokane
House," which was the name of the post as we have heretofore
seen, that was established and maintained by the Northwest
Ross got back to his post from Spokane, December 14th,
1812, but nearly lost his own life and the lives of all his men
and horses in a big snow storm that they encountered in the
Big Bend country. On December 20th, he set out to visit
Mr. Stuart at the Kamloops post. Ross calls it "Cumcloups."
He arrived there on the last day of the year 1812. Here we
find the enterprise and energy of the Northwesters again in
evidence. They had established a post alongside Mr. Stuart's
establishment. Mr. Ross has this to say of the conditions prevailing at Kamloops:
"There was opposition there as well as at Mr. Clarke's
place, but without the trickery and maneuvering, M. LaRocque,
the Northwest clerk in charge, and Mr. Stuart, were open and
candid, and on friendly terms. The field before them was wide
enough for both parties, and, what is more, they thought so;
consequently they followed a fair and straightforward course
of trade; with Mr. Stuart I remained five days, and in coming
home I took a near and unknown route, in order to explore
a part of the country I had not seen before."
Mr. Ross evidently returned from Kamloops through by
Nicola Lake and struck the Similkameen some place near
where Princeton now stands. He came down that river and
struck the Okanogan river at the "forks," as he says, and got
to Fort Okanogan, January 24th, 1813. On May 13th, 1813,
Mr. Stuart arrived at Fort Okanogan from the Kamloops
country with a rich catch of fur. They remained at Okanogan
ten days, packing, pressing and loading the furs, and then
Ross and Stuart with a crew of men set out with the canoes Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail
for the rendezvous at the mouth of the Walla Walla. Ross
goes into a world of details in regard to all of these happenings, he traveled up and down the Okanogan country from the
mouth of the river to the head of Okanogan Lake time and
again. He made one exploring trip into the Methow country
and evidently crossed the main range of the Cascades, and got
well down on the Skagit, but did not reach tide water. He
took unto himself, at Fort Okanogan, an Indian girl of the
Okanogan tribe, and when he returned to Winnipeg, about
1825, he took her and his half-breed children with him, and
the Pacific Northwest knew them no more. Ross became prominent in Manitoba and Assiniboia. His third book which appeared in 1856, the year of his death, referred entirely to the
Winnipeg country, and is entitled "The Red River Settlement."
Stuart and Ross reached the rendezvous at the mouth of
the Walla Walla May 30th, 1813, and a few days afterward the
brigades began arriving from up the Snake river and overland from Spokane. By this time the tidings of the breaking
out of the war between United States and Great Britain had
reached the Columbia. Upon arrival of the consolidated brigades at Astoria, June 14th, 1813, a council of the partners
was held. There was found to be dissension amongst the partners and a feeling of discouragement and dismay pervaded the
meeting on account of the news of the war and their wholly unprotected situation from an attack by a British war ship or privateer. There was'also great dissatisfaction among some in regard to Mr. Astor's management of the company, and to crown
it all, the opposition of the Northwest Company was getting
stronger. It was decided, however, after much discussion, to
attempt to continue the enterprise for another year in spite
of the hazards and difficulties, and preparations were at once
made to send out the wintering parties again. The outward
bound brigades left Astoria in a body on July 5th, 1813, Stuart
and Ross for the Okanogan and Kamloops country, Clarke
for the Spokane country and McKenzie for the Willamette
country.   Resolutions were also passed authorizing McDougal, 18
Judge William C. Brown
the head factor at Astoria to sell out everything to the Northwest Company at any time if the situation became desperate
and that company could be induced to buy.
On August 15, 1913, the brigades reached Fort Okanogan.
Here Ross was left in charge again for the winter. Clarke and
his men proceeded with their goods to Spokane and David
Stuart took the now well known pack train route up this river
to winter again at Kamloops, among the Shu-swaps.
We have now reached the beginning of the end of the Astor
Company. Events were fast culminating that operated to
change the course of things for many years to come, for the
Northwesters were quick to see the opportunity offered them
by the war and the defenseless condition of the Astor establishments on the Columbia, and they took advantage of the
situation with great vigor. Without going into details, Duncan McDougal, the partner in charge at Astoria, sold out the
whole Astorian enterprise on the Pacific to the Northwest
Company in November, of the same year (1813). The American flag was hauled down and the British Jack was run up
in its stead. The name of the place was changed from Astoria
to Fort George.
All of the inland posts including Fort Okanogan, of course,
now passed to the Northwest Company. Fort Okanogan was
turned over December 15th, 1813. Ross entered the service
of the Northwest Company and was placed in charge for the
new management. His second book starts with his service
under the new regime, and as before stated, it is entitled "Fur
Hunters of the Far West." It opens with an account of a trip
from Fort Okanogan overland to the Yakima country for the
purpose of acquiring horses. Many horses were maintained
at Fort Okanogan as long as the fur from the north continued
to come down the trail along this river. They grazed these
extensive horse bands on what is now the southwestern portion
of the South Half. There were many wolves in this country
in the early days and both Ross and Cox in their books made
frequent mention of the depredations of these fierce animals
upon the horse bands grazing in the vicinity of the fort.   They Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail
also mention the existence of elk and antelope in the country
in those days. Ross continued in charge at Fort Okanogan
until the spring of 1816. He was succeeded by Ross Cox,
who was a very bright and highly educated young Irishman.
To him was entrusted the rebuilding and remodeling of the
fort. He goes into the matter in detail and has left us a very
fair map of the immediate vicinity around the mouth of the
Okanogan. We will copy only the following excerpts from his
work in regard to the fort which he rebuilt as above stated in
the summer of 1816:
"By the month of September we had erected a new dwelling
house for the person in charge, containing four excellent rooms
and a large dining hall, two good houses for the men and a
spacious store for the furs and merchandise to which was attached a shop for trading with the natives. The whole was
surrounded by strong palisades fifteen feet high and flanked
by two bastions. Each bastion had in its lower story a light
brass four-pounder, and the upper loop-holes were left for the
use of musketry."
The new establishment was built about a mile and a quarter
southeast of the original post, and was situated on the bank
of the Columbia so as to command the same. A few depressions where the old cellars were, constitute the only traces
visible on the surface today. But some excavating would probably reveal much that would be interesting in the way of relics.
Some of the buildings of the establishment were standing as
late as the early sixties and a few old timers, both Indians and
whites still living, are able to remember it. The ground where
it stood is now included in Lot 7, Section 21, Township 30,
N. Range 25, E. W. M.
By the time the new post had been built (1816) the place
had become important as the gate-way to the New Caledonia
country. It was here that the goods for the posts of that region
were taken from the boats and transferred to the pack trains
that were to carry the same over the Okanogan trail to Kamloops thence on to Fort Alexandria, where the transfer was
made to boats or canoes again, the ultimate destination being
Fort George, Fort St. James and the other trading stations of 20
Judge William C. Brown
the vast New Caledonia region. And again it was at Fort
Okanogan that the fur from New Caledonia was transferred
from the horse brigades in the spring en route for the mouth of
the Columbia. It was also a regular stopping place for all
the overland and upper Columbia brigades and likewise a meeting place where the Colville, the New Caledonia and other
brigades waited to join each other on the down river trip. As
a primary trading post, it was not a place of much importance
after the first few years of its existence, at no time after the
amalgamation of the companies was any considerable amount
of fur obtained there. But as a stopping place, storage station, meeting point and particularly as the New Caledonia
gateway, it was an important place for a long period of years,
and this statement is substantially true of the place from the
time of its very beginning under the Astor Company in 1811,
till about 1847, and in some respects for ten years after that.
Fort Okanogan was likewise a great horse rendezvous for both
the Northwesters and the H. B. Company, and at times considerable herds of cattle were kept there also. Owing to its
peculiar line of usefulness no officer of the company was
regularly stationed there after the amalgamation in 1821, but
some trusted employe of long service was left in control. It
is impossible to make out who these men were at all times. The
two most often mentioned in the reports, journals and historical writings of those times, are La Pratt and Joachin
LeFleur. The former is often mentioned in the journals of
Todd, Work and Douglas. Lieut. Johnson of the Wilkes expedition also says he was there in charge when he visited the
place in 1841. This La Pratt, or La Prade, or La Prate, as
name is variously spelled, is often mentioned as being hi
charge of Fort Okanogan, but I can find no place where he
is specifically designated by his first name also as being in
charge there. But on the whole it seems conclusive that he
was Alexis La Prate or La Prade whose name is often mentioned and appears in several lists. He was put in charge
some time in the thirties and remained in charge a number of
years—he certainly was there in 1841 and 1842.   His successor Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail
or predecessor, I cannot make out for certain which, was Jean
Gingras (or Grango) who afterwards went to the Willamette
Valley and settled. This Gingras is said to have voted at
Champoeg in May, 1843, with the other French settlers against
the organization of the provisional government. Then came
Joachin La Fleur, a very competent and reliable employee who
was in charge off and on from about 1843 till about 1853.
By this time the necessity for longer maintaining the fort had
ceased as far as the business of the Hudson Bay Company was
concerned, and they would have been willing to abandon it but
feared to do so until their claims for indemnity from the United
States under the treaty of 1846 had been settled. About this
time, a step-son of Joachim La Fleur was placed in charge
and he was the last. This man was a French half-breed named
Francois Duchouquette, very likely a son of that person of
the same name mentioned and listed by Alexander Henry in his
journals. His mother was an Okanogan woman whose baptismal name was "Margaret" but whom the French called
"La Petit" on account of her small size. According to her
descendants living in this vicinity, her father's name was Siah-
ko-ken, and she was a sister of La-pa-cheen, a prominent Okanogan chief of those days. This Francois Duchouquette has
been mentioned a number of times in writings appertaining to
the gold rush of 1858-9 and 60 over the Okanogan trail to the
Fraser and elsewhere in that direction, but always by his first
name only, and. that invariably misspelled in every instance
that I have encountered. Sometimes it is spelled "Franswa"
and sometimes it appears as "Frenchway." In one place he
is termed "old Frenchway." But why he should be termed
"old" is strange and conveys a mistaken idea, for the local information available in regard to him clearly proves that he was
not over forty years of age in 1860 and some who surely ought
to know say he was not over thirty at that time. Francois was
in charge at the old fort from about 1853 or 1854 till June,
1860. Under orders from the company he moved all the goods
and property from the fort by pack train on or about June
18th or 19th, 1860, and took the same to a point on the Simil- 22
Judge William C. Brown
kameen river about two miles below the present town of Kere-
meos and established a new trading station there. Francois
died at Keremeos a few years afterwards. He is said to have
been a very intelligent person and a good business man, but
much addicted to Hudson's Bay rum. I quote the following
from a recent article by Mr. Robert Stevenson, of Princeton,
B. C, entitled "The Story of a Trip Through the Okanogan
Valley in the Summer of 1860." Mr. Stevenson, then a young
man, was with a party of gold seekers headed for the placer
mines of Rock Creek in British Columbia.
"—we pushed on crossing the Wenatchee, Chelan, Antiatka,
so called by the Indians at that time—the Methow, and reached
the Okanogan river on the evening of the 16th (June, 1860).
On the morning of the 17th Capt. Collins called for volunteers to go to Fort Okanogan to get a boat in which to cross
the Okanogan river. An Indian guide had informed us that
we were then four miles from the fort. Five other men and
myself volunteered for the duty, and crossing the river on
a sort of a raft went to the fort. Fort Okanogan was a station owned by the Hudson Bay company, and was in charge
of a chief factor by the name of Franswa, a half breed French
and Indian. At the time of our visit all the Indians in that
part of the country were congregated at the fort assisting the
factor in packing up the goods preparatory to moving the
post to Keremeos in British Columbia. The goods were packed
m Hudson Bay "parflushes" made of raw hide, and loads were
arranged for 150 horses. The post was to be abandoned the
following day, and no goods were on sale that day.
To clear up a seeming misunderstanding as to the exact
location of Fort Okanogan I will at this point state that when
I visited the fort on June 17 1860, it was located on the west
or north bank of the Columbia river, about two miles above,
the mouth of the Okanogan. The location is so clearly fixed
in my mind because of the necessity of descending the Columbia in a boat from the fort before we could enter the Okanogan,
up which our camp was located. The fort consisted of a
stockade built of fir trees, 14 to 20 inches in diameter and
twenty feet long, standing on end with the lower end firmly
planted in the ground. Entrance to this stockade was by
means of a strong gate. A space of 60 to 80 feet square was
enclosed and all buildings opened to the center, and the walls
of the stockade were firmly braced on the inside. Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail
Franswa informed me that he would not hire me a boat,
but would lend one. The boat was a two ton affair and was
the same one that had been used by the McLaughlin party
in crossing the Okanogan higher up in 1858 at the time of the
big Indian fight. The factor pointed out nine bullet holes
in the stern of the boat, relics of the Indian attack. We six
manned the boat and started for camp. The current was
very strong in the Columbia, but the Okanogan was placid as
a lake. On arrival at camp we found five Indians there trying
to buy whiskey—"
We get a cross check on the above reference to the boat
for James McLaughlin in an interview published in the Spokesman Review, a number of years ago, is quoted as saying: "We
had reached a point four miles above the mouth of the Okanogan, where we found the Indians reinforced . . . and
tried to prevent our crossing. Old Frenchway, as he was
called, allowed us to take his canoes, and I crossed in the
evening with twenty-one men—"
The following extracts are quoted from letters recently written by Mr. Stevenson to me in reference to the last days of
Fort Okanogan:
"Franswa was not old at all. He was a short, stout French
half breed, and not any more than thirty years of age in 1860
when I first saw him at old Fort Okanogan. He came to
Keremeos in June 1860 and died there in 1863 and is buried
on "Shuttelworth" creek about one mile north of the present
town of Keremeos. Yes, he was educated some. Could read
and write and was a pretty good bookkeeper.
"The first building put up by Franswa is still standing
on the old Cawston ranch 2 & y* miles below Keremeos and
I saw it last only two years ago. I know it well for I was
in the store many times in 1861 when I was Custom House
Officer at Osoyoos Lake under Sir James Douglas when
British Columbia was a Crown Colony, and Franswa was in
charge there.    (Keremeos)"
In May, 1912, old Joseph La Fleur, through the joint efforts of the Indian Department and the Washington State
Historical Society, was brought to the site of old Fort Okanogan to identify places there, for the information of the government in creating an historical park. I quote the following
items from his statement taken down at that time, viz: 24
Judge William C. Brown
"My father was succeeded at Fort Okanogan by my half-
brother, who was much older than me. His name was Francois. He was not called La Fleur. He was called Francois
Deswauchette. Francois remained in charge till the last. I
think that was about six years after my father left. The
Hudson Bay company then moved away everything.
Question.    They moved it to Kamloops, didn't they?
Answer.    No, to the Similkameen.
Question.   Can you tell us where on the Similkameen?
Answer.   No, I did not go with them there and I don't know.
Question.   Do you know the name of the place?
Answer. No, I don't know the name, except that the In-
dions called it Keremeos. The Hudson Bay company kept
a store there for quite a long time and Francois stayed there
till he died I am told. That place was on the Similkameen trail
which the Hudson Bay people used in going over to Fort
Hope on the Fraser.
Question. Did you know a Frenchman at Ft. Okanogan
named La Pratt? Answer. Yes I knew La Pratt. He was
there in charge when I was about ten years old I think,
Sometimes one man was in charge, sometimes another. They
were always travelling up and down. Sometimes they went,
to Vancouver, sometimes to Colville, sometimes to Kamloops
and sometimes to other places, but La Pratt was there in charge
for awhile.
Question. Did you know Mr. Anderson? Answer. Yes
he was there at Okanogan many times.
Question. Did you ever know of Samuel Black? Answer.
Oh, yes I knew of Black. He was killed at Kamloops by an
Indian. My father was there at the time and I was there
too. I was a very young boy then but I was old enough to
know that Black was killed. It was a man by the name of
William Peon that went out and got the Indian, afterwards
the Indian was killed.
I came down from Kamloops with a big pack train once
when my father was in charge. I made several trips with
pack trains between Okanogan and Kamloops. My father
most always took all the family when he went to Kamloops,
and sometimes we stayed at Kamloops several years at a
time. Those big pack trains that carried the furs down in
the summer and carried the goods up in the fall travelled
about fifteen miles a day. When we left Okanogan the train
usually got a late start and we did not go far the first day,
probably about six or seven miles above the mouth of the Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail
river. The next night we usually got about to where Salmon
Creek comes into the Okanogan. The Indians called that
creek Con-con-ulps, the second night after that we would
get probably to Bonaparte creek and the next night to Osoyoos
Lake. From there we kept on up the Okanogan valley past
the lakes to Penticton and around the east side of Okanogan
Lake, and on through to Kamloops, When the Hudson Bay
people used to come into Okanogan from the other places
there was often many people there."
Joe's father, Old Joachim La Fleur, left Okanogan about
1853, and went to the Colville valley, and is said to have started
a little store of his own near where Marcus now is. He was
murdered some time along in the sixties near Walla Walla,
where he had gone to buy a supply of goods. Descendants
of the Gingras, La Fleur and Duchouquette families are living now on the Colville and Spokane reservations. Many of
the old folks amongst them were born at or near old Fort
Okanogan, and are capable of relating reminiscences of the
olden times. Peter Skene Ogden is well remembered. But
not by that name. He is referred to as "Pete Og-den," with
accent strong on the last syllable. They also frequently mention a personage whom they designate as "Old Pete." This,
I take to be none other than the great Peter Skene Ogden
himself. One of Gingras clan recently recited to me in
French, a fragment of a ditty about the famous old trader that
must date back three-quarters of a century. It is not quite
suitable for print, however. One of the most interesting relics
of the fur trading days that is still with us is old Joe La Fleur,
above mentioned. He is about 80 years of age, but still retains
all his faculties substantially unimpaired and speaks English
fairly well. He is a son of the well known Joachim La Fleur,
hereinbefore mentioned, and a half brother of Francois
Duchouquette. He was born at Fort Okanogan in 1834, and
was baptised by Father Demears there in 1838, on the first
trip of that missionary down the Columbia. Joe's boyhood
and early manhood was spent with his family between Okanogan and Kamloops and he remembers Todd, Work, Douglas,
Anderson and all the others of that time; he even recalls the 26
Judge William C. Brown
murder of Chief Factor Black at Kamloops in 1841, he being
a boy of some 6 or 7, and was there at the time. John Todd's
journal also shows that the La Fleur family was at Kamloops
The history of Fort Okanogan could be written almost year
by year if all available sources of information were drawn
upon. The works of Ross covers the years from 1811 to 1816
and to some extent later. Cox covers 1813 to 1816. Fran-
chere's "Narrative" indirectly relates to Okanogan more or
less from 1811 to 1814. The journals of John Work commence
in the early twenties and cover many years. He was much at
Okanogan and he is the most valuable original source as to the
place in the twenties and thirties, as he gives us a wealth
of the every day occurrences there, mostly the comings and
goings incident to the trade. For the period about 1841 the
journal of John Todd, written while in charge at Kamloops,
tells us a very great deal about what was going on at Okanogan
during that time. For Okanogan and Kamloops were next
door neighbors in those days and there was much intercourse
between the two places. Another very valuable source of
original information in regard to Fort Okanogan and the other
Hudson Bay Company posts in old Oregon, is the testimony
given in the matter of the adjustment of the claims of the
Hudson Bay Company against the United States for the payment of indemnity on account of the giving up of their posts
and' lands. The record of these proceedings, including a
transcript of the testimony, was printed by government authority, and the same fills a set of books comprising many volumes.
It is said that there is only one library in the United States
possessing a complete set, and that is in the Congressional
Library at Washington, but there is a partial set in the library
of the State University at Seattle. The testimony was taken
mostly by deposition at various places along in the middle
sixties. Many officers and exofficers of the Hudson Bay
Company testified as to the use the company had made of the
old fort, and also how they had for a great many years utilized
for grazing purposes a wide extent of range adjacent thereto. Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail
The most interesting witness for the company is Mr. Alexander Caufield Anderson, who had been in charge of the post
for a number of years in the late forties and early fifties
as a dependency of Colville. He described the buildings in
detail and testified to the value of the whole establishment.
Among other things he said the stretch of country used for
a horse range was in the shape of a triangle, each side of
which was about 25 or 30 miles long. That it was bounded
as follows, commencing at the mouth of the Okanogan river,
thence up the Columbia to The Dalles (Box canyon of the present time), thence along the range of hills to the "montee"
on the Okanogan river, thence down the Okanogan to the
mouth. Now where was the "montee"? No one now living
knows as far as can be learned. The testimony of the witnesses for the United States tends to show that Fort Okanogan
had become a very dilapidated, run down and worthless establishment years before its final abandonment, and had for all
practical purposes been abandoned in the middle fifties. On
the other hand, the witnesses for the Hudson Bay Company
say it was, up till about 1847, a very important post of the
company, and that it was still valuable. The company's witnesses attempted to carry the idea that the post was not even
abandoned as late as 1864, but admitted that all the goods and
people had been removed some years before that, and that
a local Indian living there was all that had been left in charge,
but none of their witnesses pretended to know if the said
Indian was still there or not when they were giving their
testimony, in 1865, or thereabouts. It is very apparent, indeed, that the witnesses for the claimant did not care to disclose just when the company ceased to maintain Fort Okanogan
as a trading post, and attempted by indirection, to stretch
the time a few years so as to make their claim for damages
as strong as possible. A careful consideration of all the sources
of information that I have been able to find as to the probable
date of the abandonment of Fort Okanogan by the Hudson
Bay Company, has confirmed me in the opinion that my information is correct upon which I base the statement that 28
Judge William C. Brown
Fort Okanogan was virtually and for all practical purposes
abandoned when Francois and his men moved the property
and furnishings away on or about June 18 or 19, 1860, and
took the same to Keremeos, where a new post was erected.
We will not attempt a detailed narrative of the occurrences at Fort Okanogan in the twenties, thirties and forties.
Perhaps a few entries from such journals as those of Work,
Anderson or Todd, might be profitably copied, for the same
would give, to a certain degree, a very good idea of the general run of the happenings, and reflect a faithful picture as
to what manner of place Fort Okanogan really was in those
times, but those matters can be so much better obtained from
the journals themselves that we will offer no second-hand
recital of any fragments here. The reader of such journals
as those above mentioned will find the names of about all
the prominent figures in the fur trade, identified with the
history of the place. One year Connolly comes down with
the new Caledonia fur, always a big brigade of several hundred horses. He is accompanied by young Douglas, afterwards the great Sir James. At Okanogan they find that
the Spokane brigade has been waiting for them nearly a
week. A day or so is spent in repacking furs and transferring them to the boats, and the consolidated outfits proceed down the Columbia to Fort Vancouver, leaving the
horses to recruit themselves during the summer on the broad
bunch grass ranges abounding along the Okanogan. Oft-
times the waiting brigades would be indulged by the officers in
a regale, and the place in consequence be the scene of great
festivity. Traditions in regard to these regales, some of
which appear to have been famous affairs, in which drinking,
feasting, gambling, dancing and horse racing were the leading features, are about the principal thing remembered by the
half breed descendants of the old voyagers. In November,
1824, Governor Simpson (afterwards Sir George) stopped over
for a day or two at Okanogan on his famous trip across the
continent. With him was Doctor McLoughlin coming to
take charge of the entire business of the company on this Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail
Coast, and destined to win undying fame. Another year
Dease has charge of the brigades gathering at Okanogan.
Again and again it is Ogden who comes down with the big
brigade from the north and goes back with the goods in the
fall. Once or twice it was Francis Ermatinger, and so on.
Throughout the year Okanogan was the scene of constant
comings and goings.
The last New Caledonia brigade came over the old trail
from Kamloops to Okanogan in 1847. On account of the
treaty of 1846, fixing the boundary on the 49th parallel, and
further, on account of the breaking out of the war between
the Americans and the Cayuse Indians, rendering the Columbia route unsafe for brigades carrying furs and property aggregating great value, orders were sent out early in 1848 by
express from Vancouver to the officers in charge of the interior posts to break their way through with the brigades
of that year, over the Cascades to the mouth of the Fraser.
After many a reconnoisance and much expense, a trail was
opened by which pack trains could manage to travel, and
the course of the same was pretty much the same as that along
which the Victoria, Vancouver & Isastern Railway is now
building, that is, up the Similkameen and over the divide
to the head of the Coquihalla and down that stream to Fort
Hope on the Fraser, thence to the mouth of that river. This
continued to be the route used by the Hudson Bay Company
between the coast and the inland posts of Colville, Okanogan,
Thompson river, etc., for the next ensuing ten years or more.
This is what was known in fur trading parlance as the "Fort
Hope Trail." The year 1848 saw no brigade come to Fort
Okanogan, bound either up or down. The old Okanogan
trail was to see them no more—they were gone forever. Fort
Okanogan from that time forward was of small importance,
but the company continued it as we have seen for something
like twelve years more before finally discontinuing it. Gen.
McClellan passed through by it in 1853, and in his report calls
it a "ruinous establishment." The place came into some passing prominence in 1858, when the Fraser river gold rush was 30
Judge William C. Brown
on, for quite a few parties went in over the old Okanogan
and Fort Hope trails. One of these parties encountered in
September of that year the well known fight with the Indians
in McLoughlin canyon and another sharp scrimmage occurred
a day or two later near where Oroville now stands. Joel
Palmer was the first to bring wagons up through the Okanogan valley. His pioneer trip is said to have been made in
July, 1858. The train consisted of nine wagons with three
or four yoke of oxen to each. They came from Wallula to
Okanogan, where the wagons were unloaded and they crossed
them and the merchandise over the Columbia in boats obtained at the old fort. The cattle were made to swim. The
outfit then worked its way up the Okanogan valley to Okanogan Lake, where it was found necessary to build rafts to
pass the wagons and the merchandise. The stock was driven
around through the hills on the old pack trail. The train
ultimately reached Kamloops. Palmer made a second trip
in 1859, in about the same way. From 1859 on, there was
considerable travel in one way and another from Walla Walla,
The Dalles and other Columbia river points, to the British
Columbia mines, which went up over the Okanogan trail.
Some of these old-time gold hunters and freighters stopped
off and settled in the Okanogan country, and they became
what has come to be commonly accepted as the "first settlers"
of the Okanogan. Such was "Okanogan Smith" and his contemporaries.
We know but little of the Okanogan Indians back of the
time the whites first reached this section. They have almost
no traditional history of their past, their migrations or their
wars, that is of any historical value that I have been able
to learn. We can, however, in a measure, pierce the past
for a few decades back of 1800, and discern what manner
of people they were, it being substantially the same as it was
after the traders located amongst them, except insofar as
articles of civilized manufacture altered their mode of life,
which was not to any very great degree. The Okanogans
are of the Salish stock, and belong to the same family of Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail
tribes as the Chelans, Wenatchees (properly Wenatshapam or
Pisquowsh), Nespelems, San Poils, Similkameens, Thompson
River Okanogans, and likewise the Flatheads of Northwestern
Montana belong to the same linguistic group, as do also certain Indians living on the lower Fraser, even down to its
mouth. The Okanogans and their immediate and closely related neighbors of the same stock occupied a country from
about Priest Rapids, on the south, to some distance above and
beyond Thompson river on the north. The Yakimas, Walla
Wallas, Umatillas, etc., joined them on the south, and the
Denes on the north. Alexander Ross is the greatest authority
in regard to them at the time when the whites first arrived.
The original meaning of the name "Okanogan," or "Oak-kay-
nock-kin," or "O-kin-nah-kein," as the Indians pronounce it
(as near as I can reproduce it in English spelling), is unknown now. The derivation appears to be irretrievably lost.
The same is true of nearly all Indian geographical names in
this section. Some of their ideas and stories of the remote
past are valuable in that they throw side lights on known
historical facts and assist us in drawing conclusions. For
instance, the old Indians think the Okanogans always had
horses. This indicates that they have been in possession of
these animals for many generations. My investigations have
led me to believe that horses had reached the Indians of the
Columbian plains at least 150 years before the time of Lewis
and Clark, and this is not strange, for the horse and mule
population in Mexico was immense by the year 1600, and
the animals could have been moved northward from tribe
to tribe with comparative facility. Another interesting story
that is persistently told by the old folks among the Okanogans
is that a few buffaloes at one time existed in their country.
I have heard this so much and from such varied sources
that I have come to think there must be something in it.
They generally fix the vicinity of Moses Lake as the locality
where they ranged and where they were killed by their forefathers. When Lewis and Qark came through, the buffalo
herds were to be found on the west side of the Rockies, in 32 Judge William C. Brown
the region of the upper Snake river. Fremont also discusses
the western limit of the buffalo range, and puts it well west
into Idaho. From that section there are no natural barriers
which would have prevented the species from spreading to
any and all parts of old Oregon east of the Cascade range,
and my theory is that the buffaloes were in the process of
so doing and had found their way, at least in small numbers, as
far as the Big Bend country of Eastern Washington, when
the Indians began acquiring horses which enabled them to
efficiently hunt the few and meager herds, with the result
that the buffaloes were exterminated along the Columbia
before they had reached sufficient numbers to maintain themselves against the numerous mounted Indians that began to
set upon them. Had fate denied the Columbian Indian horses
for another century, it is possible that the great buffalo range
would have extended over the bunch grass plains of this
latitude between the Cascades and the Rockies, quite the
same as it did east of those mountains. This, of course, goes
far into the realm of speculation, but there is much in Indian
fable and tradition to support it, and it is not inconsistent
with known historical facts.
The Indians must have been telling the same story in the
days of Ross Cox, for he says this in his book: "The Indians
allege that buffaloes were formerly numerous about the plains,
and assert that remains of these animals are still found"
(page 228). The "plains" referred to being the Palouse, Big
Bend and Spokane countries.
The geographical nomenclature of the old days is interesting. "Okanogan Point" was the big flat at the junction
of the Okanogan with the Columbia. A fine view of this flat
is now to be had close at hand from the Great Northern trains,
and the place where the original Astor post was built, and
also the place where the later Ft. Okanogan stood so long
can be plainly seen. "Okanogan Forks" was the junction of
the Similkameen with the Okanogan. It is where Oroville
now stands. Aeneas valley, Aeneas creek, Aeneas mountains, etc., of the present day government maps and quad- Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail
rangles, is the old-time Ignace creek, Ignace valley, etc. The
French pronunciation of the same being "En-yass." The
government map makers in the field heard the name and
took it to be an attempt to say "Aeneas," hence the original
French "Ignace" has evolved into the Greek "Aeneas" on
the official maps of the government. The local pronunciation,
however, remains the same as of yore, that is "En-yass." As
to the "montee" mentioned by Anderson in his testimony, I
am at a loss to figure out where that place could have been.
The term in fur trade lingo is explained by the able editor
of, the Henry journals and there was a "montee" up on Fraser
lake spoken of by Father Morice. Whatever it was on the
Okanogan it must have been some place in the vicinity of
the present towns of Okanogan and Omak. Okanogan has
been spelled a dozen or more different ways since Thompson's time. The official spelling has now settled down to
"Okanogan" and "Okanagan," the former American, the latter
The course of the "Old Okanogan Trail" was up the east
side of the river. It started at the old fort and kept down
along the river all the way till the point of rocks at McLough-
lin's canyon was reached, then the trail climbed up into the
gorge known as McLoughlin's canyon, passed through the
same and came out on the benches beyond and reached the
river bottom again just below the mouth of Bonaparte creek,
near where the town of Tonasket is now. Up till about six
or eight years ago the old trail was as plain as ever in
many places; now there are but few spots where it may
be found. I am informed that the trail went along through
the hills on the west side of Okanogan Lake to the head
thereof, and then struck off through by Grand Prairie to
Kamloops, pretty much the same way as the wagon road
now goes from Vernon to Kamloops. The popular automobile route of today up through the Okanogan Valley and
on north to Kamloops and elsewhere up that way follows
very closely the general course of the old trail from the
mouth of the Okanogan to Kamloops.   "The Okanogan Trail" 34
Judge William C. Brown
is, however, a somewhat indefinite term, for the fur company men did not by any means travel the same path in going
over the old route. They traveled up and down on both
sides of the river and the lake, and by the Similkameen
road as well, according to how fancy or convenience moved
them. But the big heavy laden brigades followed the lines
first above stated almost invariably. A four-columned article
appeared in the Oregon Statesman of February 14, 1860,
written by Joel Palmer, wherein he describes his trips over
the Okanogan trail in 1858 and 1859. After recounting the
arrival of the wagon train at Fort Okanogan he has this
to say:
"Passing Okinakane some five miles the trail forks; with
our wagons we followed the Okinakane river trail, which is a
very good one, with the exception of about one mile over
drifting sand hills. The other trail cuts a bend in the river
and though several miles shorter, would be difficult to travel
with wagons. It is probably about fifteen miles to where
they unite on the bank of the river. It then follows up, passing several difficult points to near McLaughlin battle canyon,
where we crossed the river. With the exception of one stony
point, it is a good road onward to the mouth of the Similkameen, distant from Okinakane about sixty-five miles. Pack
trains need not cross the river, but may continue on to the
forks. Good camping grounds are found all along the river.
I am not advised as to the particular location of the newly
discovered mines, but suppose them to be within twelve or
fifteen miles of the forks of the Similkameen and Okinakane.
From this point there are several trails which have been used
in reaching the mines on Frazer and Quenelle river. The
one which we took in July 1858 with our wagons, leads
northward up the valley of Okinakane to the Great Lake
and along the western shore to its head; sometimes passing
through gaps in the mountain ranges both in the river and
lake sections; it then turns eastward (?) (westward) and
strikes a stream called Salmon river, the southern fork of
Thompson river, where it again diverges to the north and
intersects Thompson river about twenty miles above Ft.
Thompson, bearing nearly due west. Another trail—and the
one I travelled going out last spring with a pack train, follows
up the Okinakane valley eleven or twelve miles, where it
crosses a ridge and falls upon the Similkameen, follows up Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Tradl
this valley some eighty miles, where it again forks, one, and
the nearest turns to the right and leads through a gap in the
mountains striking the Hudson's Bay Brigade trail from Fort
Hope to Ft. Thompson and New Caledonia, probably eighty
or ninety miles south of Ft. Thompson and following this
trail to Alexander. The other fork, which is the Colville
and Fort Hope trail, keeps up the Similkameen a short distance and then leads over the mountains uniting with the brigade trail about 30 miles to the southward of the other fork."
The question is often asked how it happened that the buildings of old Ft. Okanogan have so completely disappeared.
There are much plainer signs and remaining traces of the
former buildings at the site of the old Astor post, than on
the site of the later post that was still in existence, and comprised a considerable number of buildings as late as the early
sixties. Of course the great length of time since the original
Ft. Okanogan of the Pacific Fur Company was abandoned
(about 97 years) easily accounts for the complete disappearance of everything there except the cellars and the chimney
stones, but the substantial buildings of log and adobe that
were in the old Ft. Okanogan of the Hudson Bay Company
in 1860, ought, under ordinary circumstances, to be to some
extent still in existence. On the contrary the signs of former
habitation are much dimmer there than on the site of the
older post. This condition may be accounted for through
the action of various agencies. The Indians say that placer
diggers (both white and Chinese), working on the bars of
the Columbia, used up much of the timber in their operations, and very likely the structures were raided by both
whites and reds for any and all passing needs. At any rate
it seems that alf the buildings had disappeared before 1880.
The final stroke of obliteration was given the place by the
big flood of 1894, which was probably the highest water in
the Okanogan and Columbia for at least a century, and perhaps several centuries. At that time the waters of the Columbia swept entirely over the place and carried away much of
the bank of earth and gravel that the old-timers say existed
along the shore of the river there, leaving the wide stony 36
Judge William C. Brown
beach which has ever since existed between high and low
water mark at that point. The site of the old Astor post
was much less affected by that flood. It was probably inundated, but there was little or no current there.
A bill is now pending before congress to grant to the
Washington State Historical Society the right to acquire
ground covering the sites of both old posts as and for an
historical park, and the government has also just recently
platted a townsite of several hundred acres on the upper end
of "Okanogan Point," which townsite we are told is to be
called "Astor." So, perhaps, the predictions of Ross Cox,
written a hundred years ago, that a great city would some
day arise in the immediate vicinity of the site of Ft. Okanogan,
may yet be vindicated.
Believing that the foregoing narrative contains some facts
and details that have been learned from original sources on
the ground, and now appear for the first time on the printed
page, and trusting that this effort may help to preserve to the
future a little better chance to know the history of the past
in this section, this address is respectfully submitted.
"Adventures of the First Settlers on the Oregon or Columbia River," "Fur Hunters of the Far West," "The Red River
Settlement," all by Alexander Ross.
"Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America,"
by Gabriel Franchere.
"Adventures on the Columbia," by Ross Cox.
"The Henry and Thompson Journals," by Dr. Elliott Coues.
"Harmon's Journal," by Daniel Williams Harmon.
"History of the Northwest Coast" and "History of British
Columbia" and "Native Races," by Hubert Howe Bancroft.
These works probably contain more general historical infor- Old Fort Okanogan and Okanogan Trail
mation about the Okanogan country, both American and Canadian, than any other publications, and they cite a great list
of authorities.
"History of North Central British Columbia," by Rev. A. G.
"Upper Columbia River," by Lieut. Symons. This is a
very accurate and scholarly work, but he undertakes to give
names to places that had names attached to them long before,
and his geographical names are not accepted locally in many
"Parker's Journal," by Rev. Samuel Parker.
Lieut. Johnson's Report in the Narrative of the Wilkes'
Exploring Expedition,
Report of Capt. McClellan's explorations east of the Cascades, as given by Stevens in Vol. XII., part 1, "Explorations for a Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific
Writings of Father de Smet.
"Letters" and "Narrative of a Journey 'Round the World,"
by Sir George Simpson.
The Record of the Proceedings in the Matter of the Adjustment of the Claims of the H. B. Co. vs. the United States.
This contains a great deal of valuable matter as to all the
old H. B. Co. posts in Oregon and Washington.
"Astoria," by Washington Irving.
"Life on Puget Sound, with Sketches of Travel," etc., by
Caroline C. Leighton.
Journals of David Thompson covering his travels west of
the Rocky Mountains.
"History of the Northwest Coast," by A. C. Anderson.
Journals of John Todd.
Journals of John Work. There are also several other journals kept by officers of the N. W. Co. and H. B. Co. that refer
more or less to Okanogan. #
Judge William C. Brown
"Palmer's Wagon Trains" and article in Oregon Statesman,
February 14, 1860, by Joel Palmer. The course of the old trail
as followed in 1858 is quite minutely described in the above
mentioned article.
"The' Story of a Trip Through the Okanogan Valley in the
Summer of 1860," by Robert Stevenson. Same appearing in
the Christmas number of the Oroville Gazette (1910), tells
of final abandonment of Ft. Okanogan.
Interview of James McLoughlin, appearing in Spokesman-
Review, 1891. Refers to McLoughlin Canyon fight and mentions Francois at Okanogan, but name appears in article as
Editorial Introduction by T.C.ELLIOTT
The writer of these notes, in common with other readers
of books and manuscripts that pertain to the discovery and
exploration of the Columbia river, has waited for many years
for access to the exact record left by the remarkable man
who discovered the source of the river and first traversed
its waters from source to mouth, the latter achievement being
in the year 1811. The existence of that record and its
depositary has been very generally known since the publication by Mr. J. B. Tyrrell, of Toronto, in 1888, of his paper
read before the Canadian Institute on March 3 of that year,
and later from the "Henry-Thompson Journals," published by
Francis P. Harper in 1897 and edited by the late Dr. Elliott
Coues. But the publication of the original manuscript
being commercially impossible, and no bibliophile society
having yet undertaken to preserve it in printed form, only
from brief typewritten transcripts have disconnected portions of it been published. It is largely for this reason that
only after one hundred years have the life and deeds of this
remarkable man begun to be even known to the people residing in the Columbia River basin; also that by the writer
and others some erroneous conclusions have been drawn. The
Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, the field of which
includes all of the old Oregon country, now has the honor
of publishing the exact record left by David Thompson of
his advent upon the waters of the main Columbia river below
the international boundary at the 49th parallel of north latitude.
On June 23, 1911, the Pioneer Association of Stevens
County, Washington, held its annual meeting on the romantic
rocky ledge overlooking the Kettle Falls of the Columbia
river, one of the most scenic and entrancing spots along the
entire river, and the writer of these notes was invited to eon-
tribute a few remarks commemorative of the presence there
one hundred years before of David Thompson, designated as 40
T. C. Elliott
The Pathfinder; and those remarks afterward took printed
form in the Oregon Historical Quarterly for September, 1911
(Vol. 12, No. 3). In that address, for the sake of local color,
quotations were made from what purported to be a copy of
a portion of the original journal of Mr. Thompson. Soon
afterward Professor O. B. Sperlin, of the Stadium High
School of Tacoma, a most enthusiastic and conscientious reader
of the history of the Pacific Northwest, at his own expense
obtained one of these same transcripts and in the Quarterly
of the Washington University State Historical Society (Seattle) for January, 1913 (Vol. 4, No. 1), contributed an article
containing excerpts from the same. On account of apparent
contradictions in the text of these transcripts the writer of
these notes then undertook, with the hearty consent of Mr.
Sperlin, to have those fragmentary copies completed to cover
the entire journey of David Thompson in 1811 from Kettle
Falls to Astoria and return. This has been done and comparison of the completed copy with the original manuscript in
the archives department of the Province of Ontario, at
Toronto, has been very kindly made by Mr. Tyrrell personally, from which it appears that the former transcripts
were evidently typewritten from dictation and contained both
omissions and errors of the text. In the study of this journal
use has been made of the "Report of An Examination of the
Upper Columbia River in September and October, 1881," by
Lieut. Thos. W. Symons, published as a government document (Washington, 1882). This report contains maps and
tables of distances which render the journey of Mr. Thompson
as far as the mouth of Snake river very intelligible. Below
the Snake river charts and surveys in the office of the Chief
Engineer of the Department of the Columbia have been consulted. Valuable assistance has been obtained from Mr. Jacob
A. Meyers, a very careful reader of Columbiana, who has
resided bear Kettle Falls for many years, and from W. C.
Brown, Esq., of Okanogan.
In explanation of the distances recorded by Mr. Thompson
it may be said that he used the marine and not the statute Journal of Daved Thompson
mile, that his instruments were limited in number and in size,
and were not in accurate adjustment at times, and that it
was very difficult to estimate distances during the extreme high
water stage of the river in July, 1811. Taking the first day's
travel as an example, he records sixty-four miles between
the foot of Kettle Falls and the mouth of the Sans Poil river,
while Lieut. Symons found it to be eighty-eight miles, but
at a much lower stage of the water. On shorter distances,
such as from Tongue Point to Astoria, Mr. Thompson's
distances are nearly correct. His observations of latitude are
also generally correct.
As to the text of the journal, Mr. Tyrrell states that "David
Thompson's manuscript is written almost without stops and
without capitals except at the beginning of important nouns,
so that it is often difficult to say where his sentences end."
For example, the journal may read thus: Co S 30 W ^4 m
S40WlmS5E 1-1/3 m -|- 1 m. It may be understood,
therefore, that all punctuations, capitalization and signs have
been added by the writer of these notes for the purpose of
interpretation. It has also seemed wise to omit many of the
tables giving astronomical calculations, only a part of which
are inserted in the copy and the other part being unintelligible
if possible to produce fti print; also to note doubtful words and
expressions with brackets.
Mr. Thompson's use of the word "gone" is peculiar; for instance: "S. R. 1/3 gone the Spokane river falls in on the left
about 60 yards wide," means that he passed the mouth of the
Spokane river at one-third of the course. S. R. means "strong
rapids"; V. S. C. would mean "very strong current." Fm.
means "fathqm" and Gartg. means "gartering," which was
an article of trade. This manuscript must be the complete
journal written from an original notebook, and not the notebook itself; the text indicates this in several places.
A sketch of David Thompson's career appears in the earlier
number of the Quarterly already cited, but for the sake of
continuity as to his movements during the year 1811, it may
be stated here that after three months' enforced encampment 42
T. C. Elliott
at the extreme northerly bend of the Columbia river, where
the trail from the Athabaska Pass across the Rocky Mountains reaches the river (consult the Henry-Thompson Journals,
page 669, for this), on the 17th of April, 1811 (which would
be five days after the Pacific Fur Company actually began
the construction of Fort Astoria), Mr. Thompson embarked
with one canoe and ascended the Columbia to its source; then
carried his canoe across to the Kootenay river and descended
that river as far as the mouth of Fisher creek, near the town
of Jennings, in Northwestern Montana. There he laid up
the canoe and, procuring horses, crossed the mountains south
to the Flathead river, at some point above Thompson Falls,
where another canoe was built, in which he descended his
Flathead, our Clark Fork, river, and on down the Pend d'Oreille
river to where he again laid up his canoe and proceeded on
horseback to his trading post, known as Spokane House, about
ten miles northwest of the City of Spokane. After a few days
there (his first personal visit at this post, by the way), he
proceeded north across the hills and prairies and down the
Colville river valley in Stevens county, Washington, to Kettle
Falls, arriving about the 19th of June. Two weeks' time were
required to find suitable cedar timber and build the large canoe
in which he starts down the river on July 3.
The first half of the journal is given in this issue of the
Quarterly; the record of the days spent at Astoria and of the
return journey in company with David Stuart's party of Astorians will follow later; and in that connection mention will
be made of Mr. Thompson's further journey up the Columbia
from Kettle Falls to Canoe river.
Journal of David Thompson.
(As Copied from the Original in the Archives of Ontario, Canada.)
July 3rd, 1811.
Voyage to the mouth of the Columbia, By the Grace of God,
By D. Thompson and seven men on the part of the N. W.
Company. p
§   5»
1  Journal of Davdd Thompson
Wednesday1. After arranging several small affairs we, in
number eight men, with two Simpoil Indians, set off on
a voyage down the Columbia River to explore this river in
order to open out a passage for the interior trade with the
Pacific Ocean. My men are Michael Beaurdeau, Pierre Pareil,
Joe Cote, Michel Boulard, Francois Gregoire, with Charles and
Ignace, 2 Iroquois, with a small assortment of goods to buy
in provisions, etc. Our course down the river from the
Ilthkoyape2 Falls at 6y2 A. M. Co. S. 15° W. 2/3 m, S. 8°
E. \y2 m, S. 10° W. y2 mile, gone the brook3 of our late
portage on the left about 30 yards wide. Course -f- 1 m -f- y2
m do., last % m very strong dangerous Rapid4, run it close
on the right. Co. S. 30° W. y2 m, S. 40° W. 1 m, S. 5°
E. \y4 m, S. 25° W. \y2 m, S. 5° E. y2 m, S. 30° E. 2/3 m, S.
5° E. \yA m, S. 30° E. y4 m, S. 22° E. \y2 m, S. 12° E. 1 m,
+ y2 m, S. 35° E. y2 m, S. 40° E. y2 m, R., S. 10° E. 1 m,
H- Ya m. R., (?) S. 25° E. y4 m, S. 7° E. y2 m, S. 5° W.
2/3 m, S. 25° W. 1/3 m, S. W. \y2 m, + y2 m, S. 1 m. End
of Co. S. R. good on the left. Co. S. 1 m, S. 10° E. 1% m, S.
25° W. y2 m, S. 40° W. y4 m, S. 68° W. 2 m, S. 30° W. y2
m, S. 1/3 m, S. 15° E. 1 m, S. 8° E. iy4 m, S. 20° W. 1 m,
S. 30° W. 1 m, S. W. \y2 m, S. 68° W. 2/3 m, S. 80° W.
1 m, N. 70° W. \y2 m, S. 56° W. \y2 m, S. y2 m, S. 35°
E. y2 m, S. 65° E. 1 m, S. 35° E. 2/3 m, S. 70° E. 1 m,
S. 10° W. l/4 m, -f /2 m, S. 25° E. 1/3 m, S. 30° E. 1 m,
S. 25° E. y2 m, S. R.   S \y2 m, S. R. 1/3 of gone the Spokane
1 Mr. Thompson's canoe was probably launched from what is now known as
Bushnell Flat Yt mile below Kettle Falls; he descends the Columbia today as far
as the Sans Poil river, a.distance of about 90 miles. But at this extreme high
water he would cut across the flats and low points. Lieut. Symons followed the
channel in making measurements in September, 1881.
2 Mr. Thompson applied this name to these falls even before he arrived there
and evidently had it from some one, but he is the only person whose journal,
letter or narrative makes mention of it. However, the Indians occupying the
Colville Reservation (Washington) now (1914) make use of the name in speaking
of the Kettle River and Falls. It is of Salish derivation, from the word Ilth-Kape,
meaning kettle, and the word Hoy-Ape, meaning net (see Salish vocabulary in
Henry-Thompson Journals, pp. 715-16), these being the rapids or falls where many
tribes of the Salishan family gathered to fish with their net-kettles, i. e., baskets
made of closely woven osiers or grasses; and the number of fish reported as taken
in this manner is almost fabulous.
3 Mouth of the  Colville  River.
4 These rapids, designated as Thompson Rapids on the Arrowsmith (London)
maps as late as 1846, but known to the fur traders usually as Grand Rapids; now
locally known and mapped as Rickey Rapids, after Mr. John Rickey, who settled
there. 44
T. C. Elliott
River (which) falls in on the left, about 60 yards wide.
S. 15° W. \y2 m, S. 60° W. y2 m, S. 75° W. y2 m, N. 70°
W. 1 m, + y4 m, N. 35° W. 2/3 m, N. 5° W. 1 m, N. 65°
W. y4 m, S. W. y2 m, S. 75° W. y2 m, W. y2 m, N. 85° W.
1 m, N. W. /2 m, N. 1 m, N. 25° W. 1 m, N. 68° W. y4 m,
N. 75° W. y4 m, high rocks on the right and for several
courses passed high rocks on the left as by lofty steps in perpendicular descents. S. 70° W. y4 m, N. 85° W. \y4 m, all
Strong Rapid5. Carried full y2 of this the major part of
the cargo, run the canoe with the rest close on the left, from
3:5 P. M. to 4:5 P. M. S. 85° W. 1 m, N. 80° W. \y2 m,
turned and went up a brook from the right to the camp of
the Simpoil6 Indians North y2 m and put ashore at 4^4 P- M.,
but finding the place dirty we went about y4 m further to
a good campment. The courses are not so correct as I could
wish. The strength of the current caused many eddys and
small whirlpools which continually loose the canoe from side
to side so that the compass was always vibrating. I hope by
the mercy of Heaven to take them much better on my return.
The country always wears a pleasing romantic view, the early
part of the day hills and valleys, etc., with partly wooded
thinly, and partly meadow, the latter most predominant. From
about 11 A. M. to the Simpoil Camp the river presented much
steep rocks often in steps like stairs of 20 to 30 feet perpend
of black grayish rock, reddened in places. The current of the
river is everywhere strong, with a few rapids, but the water
is exceedingly high. When it lowers I make no doubt but
canoes can very well make their way up it.
On our arrival at the Simpoil camp we pitched our tents.
No one approached us till we sent for them to come and
smoke. The Chief then made a speech and then the men all
followed him in file and sat down around the tent bringing
a present of 2 half dried salmon with about y2 bushel of
various roots and berries for food. The Chief again made
a speech in a more singing, loud, smart tone.   Smoking with
5 Hell Gat
6 Mr.  Tho:
, four miles above the Sans Poil River.
ipson describes this tribe as "poor and needy Indians," hence the Journal of David Thompson
4 pipes ( ?) till the tobacco I had given for this purpose
was done, during the last pipes being smoked one of the
Simpoil Indians who had come with me related in a low voice
all the news he had heard and seen, which the Chief in his
speech told again to his people. At the end of every 3 or 4
sentences he made a stop, which was answered by all the
people calling in a loud, drawling voice, Oy. The smoking
being done and the news being all told I then told the Chief
what I had to say of my voyage to the sea, etc., etc. Each
6 or 7 sentences I also made a stop which the chief in his
relation to his people punctually followed and they also regularly answered as before. I took notice that good and bad
news, life and death, were always pronounced in the same
manner, and that the answer was also the same. A few
pipes more were now lighted and they were told this was
enough for the present. They gave a long thankful oy and
went away. A few minutes after a man came asking permission for the women to come and see us, and make us a small
present. To this we consented, provided they brought us no
Ectooway, as we found those roots bring on the colic. They
came accompanied by all the men and altogether formed a
circle around us, the women placing themselves directly
opposite us—one-half of them being on the right and left
of a man painted as if for war with black and red, and his
head highly ornamented with feathers. The rest of the men
extended from us to the women on either hand. The men
brought their presents and placed them before me which
consisted wholly of the bitter, the white and Ectooway roots,
with a few arrow "wood berries. The women had all painted
themselves, and though there were a few tolerable faces among
them, yet from the paint etc., not one could be pronounced
bearable. The men are all of a mid size, well made, moderately
muscular, well limbed and of a tolerable good mien. The
women we thought were all of a rather small stature, clean
made, and none of them seemed to labor under any bodily
defect. Having smoked a few pipes, we said the visit is
long enough.   This was received as usual with a thankful oy, 46
T. C. Elliott
and they all withdrew except a few old men, who stayed
a few minutes longer and also went away. As the Chief
was going my men wished to see them dance, I told the Chief,
who was highly pleased with the request. He instantly made
a short speech to them, and all of them, young and old men,
women and children, began a dance to the sound of their own
voices only, having no instruments of any kind whatever.
The song was a mild simple music, the cadence measured, but
the figure of the dance quite wild and irregular. On one
side stood all the old people of both sexes. These formed
groups of 4 to 10 who danced in time, hardly stirring out
of the same spot. All the young and active formed a large
group on the other side, men, women and children mixed
dancing, first up as far as the line of old people extended,
then turning around and dancing down to the same extent,
each of this large group touching each other with closeness.
This continued for about eight minutes, when, the song being
finished, each person sat directly down on the ground in the
spot he happened to be when the song was done. The Chief
made a speech of about 1 or 2 minutes long. As soon as
this was ended the song directly began and each person starting up fell to dancing the same figure as before. They observed no order in their places, but mingled as chance brought
them together. We remarked a young active woman who
always danced out of the crowd and kept in line close along us,
and always left the others far behind. This was noticed by
the Chief, who at length called her to order, and either to
dance with the others or to take a partner. She chose both
but still kept close to us with her partner leading up the
dance. Having danced twice this way the Chief told them
to dance a third time for that we might be preserved on
the Strong Rapids we had to run down on our way to the
sea. This they seemingly performed with great good will.
Having danced about an hour they finished. We retired
much sooner, as the dust of their feet often fairly obscured
the dancers though we stood only about 4 feet from them as
they danced on a piece of dusty ground in the open air.   Their Journal of Davdd Thompson
huts are of slight poles tied together, covered with mats of
slight rushes, a sufficient defence in this season, and they
were considered altogether as moderately cleanly, although
very poorly clothed, especially the men, as animals are very
scarce and they are too poorly armed to obtain any spoil
of worth from the chase. They have a good weir in the
brook of about 15 yards, but only small salmon come up to it,
some very poor, others tolerably good.    Cloudy night.
July 4th7. Thursday, a fair day. The Indians brought us
5 poor salmon, paid them. We stayed enquiring of the state
of the country etc. about us till near noon, when I tried to
get an observation by the natural horizon, as my watch is
little worth to take one by 2 altitudes, the river presenting
a tolerable horizon of about 2/3 or ^ of a sea mile dist. The
rock on which I was obliged to stand to overlook the willows
was about 40 feet high (sun?) meridian altitude 65° 22' but
I think the (sun?) was past the meridian. We then set off,
our course to the river S. 1/3 m. Course down the Columbia
S. 30° W. y4 m, S. 1 m, + 1 m, V. S. C, S. 65° W. 1 m,
N. 75° W. \y2 m, S. 80° W. \% m, Fine low lots. N. 60°
W. 1 m, N. 22° W. \y4 m, N. 70° W. y2 m, S. 85° W. y2
m, S. 55° W. \y2 m, + \y2 m, N. 85° W. y2 m, N. 5° W.
1 m, N. 30° E. \y4 m, N. 5° E. 1 m, N. 12° E. y4 m, N. 22°
W. y2 m, N. 55° W. 1 m, N. 65° W. 1 m, N. 75° W. 1 m,
N. 15° W. 1 m—pass of the black tailed Deer \- y2 m, N.
22° W. 2 m, N. 60° W. 1 m, N. 70° W. 1 m, S. 75° W. 1 m,
N. 75° W. lm(W./2 m, S. 50° W. 1 m, S. W. ^ m. Very
fine meadows before us on the southd. S. 75° W. y4 m,
S. W. \y4 m, S: 75° W. y2 m, S. R., S. W. 1/3 m, S. R.,
S. 30° W. y4 m, S. R. S. 50° W. y2 m, S. R., S. 85° W
y2 m, N. 75° W. 1 m, S. 70° W. % m, S. W. 1/3 m, S. W. 2/3
m, S. 2 m, S. 60° W. y2 m, S. 82° W. y4 m, S. 65° W. 1 m,
N. 75° W. \y2 m, S. R., run on the right.    N. 70° W. y2
7 The journey is from the Sans Poil River to a rocky camping place in the
Nespilem canyon or gorge just above the Kalichen or Whirlpool Rapids, a distance
of about fifty miles. At this extreme high water Mr. Thompson is certainly
"going some" this afternoon; he passes the Nespilem River, the mouth of the
Grand Coulee and Wild Goose Bill's ferry without a word about them. No
Indians to smoke with, but he finds some just below, the next day. 48 T.' C. Elliott
m, N. 60° W. \y2 m, walked, we then went down the rest
of it to, another Strong Rapid on the right, the left good, its
course S. 72° W. y4 m. We put the goods ashore and carried them about 200 yards, very bad with wet ground and
branches to an embarass of wood. The canoe was run down
hereto, but in doing this they ran too close to a drift tree
on a rock which tore part of the upper lath away and struck
Ignace out of the stern of the canoe, although he had never
swam in his life he swam so as to keep .himself above the
waves till they turned the canoe around to take him up. We
then looked out for a better campment as the place was only
rude stones, but found none, the banks coming down steep
to the river, and put up at 7 P. M., having lost about one
hour in gathering wood today and looking for a camp etc.,
visiting the rapids etc. I bled Ignace. All this day the current has been very strong with many rapids and whirlpools.
The first part of the land always fine though high and many
fine prospects. Latterly this country, though still meadows,
showed much rock, and the last few courses much isolated
rocks and large stones near the water's edge, and the banks
steep of loose earth and stones, dangerous as the least thing
loosens them and they roll with impetuosity to the river. There
are no woods but a chance tree, and then of straggling fir.
The whole may be said to be a vast low mountain of meadow
showing much rock, irrigated into valleys that come down
to the river, the bold lands of the mountain forming as it
were so many promontories that drive the river now to the
southd., now to the northd. and westd., but always confining
it within a deep narrow channel, whose waters thus contracted
dash from side to side with the violence of the current, as
the water is very high, having lowered only about 18 in as
yet or 2 feet, yet from the trees say about 3 years ago the
water must then have been fully ten feet higher than now,
if not more. We split out wood for two paddles as we have
already broke two.   Killed one old and one young goose. Journal of Davdd Thompson
July 5th. Friday8. A rainy morning; having made two
paddles, at 6y2 A. M. we set off and went S. 50° W. y4 m,
S. 80° W. 1 m, run part of the first course and carried the
goods on horses but by the Indians the rest of it and part
of the second course, being all very strong rapids and full
of waves and whirlpools. Here we were met by a chief and
about 60 men with their women and children who made
us a present of 5 horses 5 good roasted salmon, about a bushel
of arrow wood berries, and about 2 bushels of bitter, white,
etc roots. Some of them I had never seen before. We declined the Ectooway, also of 4 small dried fat animals which
I take to be the marmot. Heavy rain came on and we were
obliged to send off the Indians, having paid them for the
presents they brought us with three feet of tobacco, 10 com
and 4 stone rings, 18 hawks bells, 1 fm. of beads, \y2 fm. of
gartg, 4 papers of paint, 4 awls and six buttons. Aft 2y2
P. M. the Indians returned singing us a song of a mild air
as the women had welcomed us with one also, having smoked
a few pipes and discoursed of the country which they discribed
as a hilly meadow with a very few trees of fir from hence to
the Cachenawga River. Of course there can be no beaver,
they have bears and rats with a few sheep and black tailed
deer. Horses they have many and the country appears good
for them. We discoursed of the river and people below us,
after which they offered to dance for our good voyage and
preservation to the sea and back again. We accepted their
offer. They all, both men, women and children, formed a
line in an ellipsis, they danced with the sun in a mingled
manner. An old man who did not dance set the song, and
the others danced as it were a person running but passing
over a very small space of ground, their arms also keeping
time but hardly stirring from their sides. Some few danced
apart but these were all old women and seemed to dance
much better than the others.   Having danced three sets, each
8 The day is rainy, and after carrying the goods around the rapids, is spent
in camp with the Nespilem Indians; note mention the following day of this tribe
under name Inspaelis. Ross Cox mentions these rapids as "La Rapide d'Ignace,"
indicating that die accident to the Iroquois became tradition along the river. This
part of the river is now known merely as the Box Canyon. 50
T. C. Elliott
beginning with a speech from the Chief alone and ending
with a kind of prayer for our safety, all turning their faces
up the river and quickly lifting their hands high and striking their palms together then letting them fall quickly and
bringing them to the same action till the kind of prayer was
done, which lasted about lJ/2 minutes or two. The men are
slightly ornamented with shells etc. but the women more
profusely especially about their hair and their faces daubed
with paint. Some few of them have copper ornaments hanging
either to their girdle or the upper part of their petticoat. The
women appeared of all sizes, but none corpulent, none handsome but one young woman, the men though many quite
ordinary, yet several were well looking men and almost all
well made, though not one lusty. We gave them a few pipes
to smoke and they went to their tents, having brought us a
good salmon for which I paid them about six In. of tobacco,
with what I have given, and they have smoked the amount
is five feet of it. They tell me they now intend to pull
up a little of their own tobacco for smoking, though not yet
ripe. The land to us appears to be very poor white grey
earth of a kind of impalpable powder mixed with stones, bearing grass in tufts of a round hard kind and two kinds of
strong scented shrubs whose white leaves proceed directly
either from the stem or the branch. I may here remark that
all their dances are a kind of religious prayer for some end.
They in their dance never assume a gay, joyous countenance,
but always one of a serious turn, with often a trait of enthusiasm. The step is almost always "the semblance of running,
as of people pursuing and being pursued. Though a dialect
of the Saleesh my interpreter could not understand them,
though they understood him. My Simpoil who spoke both
dialects here was of service, these at the end of each sentence
of the Chief's speech always called Oy if possible louder
than the Simpoils. The women were tolerably well clothed,
the men rather slightly, their blankets of bear, muskrat and
black tailed deer skins, their ornaments of shells, whether in
bracelets, arm bands, often their hair, on their garments or Journal of Davdd Thompson 51
in fillets around the head always appears to advantage from
their brilliant white; about 60 men and women and children
in proportion.
July 6th, Saturday9. A cloudy, rainy morning. Could not
embark until 6y2 A. M. Our hosts found us early and notwithstanding the rain smoked several pipes. We then set
off, after giving to the Chief a bag of bitter roots, one of
white ditto, and one of Estooway to take care of for us, our
Course N. 80° W. y2 m, R., S. 35° W. 1 m, S. 5° E. 2/3 m,
s. io° w. y2 m, s. 30° w. y4 m, 50° w. y2 m, s. 30° w. y4
m, S. 20° W. 1 m, S. 30° W. 1 m, + 1 m, all S. R. current.
S. 1 m, S. W. y4, S. 30° W. 1 m, all S. R. Course N. 75°
W. % m, N. 65° W. 1 m, + y2 m, N. 50° W. y2 m, N. 35°
W. y4 m, N. 10° W. 1/5 m, N. 5° E. 1 m, -f 1 m, N. 35° W.
2/3 m, these 2 last courses fine view and see the high woody
mountains of the Cochenawga River.10 S. 70° W. \y2 m,
N. 65° W. 1 m, S. 55° W. 1 m. This course is over flats
where the water is low, we suppose to be about -\- y4 m, S. 70°
W. 2 m. Fine current. S. 50° W. 1 m, S. W. % m, S. 40°
W. \y2 m. Inspaelis is the name of the tribe we left this
morning, and the name of those we now arrive at is Smeeth-
howe, to whom we came at 10 A. M. We put ashore. As
we approached they gave several long thankful oys. I sent
my Simpoil to invite them to smoke. The Chief received the
message thankfully, and they began to collect a small present,
having done which I again invited them and they came forward and sat down in a ring and began smoking without
any ceremony. The women then advanced all ornamented
with fillets and small feathers, dancing in a body to the tune
of a mild song which they sang. When close to the men an
old man directed them to sit down all round the men on
the outside, with the children etc.   Thus placed they smoked
9 Starting from the foot of Box Canyon and spending two hours with the
Indians at the mouth of the Methow River, Mr. Thompson follows the turn of the
river to the south to a camping place on the east or Douglas County, Washington,
shore not far above Wena'tchee;  distance traveled about 75 miles.
10 The Okanogan river; he passes by it without mention because he crosses
the Columbia flats almost a mile opposite the mouth of the river, and owing to
misty weather probably does not notice it. Lieut. Symons' sectional maps makes
these courses very clear. T. C. Elliott
with the men, only the women were permitted a single whiff
of the calumet, whilst the men took from three to six whiffs.
Having smoked awhile I explained to the Chief by means of
the Simpoil my intention of going to the sea to open out
a road to bring merchandise etc. to trade with them, which they
thankfully received and wished a good voyage. They said the
river was tolerable from hence to another tribe and that these
would inform me of some distance beyond that again, as
their knowledge reached no farther. Having accepted part
of the presents they brought, 3 roasted salmon and about
half a bushel of arrow wood berries, I made them a present
of two feet of tobacco, 6 rings, 1 fm of gartg, 6 hawks bells
and 2 awls and 4 In. to the Chief. At noon we left these
friendly people and went down S. 46° E. 2 m, y2 m, put ashore
on the right. The Indians lent us horses and the Chief
with four young men came with them and brought part of
our goods to the foot of the rapids11, the rest was run down
in the canoe on the right for 1 m. The rapid is very strong
but good in the mid to near the end, then on the right, gave
the Chief 2 in of tobacco and each of the young men \y2 in
for their trouble and they thankfully left us. At 1-10 P. M.
embarked Course-j-^ m, S. 20° E. y2 m-\~y2 m, S. 5° W. 1 m,
S. E. \y4 m, S. y4, S. 30° W. 2m,S./2 m, S. 25° E. \y4 m,
s. 15° w. \y4 m, s. w. y2 m, S. 55° W. \y2 m, S. 5° E. \y4
m, At 2-30 P. M. saw the first sheep, Michel went after it, but
the wind had started it. At 2:52 P. M. a cliff12. Killed
two rattlesnakes. Course S. 1 m, S. 20° W. 1 m, S. 56° W. 1 m,
End of course S. R. and islands13, good between the isle and
the left. Course S. 65° W. 1 m, S. 55° W. 2 m, the country
is now very rude and mountainous but bare of wood, except
on some of the heights. N. 75° W. \y2 m, A very strong head
wind most of the day, S. W. 2 m, S. 26° W. 1 m, S. 1 m, S. 15°
E. y2 m, S. 40° E. \y2 m, S. 18° E. 2/3 m, S. 12° W. \y2
m, -f- 1 m, S. y4 m, S. 15° E. 1 m, + 1 m, S. 1 m, S. 10° W.
1 m, At S. 1 m Co. we saw mountains before us whose tops
ii Methow Rapids.
12 Probably the Rocky Point of Lieut. Symons.
13 Probably the Downing Rapids below the Chelan River. Journal of David Thompson
have much snow in places. S. 33° W. \y2 m, S. 5° W. \y2
m, (y m of Co. gone) put up at 6 P. M. on the left among
high rude lands, Steep on the right, the early part of the
day was strong rapids. Walked part of the way, up a high
bank etc. Part fine current, latter part again very strong R
current and strong whirlpools. Observed for latitude, longitude, etc.
July 7th14, Sunday. A fine day but cloudy morning. At
7 A. M. set off. Co. S. 5° E. 1 m -f 1 m, S. 28° E. 2 m, -f-
y2 m. Beginning of Co. to the So-d see high rocky mountains15
bending to the south-d. Saw band of horsemen from a brook
going downwards. S. 35° E. y4 m, S. 78 E. \y4 m, N. 80°
E. \y4 m, R. C. N. 82° E. 1 m, do rude rock16 in one end.
East 1 m, S. R. C, walked, embarked and (crossed?) to two
horsemen, stayed about y2 hour smoking, then Co. S. 65°
E. 1 m to the rapid, S. 50° E. 1 m. At middle of course S.
65° E. 1 m we came to a large band of Indians at 10^ A. M.
and stayed with them till \y4 P. M. They received us all
dancing in their huts, one of which was about 80 yards long
and the other 20 yards do. there were about 120 families.
I invited them to smoke and the 5 most respectable men advanced and smoked a few pipes. We asked them to invite
the others which they readily did but it was 2CK before we
could get them to all sit down. They put down their little
presents of berries, roots, etc., and then continually kept blessing us and wishing us all manner of good visiting them, with
clapping their hands and extending them to the skies. When
any of us approached their ranks they expressed their good
will and thanks with outstretched arms and words, followed
by a strong whistling aspiration of breath.   I discoursed awhile
14 During this day he descends a dangerous part of the river a distance of
about 65 miles and camps for the night near the mouth of Crab Creek, where
the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul R. R. now crosses the river. He takes on
a guide of the Shahaptin family as the tribes of the Salishan stock do not reside
further down the Columbia and presumably his Sans Poil Indians (husband and
wife probably) return home. This new guide stays with him until he passed
Celilo, where the tribes of the Chinookan stock are found.
15 The Wenatchee mountains, the same seen the night before; the brook next
mentioned is the Wenatchee river.
16 Bishop's Rock above Rock Island Rapids; he walks around these rapids,
then crosses to the other side for another "smoke" and at i .-45 P. M. walks around
Cabinet Rapids below and embarks. T. C. Elliott
with them and they seemed thankful for the good I offered
them of trading their superfluities for articles they stood much
in need of. A very respectable old man sat down by me
thankful to see us and smoke of our tobacco before he died,
he often felt my shoes and legs gently as if to know whether
I was like themselves. A chief of the countries below offered
to accompany me. He understood the language of the people
below, which I gladly accepted, and we embarked him, nis
wife and baggage. I paid them for the present they made us
of two salmon, a few berries and roots. We took only part
being sufficient for our wants. We had much trouble to get
away, as they very much wished to detain us all night, and
when we went they all stretched out their hands to heaven,
wishing us a good voyage and a safe return. At \y4 P. M. I
walked down the rapid, the canoe ran it close on the left with
everything. Many of these people, like the others, have shells
in their noses. Their burying grounds are all of the same
fashion. They say the South lands are bare of animals but
the North side have Chevruil, sheep, goats etc. of the latter
of which they make good blankets. Though poor in provisions they were all hearty in health and tolerably well clothed
for the country, a few buffalo robes etc. The country is
wholly meadow with a few rocks showing themselves along
the river side and in the high lands. Course S. 50° E. 1 m,
Course S. 10° E. \y2 m + 2 m, S. 10° E. y2 m, S. 56° E. % m,
Steep fluted rocks17 on the left. Course N. 68° E. \y4 m. See
a vast wall of rock bounding the river on the right, also much
of the same on the left. At 3 :5 P. M. put ashore to boil salmon
and at 4^4 P. M. set off. Saw one of their winter huts, the
ground is hollowed away for about 1 ft deep. Co. S. 70° E.
£ m, S. 5° E. 2 m, S. 30° E. 1 m, S. 10° E. 1 m, S. 20° W. \y2
m, S. 8° W. 1 m. All steep rock and fine low meadows. It
is curious to see fine meadow as it were springing out of the
feet of steep rocks, and spreading along the river, at times
fine knolls of sand.   S. 40° E. \y4 m, + y2 m, S. 22° E. \y2
17 Probably the
just below.
outh of Moses Coulee; and the Lodgestick Bluffs on right Journal of David Thompson
m, A very long reach. Plus y2 m plus 2 m, S. 10° E. 2 m,
S. 35° E. 1 m, S. 10° W. 1 m, S. 55° E. \y2 m, S. 15° E. y2
m at end of course at 7y2 P. M. put up. I went up a hill
and remarked that the compass showed the last Co. S. 55° E.
and the other next above S. 12° W, On my return, please
Heaven, I hope to take the courses more exact as the whirlpools keep the compass continually agitated. Co. for the morrow is S. 20° W.
July 6th. 18 Observed for latitude, longitude and time. Latitude 47° 32' 42" N. Longitude 120° 57' W. (Other observations not intelligible.)
July 8th,19 Monday. Passed a bad night with mosquitoes
and a high wind. To the Co. of yesterday add— S. 15° E.
y2 M. to the campment—prepared a mast, sail, etc., and at
6:5 A. M. done, set off, Co. S. 22° W. \~y2 m; from our campment and for a very long way upwards we have no occasion
to cross. S. 8° W. /2ffl,S./2 m, S. 8° E. y2 m, all S. R. C,
S. 22° E. 1/3 m, S. 33° E. 1 m, + 1 m, S. R. C. High waves
at end of course the left, near the middle, S. E. 1 m, came
to 62 men and their families, thank Heaven we were as usual
well received. They made us a present of 4 salmon, mudi
berries, etc., of which we took only part, also of 2 very small
salmon like those of the Cochenawga. Here the chief came
to visit us on horseback, then returned with word to the camp,
as the current drove us down half a mile below them. He
returned with another and with them an old white headed
man with the handle of a tea-kettle for an ornament about his
head. He showed no signs of age except his hair and a few
wrinkles in his face, he was quite naked and ran nearly as
fast as the horses. We could not but admire him. I invited
the horsemen to invite all their people to smoke, which they
set off to do in a round gallop, and the old man on foot ran
after them and did not lose much ground.   They all came and
18 This entry appears out of regular order in original Ms. The observation is that taken when camped above Wenatchee the evening of July 6th.
19 Today he runs Priest Rapids and passes the White or Marl Bluffs and
camps at evening on the site of present city of Pasco, Washington; distance about
90 miles. At foot of the rapids he has an interesting "smoke" with the first of the
Shahaptin tribes and it is quite possible that the white-haired man mentioned is
the priest or medicine man after whom Alex. Ross says the rapids were named. 56
T. C. Elliott
sat down and smoked and discoursed as usual. What I said
the chief repeated to his people and another so repeated after
him, both very loud. The women then advanced, singing and
dancing in their best dress, with all of them shells in their
noses, two of them naked but no way abashed, they advanced
all the time the men smoked and like the rest something of a
religious nature. When done I paid them for their present of
which I took only part, but the pounded roots were made in
neat cakes and they have very few Chevruil. They are of the
Shawpatin nation and speak that tongue. Here my last guide
showed his service interpreting with an audible voice, and
seemed a sensible, respectable man. The name of the Indians
of yesterday is Sin-Kowarsin ;20 those we now leave Skum-
mooin; Skaemena of those close below us. Co. N. 85° E. 1 m,
N. 75° E. y4 m, N. 68° \~y2 m, N. 52° E. 1-2/3 m, N. 35° E.
1-1/3 m. These two last courses by the watch, which is for
the future to be my guide there, as the low points are so distant that I cannot determine the distance by them. N. 50°
E. l-y2, N. 22° E. 2-y2 m, N. E. l-%, S. 78° E. 1-% m, S.
70° E. 1 m, S. y2 m, S. 70° E. 2/3 m, S. E. 2y4 m, S. 58° E.
\-y2 m, S. 52° E. A-y2 m, S. 40° E. y2 m, Sand knolls on the
right. S. 25° E. 2 m, S. 12° E. no distance, (?) \~y2 m, (?),
S. 20° E. 2 m, plus 2~y4 m, Co. S. y4 m, Co. S. 30° E. 1 m,
S. 68° E. \-y4 m, S. 80° E. 3~y2 m. Sight the Shawpatin
Mountains21 seemingly low, yet many patches of snow on them.
S. 78° E. 1-^m, put ashore at 5:30 P. M. and camped. Seeing
a very large camp close before us four horsemen came ahead,
they smoked and I sent them to invite all the Indians to come
and smoke also, which they did, bringing a present of four
salmon. They might be about 150 men with their families.
We discoursed much, three chiefs repeating after each other
what I said. They say that the snow falls only about \~y2 ft.
deep and soon again goes off.   There are plenty of Chevruil
20 The Indian name for Rock Island Rapids is Squah-ah-she and the natives
along the river as far as Priest Rapids are known as Squah-ah-she-nooks, or a name
of very similar spelling. Mr. # Thompson's Skummooin is Lewis and Clark's
Kimooenim, and his Skaemena is probably Alex. Ross' Eyakema or our Yakima
tribe.    The camp at night is with the Sokulks of Lewis and Clark.
2i The Blue Mountain Range. Journal of David Thompson
and two species of other small deer, with small trout and
another small fish in the winter, which, with the dried salmon
form their winter livelihood. They have no berries, etc.,
whatever, nor did we see any roots. Salmon is plenty with
them in the seine, etc. The salmon of this morning and now
are fat a little, they give a little oil in the kettle, the very first
that have done so and have a trout-like taste. When done
smoking they gave us a dance after the fashion of the others.
The women and men were tolerably well clothed but had not
so much shell ornament as the others. They have not the sea
look but much of the Plain features. They did not appear to
make so much use of the nose ornament as the others. The
whole lasted till 9 P. M. and they went away. Obsd. for
Latitude, Longitude and time but on the 9th I found my
instrument had got shaken quite out of adjustment to the
left, which makes me doubt the use of either this, or the others
of Antares, as I do not know when the Sextant got this shake.
Promised them a house here.
July 9th, Tuesday.22 A stormy night and morning. Wind
northwesterly. At 6:10 A. M. set off Co. S. 80° E. /2 m to
the junction of the Shawpatin River with this, the Columbia.
Here I erected a small pole with a half sheet of paper well
tied about it, with these words on it: "Know hereby that this
country is claimed by Great Britain as part of its territories,
and that the N. W. Company of Merchants from Canada,
finding the factory for this people inconvenient for them, do
hereby intend to erect a factory in this place for the commerce
of the country around. D. Thompson. Junction of the Shawpatin River with the Columbia. July 9th, 1811." The Shawpatin River may be about 500 yards wide, troubled waters and
a strong current. Indians say when the water is low it is full
of rapids and bad. Co. from it below S. E. 2-^4 m. Say
passed 20 families.    Co. S. 37° E. 1 m -f \~y2 m.    At 8:5
22 From Pasco, after stopping to post his formal notice, Mr. Thompson
descends the Columbia about 60 miles and camps in vicinity of either Castle Rock
on the Oregon side or Carley on the Washington side. He spends four hours of
the morning talking with Chief Yellepit of the Walla Walla tribe of Shahaptins,
the same who entertiined Lewis and Clark so sumptuously in 1805-6 as narrated
in their journals. On the turn to the southwestward just above Blalock Island
Mt. Hood is sighted ahead of them. 58
T. C. Elliott
A. M. put ashore and at 1/4 P. M. set off. Here I met the
principal chief of all the tribes of Shawpatin Indians. He had
an American medal of 1801, Thomas Jefferson, and a small
flag of that nation. He was a stately good looking man of
about 40 years and well dressed. His band was small as he
had separated himself for fishing, but he had cousins all
around, and they all collected. He had his soldiers, who, when
two old respectable chiefs approached went and met them
about 100 yards from where we were smoking. I found him
intelligent, he was also very friendly, and we discoursed a long
time and settled upon the Junction of the Shawpatin River for a
House, etc. When he had smoked awhile with the others, he
ordered all the women to dance, which they did as usual. He
gave me two salmon and I made him a present of 2 feet of
tobacco, having smoked and given away with last night full
2-y4 fms. Co. S. 5° W. 1 m, S. 30° W. 2 m, S. 33° W. 1 m,
S. W. 3 m, say 3~y2 m (Columbia 860—4757 Shawpatin), S.
67° W. 1 m. The course of S. W. 3 m may be lengthened to
full 3-y2 m. Co. S. 82° W. 3 m, S. 65° W. 4 m, plus 1 m, S.
82° W. \-y2 m, N. 85° W. l-# m, S. 60° W. l-# m, S. 60°
W. 2 m, plus 1 m. See conical mountain right ahead alone
and very high, seemingly a mass of snow. Co. -f- y2 m, Co. S.
70° W. 1-^m. A very strong head wind all day, camped at
6~y P. M. The men could not advance without great fatigue.
The country is still a vast plain and getting more and more
sandy. The Indians inform us that from the Shawpatin
River23 they go with horses in a day to the foot of the mountain, which is now low and distant, the next day to the other
side of the mountain, and the third day among the buffalo,
but they fear the Straw Tent Snake Indians with whom they
are at war. The course they point out is about east by south.
Obs. Merid. Altds of Antares 36° 27~y2' Saturn 44° 37'G.
Passed in all about 80 families in small straggling camps. Lat.
45° 51' 33" N. Antares Latde. 45° 50' 45" N. Saturn 45°
51' 33" N.
23 Which being interpreted means that it was one day's travel from the Snake
River to the foot of the Blue Mountains, and then one day more across those
mountains to the Grande Ronde Valley, and then one day more to where buffalo
used to range m# Eastern Oregon, in verification of which it may be said that the
bones of that animal have been found in the Wallowa and Powder River regions. Journal of David Thompson
July 10th, Wednesday.24 A fine morning, wind as usual, a
gale ahead. At 5 :33 A. M. set off. Co. S. 62° W. 2~y2 m. +
2-y2 m, S. W. \-y2 m -f y2 m, S. 32° W. 1 m end of course.
Put ashore and observation for longitude and time. (Observations not intelligible.)
July 10th continued. We set off Co. S. 60° W. 2/3 m, Co.
S. 70° W. 2 m. At 10:4 A. M. set off having been with Indians
who behaved well. Co. S. 15° W. 2~y4 m. There were 82 men
with their families—measured a canoe of 36 ft. long and 36
inches wide—noticed also their seines with large poles and
dipping nets in long hoops for the salmon. Co. S. 40° W. y4
m, S. 60° W. \~y2 m. Put ashore at 11 A. M. and boiled
salmon and at 11:44 A. M. set off. Co. S. 60° W. 2 m, plus
3~y2 m to Indians. Set off at 55 P. M. to 80 men and families.
At 3 P. M. set off—3 salmon 2 ft. of tobacco. Co. S 38° W.
2 m, S. 75° W. \-y2 m, N. 75° W. 2~y4 m, W. 1/3 m, S. 75°
W. l~y m, Co. S. 35° W. \~y2 m. Beginning of course put
ashore at 2 men with a seine and bought 2 salmon at 5:26 P. M.
At 5 :50 P. M. put up with a very storm of wind. We had a
strong head gale all day, but in the evening it increased to a
storm, the water was swept away like snow. Course for the
morrow about S. 40° W. In the last band of men one of them
had his nipple cauterized. I saw no others. They danced in
a regular manner and by much the best I have seen, all the
young in both sexes in two curved lines, backwards and forwards, the old formed the ranks behind, they made much use
of their arms and hands. The dance, song and step were measured by an old chief, some times they sat down at the end of
3', sometimes at the end of 10', but never reposed more than
y2 a minute, they gently sank down as it were and rose up as
regularly, the whole as usual in a grand style. Obs. Merid.
Alt. of Saturn 44° 50-^4'• Heard news of the American
ship's arrival.   Lat. 45° 44' 54" N.
24 A short day's run of about 40 miles, but much time spent in smoking
with the Indians at their fishing camps, and he learns of the arrival of the Tonquin
at Astoria with the Astor or Pacific Fur Company traders. The camp for the
night is below Squally Hook, probably near John Day river. 60
T. C. Elliott
July 11th, Thursday.25 A fine morning, wind a breeze ahead
as usual. At 5 A. M. set off. Co. S. 40° W. 1 m, S. 22° W.
2/3 m, S. 50° W. 1 m. At 5 :55 A. M. put ashore at 63 men;
stayed till 6:40 A. M. then set off. Co. S. 50° W. 1-2/3 m,
S. 40° W. 1 m. Put ashore at 7~y2 A. M. and observed for
longitude and time. (Several observations omitted.) At 8-^
A. M. embarked. Co. S. 40° W. 1-% m, to Indians. Set off at
9:25 A. M. S. 68° W. y4 m. Run part of a rapid. The ignorance of our guide nearly occasioned the loss of our canoe in the
rocks. Went down in the left about 10 yards with the line,
but all this is good, out in the mid. and left S. R. C, very many
large crickets. S. W. y2 m, S. 50° W. j4 m, S. 68° W. \~y2 m.
At y2 past noon again left another large band. Co. S. 56°
W. 2/3 m to a strong rapid. S. 60° W. y4 m, S. 78° W. 1 m,
S. 15° W. 2 m to a series of strong rapids. At 2 P. M. put
ashore and carried about 200 yards, then camped with about
300 families, who gave us as usual a rude dance, but the respectable men among them had much trouble to reduce them to
order, and they were the least regular in their way of behavior
of any we have yet seen. At night they cleared off with difficulty and left us to go to sleep. A gale as usual, saw nothing
of the reported bad Indians.26
Jury 12th, Friday.27 A fine morning, but windy early, got
up and waited the promised horses to be lent us to carry the
things over the portage, but not coming we carried a full mile
to a small bay/ Co. S. 12° W. 1 m, the Co. S. 15° W. 1 m.
Here we saw many gray colored seals. At 8 A. M. set off and
went about y2 m, part paddle, part line. Fired a few shots
without effect at the seals.   At middle of last course put ashore
25 Continuous and dangerous rapids and visits with the Indians permit a run
of only about 30 miles today. The afternoon's camping place is a trifle uncertain,
but Celilo Falls being entirely submerged that year he probably ran down to the
head of the Upper Dalles or Ten Mile Rapids, then carried a short distance and
camped between there and the Lower Dalles or Five Mile Rapids with the
Echeloot Indians of Lewis and Clark. These are the Short and Long Narrows
through which Lewis and Clark ran their pirogues to the great astonishment of
these Indians, but at a different stage of the water.
26 This remark indicates a knowledge of Lewis and Clark, from copy of Patrick
Gass' journal, which Mr. Thompson carried.
2j Both portages are short because of high water; the seals are seen in Big
Eddy and the short "carry" is at Three Mile Rapids and the canoe is "gummed"
just above The Dalles. The camp at evening is on Oregon side a little above
the   Cascade: Locks.    Distance  traveled  is  about   55   miles. Journal of Davdd Thompson
and carried about 100 yards goods to an island on the left side
of channel, boiled fish, gummed the canoe and observed for
Latitude, Longitude, etc. (Observations not intelligible.) At 10
A. M. set off, Co. S. 68° W. 2 m, S. 70° W. ^ m, W. /4
m, N. 78° W. y4 m, N. 60° W. y4 m, N. 22° W. 1-%
m, N. 30° W. % m, N. 55° W. y4 m, W. 2~y4. At 11:19 we
put ashore to gum. At noon set off, Co. -j- 1 m, Co. S. 80°
W. 2~y2 m. In this course saw the first ash, etc., S. 56° W.
y4 m, S. 75° W. 2 m, N. 88° W. 2~y4 m, S. 70° W. 2~y4 m.
y2 m. gone a snow mount rather ahead, say 30 miles, another
on right, rather behind, say 25 miles.28 The country is now hilly
and at end of Co. the hills high, rude with patches of snow on
the summit. Much large willow with spots of ash, etc. Co.
S. 60° W. 2 m, plus 3 m, all course well wooded with red fir,
smooth poplar, willows and a few ash etc. and cedar but full
of branches. S. 82° W. 3-1/3 m, S. 65° W. 1 m, S. 55° W. 2
m, S. W. y4 m, at end of course. At 5:50 P. M. we stopped for
a canoe of two men who came and smoked with us, we made
signs for them to take a bit of tobacco to their people and tell
them we were coming to smoke a pipe with them. We went
about 100 yards through poplars, stopped -at 5 P. M. and
camped for the night at the desire of the Chief, traded two good
salmon; he jabbered a few words of broken English he had
learnt from the ships. Obs'd Saturn for Lat'de 45°—y2. These
people took us in to their houses which were well arranged,
very full of salmon, and so close as to be intolerably warm,
stayed there about one hour, when I came to my people. They
speak a language quite different from the others, are of a
squat, fat, brawny make, dark brown hair, the children light
colored do, the women fat, brawny and naked, as are also the
men, not so dirty as those at the Falls. Latitude 45° 39' 47" N.
July 13th, Saturday.29 A fine day, the people on the right
side, or north side are called Wan-Thlas-lar, on the south side
28 The only point on the middle river where both Mt. Hood to the south and
Mt. Adams to the north are visible is just opposite present city of Hood River.
29 Owing to delay in starting and the portage around the Cascades, the day's
run is only about 25 miles and the camp at evening near or opposite Rooster
Rock. Point Vancouver, which is nearly opposite to Corbett, Oregon, just below,
he seems familiar with, through the records in Vancouver's Voyages probably. 62
T. C. Elliott
Woe-yark-Eek30. Thloos, good, Kummertacks—I understand
or know it, Knick-me-week-no-se-ye, far off. Pesheek, bad.31
After much delay we were obliged to set off. At 9:5 A. M.
get across to the north side with Woe-Yark-Eek, course say
northwest 2/3 miles, then carried S. W. 1 m, S. 70° W. 1 m.
Embarked S. 30° W. y2 m, S. R. a small channel. W/4ra,
S. 68° W. 1/6, S. 5° W. 1/6, S. 22° W. 1/6, S. 56° W. #, S.
60° w. 1/6, s. 15° w. y4, s. y4i s. 5° w. ys, s. 220 w. y4,
S. 43° W. y4i S. 60° W. y4, S. y4, S.W.lm at end of course,
put ashore and boiled salmon. Here an Indian followed us
and gave us a salmon. At 6~y4 P. M. set off. We had before
stopped about half an hour to trade salmon at two houses—S.
40° W. 5 m, S. 2/3 m. This course crossed the river. Camped
at 8:5 P. M. a little above Point Vancouver.
July 14th, Sunday.32 A very fine morning. At 3~y4 A. M.
set off, Co. S. 80° W. 2~y2 m, S. 80° W. 2~y2 m, S. 60° W.
1-2/3 m, S. 60° W. 1 m, S. 85° W, 1 m, plus 1 m, plus 2~y2
m, plus 2~y2 m, plus 2~y2 m, N. 85° W. 1-^2 m, plus 2 m, N.
80° W. 1 m, plus y4 m, N. W. 1-j^ m, N. 33° W. % m, N.
15° W. 1-1/6 m, N. 2-y2 m, N. 30° W. y2 m, plus 1 m, plus
\~y4 m. We landed about at their houses and traded a few
half dried salmon. At 10-*4 A. M. put ashore to boil salmon.
At 11:35 A. M. set off Co. N. 40° W. \~y2 m. A simple conical mountain at end of course bore N. 15° E. 30 m buried
under snow. Co. N. 50° W. 1 m, plus \~y2 m, N. 56° W.
2-y2 m, plus \-y4 m. Co. N. 60° W. \~y2 m, N. 56° 2~y4 m,
N. 60° W. y4 m, N. 70° W. 2-%m, plus 1 m, S. 85° W. l~y4
m, S. 80° W. \-y4 m, to Indians, N. 50° W. %, S. 36° W.
2-y2 m, S. W. y4, S. 56° W. y2 m, S. 60° W. y4i S. 80° W.
\-y2 m, S. 55° W. 1/3 m, S. 70° W. 1/6 m, W. 1/6 N. 60° W.
2 m. Put up on an ugly place of rocks and an old campment,
left the canoe in the water. Obs'd Saturn for Lat'de 44 just
V. G.—Tide fell about 2 ft. in the night.   Lat. 46° 10' 5" N.
30 Compare with names given by Lewis and Clark to these Indians.
31 Very good Chinook; compare with any Chinook dictionary.
32 Mr. Thompson travels about 85 miles today, and his camp at night is under
the/ rocky cliffs some distance above Cathlamet on the Washington shore. He
stops to boil salmon on Sauvies' Island, and Mt. St. Helens is sighted from
about where the city of that name now stands. Journal of Davdd Thompson
July 15th, Monday.33 A very fine day, somewhat cloudy.
Stayed till 6:25 A. M. shaving and arranging ourselves, when
we set off Co. N. 33° W. 1 m, N. 65° W. 2 m, N. 78° W. 1 m,
S. 70° W. 1 m, S. 60° W. y2 m, S. W. y2 m. The fog all
along prevents me seeing well. S. 34° W. 2 m, S. 22° E. y2
m, S. y2 m, S. 50° W. 1/5, W. 1/6, S. W. y2 plus 2/3 m, S.
50° W. 2 m, plus 1 m, N. 68° W. 1 m, plus \~y2 m to Pt. Tongue
but as the wind was blowing from sea very hard we made a
portage of about 200 yards over this Tongue and again embarked Co. to the Ho. S. 50° W. 1-J4 m. At 1 P. M. thank
God for our safe arrival, we came to the House of Mr. Aster's
Company, Messrs. McDougal, Stuart & Stuart, who received
me in the most polite manner, and here we hope to stay a few
days to refresh ourselves.
33 The islands and low marshes along the south shore of the Columbia are
all inundated, but Mr. Thompson crosses over and follows that shore to Tongue
Point and portages across where Capt. Clark carved his name on a tree December
3, 1805, but does not mention the tree. For contemporary accounts of his arrival
at Astoria compare Franchere's Narrative, pp. 121-2, and Alex. Ross' Oregon
Settlers, pp. 85-6, and Irving^ "Astoria." ADDRESS DELIVERED AT DEDICATION OF
OREGON, AUG, 23,1912
Grand Army Veterans and Pioneers and Fellow Citizens:
This is an age of railroads, telegraphs, telephones, wireless
messages, sky scrapers and airships, in short, progress and
advancement o'er land and sea and under and over it all. Yet,
within our recollection, this was an uncivilized Indian country,
and exposed pioneers were working day and night to insure and
upbuild American civilization. In the winter of '55 and '56
the settlers of this valley, apprehensive of the spread of the
Yakima outbreak among the Indians that were gathered at the
Grand Ronde Reserve, assisted probably by Lieut. Hazen's
soldiers, began the building on the hill on the rim of that
Reserve this old Block House as a Fort, and surrounded it
with a stout stockade for refuge and defense. Afterwards it
was moved to the Agency about three miles distant on the
Reserve, and used as a jail for unruly Indians. Today, on
its removal to this beautiful park, through the efforts of your
public-spirited citizens, and the consent of our Government,
with the aid of our Representatives, you have assembled to
dedicate it as a momument in the memory of Gen. Joel Palmer,
the founder of Dayton, and the donor of this ground, and as a
museum of Indian and Pioneer relics.
Gen. Palmer was our first Supt. of Indian affairs, and he
it was that assembled the various tribes of Indians on the Reserve, and largely through his influence this old Block House
was erected, afterwards known as Fort Yamhill. Gen. Palmer,
fearing trouble, deemed it necessary for a force of U. S. troops
to be there stationed to maintain order and insure safety. Gen.
Phil. Sheridan in his Memoirs says that Gen. Wool assigned
him from Fort Vancouver to the Grand Ronde early in '56
and; that sometime prior to his arrival at Grand Ronde the Dedication Grand Ronde Military Block House    65
government had sent the first troops to this station under command of Lieut. Wm. B. Hazen, afterwards Gen. Hazen of the
Signal Corps. Sheridan says that he, along with a detachment of Dragoons, came to relieve Lieut. Hazen. Sheridan
came to Oregon in October, 1855, and had actively participated
in the Yakima War of '55 and '56. With a detachment of
troops from Fort Vancouver in March, 1856, he aided in the
rescue of 47 men, women and children beseiged in the Middle
Block House at the Cascades, and in the repulse there of the
Yakimas and Klickitats, and also in the final capture of old Chief
Chenoweth and others who afterwards were tried by a military
commission and hanged for the massacre of whites at The
Cascades Portage. Sheridan arrived at Hazen's camp April
25, '56. It appears that Hazen and Sheridan each aided in the
completion of this Block House on the hills beyond the present
townsite of Sheridan. Gen. Sheridan says that Hazen had
begun the erection of post buildings and that he continued
the work.
It may be of interest to you Dayton citizens to note that
Phil. Sheridan in his Memoirs says that the Reserve is about
25 miles south west of Dayton, Oregon. He evidently regarded Dayton as the center of the Universe, and measured
things from it. He probably had noted, as doubtless have
each of you, that the Heavens appear to come down in even
distances all around Dayton as a center. In July, 1856, Lieut.
Sheridan was superseded by Capt. David A. Russell and soon
after was transferred from Grand Ronde over to the Siletz,
where he aided in building Fort Hoskins andi also in starting
a Block House on the Yaquina. Wm. M. Hilleary, who served
in Capt. A. W. Waters' Co. F, 1st Oregon Inft. Vol. informs
me that old Fort Hoskins, where Hilleary was stationed about
'61 or '62, was located on the Little Luckiamute at the head1 of
King's Valley in Benton County. He visited the site several
years ago and says no vestige remains of the old fort except
the eternal hills on which it stood.
Gen. Sheridan writes that he spent many happy days at Fort
Hoskins.   After remaining there nearly a year he was again 66
M. C. George
transferred to this old Fort Yamhill in May, '57, and here was
stationed with Capt. Russell still in command, until after the
firing on Sumpter. In 1861 they each were ordered from
Grand Ronde to the East for service in the great Civil War—
Sheridan, however, remaining in charge until September, 1861,
when he was relieved by Capt. Owen and then went East as
Capt. Phil Sheridan. The subsequent record of Sheridan
and Russell is a part of the history of our nation. Gen. Russell was killed at the Battle of Winchester. Major Jno. F.
Reynolds, afterwards Gen. Reynolds, who was killed at Gettysburg, and Gen. Ord, who took part in the capture of Vicksburg,
Gen. Augur and Gen. Rufus Ingalls and Capt. Dent, brother-
in-law of Gen. Grant, and some claim Grant himself, each
visited this fort and here spent some time in special duties
for the government. However, as Capt. U. S. Grant came to
Oregon in 1852 and left in September, '53, while this Reserve
was not created until '55, there seems to be a question as to
personal visitation by Grant. Thus, as has been said by Mr.
J. G. Lewis, to whom great credit is due for this auspicious
occasion and gathering, "Around the walls of this old wooden
Block House have gathered brave soldiers and noted army
officers whose names are written on pinnacles of fame and
glory; and the written pages of the history the modern world
have immortalized them whose valiant deeds shall echo down
the ages yet to come."
Incident after incident marks the record of this old Block
House on the tablets of National as well as State history, all
rich in historic material. It has been published that in September, 1856, Capt. A. J. Smith was placed in command having
under him Lieut. Jos. Wheeler, later known as Gen. Joseph
Wheeler, the famous Confederate Cavalry officer, who was
wounded three times, and had sixteen horses shot from under
him, and afterwards one of our Generals at the battle of
Santiago in the late war with Spain. There is some error in
this. Gen. Wheeler did not graduate from West Point until
'59, where he previously must have been four years, while his
own biography as a member of Congress says he later served as Dedication Grand Ronde Military Block House    67
a Lieut, in Kansas and New Mexico before he joined the Confederacy in '61. I knew him and served with him in Congress,
but never heard him say anything about service in Oregon.
Neither does Gen. Sheridan mention any Grand Ronde service
by Wheeler in his Memoirs. If such a well known man served
at Grand Ronde during Sheridan's time it would seem that
Sheridan who knew him well and fought and fought hard with
Wheeler's Cavalry at Missionary Ridge, would in all probability have mentioned it in his Memoirs.
Associated with Grand Ronde is also a long line of prominent civilians and Oregonians, among whom I readily recall
your honored Joel Palmer, Hon. R. P. Earhart, Col. Christopher Taylor, Dr. E. R. Geary—a strong pulpit orator, Capt.
Chas. Lafollett, who taught me my beautiful penmanship,
Ex-Sen. Nesmith, Gen. Ben Simpson, Berryman Jennings,
Jno. F. Miller, A. B. Meacham, D. P. Thompson, Father
Waller, Rev. J. L. Parrish, and many others. I deem myself
especially fortunate in personal acquaintance with all I have
mentioned, also with Gen. Hazen, U. S. Chief Signal Officer,
Gen. Ingalls, Gen. Sheridan, Gen. Wheeler and Gen. U. S.
Grant. When I was in Washington City Sheridan had become
the Lieut. General at the head of the Army, but his memory
was still alert to the scenes of his Oregon experiences. He was
especially fond of burnishing up his old Chinook, and took
delight in carrying on our frequent conversations in the old
Indian dialect. When he saw me passing in the corridor before his open office door he would hail me something like this:
"Klahowya tilakum, mika hyak chaho copa nika house. Spose
nesika skookum klosh wa-wa. Nika hyiu cumtux, ancutty
mika Grand Roncje illihee." Around us might have been sitting senators or judges or generals, but no matter. Sheridan
would talk in classic Chinook, and I in rusty jargon—all to
the consternation of those assembled, who cudgeled their brains
over the strange language to which they were forced but interested listeners, wondering whether it was learned Greek or possibly ancient Sanskrit. 68
M. C. George
Speaking of Chinook, I believe it was Gov. Salomon who,
on visiting from the East an Indian Reserve on the Sound,
had all the Indian bucks gathered in a park for a speech. The
Governor unfortunately never got further than his opening
address. In his rich round tones he eloquently saluted1 them
"Children of the Forest." This was poetical and apparently
appropriate, but trouble ensued when the interpreter undertook
to translate the beautiful thought into Siwash Chinook. "Tenas
man kopa stick," was the way the interpreter expounded the
Governor's flowery opening. Literally, "Little boys in the
brush." This was too much for the assembled braves, for with
grunts of disgust they arose, and drawing their blankets about
them, stoically marched off, and efforts to appease their offended dignity were temporarily abandoned.
About thirty years ago when Agent P. B. Sinnott was in
charge and when Father Croquet and Father Conrada, since
in control of the Hawaiian Leper Colony, and now in charge
of the Leper Colony at Canton, China, were the spiritual advisers of the Indians, it was my privilege, as a Washington
Tyee, to pow wow the gathered Santiams, Umpquas, Cala-
pooyas, and Rogue River Indians at this Agency; and mindful
of the Governor's fate, I did my talking direct in Chinook, with
frequent reference to them as "skookum tillicums," and vehement assurances of my "klosh-tum-tum" and a good deal of
gesturing and a little soft-soap and some "te-he", I managed
to pull through safely, with grunts of satisfaction from the
braves present.
You doubtless recall Sen. Nesmith's experience during the
war. Some officer in the Army of the Potomac sent up a telegram in jargon to the Senator, which, however, fell into Sec.
Stanton's hands as a suspicious document. Stanton readjusted
his spectacles and took a good look at it, and then called in
several advisers; but no one could figure it out. It appeared
to be a diabolical plot and probably treasonable. Things looked
serious until by chance it was handed to Gen. Rufus Ingalls,
who readily saw that it was a mere invitation in Chinook to
come down to the seat of war and bring a bottle of the best
brand of whisky—presumably for medical purposes. Dedication Grand Ronde Military Block House    69
The old Indian jargon is disappearing. Gen. Sheridan, who
spoke it fluently, calls it "the Court language of the Coast
tribes." It would be of historical importance to preserve in
this Museum record translations of this old common tongue of
Hudson's Bay Indian times. Though mainly a trader's language it was made up of many words in common use by the
Indians. Through it the Indian by well known accents and
gestures could express, often even eloquently, their heart emotions; and all along the coast they took to it quite naturally.
A. B. Meacham, in his "Wigwam and Warpath," gives a number of occasions when the rude, untutored eloquence of Indian
character found vent in the Chinook language. One of the
most striking instances of Indian heart-felt jargon was given
me by Mr. Van Trump, who, with Gen. Hazard Stevens, made
the first ascent of Old Mt. Rainier (then called by certain
tribes Takoma,) who were guided to the snow-line by old
Sluikin, who there in pathetic Chinook speech fervently implored his friends not to climb the snow and ice to the summit,
because up there on the snowy heights was the throne of the
Great Spirit himself,—the Saghale Tyhe, who was sure to
punish—possibly through storm and avalanche, such sacrilege,
Block Houses are symbols of the Pioneer past. They were
scattered far and near in Oregon and Washington. They were
the outposts of civilization. How thought prolific is inspired
as we look on these time scarred walls brought down from the
past. When a babe in my mother's arms in 1851 I was carried
from an old French bateaux on the portage landing—the
site of the old Block House at the upper Cascades destroyed
by the elements and the flood of '76. It stood for years
where now is the iron track of the Great North Bank Railroad,
built at a cost of forty-eight million dollars along the Columbia
River—along where rolled "the Oregon and heard no sound
save its own dashing." Note the epochs. Bryant and Thana-
topsis; Lieut. Phil Sheridan and the Block House. Gen. Sheridan and the famous ride to Winchester. A Union saved under
a Sheridan and a Grant and a Lincoln. One Flag and one
Country, and Oregon the western gem of the Nation.   Indian 70
M. C. George
barbarity and danger extinct. Civilization triumphant and
progressing. A great people, all inspired by the thought of
Webster that when our eyes shall be turned to behold for the
last time the sun in heaven, that we may ever behold the gorgeous ensign of the Republic spread all over in characters of living light; Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable.
I congratulate you, my fellow citizens of Dayton, on this
day. I congratulate our State that the old wooden military
Block House—Old Fort Yamhill, finds its final foundation
resting place in this beautiful park, beside the placid waters of
the old River of Yamhill. Here the old soldiers of our country,
and here the Indians of Grand Ronde—now citizens of our
common land, may come and dream of the days of long ago,
when the war clouds hung low, and here Pioneers may recall
the times of their early hardships and their struggles to build
themselves a home on the soil of Oregon.
May the old historic Fort here stand till the worms of time
crumble it into the dust from whence it came, and may the
Old Flag ever float above it.    THE OREGON HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Organized December 17.1898
FREDERICK V. HOLMAN     ;§|ff3§       -       K§sBI 9&&Si SNIeL Pnsident
| JOSEPH R. WILSON       ^^P ^M jfelS&k KIP        I Vice-President
F. G. YOUNG -       jrW$k *lfip7 WSi$i P^S SSlI        5ecre/<"»
EDWARD COOKINGHAM      «d»S| ffojjsS       I       *f- *JP     ' "fi"^ Tuamnt
GEORGE H. HIMES, Assistant Secretary.
Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1914.
Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1915.
Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1916.
Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1917
The Quarterly is sent free to all members of the Society.      The annual dues are  two dollars.
The fee for life membership is twenty-five dollars.
Contributions to The Quarterly and
to the affairs of this Society, should be
•ndence relative to historical materials, or pertaining
Eugene, Oregon.
Subscriptions for  The Quarterly, or for the other publications of the Society, should be sent to
Assistant Secretary,
205-207 Second Street, Portland, Oregon. THE QUARTERLY
of the
Oregon Historical Society
Volume XV
JUNE, 1914
Number 2
Copyright, 1914, by Oregon Historical Society
The Quarterly disavows responsibility for the positions taken by contributors to its pages
CHARLES B. MOORES—Memorial Address For FrancisXavier Matthieu        73-80
ROBERT H. BLOSSOM—First Things Pertaining to Presbyterianism
on Pacific Coast     - ^^^^^^^^^^^^rS^^^^^^M^^^^^!^^^-.81-103
CO. ERMATINGER—A Tragedy on the Stickeen in *42     "0^MM^^
DOCUMENTS—Journal of David Thompson, Edited by T. C. Elliott.     104-125
Letters of General George Wright and of General Rufus Ingalls to
"Senator James W. Nesmith, Edited by George H. Himes    -        -    133-136
Entered at the post office at Portland, Oregon, as second-class matter  THE QUARTERLY
of the
Oregon Historical Society
JUNE, 1914
Number 2
Copyright, 1914, by Oregon Historical Society
The Quarterly disavows responsibility for the positions taken by contributors to its pages
Commemorating Life, Character and Services of Francis
Xavier Matthieu*
By Charles B. Moores.
One year ago today upon these grounds, there appeared for
the last time the sole survivor of a group of 102 men who, 70
years before, had laid here the foundation of a new State.
Burdened with the weight of 95 years he was yet a keenly
alive, and a happy, and a thoroughly interested participant.
For years it had been his wont to celebrate with us each recurring anniversary of this occasion. Today his chair is
vacant, and never again will we be cheered with the genial
presence of the kindly old man to whom we delighted to pay
the respectful homage that was his due. A tribute to his
memory can be but little more than the repetition of a story
that is familiar to every student of Oregon pioneer history.
Francis Xavier Matthieu was born at Terrebonne, near
Montreal, Canada, on the second day of April, 1818. He died
at his home near Butteville, Oregon, on February 4th, 1914,
lacking less than two months of being 96 years of age. His
father and mother were both of pure French descent. His
father was a native of Normandy, his mother of Brittany.
Both branches early migrated to Canada. When a mere slip
of a boy he became a clerk in a mercantile house of Montreal.
*Detfyered    at    the    fourteenth    annual    commemoration    services    held    at
Champoeg, May 2, 1914- 74
Charles B. Moores
It was at that critical time in the history of Canada when
Louis J. Papineau, a statesman and orator of wonderful eloquence, was stirring the French population to resist the aggressions of their British rulers. Under the spell of Papineau's
eloquence, and moved by a keen sense of the wrongs of the
French, Matthieu, boy that he was, soon found himself enrolled as a member, and an officer, of the "Sons of Liberty,"
organized for resistance to the constituted authorities.
The incipient rebellion was short-lived. Matthieu's brief
career in Canada ended in 1838 when, with the assistance of
Dr. Fraser, an uncle of Dr. John McLoughlin, he was enabled
to cross the border and enter the United States under a forged
passport. Reaching Albany, N. Y., he found employment as a
clerk. Later he went to Milwaukee, and thence to St. Louis,
where he found service with the American Fur Company. His
employment carried him as a trader among the Sioux and the
Dakotas. Returning to St. Louis he outfitted as a free trapper
and in 1840 went to the Arkansas at Bent's Fort, where he
encountered Kit Carson and George Bent, the trapper captain.
The following Winter and Spring were spent trapping in the
Black Hills. This life, however, did not appeal to him, and
early in the Summer of 1842, at Fort Laramie, the opportunity
offered to join Captain Hastings' Company of over 100 emigrants bound for Oregon, among whom were Dr. Elijah White,
A. L. Love joy, Medorem Crawford, Sidney W. Moss and
others who were afterwards prominent in Oregon pioneer history. Mr. Matthieu's familiarity with the language and the
peculiarities of the Sioux made him an invaluable member of
this company. After varied experiences, the farm of Dr. Whitman at Waiilatpu was reached and 15 days were there pleasantly spent in his companionship. The trip over the Cascades,
after this visit, was the most trying and difficult of the entire
journey. Oregon City was reached about the 25th day of
September, 1842.
Learning there that there was a settlement of French
Canadians about 15 miles up the Willamette Valley, near
Champoeg, Mr. Matthieu continued his journey to this his- Memorial Address For F. X. Matthieu
toric point, andi here he made his home almost continuously,
for the ensuing 72 years of his life. Here he met and secured
employment from Etienne Lucier, who was to share with him,
in the following year, the honor of settling for all time the
question of American sovereignty in the Northwest. Here
was a location that had been selected by Dr. John McLoughlin
in 1830 as a strategic trading point for the Hudson Bay Company. Lucier had settled in this locality about 30 years prior
to Matthieu's arrival. He was one of the old trappers who
had come in Hunt's party, the overland exploration party of
the Astor Expedition. Having reached the age of 60 years
he had the Hudson Bay Company trapper's suspicions of the
tyrannous exactions of American laws and customs, suspicions
that were generally entertained by the French-Canadians of
the Valley.
The leaven of unrest, however, was already working among
the people of the Willamette Valley. Their necessities called
for some kind of an organization. Opinion was divided. Some
desired American control, some British control, and some were
insistent upon an entirely independent government. The immediate formation of a provisional government did not appeal
to either Jason- Lee or to Abernethy, who was later Provisional
Governor, and it had the open opposition of the Canadian-
French who held preliminary meetings in opposition at Vancouver, at Oregon City, and on the French Prairie. The subject of a provisional government was diplomatically approached
at two meetings held in February and March, 1843, ostensibly
called for the adoption of some measures to protect their flocks
and herds from wild animals. These were known as "Wolf
meetings." Mr. Matthieu attended neither of them. Their
culmination, and at least a partial consummation, of their real
object, a provisional government, was reached! at the historic
meeting of May 2, 1843.
The story of that meeting has become an Oregon classic.
Champoeg means as much to the history of Oregon as does the
story of Plymouth Rock to the history of New England. It
is a singular, and rather significant, fact that McLoughlin and 76
Charles B. Moores
Lee, the two chief figures of the time in the Northwest, were
both absent, and it seems to be an open question as to whether
they were absent by accident or design. That was the one
crucial and pregnant occasion of our early c\ay history. There
are some reasons to believe that Dr. McLoughlin, in spite of
his relationship tp the Hudson Bay Company, desired an independent government, and that Jason Lee regarded the movement as premature, while really favoring the American contention. There was no lack, however, of the presence of men
bearing names that are familiar to the pages of the pioneer
history of the state.
It seems a far cry, back to that beautiful May morning in
1843, when that rugged and motley band of frontiersmen
gathered here at this romantic spot, on the banks of the Willamette, of whose varied beauties Sam L. Simpson has so
sweetly sung. Little conception had they of the import and
vast possibilities involved in the action to be taken by them on
that day, and it is even yet difficult to estimate how much their
decision has affected the historical currents of the world.
The scene was one to challenge the highest talent of the
historical painter and the story is one worthy the loftiest
periods of an epic poet. These men were the vanguard of the
millions who have since followed in their footsteps, and of the
multiplied millions who are yet to come. Here was the frontier,
thousands of miles from the western borderland of civilization—the northwest corner of a Wew and an undiscovered continent. The richest half of what we know as the American
continent was theirs. In all that vast empire, stretching from
the Mississippi to the Pacific, now teeming with its millions of
souls, and its billions of weajth, there was hardly a home, or
a school, or a church, or an orchard, or a grain field, or a
solitary mile of railroad. No richer prize ever tempted the
greed of man, No greater empire ever asked the taking. . They
stood at the very dawn of two generations of time whose
marvelous achievements had never been matched in any preceding thousand years. Memorial Address For F. X, Matthieu
It was their high good fortune to face an opportunity that
is seldom offered in the history of any nation. It was a call*
not so much for men of talent, as men of purpose, fitted for
taking the raw material that frontier conditions provide and
moulding it into form. The black frock coats of Gray arid
Parrish, of Griffih and Beers, of Willson, Babcock and Hines*
contrasted no less strangely with the buckskin suits of Meek
and Newell ahd Ebbert, than did their habits, their ideals, and
their life purposes. But they were as one in their impulses*
and their conceptions of the orderly forms, that were needed
to promote the common good. Political opinions, considered
in the narrow party sense, did not divide them.
Such differences as existed were based upon various social
and moral conditions, and their respective national, religious
and commercial affiliations. Any ordinary public hall would
have housed the whole American population then living in the
western half of the continent. The American population at
the beginning of 1842 was 137, including women and children*
although this number was almost doubled by the end of the
year. Of the 102 men who voted at the meeting of May 2,
1843, the 50 who voted against organization were all of the
Gatholic faith, and of French or French-Canadian descent,
whose relations to Dr. McLoughlin and the Hudson Bay Company were such as to make it almost a duty to take the stand
they did.
For their course there can be no reasonable word of censure.
The sincerity of their motives is not open to question. Of
the 52 men who took the American side when Joe Meek
dramatically called for a divide, five including Matthieu and
Lucier* were of the Catholic faith, four were Baptists^ six
Congregationalists, six Episcopalians, eight Presbyterians and
fourteen Methodists* While the affiliation of nine are unknown.
Five were natives of England, two of Scotland, one of Ireland, two, Matthieu and Lucier* of Canada, one each of Alabama, North Carolina and the District of Columbia, three
each of Ohio and New Hampshire, four each of Connecticut,
Massachusetts and Pennsylvania* ten of New York* and six
unknown. 78
Charles B. Moores
With possibly three exceptions, Matthieu was the youngest
man of the group. His was not a chance, or accidental vote.
It was the vote of a man of decision and of character. He
was but 25 years of age, but a mature man in experience.
His vote was the vote of one who was at once a French fugitive, and a British alien. He carried with him, boy that he
was, the vote of his friend, Etienne Lucier, a mature man of
60 years, and he carried it in the face of his friendship for
his ideal, Dr. McLoughlin, and against the judgment of the
majority of his friends of the Catholic faith, and his French-
Canadian countrymen. In that vote there was some indication
of the character of the man.
For a full 71 years he went in and out among his fellow
men in this community, where in early manhood he cast his
fortunes, and during all those years he measured up to the
requirements of that standard of citizenship which is the very
foundation of ah ideal commonwealth. Although without
political ambition, he was a man of public spirit, and, although
a member of the minority party, served his fellow citizens of
this county as commissioner, and as a member of the Oregon
House of Representatives at the sessions of 1874 and 1878.
He was one of the founders, and the first president, of the
Oregon State Pioneer Association, chosen at a time when the
pioneer element was the dominant element of the state, and the
best blood of the Association was subject to call. In 1846
he secured the donation claim that for the remaining 62 years
of his life was his continuous home. He was married April
15, 1846, to Rose Osant, whose father, Louis Osant, had been
a Hudson Bay Company employe and trapper, and who was
one of the 50 arrayed against him at the meeting of May 2,
1843. His relationship to that meeting, and conditions that
later existed, have given to F. X. Matthieu a peculiar distinction. It was a close vote, and a chance friendship, that gave
to him, and to Lucier, the opportunity to forever fix the political status of a great state—a group of states—to change the
currents of the world's history, the destiny of a nation, and
the individual destinies of millions of men.   Had the vote and Memorial Address For F. X. Matthieu
the influence of these two men been cast, on that crucial day,
in favor of British domination, the Oregon Country would have
been lost to the flag.
What then of the map, and of the history of the Pacific
Coast, and the Middle West? Who would now be harvesting
the rich treasures of Alaska, and who would now be building
the great waterway that is to divide the continent? Not only
did the participants have little appreciation of all that was
involved in that meeting, but its full significance apparently
did not dawn upon the people of this state until after the lapse
of nearly two generations. Fifty-eight years had gone by
when, on May 2, 1901, a monument was erected and dedicated,
upon these grounds, to the memory of the 51 dead, and as a
suggestion to the sole survivor, that in the part he took in that
event he had the good fortune to permanently link his name
with one of the really important events of American history.
As that monument arose what must have been the emotions
of the man, all of whose 51 companions had gone over the
Divide, and into the great undiscovered country of the dead?
It has been said that the three red letter days of his life were
his birthday, Christmas, and the second day of May. Who
would have denied to him the satisfaction, that was his in the
closing years of his life, of knowing that his services were
finally appreciated, and that his name was for all time to have
a conspicuous place upon Oregon's roll of pioneers? Trivial
events have changed the face of history, and moulded the fate
of nations. A single vote has made a President. A single vote
has elected governors. A single vote in our. highest courts
has settled questions of even international importance, but
seldom in history has a single vote involved results of greater
importance than did the deciding vote of Francis Xavier Matthieu on the second day of May, 1843. It was but the well-
considered vote of a normal man, with the average poise and
balance and temperament of a good citizen. Good citizenship
has been the one insistent requirement of all times. The crying
need of the distracted republic upon our southern border, is
not a leader, but an intelligent and law-abiding electorate. 80
Charles B.  Moores
Latent talent for leadership always exists in abundant supply.
It is always in evidence, and subject to call, in every crisis, but
it is powerless without the support of that quality of citizen-*
ship that is the distinguishing mark of American civilization.
We honor our departed friend not as a statesman, or a soldier,
or a diplomat—not as a scholar or a sage, but as a splendid type
of such a citizenship as is needed to insure the quality and the
permanence of what we call the state.
No higher tribute can we pay to the memory of Francis
Xavier Matthieu than to say that in his death the state of
Oregon lost a splendid citizen. For two full generations he
has commanded the universal confidence and respect of the
people of his adopted state.
For full 40 years he has been a welcome guest at all of the
meetings of the Oregon State Pioneer Association, and it is
a matter of record that he never missed an annual meeting of
the association. As the sole survivor of the historic group that
gathered here 71 years ago today, he has ever been the central
figure, and the one conspicuous guest, at our annual reunions
upon these grounds. Today his chair is vacant. He has fallen
into line with the vanguard that started years ago. He has
gone to resume the companionships of his pioneer days, upon
the other side. Today, for the first time, he responds to the
completed roll call in a reunion beyond the divide, where his
quaint humor and genial presence is to lighten up and sweeten
the long interrupted fellowships of the old romantic days of
his early manhood. The memories of his genuine and
homely qualities will linger with us as an inspiration, and
thoughts of his kindly nature and tolerant spirit will remain
as a constant benediction. It is fitting that his worn and broken
body has been laid away within hailing distance of the marble
shaft that marks the scene of the most notable act of his life.
May the sodi rest lightly, and may the storms beat gently o'er
his grave. May the warmth of Oregon's affections temper the
chill of the narrow bed in which he lies. May we who remain*
as faithfully discharge the responsibilities of life, and when the
final summons comes, meet it with the same serene complacency, and leave behind us the record of as good a name. FIRST THINGS PERTAINING TO PRESBYTER.
Robert H. Blossom.
The history of Oregon is replete with tragic events, the
important actors being in many instances the early Protestant
The history of the establishrnent and growth of Presbyter-
ianism in the "Oregon Country" is romantic and soul-stirring.
What was known as the "Oregon Country" was much larger
in area than the Oregon of today; it comprised the present
states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of Montana and
Wyoming*^an empire of latent resources.
In 1832 four Nez Perce Indian chiefs left their wigwams in
the Oregon Country, on the Columbia River, their objective
point being St. Louis. They wished to secure the "White
Man's Book of Heaven," of which they had heard, and to know
more of its teachings. Two of them were old and venerable,
the others young and active. The older chiefs died and were
buried in St. Louis. The names of the younger chiefs were
"Heeoh-ks-te-kin" (the rabbit skin leggins) and "H'co-a-^h-co-
ah-cotes-min" (no horns on his head). The last mentioned one
died while on his way home near the mouth Of the Yellowstone
River. The other one reached his friends in safety but bringing the sad) news of the deaths of all the rest of the party. This
remarkable quest was soon published in the newspapers of the
land and was read with intense interest by thousands. To some
it was a matter of no consequence* but to the missionary organizations it was a call from God, the "Great Spirit" of all. Jason
Lee and a party of Methodists answered the "call" first, reaching the land of op]portunity in September, 1834. They were
followed by missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in 1835-36.
Hote.—JW facts, in ebmfjtiatktfi of this sketch, tne writer is iAdebted to th*
following authorities:.
t.    Well authenticated Oreg6n historjK.
2. Certified copy of records of the First Presbyterian Church m the Oregon
3. The original "Church Record of First Congregational Church O. T." and
kindly loaned by George H. Himes, of the Oregon Historical Society.
4. Interviews with Mrs. W. P. Abratas, Dn George F. Whitworth, John C.
Carson and Seth L. Pope.
5. Letters from Dr. George F. Whitworth, J. A Harm a and Seth L. Pope.
6. Church records of the First Presbyterian Church of Portland, Oregon. 82
Robert H. Blossom
Dr. Whitman a Presbyterian.
Rev. Samuel Parker and Dr. Whitman were appointed by
the American board to explore the country and report as to
the feasibility of establishing missions among the Indians'. Dr.
Whitman was a member and ruling elder of the Presbyterian
Church at Wheeler, New York. In April, 1835, these men
started on their long overland journey from St. Louis, Mo.
On the 12th of August they and their caravan reached the
rendezvous beyond the mountains on the Green River, a branch
of the Colorado. They had now crossed the Divide and were
beyond the main range of the Rocky Mountains. Here the
party remained ten days, during which time Parker and Whitman conferred with the chiefs of the Nez Perces and Flat-
heads, explaining to them the object of their journey. The
Indians replied that they were anxious to have the missionaries
among them. Because of this favorable reply Dr. Whitman
suggested that he return with the caravan to the "States" and
"obtain associates to come out with him the next year, with
the then returning caravan, and establish a mission among these
people, and by so doing, save at least a year in bringing the
gospel among them."*
On August 22, 1835, Dr. Whitman began his return journey
to the "States" and Dr. Parker continued his exploring tour
with an Indian escort. Dr. Parker returned home after an
absence of two years and two months, having journeyed 28,000
Dr. Whitman took with him to the East two Nez Perce
boys. Their names were Tuetkas and Ites. The first one he
called Richard, the other one John. Dr. Whitman reached his
home in Rushville, New York, late Saturday evening. He
stopped with his brother and no one else of the village knew
of his arrival. The next morning he entered the church, followed by his two Indians. His appearance was like that of
an apparition. His mother leaped to her feet, shouting, "Why,
there is Marcus!"
*Parker's  Exploring Tour,  page  78. First Presbyterianism on Pacific Coast
Rev. H. H. Spalding and his wife (nee Eliza Hart, married
to H. H. Spalding, October, 1833) were persuaded to join the
Oregon mission, although they had previously planned to go
as missionaries to the Osage Indians. Mr. Spalding was a great-
great-uncle of Miss Minnie Spaulding, •(*) a member of the
First Presbyterian Church, Portland. The difference in spelling
is explained in this manner: One branch of the family dropped
the letter "u." W. H. Gray was Whitman's secular manager. Mr.
Gray became prominent in Oregon history and was the author
of "A History of Oregon, 1792-1849." Mr. Gray was the father
of Mrs. Jacob Kamm (nee Caroline Gray), at present a member
of the First Presbyterian Church of Portland, Oregon. Whitman was a bridegroom, having just married Miss Narcissa
Prentiss, and now the wedding journey from New York to
the Columbia River was begun, one of the most remarkable
ever recorded. Mrs. Whitman and Mrs. Spalding were
the first white women to cross the plains and over the Rocky
Mountains to the great "River of the West," the Columbia.
Other members of this notable party were two teamsters, whose
names are not known, and the two Indian lads, Richard and
John, who witnessed Dr. Whitman's marriage to Miss Prentiss,
in February, 1836, in the Presbyterian church at Angelica, New
York. Mrs. Whitman had a charming soprano voice, and prior
to her marriage led the church choir at Angelica. At twelve
years of age she united with the Presbyterian church of Platts-
burg, New York. This brave little band of nine persons had
left civilization on our western frontiers, May 2, 1836, and arrived at the Hudson's Bay Company post at Walla Walla on
September 2d, after a hard overland journey of more than
two thousand miles.
W. H. Gray writes concerning their arrival at the old fort
as follows: "Their reception must have been witnessed to be
fully realized. The gates of the fort were thrown open, the
ladies assisted from their horses, and every demonstration of
joy and respect manifested." (Gray's History of Oregon,
page 142.)
*Miss Spaulding died here in Portland, July 5, 1913- 84
Robert H. Blossom
In a few days the mission party left for Vancouver, arriving there on September 12, 1836. Gray also writes of their
kindly reception at Vancouver, at the boat landing, by "one
whose hair was then nearly white," (Dr. John McLoughlin)
who stepped forward and gave his arm to Mrs. Whitman.
*In a letter from Mrs. Whitman to her mother, dated Walla
Walla, Dec. 5, 1836, she says: "We left Vancouver Thursday
noon, Nov. 3rd, in two boats," stations having been selected
and houses built. Mrs. Whitman informed Dr. McLoughlin
that Mr. Gray was their associate arid secular agent, and there
is evidence to show of his usefulness in this capacity.
Gray Returns £ast for Reinforcements.
Mr. Gray rendered invaluable service in settling the Whitmans at Waiilatpu and the Spaldings at Lapwai. On December 28, 1836, he returned East for reinforcements, arriving in
Utica, N. Y., October 15, 1837. Mr. Gray was married to
Miss Mary A. Dix at Ithaca, N. Y., on February 27, 1838-.
The A. B. C. F. M. appointed him Assistant Missionary, under
date of March 13, 1838. This interesting document, making
Gray's appointment, is now in the archives of the Oregon Historical Society.
The A. B. C. F. M. commissioned Rev. Cushing Eels, Rev.
Elkanah Walker, Rev. A. B. Smith, and their wives, and Mr.
Cornelius Rogers as the reinforcements for the Oregon Mission, and in the summer of 1838 Mr. Gray, with his wife, conducted the party safely to Oregon.
Roman Catholic Mission.
By request of the Hudson's Bay Company, the Roman Catholics sent their missionaries, Fathers F. N. Blanchet and
Modeste Demers, from Montreal, Canada, and they arrived in
Vancouver (now in Washington) November 24, 1837, after
an overland journey of over four thousand miles.
•Transactions of the 19th Annual Reunion,  Oregon Pioneer Association for
1, page 87. First Presbyterianism on Pacific Coast
The Whitman and Spalding Missions
The Mission, during these early days, was financed and
encouraged by the American Board of Foreign Missions, the
board at that time being under the joint control of the Congregational, Presbyterian and Dutch Reformed churches.
Dr. Whitman was a physician and a very energetic and
capable man. His station was known as the Waiilatpu Mission, located on the Walla Walla River, six miles from the
present site of Walla Walla, among the Cayuse Indians, of
which he had personal charge. A station at Lapwai, on the
Clearwater, among the Nez Perces, was in charge of Mr.
Spalding. Missionary work among the Nez Perces was more
successful than with the Cayuses, due, no doubt, to the superior
character of the Nez Perces.
The services of Mrs. Whitman and Mrs. Spalding were in-
valuable as teachers in the native schools which were soon
established. The Indians were furnished farming utensils and
taught the art of agriculture. The squaws were given lessons
in knitting, sewing, carding, spinning, weaving, etc. This
method of treatment cured many of the habit of roving. The
bucks would jestingly remark that they were being made a
nation of women. Formerly the squaws did all the manual
labor; the bueks hunted and fished and for a diversion engaged
hi warfare.
The needs of impoverished emigrants entering the new
country when passing the mission were promptly met by Dr.
Whitman, who sent them on their way rejoicing.
First Presbyterian Church.
On August 18, 1838, the first Presbyterian Church in North
America west of the Rocky Mountains and on the Pacific
Coast was organized at the house of Dr. Whitman, at the
Waiilatpu Mission station, six miles west of the present city
of Walla Walla, Wash. Rev. H. H. Spalding was elected
pastor and Dr. Marcus Whitman, ruling elder. Mr. Spalding
was a member of the Bath Presbytery, New York, and this
first church was attached to the Bath Presbytery. 86
Robert H. Blossom
These gentlemen together with their wives, Mrs. Eliza A.
Spalding, Mrs. Narcissa Whitman, Joseph Maki and Maria
Keawea Maki, his wife, were the charter members of the first
church organized in "Old Oregon." This membership, a total
of five, was all by letter, and it is interesting to note that Mr.
Maki and his wife were from the native church in Honolulu,
Oahu, Rev. Hiram Bingham, pastor. The old record of this
first church says: "Brought from the darkness of heathenism
into the glorious light of the gospel of peace."
The following resolution was adopted at the time of the
"Resolved, That this Church be governed on the Congregational plan, but attached to the Bath Presbytery, New York,
and adopt its form of confession of faith and covenant as
There has been some doubt as to whether this organization
was a Presbyterian Church. To remove such doubt the writer
has made excerpts from the records of this old church. He
has also obtained the written opinion of Rev. William Sylvester
Holt, D. D., an able Presbyterian minister, formerly connected
with the Oregon Presbytery, but now residing in Philadelphia,
Pa., and occupying the position of Associate Secretary on the
Ministerial Relief and Sustentation Board.   His letter follows:
Philadelphia, Pa., December 18, 1913.
Mr. R. H. Blossom, Chamber of Commerce, Portland, Ore.
Dear Mr. Blossom: Answering yours of December 6, I
will say that personally I have never had any question as'to
the fact that the Church organized at Waiilatpu by Spalding
and Whitman was a Presbyterian Church, and I based it on
these facts: First, Spalding was a Presbyterian minister Second, Whitman was an elder in the Presbyterian Church in the
State of New York when he went out to Oregon. Third as
to adopting the Congregational form, it certainly was due to
the fact that there was no Presbytery in Oregon, and that is
the reason they were attached to the Presbytery of Bath, New
York, and so no possibility of any form of government except
their own. However, members were received by the session
and not by the congregation so far as I can recall, and every- First Presbyterianism on Pacific Coast
thing was done according to Presbyterian politics, so that I
do not see and never have seen any reason why we are not
justified in calling it a Presbyterian Church. Their own records also call it a Presbyterian Church.
However, I agree that the resolution in their own records
that "this Church be governed on the Congregational plan, but
attached to the Bath Presbytery," a thing which would be
impossible if they were not a Presbyterian Church, "and adopt
its form of confession of faith and covenant as ours," shows
that the intent of the man who organized the Church was to
organize it as a Presbyterian Church. Furthermore, all those
records are in the possession of the Synod of Washington, as
they should be, which is solely and always has been a Presbyterian body. The Presbytery of Oregon was not organized
until much later, and the church on Clatsop Plains was organized before there was any Presbytery, just as the one was
out in Eastern Washington, but there has never been any
objection to calling Clatsop Plains a Presbyterian Church, and
I never heard of any objection before to calling Waiilatpu a
Presbyterian Church. We have always claimed it and I think
we are justified in the claim with the facts I have given you
above.   Respectfully yours,
(Signed) W. S. HOLT.
Mrs. Spalding became a member of the Presbyterian Church
in Holland Patent, Oneida County, N. Y., in the Summer of
1826. Transferred her membership to the Presbyterian Church
in Lane Seminary, Walnut Hills, Hamilton County, Ohio, and
from this latter church to the Waiilatpu.
Mrs. Whitman became a member of the Presbyterian Church
in Plattsburgh, Steuben County, N. Y.; was transferred to the
Presbyterian Church, Angelica, Alleghany County, N. Y., and
from thence to the Waiilatpu.
Mr. Spalding united with the Presbyterian Church in Plattsburgh, Steuben County, N. Y., in the Summer of 1825. Graduated from the Western Reserve College, Hudson, Portage
County, Ohio, in the Fall of 1833. Finished his theological
course at Lane Seminary, Walnut Hills, Ohio, ordained to the
Gospel Ministery by the Bath Presbytery in 1835, and was
appointed the same year by the A. B. C. F. M. as missionary.
He was one of the organizers of the Waiilatpu Church. 88
Robert H. Blossom
Dr. Whitman was a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church
in Wheeler, Steuben County, N. Y. He was appointed missionary in 1835 by the A. B. C. F. M. Mr. Whitman was one
of the organizers of tb£ Waiilatpu Church. This information
pertaining to the organizers of the Waiilatpu Church was taken
from the old Waiilatpu Church record.
The following excerpts are made from this interesting old
record: "On the same day, viz., 18 Aug., Charles Compo, formerly a Catholic, baptized by that church, declaring his disbelief
in that faith and expressing a wish to unite with us, was examined and giving satisfactory evidence of being lately born into
the Kingdom of Christ, was propounded for admission to the
church at some future time. Mr. Pembrem (Pambruji), of
Fort Walla Walla, a Catholic present, advised Compo to consider the matter well before he left his own religion to join
"19 Aug., 1838, Sabbath. Charles Compo married to a Nez
Perces woman with whom he had lived for several years, after
which assenting to our confession of faith and covenant, was
baptized and admitted to our little flock as the first fruit of our
missionary labor in this country."
Sabbath, Sept. 2, 1838. The following persons presenting
letters were admitted: Wm. H. Gray and Cornelius Rogers.
The following persons, missionaries of the A. B. C. F. M.,
not having letters, presented as a substitute their appointment
from the board were received, viz.: Mrs. Mary Augusta Gray
(maiden name Dix), Rev. A. B. Smith, Mrs. A. B. Smith, Rev.
iUkanah Walker, Mrs. Mary R. Walker, Rev. Cushing Eells,
Mrs. Myra F. Eells.
Nov. 17, 1839, on profession "the following persons were
admitted to the First Presby, Church in Oregon Territory,
having been examined as to the grounds of their hopes some
six months before, viz., Joseph Tuitakas, the principal Nez
Perces chief, some thjrty^seven years old. Timothy Tieaosa, a
native of considerable influence, same thirty^-seven years old."
JBSZ First Presbyterianism on Pacific Coast 89
May 14, 1843, nine persons (Indians) were admitted to
"the First Presbyterian Church in Oregon" * * * "The
Lord be thanked. To him be all the praise for these trophies
of his victorious grace. Truly this is a glorious day for the
powers of light. May these lambs be kept from every temptation and every sin and be nurtured up by the rich grace of God
and become perfect men and women in Christ Jesus. The
Lord's Supper was administered. Rev. Mr. Hiiies, of the
Methodist Mission, was present and assisted the pastor. Present also, Rev. Mr. Perkins, of the Methodist Mission; also
Elijah White, M.D., sub-agent of Indian A. W. R. M., and Mr.
Littlejohn and wife and Mrs. Spalding."
June 23, 1844, Sabbath. Ten persons (Indians) "were admitted to the First Presbyterian Church in Oregon," making
twenty-two native members in good and regular standing.
* * ^c * * *
"Dr. Whitman visited Compo in Summer of 47. He appears well, has withstood the efforts of the Catholics to draw
him back again, refused to give up his Bible to the priest who
wished to burn it."
Because of Indian troubles the church was without a pastor
for several years.
Nov. 12, 1871. A total of forty-five, mostly Indians, were
admitted to the church and baptized by the pastor, H. H. Spalding. Among this number was Lawyer, head chief of the Nez
Perces, and his son, Archie. * * * "This is a glorious day,
bless the Lord, oh my soul! That I am permitted to return
after so long expulsion in my old age but once to witness the
wonderful work of God upon the hearts of this people."
"Chief Lawyer, the noblest man in the Nez Perce tribe, died
Jan. 6, 1876.   He was an old man and ripe for glory."
A total of ninety-eight were added to the church in November, 1871; all of whom were Indians but one.
Many Indian converts were added to the church during the
years 1872 and 1873.
****** 90
Robert H. Blossom
"Labored through the Winter till Feb. 20, 1873. Preached
every Sabbath to a crowded house, congregation averaging 320.
Three hours a day translating book of Acts, two hours a day
with native helpers, three hours a day in school with Bro.
Cowley, both languages, Bible the text book."
*       *       *       *       *       *
Whole No. received into First Presbyterian Church, Oregon,
from 1838 to April, 1874—961.
Whole No. infants baptized—293.
Various reports were made to the board and Presbytery,
showing membership and other statistics. The membership,
with few exceptions, was composed of the native population.
Indians Baptized.
"May 11, 1874. Today the deeply interesting event occurred
of the baptism by Bro. Spalding, apparently on his death bed, of
the Umatilla Chief, Umhawalish, who came all the way from his
country, 210 miles, for Protestant baptism. He was one of the
early pupils of the Martyr Whitman, and the name of Marcus
Whitman was given to him in his new relation as a member of
the household of faith." After this ceremony the assembly
adjourned from the house to the church and Umhawalish's
wife was baptized, receiving the name of Dr. Whitman's
wife, Narcissa Whitman.
This old record shows that the membership was not confined
to Indians at Waiilatpu alone, but they were "gathered in" at
Kamiah, Lapwai, Halapawawi, Forks Clear Water, Ashoteen,
Salmon River, Umatilla, Spokane, Wild Horse, Simcoe and
Dr. George F. Whitworth in a letter to the writer dated
Seattle, Washington, December 29, 1903, says: "I have the
original records of The First Presbyterian Church in the Territory of Oregon,' organized at the house of Dr. Whitman at
the Waiilatpu Mission station, August 18, 1838."
First Printing Press in.Oregon.
In 1839 the mission received a donation from Rev. H. Bingham's church at Honolulu, Sandwich Islands, of a small print-
~M*i First Presbyterianism on Pacific Coast
ing press, with types, etc., to the value of $450. The first book
printed west of the Rocky Mountains, so far as known, was
issued that Fall in the Nez Perces language and also in that of
the Spokane. (Page 225, "The Conquerors.") This interesting relic, with several booklets m the Nez Perce language,
can be seen in the rooms of the Oregon Historical Society,
The Protestant missionaries, Jason Lee, Dr. Parker, Marcus
Whitman and others, together with laymen like W. H. Gray,
were important factors in winning Oregon to the United States.
At this early period (1834-1843) it was problematical as to just
how the question of sovereignty would be settled. England
and America were contending, each with valid claims, for the
great Northwest. Jason Lee was a colonizer—the greatest this
country and state has ever produced—through his efforts,
mainly, the American population was largely increased. The
question was practically settled in favor of the United States
when, at a public meeting, on May 2, 1843, held at Champoeg,
then the seat of principal settlement on the Willamette River,
it was decided to organize a Provisional Government. The
adherents of Great Britain voting fifty against and the Americans fifty-two in favor of the resolution.
Whitman's Ride.
On October 3, 1842, Dr. Whitman left Waiilatpu with a
single companion, Amos Lawrence Lovejoy, a young man from
Boston, and the guide, destined for the "States." Each member of the party had a horse; mules were used to carry the
supplies. Other remarkable rides have occurred in America's
history. The story of the ride of Paul Revere, immortalized
by Longfellow in his famous poem; Sheridan's ride during
our Civil War. These rides, however, were of short duration
—a few hours or a single night at the most.
Whitman's ride was the heroic deed of one man with a single
companion, covering a distance of 3000 miles, occupying between four and five months. Many snow storms and blizzards
were encountered; frozen streams were crossed; wild beasts 92 Robert H. Blossom
and Indians to be guarded against. Hezekiah Butterworth $3
the author of a beautiful poem upon this famous ride, entitled,
"Whitman's Ride for Oregon." There are those who claim
this memorable ride was to save Oregon to the United States.
Whilst others stoutly maintain it was made in behalf of his
mission. In this connection there are two facts which can
never be disputed:
1. That Whitman made the ride during the Winter months.
2. That the ride was one of unparalleled bravery and for
a cause which must have been uppermost in Whitman's mind.
There is evidence to show that he called upon President Tyler
and other prominent men at Washington, D. C* That while
in the "States" he urged the necessity of early American emigration to Oregon and that measures should be taken to protect them while en route. That he interviewed the officers of
the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions at
Boston, explaining the condition of affairs at the mission and
making suggestions as to its needs. His wishes were granted.
His terrible privations had greatly changed his appearance;
then, too, his garb of buckskin trousers, a waistcoat and a blue
English duffle coat over which he wore a buffalo overcoat, a
few inches shorter than the duffle, was such as might cause
comment in the ordinary drawing-room. Dr. Whitman remarked that it was "rather fantastic for a missionary, a buffalo
coat with a blue border."
Pioneers Come.
In the Fall of 1843 it is estimated that nearly 200 wagons,
with over 1000 Americans arrived upon the plains of the
Columbia. Ox teams were mostly used, averaging about six
yoke to the team. Several thousand loose horses and cattle
were brought along. The feat of crossing the Blue Mountains with wagons was accomplished and which the commandant of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Hall said was,an
*He did confer with the Seer eta* jr ©f Wa».    Compare -with Marshall's
quisition of Oregon,"  Vol.  I, p.  248.—Editor  Quarterly. First Presbyterianism on Pacific Coast
Dr. Marcus Whitman, who was returning to Oregon after
his famous Winter ride, rendered efficient service as guide,
physician and friend for this first great immigration to the
Oregon country.
Jesse Applegate, a pioneer of 1843, writes of Dr. Whitman :*
"I would fain now and here pay a passing tribute to that
noble and devoted man, Doctor Whitman. I will obtrude no
other name upon the reader, nor would I his, were he of our
party or even living, but his stay with us was transient, though
the good he did was permanent and he has long since died
at his post From the time he joined us on the Platte until
he left us at Fort Hall, his great experience and indominant-
able energy were of priceless value to the migrating column.
His constant advice, which we knew was based upon a knowledge of the road before us, was: 'Travel, Travel, Travel.'
Nothing else will take you to the end of your journey; nothing
is wise that does not help'you along; nothing is good for you
that causes a moment's delay. His great authority as a
physician saved us many prolonged and perhaps ruinous delays, and it is no disparagement to others to say that to no
other individual are the emigrants of 1843 so much indebted for
the successful conclusion of their journey as to Dr. Marcus
Upon Dr. Whitman's return to his mission at Waiilatpu he
found his flour mill, with a quantity of grain, had been burned
by disaffected Indians.
First White Women in Oregon.
On November 1, 1843, Dr. Whitman wrote from Fort Walla
Walla to the A. B. C. F. M.: "If I never do more than to have
been one of -the first to take white women across the mountains
and prevent the disaster and reaction which would have occurred by the breaking up of the present emigration, and establishing the first wagon road across to the border of the Columbia
River, I am satisfied."   *   *   *   "I am determined to exert
*A Day With the Cow Column in 1843, Vol.  1, page 271, Oregon Historical
Society Quarterly. 94 Robert H. Blossom
myself for my country and to procure such regulations and
laws as will best secure both the Indians and white men in
their transit and settlement intercourse."
The Whitman Massacre.
The first few years of missionary work was very encouraging. It was not long, however, before a spirit of hatred for
the whites manifested itself. On November 29, 1847, occurred
the horrible massacre of Dr. Whitman, his wife and twelve
other persons. Mrs. Whitman was the only woman killed.
Fifty-three women and children were held in captivity two
weeks by the savages; among them being Eliza, the ten-year-
old daughter of Mr. Spalding. Mr. Peter Skene Ogden, chief
factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, secured their freedom by
paying a ransom in shirts, blankets, guns, ammunition and
tobacco to the value of about $500. Mr. Spalding says that
too much praise cannot be awarded Mr. Ogden for his prompt
and judicious management of the captives' deliverance.
The leaders in this massacre were the Cayuse Indians, for
whose welfare the Doctor and his wife had labored. The
uprising is ascribed to the advent of the white man, whose
numbers were rapidly increasing through immigration. The.
Indians said, "If the Americans come to take away their lands
and make slaves of them, they would fight so long as they had
a drop of blood to shed." They also had a superstitious dread
that poison would be given them by the Americans. The massacre was a prelude to the Cayuse War which followed in
Clatsop Plains Church.
The church of Clatsop Plains was organized on September
19, 1846, by Rev. Lewis Thompson and hence could not be the
first Presbyterian church organized on the Pacific Coast, as
has been claimed. It must take second honors. "Honor to
whom honor is due."
Trials of a Pioneer Preacher
The following is an extract from an interesting letter to the
writer, which gives one some idea of the trials and tribulations
of a country preacher during the church's formative period
in early Oregon:
rfk First Presbyterianism on Pacific Coast
(From J. A. Hanna, dated Los Angeles, California, March 18,
"I married a young and handsome lady in Pittsburg, Pa., in
February, 1852, at 6 o'clock A. M., and started west at 7 o'clock
of the same day. In the absence of railroads we came by
steamboat on the Ohio and Missouri rivers to St. Joseph, Mo.
Here we convened as a Presbyterian colony and purchased our
outfit for crossing the continent with ox teams and wagons.
Our company consisted of about sixty persons and eighteen
wagons. We endured the usual privations and hardships incident to such a journey—had some Indian scares, but nothing
serious. After five months we arrived in Oregon City, where
we received our first mail from home. Here I learned that
the Presbytery of Oregon erected November 19, 1851, stood
adjourned to meet with the First Church of Clatsop Plains on
the first Thursday in October, 1852. After a few days rest I
went by steamboat to Astoria. Accompanied by Elder T. P.
Powers and others we proceeded to Clatsop Plains where we
found Rev. Lewis Thompson and his congregation assembled
at the church. But Rev. E. R. Geary and Rev. Robert Robe
were not present and by invitation I preached—and for want
of a quorum we adjourned till Friday, when Rev. Lewis Thompson preached. When again we adjourned till Saturday when
I preached preparatory to the communion on the Sabbath, and
again we adjourned 'sine die.' In those pioneer days Presbytery always met on Thursday and remained over Sabbath and
united with the church in celebrating the sacrament of the
Lord's Supper. On Sunday I preached and assisted the pastor
administer the sacrament. It was a precious and comforting
season. We afterwards learned why Bros. Geary and Robe
failed to get to Presbytery. They had arranged to come to
Clatsop Plains by way of an Indian trail over the Coast range
of mountains. But Rev. R. Robe's horse became lame and he
returned to the river and came by boat. He was too late for
Presbytery, but just in time to take the steamer to San Francisco to join the brethren there in constituting the Synod of
the Pacific.   Had he failed in this there would have been a 96 Robert H. Blossom
failure in constituting the Synod. Brother Geary, after wandering a few days in the mountains in an unsuccessful attempt
to get through, returned to his home. I returned by boat to
Portland—a town of 400 or 500 inhabitants—and we resumed
our journey up the Willamette Valley and settled in Benton
County, and on the 24th day of September, 1853, organized
the First Presbyterian Church of Corvallis, the majority of
whom were members of the colony in crossing the plains.
Presbytery Meets in Portland.
"My next attempt to meet with the brethren in Presbytery
was in Portland, October 1, 1853; and in <ioing so I traveled
on foot sixty miles from Corvallis to Champoeg, thence by
boat to Portland, and returned in like manner. This was the
first meeting of the Oregon Presbytery since its ereetioa m
September, 1851. The members were Rev. Lewis Thompson,
Rev. E. R. Geary, Rev. Robert Robe, and Alva Condjt, eWer
from the Clatsop Church. Rev. J. L. Yaatis, D. D., and Rev.
J. A. Hanna presented their letters and were received and enrolled. I then reported the organization of the First Presbyterian Church of Corvallis, which was received and enrolled.
"In answer to a request from interested persons in Portland
for church services Rev. J. L. Yantis, D. D., was appointed to
preach in Portland as often as convenient and to organize a
church as soon as the way appeared clear. And he, with the assistance of Rev. Geo. F. Whitworth, did organize the First
Church of Portland, January 1, 1854. Well do I remember
seeing Dr. Yantis plodding through mud and water on his little
gray pony on his way to Portland, a disifcance of eighty miles. It
was during this meeting of Presbytery that I became acquainted
with Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Abrams. They were charter members of the church and were very efficient in its life and progress, and yet they remained warm friends of the Congregational Church—though loyal to the Presbyterian Church in all
of its interests.
"But I must relate another meeting of Presbytery under
difficulties.    Presbytery stood adjourned to meet in Oregon
-—- First Presbyterianism on Pacific Coast 97
City, September 28, 1854. Messrs. Thompson, Hanna and
Elder Alva Condit were present. Also Rev. Philip Condit,
with his letter, seeking membership. Rev. Thompson preached
Thursday night in the M. E. Church. There being no quorum
we adjourned to Friday. Rev. Hanna preached that night,
and still no quorum. We adjourned to meet at the residence
of Rev. E. R. Geary at his 'Sherwood' farm in Yamhill County,
thirty miles distant. We traveled by steamboat as far as
Champoeg and then journeyed afoot ten miles across the
country to Dr. Geary's, where we held a delightful session of
Presbytery and worshipped on the Sabbath in Lafayette.
"We all labored under great difficulties in meeting our appointments ; had bad roads and no bridges—-traveled on horseback through mud and water and swimming swollen streams.
"During the early pioneer years I was immersed twelye
times—each time having a good horse under me. I will
illustrate by giving one instance. It occurred on January 1,
1858, in going to preach at Pleasant Grove, thirty-two miles
distant. I encountered a swollen stream—swam over, but
failed to make a landing, owing to high banks—swam back
again and pressed the water from my clothes—went up stream
two miles—crossed and continued my journey twenty-two
miles—preached that night in my wet clothes—also preached
twice ion Sabbath, returned home on Monday, and, if my
memory serves me right my clothes were dry when I reached
home. Other ministers had similar trials—but we lived through
k ail. I wish to say for those early -pioneer ministers (with
the exception of Dr. Yantis) that they all gave their lives to
the work on this coast. They lived, labored and died on the
field, Brother Robe and myself only U^e to tell of their good
works. They are held in Messed memory. Laid broad and
deep the foundations and bui!4ed better than they knew/'
Note.—Messrs. Robe and Hanna have since died. Robert H. Blossom
Organization of the First Presbyterian Church at
Portland, Oregon.
Previous to the organization of the First Presbyterian
Church, on January 1, 1854, Presbyterians upon their arrival
in Portland found here no church home. The Congregational
brethren had preceded them and established a house of worship.
The two denominations are not so wide apart in their belief.
It is therefore not surprising that Presbyterians affiliated with
the Congregational Church in Portland's early days.
We find, however, that Presbyterians assisted in the organization of this First Congregational Church. Hence a word
concerning this will be eminently proper. The original records
of the Congregational Church are preserved and are now in the
archives of the Oregon Historical Society. This book, called
(Record No. 1), "Church Record of First Congregational
Church, O. T.," is yellow with age. Its leaves are becoming
loosened from their binding and they are much worn by the
"tooth of time."
It was with a feeling akin to reverence that we turned its
pages and gazed upon the record of a work so faithfully performed by the pioneer missionaries and preachers—by the
pioneer fathers and mothers—many of whom have gone to
their heavenly home.
On folio 1 of this ancient "Record" it is stated, that on Sunday, June 15,1851, the organization of the First Congregational
Church was effected by choosing Rev. H. Lyman as pastor;
and among others, who "manifested by rising, their willingness
to become members and form the church" are found the names
of Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Abrams and D. K. Abrams. W. P.
Abrams was chosen clerk pro tern and the minutes are signed
by him. At a meeting of the "male members," Saturday evening, July 5, 1851, W. P. Abrams and N. C. Sturtevant were
chosen deacons. These being the first deacons of the First
Congregational Church.
And now, in this old "Record" (folios 29 and 30), appear
these minutes bearing directly upon the organization of the
First Presbyterian Church, viz.: First Presbyterianism on Pacific Coast
Portland, January 1, 1854.
"This being the regular Sabbath for a season of communion,
and a preparatory lecture having been given last evening, the
ordinance was this morning celebrated according to arrangement. The number present was fewer than usual, owing to
the absence of some, who were this day dismissed, according
to their own request, to aid in forming an Old School Presbyterian Church today in this city. The members dismissed
were Brothers James McKeown, Deacon W. P. Abrams and
Mrs. Sarah L. Abrams. It was unanimously voted that they
should receive letters, showing their good and regular standing in this church, and also recommending them to the watch
and fellowship of any evangelical church with which they may
become connected. The season, though saddened by the departure and absence of esteemed members, was yet one of
much interest.
"H. Lyman, Pastor."
Presbyterians in Portland.
A meeting of the Presbytery of Oregon was held October 1,
1853, in the hall at the Canton House, in this city, then a thriving village of 400 or 500 inhabitants. The following members
of the Presbytery were present, viz.: Rev. J. L. Yantis, D.D.;
Rev. Ed. R. Geary, D.D.; Rev. Lewis Thompson, Rev. Robert
Robe, Rev. J. A. Hanna and Elder Alva Condit. On Sabbath
morning, October 3, 1853, Rev. J. L. Yantis preached in the
First Congregational Church, northwest corner of Second and
Jefferson streets, and Rev. J. A. Hanna occupied the pulpit of
the First Methodist Church, then on Taylor street, between
Second and Third streets.
In the afternoon of the same day (October 3, 1853), those
interested met at the home of William P. Abrams, northwest
corner of First and Jefferson streets, and a petition to the Presbytery was prepared asking authority to organize a church.
The request was granted and Dr. J. L. Yantis appointed to
carry the same into effect. A few weeks later Rev. Geo. F.
Whitworth and family arrived in the Territory and Dr. Whitworth was invited to assist Dr. Yantis in the work. 100 Robert H. Blossom
First Church Organized.
Previous to the organization of the church Dr. Whitworth
preached for several weeks in the hall of the old Canton
House. And in the same building on the morning of January
1, 1854, Dr. Yantis preached from Luke 12:32 ("Fear not little
flock"), and in the afternoon of this day a preliminary meeting
was held at the residence of W. P. Abrams, First and Jefferson streets, and steps were taken to organize the chttfch. Messrs.
Wm. P. Abrams and James McKeown were elected elders.
The following entry was made by Dr. Whitworth in his diary
at the time: "In the afternoon met at Mr. Abrams' and
organized church with ten members. At night preached from
Heb. 2:4, after which Dr. Yantis ordained the elders elect."
The installation of the elders and the organization of the
church was completed on Sunday evening, January 1, 1854, in
this old historic structure, i. e., the hall of the Canton House.
At this meeting there were no other ministers present but Dr.
Yantis and Dr. Whitworth.
According to Dr. Whitworth's diary, entries made at the
time, he supplied the church until the middle of February,
1854; to be specific, he preached every Sabbath in January after
the first but one, the 22d, when "he was unable by reason of
tooth and face-ache, but preached on the 29th and on the 5th
and 12th of February," when on the 13th he left for Puget
The Canton House, a wooden structure, was owned jointly
by William P. Abrams and Captain Stephen Coffin and was
situated on the northeast corner of Front and Washington
streets. This old .building has played a large part in the history
of Portland. When originally built it was occupied on the
grade floor by two stores, the second story by rooms and offices
and in the third was ,the hall, in which the meetings just referred to were held. This hall was a large one and was used
as an assembly hall for various occasions. The society people
of Portland,would have dancing parties and it was here that
such functions were held. It was also used by the Sons of
Temperance, and at a later date by Samaritan Lodge, I. O. O. F. front street, south from stark
Fourth building on the left is the Canton House, Front and Washington Streets,
afterwards  the  American  Exchange.
First Presbyterian Church organized in the third story of this building on
January i, 1854, by Rev. J. L Yantis, D. D., assisted by Rev. Geo. F. Whitworth.
The above picture is a reproduction of a daguerreotype taken by L. H.
Wakefield,  a  pioneer  artist  of  Portland.  First Presbyterianism on Pacific Coast
This building had many names. It was first called the Canton
House, then "Pioneer Hotel," then "Lincoln House," and finally
the American Exchange. For many years it was used as a
hotel and under its last name (American Exchange) was one
of Portland's best resorts. It was moved, some years ago,
to the northeast corner of Front and Jefferson streets, where
it now stands in a remodeled condition. It is a peculiar coincidence that this old structure now covers the identical spot on
which Wm. P. Abrams and Stephen Coffin, in the Winter of
1850, constructed and operated the first steam sawmill in the
Northwest, i. e., Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
Original Members.
Many are curious to know who these first ten members were
(all joining by letter). There is no accessible record giving
this information, but Mrs. W. P. Abrams and Dr. Whitworth
have recalled the names of eight, viz.: Mrs. Sarah H. Thomson, Mrs. Mary Eliza Whitworth (Dr. Whitworth's wife), Miss
Sarah Jane Thomson, Miss Mary Joanna Thomson (now Mrs.
Mary J. Beatty), W. P. Abrams, Mrs. W. P. Abrams, James
McKeown and Archibald H. Bell. Mrs. Sarah H. Thomson
was the mother of Mrs. Whitworth and the Misses Thomson
were the granddaughters of Mrs. Sarah H. Thomson. Mr.
and Mrs. Abrams were the parents of Mrs. H. A. Hogue (nee
Sarah L. Abrams), and grandparents of Harry W. Hogue and
Chester J. Hogue, present members of the church.
And did they have a choir for the church in 1854? Yes,
indeed! and excellent music was furnished. The following are
known to have assisted in the singing: Dr. J. G. Glenn, John
C. Carson, D. R. Carson, Captain W. S. Powell and Mrs. Caroline E. Corbett. At times the choir was led by D. R. Carson, a
brother of John C. Carson. Of these early singers Captain
W. S. Powell is the only survivor.
In these early days the Red Man of the forest was much
in evidence. There were several good camping places along the
Willamette's bank. On the east side of the river, in the vicinity
of Water street, between Washington, Stark and Burnside
streets, the bank was low and flat, extending some distance 102
Robert H. Blossom
out before the water was reached. Willows and other trees
grew on these "flats" and here, in large numbers, the Indians
pitched their tents.
Another excellent camping place was at the foot of Jefferson street, on the west bank, near Abrams' and Coffin's mill—
as many as 150 Indians being in camp at one time. Mrs.
Abrams says that the Indians were inveterate gamblers and
that when she resided on First and Jefferson streets they often
kept her awake bights with their incessant noise, which they
always made when indulging in their favorite game.
First Church Reorganized.
The First Church was reorganized August 4, 1860.
The first pastor was Rev. P. S. Caffrey.
The first members received (all by letter) at this organization were: S. M. Hensill, Israel Mitchell, Mrs. Mary Robertson, Mrs. Margaret Smith, Mrs. Eliza Ainsworth, Mrs. M.
Jane Hensill, Mrs. Frances Sophia Law, Mrs. Sarah J. Mead,
Miss Leonora Blossom, James McKeown, Mrs. Elizabeth L.
Blossom, A. H. Bell, Mrs. Jerusha Hedges, Mrs. Caroline
Couch, Mrs. C. A. Ladd, Mrs. Polona Clark and Mrs. Agnes
Grooms—a total charter membership of seventeen.
The first elders of the reorganized church were: James McKeown, Israel Mitchell and Smith M. Hensill.
The first deacon of the church was A. H. Bell.
The first board of trustees were: W. S. Ladd, J. C. Ainsworth, H. A. Hogue, J. M. Blossom and B. F. Smith.
Some of the first singers were: Mrs. J. W. J. Pearson, Mrs.
W. B. Mead, Miss Frances Holman, Miss A. Chamberlain (now
Mrs. E. G. Randall), J. B. Wyatt, Capt. H. L. Hoyt, W. B.
Mead, and P. C. Schuyler.
All of the friends whom the writer interviewed and corresponded with have since died.
As we bring this sketch to a close, we are reminded that the
pioneer preachers and the pioneer church members are passing
away. Their work was a noble one and their life, as many of
us know, was one of sublime patience and courage.
—U First Presbyterianism on Pacific Coast
Should we forget these early Oregon Presbyterian Church
fathers? Whitman, the medical missionary and martyr, and
his wife, Narcissa Whitman, the only woman martyr; Spalding,
the zealous worker; Gray, the secular manager and assistant
missionary, author of Oregon's first history, and one of the
leading organizers of Oregon's Provisional Government in
We cannot refrain from again naming Jason Lee, the great
Methodist missionary, a man whose early activities i'n behalf of
Oregon should never be forgotten. There are others whose
names appear on the roll of honor, known in our day as "Fathers of Oregon,"—all enshrined in the hearts of liberty-loving
and law-abiding people.
We shall never forget the dramatic story of the heroes and
heroines in the planting of the cross and the establishment of
civil government in Old Oregon! JOURNAL OF DAVID THOMPSON
Editorial Introduction by T. C. Elliott.
The first part of this journal was published in No. 1, Vol.
15, of this Quarterly and the introduction there given should
be read in connection with this part.
The reader will feel disappointment because nothing of importance is revealed by Mr. Thompson as to the physical or
commercial conditions existing at Astoria three months after
the landing of the officers and men of the Pacific Fur Company from the Tonquin in April, 1811, and the beginning of
the erection of the trading post. In explanation it may be
remarked that Mr. Thompson was a guest of rival fur traders
and felt restrained by courtesy from making such a record;
also that in all of his journals he is very reticent as to the
personnel or movements of rivals or associates. However, in
later years, about 1847-8, he wrote a narrative of this journey
down the Columbia in which he stated that Astoria upon his
arrival there consisted of "four low log huts," as well as
considerable other information of a general character. This
narrative or autobiography is mentioned by Dr. Elliott Coues
in the Editor's Preface to the Henry-Thompson Journals
(Francis P. Harper, 1897) and is at the present time in
process of publication by The Champlain Society of Canada
under the able editorship of Mr. J. B. Tyrrell, of Toronto.
The reader will find it of interest to read in connection with
this text the references by Franchere, Ross, Irving and Ross
Cox to Mr. Thompson's visit at Astoria; also Mr. Ross' account of the journey up the Columbia in company with Mr.
Thompson. The comparison will throw some light upon Mr.
Ross' literary method and accuracy of statement.
Mention is again made of Mr. Thompson's peculiar use of
the word "gone" when stating that he had passed a certain
object or place. He also often uses the parenthetical marks
to designate the right or left side of the river or road. His
courses are all in terms of the magnetic needle, and while his Journal of David Thompson
distances are often quite inexplicable tise platting of the courses
usually gives a very close idea of the meanderings of the stream
during the day's travel.
Since editing the first part of this journal the writer has
been. privileged to examine the original journals at Toronto*
and his feeling of satisfaction with the general correctness of
thfe copy is otify ecpiafled by his charity for the copyist and
understanding of a- few apparent contradictions in the textl
See ftirther note at close of the journal.
(As Copied from the Original in the Archives of Ontario, Canada.)
July loth (1811), Tuesday.34 A fine day. Observed for
Lat'de, Long, and Time.   Lat. 46° 13' 56"   Long. 123° 48 &
y* w.
July 17th, Wednesday. A very fine day, if we except an appearance of rain with a few drops of do., a steady gale from
the sea as usual.
July 18th, Thursday.35 A very hot calm day. I went across
to the Indian Village with Mr. Stuart and my men. After
visiting the Houses, we went up a green hill where we gratified ourselves with an extension (ve) view of the Oceon and
the Coast South'd. From hence I set the Lands of Cape Disappointment S. 80° W. 4 m., Pt. Adams S. 25° W. \~y2 m. or
2 m., Co. or Obs. Pt.36 S. 5° E. 10 or 12 m., a bay37 of \~y2 m.
deep to the east'd which is almost met by a cut37 of fresh water
and inundated marshes etc., the cut of water bears S. 17° E.
3 m. A Flat38 at Pt. Adams about y4 m. distant bears toward
Cape Disappointment, from that Pt. the Flat about 300 yards
long. Lewis39 is River opposite Pt. George39, bears S. 30° E.
running from the S. W., Bay above M. M. the Pt. and Bay.
34 Astoria is now charted as in Lat. 460 11' 20" and Long. 123° 50' W.
35 Today Mr. Thompson crosses the Columbia river to the Chinook Indian
village about 1 mile east of the present McGowan's Station, where Chief Com-
comly resided. He then climbs upon the "green hill," later charted as Scarborough Head, upon which the fortifications of Fort Columbia have since been
built; and then returns to "the House," i. e., Fort Astoria.
36- Tillamook Head, which was the "Clark's Point of View" of Lewis and Clark.
37 Young's Bay and  Skeppernawin (Skipanon) creek with marshes adjoining.
38 Clatsop Spit.
39 Lewis  and  Clark  river  and  Smith   Point. 106
T. C. Elliott
From the House set Cape Disappointment, beaffs N. 78° W.
7 m.; the Point40 above from whence I set the above Courses
N. 62° W. 3y2 m., the nearest land across40 bears N. W. 2y2
m. and then forms a Bay.40 The little Pt.41 close to the House
lies nearly on the same line with the Cape Disappointment, distant 1-5 m.
July 19th, Friday.   A fine hot day.   Obs'd for Lat. by 2 Alt.
July 20th and 21st, Saturday and Sunday.   Fine weather.
July 22nd, Monday.42 A fine day. Arranged for setting off
for the Interior in company with Mr. David Stuart and 8 of his
men in 3 canoes. I pray Kind Providence to send us a good
journey to my family and friends. At 1-24 P. M. set off in
company with Mr. David Stuart and 8 of his men. They are
to build a Factory somewhere below the Falls of the Columbia,
at the Lower Tribe of the Shawpatin Nation. Course from the
House to Tongue Pt. N. 35° E. 2 m. + y4y a sail wind and
very high waves. Course not very certain (N. 58° E., S. 80°
E. distant Pt.). Course S. 10° E. y4 m., S. 2° W. 1-3, S. 55°
W. 1-5. We stopped at the Isthmus for Mr. Stuart's canoes
who carried all their goods &c. here. The course from Tongue
Pt. to the Great Pt.43 on the right is N. 58° E. 6 m. but having
gone into the bay the Co. from end of S. 55° W. 1-5 m. Co.
is N. 84° E. 3 m., sailing we ran about 3 m. and then turned
N. 48° E. to the Great Pt. Say Co. N. E. 2 m. + 1 m. + 2 m.
N. 20° E. \y4 m. N. 77° E./2m.+ /4m. At 6.40 P. M. put
up m a very awkward place for the night. 2 Indians came
to us, we sent them for Salmon, of which they brought us a
40 Scarborough Head, and Point Ellice, and Grays Bay.
41 Shark's Point, where the Parker Hotel stands in the City of Astoria.
42 Read in this connection Alex. Ross' account in "Oregon Settlers," pp. 103,
et seq. Mr. Thompson sails around and beyond Tongue Point, but is compelled to
turn back to the isthmus to wait for the Stuart party; they then proceed together
along the south side of the river as far as Cathlamet Point, near where they camp
for the night.
43 Cathlamet Head or Point, which is not to be confused with the town of
Cathlamet on north side of the river.
~*W Journal of David Thompson
July 23, Tuesday.44 A fine cloudy morning. At 4.21 A. M.
set off, Co. N. 75° E. y2 m. End of Co. 7 Hos. on the I.45
N. 80° E. 1-3 m. S. 80° E. y2 m. The Nation on Pt. Adams
is named tht Klats up or Klats ap; the other on the north side
the Chinook. Co. S. 70° E. 1 m. plus y4 m. S. 68° E. y2 m. S.
72° E. y4 m. S. 65° E. 1-6 m. S. 42° E. 1 m. S. 80° E. 1-6 m.
At 7 A. M. put ashore to boil meat and at 8.40 A. M. set off,
Co. S. 70° E. y2 m. [78° E.]. Saw the place46 where I obs'd
and camped going to the Sea, then Co. S. 70° E. \%, S. 80°
E. 2-3, N. 78° E. % m. N. 73° E. 1 m. From beginning of
course the white conical mountain bears N. 70° E., No. 1, N.
72° E. 1 m. N. 58° E. 2y2 m. End of course, an opening on the
I.47 bears S. 65° E., from which a river comes, perhaps the one
passed a few miles below. Co. N. 58° E. y4 m. N. 18° E. 2y4
m. N. 26° E. y2 m. N. 30° E. y4 plus 1-6, N. E. 1-5, N. 55°
E. 1-6, passed 2 houses. Co. to Pt. of Island48 N. 60° E. y2 m.
We go on the outer side of the Island to avoid the large village
of about 20 Houses. Co. N. 75° E. y4 m. N. 88° E. 1 m. plus
1 m, S. 85° E. y4, E. \y2 m. S. 72° E. y4, S. 65° E. y4, S. 57°
E. y2 m. S. E. 1-3 m. S. 35° E. y4. At 7 P. M. at the end of
a line of steep Rocks, on a very steep shore, we put up, with
difficulty we could place the Goods, and all slept as I may say
standing, as all the lower lands are overflowed and no camp-
ment can be found.
July 24th, Wednesday.49 A cloudy musketoe morning. The
white mount'n50 bears about N. 65° E. Our"course is N. 88° E.
1 m. at ty2 A. M., E. \y2 plus y4 m. S. 80° E. 2-3 plus y4 m.
44 Continuing along the south bank Mr. Thompson stops for breakfast near
Clifton, Oregon, sights Mt. St. Helens just as they round the upper end of
Puget's Island, avoids Indians on Grim's Island, and camps at night on the
rocky bank about 8 miles below Rainier, Oregon. By error Mr. Ross' account
places the first night's camp here.
45 Tenas-Illihee Island.
46 Note 32 placed this camping place on the north side of the river. Further
study shows it to have been on the south side, above Clifton.
47 Upper end of Wallace's Island and the channel south of it.
48 Meaning Grim's Island; right along here was Oak Point where the
Winships began to build a trading post in 1810.
49 The parties cross the river and follow the north side as far as Deer Island
and then recross to the Oregon side. After passing Willamette Slough and Warrior Point the wind forced them to cross over the inundated lands on Wapato
or Sauvie's Island to the slough for a camping place. The well known Indian
camp of Chief Casinov is near.
50 Mt. St Helens. 108 T. C. Elliott
plus \y2m. At 6y4 A. M. put ashore to gum aael boil safenou.
At 8^4 A. M. set off Co. S. 80° E. ji m., S. 75° E. y4, S. 60°
E. 1-6, S. 50° E. y2, S. E. y2, S. 50° E. 1 m., S. 10° E. 1-6,
S. 36° E. y2 m. (3 m. on the Co.) S. 30° E. 1-6, S. 40° E. y.
At end of this Co. we crossed S. 20° E. y4, but on straight
Co. to the I. Pt. is S. 48° E. 3y2 m. which we take. S. 40°
E. 1-6, S. 25° E. 2y2 plus 1 m. At end of this mile a gap on
the ( which seems to send out a large Brook.51 A Mount52
bears S. 86° E.—plus \y4 m. At end of Co. set the first conical
Mountain N. 42° E., another N. 56° E., the third S. 84° E.
Perhaps the distances are too long here, as the sail is up and
I go by the watch, plus y2 m., S. 25° E. 1 m., S. 40° E. \y4 m.
Passed in the woods 60 yds. & Co. West y4 m. to the Wilarbet
River,53 as it blows too hard, then Co. S. 15° W. y2 m. as (?)
which is best; take the Co. from entrance of the River, which we
see S. 8° W. l/2 m. and lessen the S. 40° E. \y2 m. Co. + y4
m. At end of the Co. put up at 6y4 P. M. A few Indians came
to us, their village is about 1 m. below and is seemingly a fine
place, say 12 houses. Obsd. for Lat., Merid., Altde. of Satura
44° 42^' Lat. 45° 49' 38" N.
July 25th, Thursday.54 A cloudy morning. At 5.7 A. M.
set off up the Wilarbet River. Co. S. 7° W. y4 m. S. %, S. 5°
E. y8, S. 15° E. 1-6, S. 30° E. 1-6, S. 40° E. 1-6, S. 52° E. 1-6,
S. 65° E. 1-5, E. \y2 m., S. 85° E. 1-6, S. 60° E. %, S. 46° E. M
S. 20 ° E. y8, S. 5° E. y4, S. y2 plus 1-6. All along the river on
both sides the country is inundated. S. 5° W. y2 m., S. 10°
E< 1-3. At end of Co. the River continuing to come from the
Island at S. SW'd we returned the last Co. to paddle across
the inundated lands for the Columbia, S. 70° E. y4, N. E. 1-6,
N. y, S. E. y, S. 35° E. 2-3, when we carried about 60 yds.
into the Columbia River again.   Co. in it 28° ,E. 1 m. which
Si Martin's Slough,   on Washington side.
52 Mt. Hood. The next mountains seen are St. Helens, Adams and Hood in
the order named.
53 Willamette Slough.
54 The parties follow the meanderings of the Willamette Slough for some
distance and then turn into Sturgeon Lake on Wapato Island and from the lake
portage cross into the Columbia again somewhere below Reeder's Landing; their
camp at evening is at present town of Washougal. The Willamette river is not
noted at all, but Mt Adams is sighted from near its mouth.
_ 1 Journal of David Thompson
may also be the Co. downwards for y4 m. Co. 1 m., in this
Co. put ashore at 10 Houses, this is the place we traded Salmon
and afterwards boiled do. as we went to the Sea. S. 27° E. y2
m., y4 m. gone to 5 Houses, boiled Salmon and dried a few
things of Mr. Stuart's. S. 28° E. 1 m., Co. S. 5° E. y2 m. Be-
.ginning of Course set the Mountain54 No. 2 N. 24° E. 25m.
S. 30° E. 1 m., we crossed the river in this Course and cannot
as yet perceive any Channel going to the Wilarbet River, but
the ground is all overflowed. On looking back we see part of
this side an Island55 as drawn at M. M. where we left this
River yesterday even. A bold channel in the Island on the
Co. appears about y2 m. above where we turned to the Wilarbet
River. I did not draw it. Co. S. 10° E. f£ m., S. 30° E. % m.
Passed 8 canoes seining of Salmon, of which they killed 10
at a haul. Their seine is about 30 fm. long, exclusive of 10 fm
of cord at each end, but they are as inhospitable as most of the
others of this Nation, not a Salmon to be got from them,
although they have plenty. S. 40° E. 1 m., S. E. 1-6, S. 70°
E. 1-6, S. 80° E. \y2 m. plus y2 m., S. 72° E. 1 m., S. 80° E.
$4, middle of Course turned N. E. y2 m. to a good campment
at 7 P. M., fine meadow land below Pt. Vancouver. Michel
went a hunting and wounded a chevreil, of which the Tracks
are plenty here. We traded much split salmon at a very dear
rate for Rings, Bells, Buttons and Tobacco. A large snowy
mountain56 bears S. 88° E. 40 m. distant from campment.
Measured the Chevruil. Observed Merid. Altd. of Saturn.
(Observations omitted.)
July 26th, Friday.57 A fine cloudy morning. Michel killed
a good fleshy Chevruil, but not fat. Dimensions as follows:
Length 5.5 In plus 14 inches for the tail, height of the fore
leg 3.3 & y2, hind do. 3.6, just (girt) at the breast 3 ft. 4 In.,
a fawn color, throat, breast and belly white, legs a fawn colour;
55 Perhaps Bachelor's Island and Slough.
56 Mt.   Hood.
57 Starting late the party enter just above Washougal a natural slough
which in high water becomes a lake, but portage back into the river and then
pass around Pt. Vancouver; the camp is on the north bank below Cape Horn, a
very short day's journey, which is explained in Mr. Ross' account. Mt. Hood is
very accurately placed from two separate locations. 110
T. C. Elliott
upper part of the tail fawn, lower part white but not such fine
long hair on the tail as the Upper Country Chevruil. Length
of the horns 19 inches, 3 branches and 8 inches between tip
and tip. Made 2 oars and arranged a canoe of Mr. Stuart's.
At 7.55 set off, Co. 88° E. 1 m. Fine Meadow land. At end of
course found ourselves shut in and obliged to carry about 40
yds to the River, plus y4 m., S. 86° E. 1 m. plus y2 m., S. 86°
E. 2 m., beginning of Course the Snow Mount right ahead.
S. 85° E. 1 m. plus ji m., S. 88° E. 1 m. plus \y2 m.,58 N. 86°
E. y2 m., N. 60° E. y2 m., N. 50° E. y4 m., N. 68° E. 1-6, E.
\y2 m., N. 80° E. 1 m, plus 1 m., plus y4 m., plus 1-6. At end
of Course. Put up at 5^2 P. M. On the left a few oaks and
much of it all day, but only in a thin ledge. Course for the
morrow S. 86° E. 3 m. Traded a few berries. Our salmon
is almost all spoilt. The Mountain bears S. 81° E. 20 m.
(Observations omitted.)
July 27th, Saturday.60 A fine but foggy morning. At 5.47
a. m. Set off, Co. S. 86° E. 3 m. plus y2 m., N. 73° E. 1 m.,
from y4 m. of Co. on the opposite side of the river about JJ
m. below us there is a remarkable isolated rock61 like a Windmill of about 90 feet height; a little above, about 300 yds., a
rock covered with sod resembling a House of one story with
a door in the middle.61 From this place our campment bears
of going to the Sea 82° E. 1 m., Course N. 73° E. y2 m., N.
50° E. y2 m., N. 48° E. 2y4 m. Course N. 48° Kl^m. Opposite end of course a brook62 falls about 120 feet. Course N.
55° E. 2y2 m. (This last Course from end of Course on
looking back appears S. 55° W. 2y2 m.) Co. plus y2 m., Co.
N. 35° E. y4 m. Beginning of Course a brook63 falls 40 feet;
on the island at end of Course put ashore at the same place
58 Point Vancouver at end of this course.
60 They travel today against a very strong current only about 18 miles and
Mr. Thompson camps below Garrison^ Rapids at Bonneville on the Oregon side.
Mr. Ross' account does not coincide with Mr. Thompson's entries. It is impossible
to identify the islands noted because at extreme high water, then prevailing, parts
of the main land became islands.
61 Rooster Rock and two of the Pillars of Hercules. When viewed under
similar conditions these appear very true to the  description  today.
62 Multnomah Falls, actually about 620 feet high; probably Mr. Thompson's
sail and the growth of timber obstructed his view.
63 Oneonta,  also called Horsetail Falls. Journal of David Thompson
where we boiled Salmon going down. At 1.20 P. M. set off,
having cooked Salmon etc. and arranged our Arms. Course
N. 46° E. 1 m., Co. plus N. 46° E. 1-3 m, N. E. y4, N. 5° W.
%, for these Courses cannot see anything, but they are put
down to bring up a Chart of the Isles. Co. N. 45° E. 1-6, N.
55° E. y4. I must here give over as I cannot see for the sail.
At the mouth of the little Channel took in sail and I took the
Courses, but from whence I left off to this place may be
about N. E. y4 or so with an Island, on ). Co. N. E. 1-3
m., N. 30° E. y4, N. 25° E. y4, N. 10° E. y. R., N. 60° E.
1-3, N. 18° E. y. At end of Course put up at Sy P. M. as
we are close to the Great Rapid64 and the houses, pray Good
Providence send me well up it. A canoe with a blind good
old Chief came to us and smoked, also 2 canoes that passed
and went to the Village. We requested them to bring us
some Salmon, which they promised, but not coming at all
made us suspect some treachery and I had the canoes loaded,
ready for any occasion.
July 28th, Sunday.65 A fine blowy morning. At 5.5 A. M.
set off. Co. S. 55° E. y4 m. R. plus y4 m. R. Here we met 4
men with 7 Salmon, we put ashore and boiled do. They, as
well as the others, enquired about the Smallpox, of which a
report had been raised, that it was coming with the white
men and that also 2 men of enormous size to overturn the
Ground etc.; we assured them the whole was false, at which
they were highly pleased, but had not Kootanaes66 been under
our immediate care, she would have been killed for the lies
she told on her way to the Sea. At 7y4 A. M. set off, Co. N.
78° E. y2 m.   S. C.67   We kept on by the line and paddle, sev-
64 The Cascades.
65 The day is spent in lining up as far as the portage (which began just below
Sheridan's Point) and carrying their goods and canoe around the Cascades, a
distance of 1450 yards according to Mr. Ross. Both portage and camp at night
are on the Washington side. For excellent map of the Cascades and this portage
consult Capt. Clark's sketch map opposite page 172, Vol. 3 of L. & C. Journals,
Dodd-Mead, 1905 edition.
66 These are the two female Indians disguised as men who had appeared at
Astoria bearing a letter from Finan McDonald to Mr. Stuart and described by
Franchere, Irving and Mr. Ross. Mr. Thompson makes no other mention of
them in these notes, but in his "narrative" of later date he describes them at
length, and one as of loose character who took on the guise of a sorceress.
67 Garrison Rapids. 112 T: C. Elliott
eral bad places. One of the wood canoes nearly filled. The
Indians assisting with good will. Co. to the portage N. 70°
E. 1 m. by 9:50 A. M. Here we waited Mr. Stuart's Canoes till
noon and then set off, Mr. Stuart employing a number of
Indians to aid in carrying the Goods, Canoes etc. We carried
20' and then put down, when all was got forward to this place
we set off again and carried about 400 yards farther. The
Co. may be N. 1 m. By 2y4 P. M., when Mr. Stuart was to
pay the Indians, they could not be known who had carried
from those who had 'not, and much Tobacco was given, yet the
Indians were highly discontented; they all appeared with their
2 pointed Dags, and surrounded us on the land side, their
appearance very menacing; Mr. Stuart set off with a few to
get his Canoes brought, which they refused to do till better
paid. When gone, I spoke to the Chiefs of the hard usage
they gave Mr. Stuart and reasoning with them, they sent off
all the young men. We loaded and went up 3 strong points
with the Line and paddle. Co. N. 52° W. y2 m. and put up
close tp end of Co. Here we went back and brought up Mr.
Stuart's canoes, and, Thank Heaven, put up all together though
late. These people are a mixture of kindness and treachery.
They render any service required, but demand high payment,
and ready to enforce their demands, Dag in hand. They steal
all they can lay their hands on, and from every appearance
only our number and Arms prevented them from ►cutting us
all off. This was their plan as we were afterwards informed,
though not agreed to by all, and they perhaps only wait a
better opportunity.
July 29th, Monday.68 A fine morning. Went and fetched
a light canoe of Mr. Stuart's and at 6.5 A. M. set off. Co. 80°
W. 1-3 m., N. W. 1-6, N. y8, N. 42° E. 1-5, N. 15° E. 1-7 (?),
N. E. 1-5, N. 1-3, S. 35° E. y4, N. 35° E. y4, N. 42° E. 1 m.,
N. 25° E. 1-3, N. E. y2. y4 m. short of Course crossed the
River, as the appearance of 2 canoes that followed us was
hostile, with their always shouting to show where we were,
68 They proceed today about 24 miles, crossing the river twice, to a camp
at evening near the mouth of the Little White Salmon on north side. The Point
of Pine is probably just below the mouth of Wind river. ,
	 Journal of David Thompson
which was answered by a number on shore. As the land was
inundated they could not approach us, but we were drawing
near a Pt. of Pine where the land was dry and good for an
ambush. We accordingly crossed North ^ m- and put ashore
to boil salmon etc. at 10.40 A. M. From hence the E. pt of the
Rapid bears S. 22° W„ and the place where we slept S. 26°
W. 3y m. Co. at 1% P. M. N. 70° E. 1-6, N. 62° E. yAi N.
58° E. 1-5, N. 78° E. 2y m., S. 82° E. 1 m. Plus 1 m., N. 86°
E. y4, N. 78° E. 1 m. plus % m, N. 62° E. 1 m. plus \y4 m,
plus \y2 m. or to the other side Co. N. 67° E. A little of Co.
gone put up at 6y2 P. M., late 4 Indians in a canoe came
and camped with us, they are going to buy horses.
July 30, Tuesday.69 A fine morning, head wind. At Sy
A. M. set off, Co. N. 67° E. 3 m, N. 70° E. 1 m. End of Co.
at 8.5 A. M. put ashore and boilefd Salmon. Plenty of Oak
but like all we have seen, stunted. Set off and crossed the
River N. 3° W. 1 m. to a brook70 at 10^ A. M. where we
smoked with a few Chawpatins. We sight a Mountain71 at
the head of the Brook, Narmeneet, and from the mouth of
this Brook set a Mountain,72 bears S. 3° W. 30 m. At 10.40
A. M. set off, Co. S. 72° E. V/2 plus % m. S. 82° E. y2, N.
85° E. 1 m. plus 1.4 m., N. 84° E. 1 m., N 70° E. \)/4 m., N.
72° E. 5-6. At middle of Course camped at 6y4 P. M. to split
out oars, paddles etc. etc. but found the wood bad etc.
July 31st, Wednesday:75 At 5.2 A. M. set off, ended Course,
then Co. N. 72° E. \y4 m. Beg. of Course steep fluted Roefes
like Pillars with quite perpend. Strata, jsome Pillars are loosened and broke and stand like stumps,7* no horizontal strata.
The reck is ©f a grey black.   Co. S. 86° E. \% m., East \%m.
69 Another day of slow progress. The camp at night seems to have been
on Eighteen-Mile Island, near the Oregon side and below Memaloose Isle.
70 White Salmon river.
71 Mt. Adams.
72.Mt. Hood.
73 Mr. Thompson now leaves the Stuart party and travels rapidly. The Dalles
portage is on the Oregon side from Big Eddy^ Jo upper end of Ten-Mile Rapid.
The camp at evening is at upper end of this portage. Mr. Stuart personally
accompanies the party to inspect the portage but returns; and the two Kootenaes
remain with his people.
74 Just below Memaloose Island and on the Washington bank many of these
stone stumps were blasted away in the construction of the North Bank railroad,
but some remain. 114
T. C. Elliott
S. C. N. 85° E. 2-3 m. All these Courses are high steep
perpend. Rocks. S. 85° E. 1 m. These Courses are well
taken but the distances are not quite so, as the Ground is on
fire and very smoky. S. 75° E. y m., S. 72° E. 1 m. At 7.25
A. M. at beginning of Co. where we gummed going to the Sea.
S. 43° E. iy> m, S. 24° E. % m. at end of Course at Sy2
A. M. to the Portage Road,75 the Course continues iy m. I
sent our interpreter Indian for Horses, he brought them, with
salmon, we boiled do., and set off at \y2 P. M. By 3%. P. M.
got all across, we walked smartly, the distance is full Ay2 m.
Here we had scarcely set down the things etc. than word was
brought that one of the Chiefs was gathering his Band to
seize all our Arms from us. This brought on some sharp
words, which, thank Providence, ended well for us. I asked for
Salmon which they brought to 13, major part for Mr. Stuart.
We passed a very bad night with a storm of wind, drifting
sand and rogues walking about us all night to steal, they cut
our line, though fastened to the Ponies, and got off with about
2y2 fm of do.
Aug. 1st, Thursday.76 A fine morning. Had a little trouble
to get our Indian Interpreter to come with us. At 5 A. M.
set off, Co. N. 18° E. \y4 m, N. 58° E. 1 m. Passed an Isle77
with Houses for the Dead. S. 75° E. 1-3 to a Village of
about 15 men. Smoked with them. Co. S. 76° E. \y2 m. part
line. S. 88° E. 2 m., S. C. to a Village of 20 men. Boiled
Salmon. N. 72° E. 2y2 m.—y2 m., gone a strong Rapid, the
line and handed, on to the Indians. The name of the great
River78 in the great Bay, or possibly the great Isle, is Ween
vow we. Near end of Course stopped 1 hour with about 120
men, then finished Course S. C. Co. N. 78° E. 2-3 m., N. 68°
E. 1-6, N. 55° E. 1-5, N. 48° E. 5-6. The Rocks here (?) to
have still the same perpend. Pillar-like strata, but many much
75 Big Eddy.
76 Mr. Thompson ascends the Celilo Rapids, then inundated, at best advantage, on the north side and follows that side of the river until he crossed to a
camping place between Rufus and Grants on the Oregon side. No attempt is made
to  designate the numerous  rapids along the upper  river.
77 Miller's Island above Celilo.
78 The Deschutes river.
JL Journal of David Thompson
cracked horizontally. N. 85° E. 1-3. At end of Course carried
about 10 yds., then Co. N. 67° E. 1 m. to a Village of 15 men,
here we smoked with them, then Co. N. 58° E. \y4 S. C. Co. -f-
\y4 m. always steep rocky banks. N. 56° E. 1-5 m., N. 54°
E. \y2 m. plus y2 m. Water has fallen about 10 feet perpend,
since we passed. Co. N. 55° E. 1 m. -j- % m. Note—this Co.
is almost rubbed out and is perhaps N. 55° E. 45° E. to the
camp of the Malada. Stopped y4 hours, then Co. N. 53° E.
\y2 m., N. 62° E. 2-3 when we crossed S. 15° E. y2 m. and in
aft. put up at 6y4 P. M. A Gale ( ?), the sand drifting, little
wood, but very quiet (?) Where we crossed the Current,
though moderate on the North side, was very strong in the
Middle, with shoal rocks and swift on the shore we are. All
the land very sandy, without any mixture of earth, and the
woods so scarce that all the bits we could gather was barely
sufficient to boil a salmon.   Everything is full of sand.
August 2nd, Friday.79 A fine blowy morning, at 5 :05 A. M.
set off after having gummed. Course N. 25° E. 1 1-6 m. S. C.
Muscle Rapid. Very many of those shells. At end of Co. a
Ho. of six men etc. on an island close below about 50 men in
a small village, opposite above about 20 men in a small village.
We lined up end of Co., then N. 30° E. \y4 m., y2 m. of
Course gone opposite where we camped going to the sea, and
a river of 80 yards wide on this side named Forks Pass.80
Course N. 55° E. y2 m., S. R. N. 65° E. 1 m., S. R. lined up,
measured a salmon of 4 feet 4 inches long and 2.4 inches
circumference. He is a fine large fish, rather above the common size. Still along the steep rocky strata with rocky grassy
hills rising above and going off in vast plains, though very
unequal the first strata may be 100 feet high of the different
rocks, the other about 800 feet. Boiled fish. We then set
off, two men crossed among the rocky rapids, which is always
been since morning of the middle of channel. They seemed
hurt that we did not stop at their villages and give them the
79 Mr. Thompson travels about 25 miles today, passing many rapids and
small islands, to a camping place near or opposite to Blalock Station, Oregon.
He seems to have crossed to the north side again.
80 John Day river. 116 T.' C. Elliott
news of our voyage, of which they are all very fond. Course
rubbed out, N. 85° E. distant y2 m. plus 1% m., East 1-6 m.,
S. 88° E. y m., Course rubbed out. N. 40° E. 2-3 m., S. 52°
E. 2 m., S. 56° E. y m. Smoked at a village of 20 men and
then held in Course S. 56° E. \y2 m. Course S. 65° E. \y2 m.
End of course a river81 of about 60 yards named Now-wow-ee.
Course N. 82° E. y2 m. Passed five Hos. on an Island etc.
Course N. 75° E. y2 m.—drawn to the south'd instead of the
north'd f-^m. plus 1 m., N. 70° E. y2 m.   End of course,
Village of thirty men, from \y2 P. M. to 3y P. M. Course N
65° E. 2y m. No naked women in this last dance, they were
tolorably clothed. To a village of fifteen men, stayed about an
hour. Course plus 1 m, plus 1 m, plus y4 m. Course N. 70°
E. \y4 m. End of Course put up at 6:40 P. M. with about
12 horsemen in company, average number of their winter habitation. Observation for latitude and time, Latitude by account 45° 42' 52" N.
It may be remarked here that all the observations made
going to the sea was with a com. watch that went very badly
losing time. On my return also with a com. watch that went
tolorably well.   The wind always blowing a gale.
August 3rd, Saturday.82 A fine morning. At 4-24 A. M.
set off. Course as yesterday, N. 65° E. 1 m, N. 70° E. l}i
m., N. 76° E. 1 m. plus 1 m., N. 50° E. 1-6 m., N. 32° E 1 m.,
N. 18° E. 2 m., N. 64° E.lm,(+)/2m A village of about
100 men at 7:20 A. M. At 9:27 A. M. embarked, Course plus
1 m., plus 2 m., plus y4 m., N. 50° E. \y4 m. Put ashore one
hour to gum. Course at 11:45 A. M. N. 55° E. y2 m., N.
50° E. 1-3 plus 2 m. Before this last course the last 4 m. only
a line of rock with large pts. etc.83 The hills have retired
especially on the south side. The last 2 miles low meadow
banks and shores bold in places but retiring. y4 m. of the 2
m. gone a river opposite named A-hoaks-pa.84   Course -j- 1 m.,
81 Probably a stream on north side called Rock Creek near railroad station
named Fountain.
82 Mr. Thompson travels ^nearly forty miles today and his camp at evening
is probably ;aear Coyote station in Oregon.
83 Above Arlington, Oregon.
84 Willow creek in Oregon. Journal of David Thompson
+ 1 m., N. 80° E. 1 m., N. 75° E. 1-3 m., N. 62° E. y2 m., N.
63° E. \y2 m., -f 1 m., N. E. \y4 m., N. 70° E. \y2 m., to a
village of 12 men, stopped forty minutes. Course -f 1 m,
to our old campment going down. Course plus 1 m., N. 65°
E. 1-3 m., N. 55° E. y2 m., (something rubbed out here),
N. E. 2-3 m., N. 50° E. % m., N. 40° E. 1-5 m., N. 30° E.
y2 m., plus 1-6 m. Course N. 28° E. 2-3 m., N. 27° E. 1 m.
At end of course camped at 7y2 P. M. Strong sail wind in the
evening. Many Indians in company with the last villages and
gave us a dance.
August 4th, Sunday.85. A fine morning, gummed. At 5.5
A. M. set off, Course N. 23° E. 1 m., N. 42° E. 1 m. plus 1
m., North 58° E. 1 m. Here I end the Course for the present
as it blows very hard, and I cannot see on account of the sail.
We turned along the land about S. 70° E. 1 m., an island near
on the ) shore, then along the point, about S. 80° E. 2 m.,
east say 1 m.; here the wind became more fair and I again took
the course N. 82° E. 2-3 m., N. 56° E. 2 m., N. 75° E. \y4 m.,
N. 70° E. 1-5 m., N. 68° E. y2 m., N. 60° E. 2-3 m., N. 50°
E. 2-3 m., plus 1-3, N. 68° E. 1 m., beginning of Course at
house of 5 men. End of course a rapid, lined up 200 yards,
steep rocks and many rattle-snakes. Course N. 80° E. 2y2 m.
The lands now heightened especially on the ( , level on the ).
End of course strong rapids, lined up 200 yards, then N. 60°
E. 2y2 m. From end of this course the point of Rattlesnake
Rock bears S. 55° W. 4^4 m. distant, at middle of course the
line fairly clears the point on the ) side and this ought to
be the real course, the others are not correct as the two courses
ought to form a deep, regular bay. Course S. 85° E. y2 m,
N. 80" E. 1 m., N. 75° E. y2 m., N. 72° E. 1 m. Beginning
of course a rapid and a remarkable table rock86 isolated on
the     ), also a village of 30 men on the island,87 smoked with
85 About 3-5 miles* travel today incltrdfng Devil's Bend Rapids and Umatilla
Rapids, alongside which were found the same rattlesnakes that had troubled
Lewis and Clark in 1806. No mention made of Umatilla river. The camp at
evening is on north side opposite Juniper Canyon.
86 A well, known landmark known as Mill Rock or Hat Rock. Consult map
and journal of Lewis and Clark for mention of this same rock.
87 Probably Switzler's Island. 118 T. C. Elliott
a few who crossed to us, plus y2 m. Course N. 65° E. 1-5 m.,
N. 60° E. 2-3 m., plus 1 m., N. 52° E. 2 m. At 6:40 P. M.
put up near end of course. At \y2 M. gone Observation for
longitude and time.   Latitude by account 45° 54*4' N.
August 5th, Monday.88. A fine morning, again gummed. At
5:15 A. M. set off. All our gum quite expended and no
woods whatever so that we must go without that most necessary article and our canoe is very leaky. Finished course, then
+ 1 m., N. 43° E. 1-3 m., N. 42° E. y2 m., N. 30° E. % m.,
N. 33° E. 1-3 m., N. 28° E. 2y4 m., beginning of course boiled
salmon and shaved. Course N. 42° E. 1 m. We now see no
agate along shore as below. These lands are wholly composed of strata of rock from 10 to 30 feet thick, and there are
the upper strata of about 20 feet of pillar like rock, this is
often like the flutes of an organ at a distance, its strata seems
perpendicular and is often split in pieces. The pillars are split
also in various directions as if broken or cracked by a violent
blow. This rests in a strata of black rude rock as per specimens of both. These two different kinds of rock lie alternately
one on another to the bed of the river which is mostly of the
black rock, though sometimes of the pillar rock. The black
rock appears always to have the thickest bed, the last 100 feet
is covered with splinters of the upper rocks sometimes to a
good depth. The surface of the upper rocks forms what is
called the plains. This is covered with pure sand through which
the rocks appear everywhere and bears scanty grass round,
hard and in tufts, with a few shrubs and thistles of 1 to 5 feet
high. Course N. 5° E. y2 m., N. 5° W. y4 m. The whole is
about 350 to 400 feet high. On the ) these rocks finish with
this course and are all of deep strata as per the 2 specimens.
The rock is rude black rock, often shows from 2 to 3 lines ( ?)
in the strata or bed, the same strata almost always inclining to
the west'd and sometimes descending in a curve and then assuming a horizontal line.   This strata sometimes 40 feet deep
88 Mr. Thompson passes north through Wallula Gap and reaches the Indian
camp at the mouth of Snake river, where he had planted his formal notice on
the 9th of July, on his way down the river. Mr. Ross says that on the morning
of August 14th they found this notice attached to a pole which flew the British
flag in the midst of this Indian camp. Journal of David Thompson
and many pieces stand isolated like tables and pillars etc. The
pillar like rock has always its chasms perpendicular and split
in pieces as by accident, in every horizontal direction. It
appears to be one compact bed having no lines in it that are
not perpendicular and the depth of its bed is as far as 30 feet.
One must say that the finger of the Deity has opened by immediate operation the passage of this river through such solid
materials as must forever have resisted its action. The tops
have mouldered away and the fragments form the beach etc.;
there is no appearance of any earth but in a few places where
water springs up and the grass etc. have formed a vegitable
mould of no depth, and even this is rarely found. Course N.
12° W. 1 m. Course N. 5° W. 1 1-16 m. end of course. A
village on the ) of 25 men. We have besides passed 3 do.
each of about the same number of men. Course N. 12° W. 2-5
m., N. 22° W. 1-5 m., N. 35° W. 1-3 m., N. 25° W. 1 m, N.
10° W. 1-5 m., N. 18° W. y4 m., N. 35° W. y4 m., N. 28° W.
2-3 m., beginning a course a village of 12 men in this. N. W.
1-6 m., N. 52° W. % m., N. 60° W. \y4 m., N. 55° W. 1-6 m.,
N. 50° W. 1-6 m., N. 18° W. 1 m., N. 36° W. 1 m., N. 33°
W. y4 m., N. 25° W. 1-6 m., N. 32° W. 1-5 m., N. 38° W. 1-5
m., plus 1 m., N. 56° W. 1 m., N. 60° E. y4 m., N. 70° E. 1 m.
Middle of course and at the point of the tents N. 20° E. 2-3 m.,
to which we camped at 6-40 P. M. with about 200 men at least,
who gave us a dance and behaved very well. Thank Heaven
for the favors we find among these numerous people.
August 6th, Tuesday.89 A fine cloudy night and morning.
Traded a horse for our guide. Paid him as per agreement.
Wrote a letter to Joco Finlay to send and meet us with horses
etc. At 7y A. M. embarked, Course up the Shawpatin River
N. 15° E. 1 m. plus y4 m., N. 32° E. y2 m., N. 35° E. y4 m.,
N. 37° E. \y4 m., N. 40° E. 1-3 m., N. 55° E. 1-6 m., N. 60°
E. Ay m., N. E. 1-6 m., N. 32° E. 1-6 m., N. 23° E. 1 m. plus
1-3 m.   All very strong current from the Columbia.   N. 50°
89 Mr. Thompson decides to hasten on overland instead of by the tortuous and
slower river route. He writes to his clerk, Jacgues Finlay, then in charge of
Spokane House, and himself proceeds up Snake river to reach the regular Indian
trail northward. 120 T. C. Elliott
E. y2 m., N. 32° E. \y2 m. End of course off island,90 and
village of 15 men; have also passed 4 Houses of each 6 men,
traded salmon. N. 75° E. 1 m., N. 85° E. y2 m., N. 62° E.
1-6 m., N. 55° E. 1-6 m., N. 40° E. 1-5 m, N 25° E 1-5 m,
N. 81° E. y2 m., N. 12° W. \y4 m., N. 35° E. y2 m., N. y4 m.,
N. 5° E. ^ m. Near end of course put up at 6y2 P. M.
with about 22 men who gave us a dance. The river has been
regularly about 300 yards wide with strong, steady current.
The water is very high, the tops of the willows just appearing.
When low I should think full of rapids. The land very rude
with rock and ravines, grass very scanty and the men in pass1*
ing the ravines broke the surface of the soil, the dust and
sand rushed down as free to the look (?) as water, pouring
down for a considerable time and raising a dusty smoke not
to be seen through. The road lies close along the river and
ascends and descends continually, very rocky, by no means
such a country as the Columbia above. The salmon small and
very fine.
August 7th, Wednesday. A fine clear morning, a little distant thunder. At 4:50 A. M. set off. Course N. 5° E. 1 m.,
N. 13 E. y4 m., plus y2 m., N. 75° E. 1 m. plus 2-3 m. End
of Course. Stopped about 2 hours at a village of 15 men,
gummed and boiled salmon. Course N. E. 1-6 m., N. 35°
E. 1-5 m., N. 25° E. % m., N. 12° E. % m., N. 15° W. 1-6 m,
N. 15° E. 1-6 m., N. 6 E. /2 m., N. 35° E. 1-3 m., N. E. y4
m., N. 5° E. y m., N. 12° E. 1-6 m., N. 25° E. 1 m., N. 10°
W. y2 m. Middle of course Observation for latitude 119 A7y2
vg. Variation 18 degrees E. vg. N. 22° W. 2-3 m., N. W E.
1 m., E. 1 1-16 (doubtful) N. 12° W. lft m. A House
Nobody. Course N. 10° W. 1-6 m., N. 10° W. y im, N. 5°
E. 1 m., All R. N. 18° E. 1 m., part R., plus y4 m., H-25P &
1-6 m., N. 33° E. 4-5 m., S. E. 1-5 Course N. 8° E. \y2 m.,
including one crossing the river. We put up at end of course
in company with 8 horsemen. Course' for the morrow is NL
50° E. 1 m., Obs. for Long, and time.
90 Probably Squaw Island, nine miles from the Columbia.
«M«i Journal of David Thompson
Aldebatan Aquilae. Jupiter etc.
USliyW. 52. 28. 45
119. 13 W. 118.    20y4 W.
Lat. by OM. at noon     46° 25' 25"
Acct. from Obs. 46° 33%
August 8th, Thursday. A very fine morning, at 5.5 A. M.
set off. Course N. 50° E. 1 m., plus 1 m., N. 55° E. 1-5 m,
N. 30° E. y4 m., N. 50° E. y m, N. 5° W. y m., N. 12° B.
1-5 m., N. 25° U. 1-6 m., N. 50° E. 1-5 m., plus 1-6 m., N. 70°
£. 1-5 m., N. 75° E. y8 m., N. 85° E. 1-6 m., S. 76° E. 2 m,
S. 85° E. 1-5 m., 1. y8 m., N 84° E. y4 m., N. 76° E. 1-6 m.,
N. 55° E. % m., N. 42° E. 1 m. plus 1 m., N. 62° E. \y m,
S. 63° E. 1 m. (-f-) y4 m. Observed for Latitude and cooked
salmon. Meridian altitude 118 51% vg. Var. 19° E. vg.
Course plus y2 m., S. 70° E. 1-5 m., S. 82° E. 1-5 m., N. 85°
E. 1-5 m., N. 66° E. % m, N. 47° E. 1 m, S. 75° E. 2-3 m.
Beginning of cOWfSe see the Blue Mountains,91 between the
Shawp&tin and the Snake Indians bearing S. 60° E. 40 m.
Course S. 72° E. 1-3 m., S. 85° E. y4 m. At end of course,
fHit ashore at the mouth of a small brook92 and camped, as this
Ife the road to my first Post on the Spokane lands. Here is a
village of 50 men, they had danced till they were fairly tired
and the Chiefs had bawled themselves hoarse. They forced a
present of 8 horses on me, with a war garment.
Obs. for Long, and time etc.   Lat. at noon 46° 36' 26".
Sun 16° 15' 13" vg. 7.50.
Aquilae Fomalhaut Aldebaran
15° 21'51" 15° 30'5" 15° 41' 24"
118°22^'W 119° 2\y4 W. 118° 50^'W.
Lat. by Obs. 46° 36'
91 Apparently the first record of this name Blue as applied to these mountains.
92 After three days' travel up the monotonous Snake river Mr. Thompson
arrives at the mouth of the Pakrose river (Lewis arid Clark's Drewyer's river).
This was an established Indian, crossing and camping place, and later became
the crossing of the famous "Mullan Road," surveyed by Capt. John Mullan,
U. S. A., afterward Lyons Ferry, and now the site of a steel railroad bridge.
Here John Clarke of the Pacific Fur Company, in the summer of 1812, introduced
corporal punishment in "Old Oregon," by hanging an Indian who had committed the crime of petit larceny.    Consult "Adventures," etc.,  by Ross Cox. jt22 T. C. Elliott
August 9th, Friday.93 A fine day, wind, a gale South'd.
Observed for Long., Time and Lat. (Observations omitted.)
It was late before the horses could be collected and I left one
they could not find. They said the Chief below knew how to
talk but not how to act. They declared they did not wish for
any return for the present of Horses, but that they knew the
nature of a present. I gave each of them Notes for the Horses;
to be paid when the canoes arrive. At 5 P. M. set off and held
up on the Brook, cutting off the great Pt. till 11^4 P. M. when
we camped. Co. N. 5° E. iy m., Brook at 1 m. crossed, end
of Co. went up the banks. Course N. 20° E. 14 m., last 1 m.
along the Brook. The land very rocky and full of rocky hills
cut Perpend, wherever the rocks show themselves, and exactly
of the same kind of rocks as along the Columbia, with much
fragments in splinters etc. Very bad for the horses and the
soil a sandy fine impassable powder which suffocated us with
dust and no water to drink to where we camped.
August 10th, Saturday.94 A fine, cloudy, blowy day. At
7y4 A. M. set off and held on at N. 10° E. 5 m., then crossed a
shoal Brook of 6 yds. wide from the East. Held on Course
+ 2y2 m. and baited at \\y2 A. M. At 1 P. M. set off and
held on say 2y4 m. A Brook came in from the N. E., held
on up the left Brook and put up at 6 P. M., say Co. N. 8 m.
The appearance of the country is much the same, though somewhat less rude, and there is often a few Aspins, Alders, with a
very rare Fir along the Brook, much wild cherry and three
sorts of currants, one sweet and red, the other yellow, acid;
red light acid.
August 11th, Sunday.95 A very fine day mostly cloudy. At
7y4 A. M. set off Course up the Brook N. 10° E. 2y2 m.,
where we crossed a Rill from the N. W'd.   We kept on along
93 The established Indian trail of later years coincides exactly with Mr.
Thompson's description. It followed the Palouse river for a mile, then crossed
and ascended the steep ridge and cut across the bend of the river. The camp
that night was near the mouth of Cow creek.
94 It is a little uncertain whether Mr. Thompson followed up Cow creek or
Rock creek (in Whitman county, Washington), but his camp at evening was
southeast of the town of Sprague, Lincoln county. In the summer of 1812 Ross
Cox lost his way on this trail, for which consult his "Adventures."
95 Following closely what afterward became the wagon road from Walla
Walla to Colville Mr. Thompson reaches the timber belt south of Cheney, Washington, and camps some distance southwest of that city. Journal of David Thompson
a Rill of water in the Spring, now dry, North 9y2 m. to a
little water among some poplars and willows. It is a long
time since we saw any here; we baited from y2 P. M. to 2:20
P. M. We then went off North 1 m. N. 20° W. \y2 m. to a
kind of lead of wet ground. Hereabouts are Willow Bushes
and see woods before us. Held on Co. N. 15° E. 6y2 m. For
the last 2 m. we had a kind of Brook or Ravine on our left.
Camped at a Pond at 6y2 P. M. Killed a Duck, our provisions
being fairly done and fasting all day. Not seeing the people
who were to have met us with provisions and horses we were
obliged to kill a mare for food, as our Guide told us we had
yet 3 days journey to go. The Country till 10 A. M. like the
past, very Rocky and barren, since which it has much mended,
and only stoney w^hen on wet low ground, the rest is tolerably
well for grass, and the soil appears good, though parched for
wanting rain, which rarely or never falls during the summer
months. At the Campment the Firs are thinly scattered along
the kind of Ravine, all the rest is all wide plain without a
tree.  A few Chevruil Tracks and dung.
August 12th, Monday.96 A fine day. At 6:20 A. M. set
off. Held on along a line of woods on our Co. about N. 1 m.,
to a pond of some size, then N. 50° E. 4 m., N. 30° E. 5 m.
and stopped at \\y2 A. M. to bait the horses, among a fewr
ponds and good grassy lands with thin woods. At 1 P. M.
set off and camped at a Rill at 6y4 P. M., say Co. N. 30° E.
1 m., N. 10° E. 7 m., across a large plain without water to
the woods of a Brook. We descended the Banks, which are
high, and crossed it about N. 10° W. 1 m., then along the
Brook of 6 Yds, ) N. 10° W. 1 m. Here it sank 97 in the
ground and we went North \y m. and camped at a Rill to
which we were guided by a Spokane we met, from whom we
got a little dried salmon.
96 Passing through the Four Lakes country between Cheney and Medical
Lake, in Spokane county, Washington, Mr. Thompson crosses Deep creek and
camps on Coulee creek, only an hour's ride from his destination had he been
aware  of it.
97 Deep creek sinks on Sec. 3, Township 25 N., Range 41  E., W. M. 124
T. C. Elliott
August 13th, Tuesday.98 A very fine day. At 5^ A. M. set
off and at 6y2 A. M. arrived at the House. Thank God for
His mercy to us on this journey. Found all safe but Joco was
wfth the horses sent to meet us. Late in the evening he arrived. Our course was about northwest 3 miles. We came
faster but our road was always down hill.
112 degrees 17 minutes 30 seconds. N. Lat. 47 degrees 47
mmutes 2 seconds.
Editor's Further Note.
Our transcript of the journal ends with the entry of August
13th, 1811. After spending four days at Spokane House Mr.
Thompson continued on overland to Ilthkoyape or Kettle Falls
where he proceeded to build another canoe of cedar boards.
It may be remarked that when at Spokane House in June, 1811,
he had given instructions to his clerk Finan McDonald to
explore the Columbia from Ilthkoyape north during the summer, which Mr. McDonald did as far up as Death Rapids
(Dalles des Mort), i. e., to forty or fifty miles above Revel-
stoke, B. C, and then returned. Mr. Thompson was under
appointment to meet about Oct. 1st the party sent across the
mountains with trading goods from Fort William on Lake
Superior. He therefore again embarked at Kettle Falls early
in Sept. and ascended the river through the Arrow Lakes and
the various rapids to the mouth of Canoe river, where he had
camped the previous winter, thus completing the exploration
and survey of the entire length of the Columbia river from
source to mouth between April and October, 1811. The trans-
mountain party were delayed in arriving and did not bring ail
the goods for the trade, so he started one canoe down the river
and himself crossed the Athabasca Pass for the remainder,
returned and hurried down the Columbia and from Kettle
Falls portaged over to the Pend d'Oreille river and then traveled up that river and our Clark Fork river to his Saleesh
House among the Flathead Indians, arriving there about the
20th of November. This completed his activities during the
year 1811.
98 Mr. Thompson arrives today at Spokane House, which was located nine
miles northwest of present city of Spokane and had been erected there the
previous summer, 1810, presumably by Jacques Finlay who is in charge. Mr.
Thompson remains here several days to rest. Journal of Davdd Thompson
This journal disproves entirely any previous conclusions
that David Thompson was instructed to anticipate the arrival
of the Astor or Pacific Fur Company at the mouth of the Columbia and establish a trading post there. He carried no goods
for that purpose and was not planning to meet any vessel there
with goods, and during this spring of 1811 he did not "hurry."
It also throws some additional light upon the interesting
question of who built the trading post known as "Spokane
House." Examination of previous portions of the journal indicates that Jacques Finlay may have been the man. A TRAGEDY ON THE STICKEEN IN '42
By C. O. Ermatinger.*
In looking over a bundle of letters left among his papers
by my late father, who was in the Hudson's Bay Company's
service in the early part of the present century, I came upon
one from which the following account of a tragedy, which
took place on the Stickeen in April, 1842, is taken. The letter
bears date 1st February, 1843, and was written by John
McLoughlin, then in charge of the Company's post at Fort
Vancouver (on the Columbia) to my father, then living at
St. Thomas, Upper Canada.
As public attention has lately been directed to the Stickeen
(Prince Rupert), this tragic tale, though fifty-six years old,
may be of interest, not only on account of the locus in quo, but
as illustrative of the difficulties, dangers, mode of life and
occasional mode of death of those in the company's service
in those days. Were I a Gilbert Parker I might clothe the
story in new and more thrilling language than that employed
by the writer, who was almost a year after the event, writing
not for effect, yet under whose cool reasoning and at times
involved sentences, a depth of sorrowful, sometimes passionate, feeling is apparent. As it is, I have concluded to present
it to the public, word for word, as the father of the murdered
man has narrated the facts, omitting the full names of the
chief culprits, out of consideration for possible descendants,
and a few words either undecipherable or unfit for publication.
After a page and a half on other matters, Mr. McLoughlin
"But, my dear sir, I have had a severe loss since I last wrote
you. My son John, whom I think you saw at La Chine, has
been murdered by the company's servants at the post of Stikine,
-— , ^ -^isi^s***   ■****
•Judge Ermatinger, who kindly furnishes this paper, is the son of Edward
Ermatinger, who was a clerk at Fort Vancouver under Dr. John McLoughlin
during the years 1826-27; also the nephew of Francis Ermatinger, who was an
officer;'in the H. B. Co. employ in the Columbia District for about twenty years,
and well known by early Oregon pioneers, and who after retiring from the
service purchased a tract of land near St. Thomas, Ontario, which he named
"Multnomah," and there spent his remaining years. This paper contains source
material not before printed explaining differences that lead to the retirement of
Dr.  McLoughlin  from the Hudson's Bay Company's service.—T.  C.  Elliott. A Tragedy on the Stickeen in '42
in the Russian Territory (and which we rent from them and
of which he had charge), on the night 20/21 April. He had
twenty-two men and was the only officer there, in consequence
of Sir George Simpson's very improperly taking away his
assistant—as no place on this coast where liquor is issued
ought to have less than two officers. (But since the murder
the Russians have agreed to desist selling or giving spirits
to Indians and as we only issued liquor where we came in
contact with them, by this agreement a stop is entirely put to
issuing liquor to Indians in this department). But to return
to my poor son—he being alone with twenty-two men, all of
which were new hands not yet broke in to the discipline necessary for such service, as it was a new place and where they
could get rum, had a good many difficulties with them, as is
always customary in such cases, to make them do their duty—
as you well know they will always attempt to impose on their
"Sir George Simpson arrived four days after this fatal event
and, instead of examining every man at the place, and that
minutely, he only examined six, say, two whites, two half
breeds and two Owhyhees. The two whites, and half breeds,
without specifying particulars, complain of my son's ill using
the men, flogging and beating them most unmercifully—that
he drank a great deal, and that the night of the murder he
gave the men a gallon and a half of spirits. Sir George
believed all this and in his letter blames my son, and, though
one of the Owhyhees sworje_he_saw the murderer fire and
saw something fall heavily, which he supposes was my son,
and the other swears that on hearing the shot he looked out
and saw my son lying on the ground, weltering in his gore,
and the man whom the other saw fire, with his foot on my
son's throat—yet Sir George took no person to bear evidence
against the murderer and sent one of the men who fired
three shots at one of the men, thinking he was my son, to this
place to be sent out of the country. But, as I felt dissatisfied
with Sir George's examination and was certain the circumstances were not as he represented, I kept this man to be sent 128 CO. Ermatinger
back to Stijkme, to be examined with the rest; and, in th&
meantime, for fear of his deserting, kept him on board the
Cadboro, and on a trip to Vancouver Island, where he saw
Douglas—(I would not see him at this place, nor would I
allow him put his foot in the Fort)—to whom at once he confessed that there had been a plot formed and an agreement
signed, among all the people of the place, to  murder the
deceased—that this agreement had been drawn out by ,
who acted temporarily as assistant to the deceased-r-that he
had never seen him drink—and in every material point <eoiiT
tradicted the depositions taken by Sir George.
"I then determined to send Manson, with a complete new
complement of men, to examine all the men, and, if this
man's deposition was well founded, to put the men agawfcst
whom there were charges, in prison and transfer them to
the Russians, who alone can try them criminally—and on
examination the men say, the agreement to which the man
alludes was not to murder my son, but a complaint against
my sob which they intended to present to Sir George who
was momentarily expected. It is proved they never presented
this complaint, and they say they destroyed it, because it was
too dirty to be presented to Sir George Simpson; but on
examining their complaints—according to their own statement—he flogged one man for sleeping on his watch in th<e
night, and which he deserved, for it might have led to the murder of the whole establishment—one man for fighting and not
. being willing to cease fighting when ordered—one man for
giving Hs property to Indian women which disabled him
from doing his duty, unless re-equipperiWand four for stealing. And the man who made the declaration to Mr. Douglas,
and the murderer, are accused of having proposed repeatedly
to the others to murder my son—of which I do not know
that any informed him, though it seems he knew it, as he
is said to have said, "You want to murder me, but if you
do, you will murder a man!"; and one of the men confesses
that he was told by Ant Kawanasse, an Iroquois, that the
murderer ^M him the deceased was to be murdered that
J A Tragedy on the Stickeen in '42
night; and the woman he kept says he told her "H. (the
murderer) wants to kill me." The deceased told the Owhyhees
to arm themselves—that the whites wanted to murder him—
that he took one of those he accused of being leaders in the
plot and put him in irons, and that in searching for the two
others of the leaders, as he was going round the corner of
a house, one of them shot him in the breast, when he fell, and
the murderer rushed on him and put his fo£$ on his neck, as
I already mentioned—and this M., who acted as his assi^
ant, is now found to have committed several thefts on the
store for which my son punished him and turned him out
among the men—but took him back again, as perhaps he found
he could not do without an assistant, and perhaps he had
promised to behave better; and he tool* him back on account
of my having recommended him to the deceased on account
of M.'s father, who is an old servant—rrand it is now proved
that this M. stole spirits the night of the murder and gave a
 or bottle of pure spirits to every white man or Iroquois
in the place—that while Mr. Dodd was in charge (whom Sir
George left there) M- crept twice at night into Mr. Dodd's
bedroom, when he was asleep, stole the key of the Fort, which
was on a table between two pistols, within reach of Mr. Dodd's
hand, opened the gate of the Fort, stole the key of the Indian
trader's packet, while asleep, opened the Indian shop, and
stole goods. If he could do this while there were two officers
at the place, after what had just happened, what may he not
have done when there was only one officer at the place, and
he (M.) in league with the men as to the ill treatment of which
they complain? Why, by their own confession, he was perfectly justified in punishing them and did no more than what
an offfger of spirit would do to any under him who in such
a situation as they were would act as these men did.
"Another whom Sir George examined, a son of J. H., is
accused of having wafehed part of the night to murder the
deceased because he flogged M. for stealing.
vAnother of those Sir George examined is a Canadian to
whom the deceased had given a Jqpfeing for stealing rum. 130
C. O. Ermatinger
"The fourth is a Scotchman who acted in the store with M.
and must have known his misconduct and said nothing of it—
and such a coward that, though he admits the deceased was
most kind to him, still, though he saw the murderer level his
gun sometime before to murder the deceased, he never informed him!
"As to his drinking, Mr. Finlayson, his assistant, says he
never saw him take more than a glass of wine—or a glass of
spirits, or water, in the course of the day, though M. had the
villainy to swear to Sir George that he and my son used
to drink grog continually, and as he, M., could not join them
in drinking grog, they allowed him wine—which is false. The
deceased's private store or allowance of liquors is almost in
the same state as when he, Finlayson, left the deceased. The
Indian woman he kept, a woman of the place, similar to our
Chinooks, declares she never saw him drink—and I believe
what she says, as these Indians do not consider drunkenness
any way improper. Mr. Work and Dr. Kennedy, who had
charge of posts on each side of him and several times saw
Indians from the deceased, never heard a whisper of the
deceased drinking, from the Indians (and they soon find out),
though Mr. Work writes he heard from Indians of the attempt
to shoot him. The men admit he was most vigilant and
watchful, up night and day—visiting the watchmen often
several times in the night. His journal is posted up to the day
of his death, his accounts and documents in order—and certainly these are not the marks of a drunkard. And if you
add to this his letters to Mr. Work are full of the misconduct of his assistants, M. and S.—the Scotchman, a laborer,
whom Sir George left when he took Finlayson away—and in
fact Sir George Simpson was the cause, though unintentionally, of the murder of my son, by taking Finlayson and
leaving this man S. in his place. And Work is greatly to
blame, who did not send me those letters my son wrote him,
wherein he complains so much of the misconduct of S. and M.—
especially as he saw these fellows had so imposed on Sir
George as to make him believe they were such valuable men A Tragedy on the Stickeen in '42
as to induce him to promise them an increase of wages, while
my son complained of them so much that he said, as his
time was out, unless he had abler assistants, he would leave
the service. The short and the long of the affair is this—
these fellows wanted to impose on my son, to which he would
not submit. They, finding they could not make him bend,
conspired and murdered him.
"My son John was intelligent, active—had the faults of
youth, was inconsiderate and thoughtless—at least had been
so, but this was wearing away. At the same time he had the
good qualities and virtues of youth—though I say it. He was
frank, open, firm—but kind and generous ."
The father here breaks off from his painful subject, to refer
to a pleasanter topic. I infer that all that the Russians did
in consequence of the affair was to prohibit the selling or giving spirits to Indians. One can hardly read the father's letter
without feeling that his conclusions were probably just and
accurate; yet, at this day when flogging has gone so very
much out of fashion, some will no doubt be disposed to think
that poor John the younger's mode of enforcing necessary
discipline contributed largely to bring about his tragic end.
All will, however, join in the hope that murder and other
crime will not hereafter go unpunished on the Stickeen or the
regions round about, now being fast flooded with all sorts of
characters from all quarters of the earth.
A letter from another officer of the H. B. Co.
Mr. Jno. Todd, dated 1 Sept., '42, touches upon this same
"I was lately appointed in consequence of Manson's removal to Stickeen on the coast, where I regret to say a most
tragical event occurred in April last, the particulars of which
will no doubt eventually reach you thru' the public press.
In the affidavits taken on the occasion it is stated that on
the night of the 21st of that month Mr. John McLoughlin
(eldest son of the Big Doctor), was shot at by the whole of
his men, including a young clerk, and a ball taking effect
in his body he fell mortally wounded and died shortly after. 132
C. O. Ermatinger
The knight, Sir George, arriving there in the steamer immediately after, thought proper to carry the ring leader of the
affair along with him to Russia for the purpose of sending
him thence a prisoner to England without even a single
witness or document relative to the occurrence. He wrote
also to the Doctor requesting him to say as little about the
matter as possible, which so incensed the latter that he instantly
dispatched a vessel to Stickeen for the express purpose of
carrying the whole establishment prisoners to England in
order to be brought to trial, He has also written a thundering
epistle to their honours at home, concerning Sir George, ripping up old grievances and exposing the knight's conduct
throughout, particularly his actions since the coalition. Yet
behold how inconsistent men are. This very doctor only the
year before gives £50 as a contribution for plate to the same
Sir George Simpson whom he is now endeavoring to prove
the greatest scoundrel in the H. Bay Co.'s territories, from
facts, too, with which he was previously well acquainted."
Another officer also mentions the same subject, namely,
Archibald McDonald, writing from Colville March 15, 1843:
"Edward, we are all unfortunate parents. Instance, the
awful shock of mind our old friend the Dr. lately experienced
from the irregular and inveterate habits of his unhappy son
John, after spending $2000 on his education in foreign lands,
too."   ...
"Manson is again on the Coast. Last Summer the Worshipful Bench furnished him with a commission to inquire,
or rather re-inquire, into the unfortunate affair of young
McLoughlin at Stikine, which it was supposed Sir George on
his trip for Siberia left uaconaplete. Work writes me our
learned deputy has made a sweeping business of it—upon
very slight evidence made every white man at the establishment,
13 in number, prisoners. I fear we have got ourselves into
a bobble and that it will turn out we are more au fait in our
humble occupation of Indian traders than as the dispensary
of Her Majesty's criminal law."   .   .   . LETTERS
The following letters were found among the correspondence
of Hon. James W. Nesmith, United States Senator from
Oregon from March 4, 1861, to March 3, 1867, secured by
the Oregon Historical Society several years ago.—The first,
from General Ingalls, gives the viewpoint of an able officei
of the United States army in 1864 regarding the necessity foi
constructing a good wagon road up the Columbia river—an
enterprise which is now well under way, the expense of construction being defrayed by the counties through which it
Headquarters Dist. of Oregon.
Fort Vancouver, W. T., June 11, 1861.
My Dear General:
Before this reaches you, events of the greatest magnitude
Will doubtless have taken place in the Eastern states, but I
trust that our national Capitol will be in repose, and that the
Congress of the United States may be undisturbed in their
deliberations for the welfare of the Union. I need scarcely
say, that I am for the preservation of this glorious Union;
it must be preserved intact; not a single star shall fall from
that brilliant galaxy—I have prayed that this difficulty might
be settled peacefully, but if all the efforts of true patriots
North and South fail to accomplish that desirable end, it
must be crushed. Let those men, both North and South, who
have been instrumental in bringing about this terrible state of
affairs, be driven from their country, as unworthy citizens
Of the Republic.
I have no sectional prejudices; I love the whole country,
North, South, East and West, and will fight to preserve this
Union. I have no sympathy with any man, no matter from
what section he may come, who is not for the Union, now
and forever, one ana indivisible.
I have served nearly thirty-nine years in the army, and
whether battling with the savage foes in the far West, or
deadly hummocks of Florida, or contending with the hosts of
Mexico on many a well-fought and always victorious field, I
have always turned with affection to my native land, and
offered up a heartfelt prayer for the Union—God grant that
this struggle may soon cease, and that peace may be restored,
•Donated by Mrs. Harriet L, McArthur, daughter of Senator Nesmith. 134 George H. Himes
and our glorious banner, with its thirty-four stars, proudly
wave on every housetop from Maine to Texas, and from the
Atlantic to our own loved Pacific shore.
The entire people in this country are for the Union. There
may be some diversity of opinion as to the best mode of settling
the difficulty, but all agree that it must be preserved.
If we, of the army, remain in this country, it is not probable
that we shall be called upon for very active service. But seeing
so many of their brother officers who happen to be in the East,
promoted to high rank, it begins to arouse the spirit of the
young military aspirants for distinction.
I was made a Colonel on the bloody field of Molino Sept.
8, 1847, but it was only a Brevet until March, 1855. But I
have not rested very tranquil, under certain Brevets of my
juniors, over me, and I shall not do so. Had I hailed from
south of Mason and Dixon's line, I might have obtained a
Brevet in 1858; but unfortunately, I was born in the frozen
regions of the North. I cannot, however, now consent to be
brought into active service without advancement; not that I
could for a moment abandon my flag or country in this, her
hour of peril, but I would prefer fighting in the ranks, to
occupying a position without looking forward to - preferment.
With great regard, very truly your friend,
Gen. Nesmith,
U. S. Senate,
Washington, D. C.
General George Wright was born in Vermont in 1803 and
graduated from West Point in 1822. During the next nine
years he served on the then Western frontier, largely among
the Indians. In 1831 he was sent to Louisiana, remaining
until 1836, when he took part in the Florida Indian war. He
served with distinction in the Mexican war, and in 1852 came
to the Pacific coast as a major in the Fifth infantry. He won
great praise for his vigorous and effective campaign against
the Indians of eastern Washington in 1858, and in 1860 succeeded General William S. Harney in the command of the
Military District of Oregon. In September, 1861, he was
promoted to a brigadier general, and soon afterwards was
ordered to relieve General Edwin V. Sumner at San Francisco. Letters
In 1865 he was transferred to Oregon, and on his way thither,
with his wife, to assume command, was lost at sea by the
wreck of the ill-fated steamer Brother Jonathan, off the southern Oregon coast on July 31, 1865.
Headquarters Army of the Potomac,
Office Chief Quartermaster,
Camp near Brandy Station,
Hon. J. W. Nesmith,
March 23, 1864.
U. S. Senator, Washington.
Having served as quartermaster on the Columbia river at
(Fort) Vancouver for many years, and having had to supply
the troops at the Cascades, Forts Dalles and Walla Walla,
and to fit out and supply many military expeditions against
the Indians east of the Cascades, I have always felt deeply
impressed with the necessity of having a good wagon road
from Vancouver to The Dalles, probably passing the Cascade
Mountains on the Oregon side of the Columbia.
There are many cogent reasons for such a road aside from
those of economy.
In 1849 and 1850 the troops east of the Cascades were
supplied by means of bateaus manned by Indians. It was
necessary to send provisions, forage, hospital and ordnance
supplies up the river 50 miles, then to make a difficult, laborious
and expensive portage of four or five miles at the Cascades,
and then to reship and forward by boats to The Dalles.
These supplies had to be sent before the cold and rough
weather of winter. Frequently in winter season, navigation
is interrupted below the Cascades, when there can be no communication with the now populous and important country east
without great risk.
I have known all communications with The Dalles to be cut
off for weeks by extreme cold weather.
If a good wagon road were constructed, it would be used
the.year through to great advantage. I do not know what
the rates of freight and passengers now are from Portland
and Vancouver to The Dalles, but in 1858 and 1859 freight
was $25 per ton and passage of horse or man, $10. When
the Columbia river is closed by ice, of course there is no
communication at all, as no practicable wagon road has ever 136
George H. Himes
been opened. Much pfublic money has been disbursed for the
transportation of troops and supplies on boats that might
have been saved had there been an easy land route.
So soon as I can look over my books, I will furnish you
a detailed statement showing the heavy and expensive shipments by the river to The Dalles. It amounted to more than
$25,000 each quarter, and sometimes probably more than that
sum in one month, dependent, of course, upon the season of
the year and the forces east of the mountains. I refer to the
amounts paid by Government for military purposes.
llie country east of the Cascade Mountains is now quite
populous and exceedingly rich in mineral and other resources.
The trade by the river is now greater than at any other period,
and is increasing.
The demand for a land route through the. Cascade mountains becomes more serious and important every day. As a
military measure, it is important to connect the lower Columbia
with the great interior hy a practicable wagon road. I have
seen the importance of it during the Indian wars. It Would be
still more necessary in case of a foreign war.
Respectfully submitted,
Brig. Gen., Chf. Qr. Mr., Army P&tomac.
General Ingalls was born in Denmark, Maine, in 1820. He
graduated at West Point in 1843, and served through the
Mexican war. He came to Oregon in May, 1849, as the
quartermaster, with the rank of captain, of a company of
artillery under the command of Major Hathaway, who established the U. S. military post of Fort Vancouver. During
the Civil war he was the quartermaster general of the Army
of the Potomac. He retired from the army July 1, 1883, and
soon afterwards became a resident of Portland until his death
in 1893.
Organi^cu December 17,1898
FREDERICK V. HOLMAN        $jS&* g|P|| H^fH
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F. a YOUNG - - -       EmES $§09
GEORGE H. HIMES, y4«fafan/ Secretary.
Vice-President J
Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1914.
Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 19 J 5.
Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1916.
Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1917
The Quarterly is tent free to ail members of the Society.      The annual dues are   two dollars.
The fee for life membership is twenty-five dollars.
Contributions to The Quarterly and correspondence relative to historical materials, or pertaining*'
to the affairs of this Society, should be addressed to
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Oregon Hiyiical Society
The Qoattedy disavow* responsibility for the positions taken by contributors to its pass*
CLARK E. F^SINGER—The "Bargain of 1844" a* the Origin of the
Wilmot Proviso -       -       - .^sV^V^-^^^^V*
J. NEILSON BARRY—An Almanac of 1776    =m^V-      -
SAMUEL ROYAL THURSTON—Diary of. from November 21.
1849. to August 28. 1850 -      p   .       .
JOHN McLOUGHLIN—Letter of, March 1, 1832     M'sM^W-
J- M. PECK—Letter relating to Jesse Applegate. March 19, 1852
QUINCY ADAMS BROpKS—Letter of. November 7,1851— #^
an Account of Crossing the Plaint   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^K
j T. C ELLIOTT—Autobiography of David Thompson       ^^^^^^
GEORGE H. HIMES—Delegates to the Constitutional Convention of
Oregon, August I7-September 18,1857    ^^f^^^i^&fei
Entered at the past office at Portland, Oregon, as second-class matiet  THE QUARTERLY
of the
Oregon Historical Society
Volume XV
Number 3
The Quarterly disavows responsibility for the positions taken by contributors to its pages
By Clark    E.  Persinger
Professor of American History in the University of Nebraska
[This paper reveals the fact that the proposed accessions of the whole of
Oregon and of Texas were combined by the "Bargain of 1844" to make a Democratic party Campaign issue and means of "party harmony and unity."—Editor
Why did the Northern Democracy so suddenly present that
"apple of discord"1—the Wilmot proviso—to the Southern
Democracy in August of 1846?
Von Hoist answers this question with the rather vague
assertion that the "vox populi of the North" compelled the
politicians to take some action against the proposed increase
of slave soil through the proposed Mexican cession.2 Wilson
in his "Slave Power" attributes the proviso to "several Democratic members" of Congress, who had been "cajoled into
a vote for [Texan] annexation," and now, unable to retrieve
the past, sought in this way "to save the future."3 Schouler
makes no assertion as to its origin. Garrison in his volume of
the American Nation series contents himself with the statement: "The circumstances of its origin suggest, if no more,
that its introduction was simply a maneuver for political advantage in a family quarrel among the Democrats."4
*Read before the annual meeting of the American Historical Association,
December, 1911. Reprinted from the Annual Reports of that association for 1911,
pp. 187-195-
1 Calhoun to Coryell, Nov. 7, 1846.    Jameson, "Corresp. of Calhoun," 710.
2 Von Hoist "Const, Hist, of the United States" (Lalor's transl.), II, 306.
3 Von Hoist, II, 15-16.
4 "Westward  Extension."   Amer.  Nation series,  XVII, 255. 138 Clark E. Persinger
The explanations of both Wilson and Garrison hint at what
seems to me the true reason for the proposal oi: the Wilmot
proviso; but they merely hint at it, and do not satisfy the
legitimate curiosity of the secondary student of this remarkable movement in the history of the antislavery struggle. It
is the purpose of this paper to elaborate somewhat these two
explanations, by showing that the Wilmot proviso owes its
origin to the breaking of the "bargain of 1844" between the
Northwestern and the Southern wings of the Democratic
When President Tyler revived the question of Texan annexation in the spring of 1844 the Democratic Party was to all
appearances homogeneous and united. In reality, however,
it was composed of diverse elements, loosely bound together,
needing only the Texan issue to reveal their existence and
identity. These groups were three in number—the Southern,
the Northeastern, and the Northwestern. The Southern gave
its chief adherence to Calhoun; the Northeastern to Van
Buren; the Northwestern as yet wavered between Cass,
Douglas, and Allen; and one of its most brilliant and frequent
spokesmen was the "impulsive and hasty" Senator Hannegan,
of Indiana.1 The Southern or Calhoun group was already
aggressively and recognizedly proslavery and proslave soil;
the Northern or Van Buren group was already almost fanatically antislavery and free soil, and on the verge of that union
with the Liberty Party which in 1848 produced the Free Soil
Party. But the Northwestern group, although antislavery
and free soil, was only moderately so. It was willing to see
the increase of slave soil so long as free soil kept pace with
it or gained a little upon it.
It was to these three groups of Democracy that the Tyler
treaty for the annexation of Texas in the spring of 1844
brought immediate puzzlement and not-distant falling out.
The Southern group, in its anxiety for Texas, was more
than ready to ratify the Tyler treaty, especially as its own
i Characterization   by   Cass,   in   conversation   with   Polk.    Quaife,   "Diary   of
Polk," I, 268. The "Bargain of 1844" and the Wilmot Proviso   139
leader had negotiated that treaty, and had announced during
the negotiation that the chief purpose of the proposed annexation was the preservation of slavery and the extension of slave
soil. The Northeastern and Northwestern groups were united
in their opposition to the Tyler treaty, but differed in their
reasons for opposition to it; the Northeastern group opposing
it because Texas was slave soil, the Northwestern group because it was offered without compensating addition of free
soil to the northward.
To meet the demands of the Northeastern Democrats Van
Buren declared against immediate and unconditional annexation.   To satisfy the Southern Democrats Calhoun meditated
bolting the regular Baltimore convention and  standing for
election as a Southern candidate on a straight Southern platform.     Then  the  Northwestern  Democrats   suggested   that*
if the Southern Democracy were willing to combine Oregon, m
with Texas in the party platform, campaign, and subsequent 1
congressional action, such a balancing of free and slave soil J
expansion would satisfy the Northwestern and some of the •
Northern Democrats, and bring about party harmony and
victory instead of party division and defeat.    So originated
the "bargain of 1844"—the "Oregon and Texas" plank of
the Democratic platform of 1844; not as a mere appeal to the
Northern States in general, but as a definite means of party
harmony and unity without the  sacrifice of vital principle
or interest by either the Southern or the Northwestern group
of the party.    The fact that such a bargain had been made
was not published broadcast; in fact, it was kept most secret,
but party leaders in the Northwest and Calhoun's lieutenants,
if not Calhoun himself, knew of its arrangement and content.1
The "bargain" having been made and ratified by their
party convention, the Southern Democrats at once—almost before the campaign opened—pressed for the completion of their
half of the bargain, and demanded the immediate ratification
of the Tyler treaty of annexation.2    But the Northwestern
i It is intended to make the "bargain" itself the subject of another paper at
a later  date.
2 Letter from Glenville, Alabama, July, 1844.    Niles' Register, LXVI, 314. 140
Clark E. Persinger
Democrats as yet refused to vote for Texas. Hannegan, of
Indiana, later explained his action by calling upon the Senators
from Missouri and Tennessee to bear witness to the fact that
"up to the Baltimore convention" he had been "a decided
friend to the immediate annexation of Texas." "What I
saw which induced me to apprehend a breach of faith at that
convention," he said, "it is unnecessary at present to detail.
But my friend * * * knows that he repeatedly urged
me to vote for the treaty, notwithstanding my apprehensions,
and that I refused to do so, for I did apprehend that if Texas
were brought in—if we annexed Texas without some definite
action on Oregon—the Baltimore resolutions would be construed to mean all Texas and the half of Oregon with certain
gentlemen"1—and, looking at Colquitt, of Georgia, he repeated it, "with certain gentlemen." The Senator from
Missouri testified that what Hannegan had said was "perfectly true," and the Senator from Tennessee confirmed the
Hannegan explanation. Evidently Northwestern Democrats
were already suspicious of Southern Democratic intentions as
to Oregon and of the recently-made "bargain."
In the exciting campaign that followed, Southern Democrats
concerned themselves chiefly with Texas, but did not forget
to show an occasional "Texas and Oregon" banner, nor
occasionally to unite the two issues in their public utterances.
Northeastern Democrats for awhile considered the advisability
of bolting the Democratic congressional ticket in the hope of
defeating the annexation of Texas, but finally gave it up as
a hopeless task, and quietly voted the regular party ticket
Northwestern Democrats emphasized the advantages of Texan
annexation, pledged the party faith to the "whole of Oregon,"
and united the two issues at every opportunity: "Texas and
Oregon; Oregon and Texas, always went together";2 "everywhere they were twins; everywhere they were united."3
When the campaign of 1844 ended in Democratic victory,
the Southern group once more pressed for the carrying out of
i Cong. Globe, 29 Cong., 1 sess., 15, 388.
2 Hannegan, of Indiana, Mar. 5, 1846, as reported in Niles' Register, LXX, 22.
3 Same, as reported in Cong. Globe, 29 Cong., 1 sess., 15, 460. The "Bargain of 1844" and the Wilmot Proviso   141
the Texan portion of the "bargain." Texas, they said, was
"an issue which had been made by the Baltimore convention
* * * it had been submitted to the intelligent freemen
of the United States * * * who had decided in favor
of it," and now "the friends of that measure from the South
called upon their representatives from the North * * * to
come forward and respond." "They did," said McDowell,
of Ohio, in reviewing the record of that session, "come forward and respond."1 In doing so, it is true, some of them
"conjured" the Southern Democrats "most earnestly" to
"yield to the spirit of compromise, and give us a small portion
of that territory," claiming it had been "held out to the North,
that two of the five States to be formed out of Texas would
be free" ;2 and all demanded the carrying out of the remainder
of the "bargain" by the passage of Oregon "notice" and territorial bills. But as to Texas the Southern Democracy would
"yield to no division" beyond the illusive "extension" of the
Missouri compromise line through it;3 and as for Oregon,
so long as the Northwestern Democrats "held Texas in their
hands," enough Southern Democrats voted for Oregon
measures to nurse them along until Texas was out of danger,
and then refused further to discuss such important questions
so near the close of the session.4 A few of the Northwestern
Democrats, interpreting this as a repudiation of their portion
of the "bargain," refused to vote for Texas ;5 but the majority,
evidently hoping more from the future than they were obtaining at the moment, helped to bring Texas in.
When Congress assembled again in the winter of 1845,
Northwestern Democrats were prepared to insist on the
prompt and decisive carrying out of the Oregon portion of
the "bargain." Following the suggestion of the President,
whose. election had resulted from the "bargain" campaign,
they introduced a series of measures looking to the final occupation of Oregon; the most important, of course, being that
i Cong. Globe, 29 Cong., 1 sess., 140.
2 Wilmot, of Pennsylvania, ibid.,  16, app., 315.
3 Brinkerhoff, of Ohio, ibid., 378.
4 Hannegan, of Indiana, ibid., 15, 460.
5 Ibid., 15, 388. 142 Clark E. Persinger
to instruct the President to give immediate notice to Great
Britain of our intention to abrogate the joint-occupancy agreement of 1828. To their apparent surprise, Calhoun led the
Southern Democrats in opposition to the "notice" resolutions,
insisting upon the certainty of war with Great Britain should
our Government thus assert our exclusive claim to the "whole
of Oregon." Hannegan, of Indiana, at once arose in the
Senate and denounced the "singular course" of the Southern
Democrats. "Texas and Oregon," he announced, "were born
the same instant, nursed and cradled in the same cradle—the
Baltimore convention—and they were at the same instant
adopted by the Democracy throughout the land. There was
not a moment's hesitation until Texas was admitted; but the
moment she was admitted the peculiar friends of Texas turned
and were doing all they could to strangle Oregon."1 Calhoun
promptly replied to the charge of Southern Democratic
treachery. "If I acted boldly and promptly on that occasion,"
he explained, "it was because boldness and promptness were
necessary to success. * * * If I am for deliberate measures on this occasion it is not because I am not a friend to
Oregon. * * * If you institute a comparison between
Oregon and Texas I would say that the former is as valuable
to us as the latter and I would as manfully defend it. If the
Senator and myself disagree, we disagree only as to the means
of securing Oregon and not as to its importance."2 Calhoun's
reply sounds candid and convincing, but Polk's "Diary" informs us that, while asserting and reasserting his disagreement with the Northwestern Democrats "only as to the means
of securing Oregon," Calhoun was secretly confiding to Polk
his opinion that "the two Governments" ought to settle the
Oregon question "on the basis of 49°."3 Hannegan answered
Calhoun's defense of the Southern Democratic position with
the assertion that he "did not intend to charge any improper
motives; * * * but it appeared strange to him that when
a question of territorial acquisition arises in the northwest
i Ibid., 15, no.
2 Ibid., no.
3 Quaife, "Diary of Polk," I, 313. The "Bargain of 1844" and the Wilmot Proviso   143
there should be found such a backwardness on the part of
southern gentlemen to give it their aid";1 that if Calhoun
were "a true mother" he would surely "not be willing to cut
the child in two and give away one half."2
Two or three days later, when "Mr. Rhett, Mr. Yancey,
and others of the Southern phalanx" in the House took the
same ground as Calhoun in the Senate, Douglas of Illinois
"at first intimated, and subsequently rather broadly charged
upon the Southern members of the party, an attempt to 'play
a game' treacherous to the West. He asserted distinctly that
the Oregon and Texas annexation projects had their birth in
the Baltimore convention. * * * There they were 'cradled
together' with a distinct understanding that if the West sustained the South in securing Texas, the South would sustain
the West in their claims to Oregon."3 Houston of Texas and
Rhett of South Carolina entered formal denials of having had
"any hand in the game;" but in milder form Douglas persisted
in his charge and was supported in it by McDowell of Ohio
and Smith of Indiana.4
Still, a few days later Wentworth of Illinois renewed the
charge. "The South and West went together for Texas," he
told the Southern Democrats, and now they should "go together for Oregon. The West certainly so expected. If
they did not go together, there was a class of politicians who
would make a great deal of capital out of it;" they were already
predicting that "the South, having used the West to get Texas,
would now abandon it [the West] and go against Oregon."
Yancey of Alabama demanding if he meant "to intimate that
there was any bargain between the South and West" to that
effect. Wentwortlj denied that he had "said there was any
such bargain," for to say so "would only implicate himself
as a party to it after having voted for Texas."5
So, through six of the nine months of this session of Congress, ran on charge, denial, and even countercharge; most
i Cong. Globe, 15, in.
2 As reported by Niles' Register, LXIX, 279 (Jan. 3, 1846).
3 Ibid., 289-290 (Jan. 10, 1846).
4 Cong. Qobe, 15, 125, 140, 143, 159.
5 Cong. Globe, 206, 207. m
144 Clark E. Persinger
frequently in short, sharp interchange of sentiments, occasionally in the form of a lengthy colloquy. In one way and
another the charge of "bargain" and "breach of faith" was
reiterated by Douglas, Wentworth, and Ficklin of Illinois;
Hannegan, C. B. Smith, and Cathcart of Indiana; Brinkerhoff
and McDowell of Ohio. Southwestern Democrats joined in.
Johnson of Tennessee asserted the binding character of the
union of the two issues by the Baltimore convention j1 Sevier
of Arkansas and Atchison of Missouri admitted that Hannegan of Indiana "certainly had some grounds for his opinion"
as to the "integrity" of the Southern Democrats on the Texas-
Oregon bargain.2 Even the Southern Democrat, Haywood
of North Carolina, "cited the impossibility of getting Texas
through until the two questions had been made twin sisters
by the Baltimore convention," and announced himself "thankful" that North Carolina was adhering to that union of issues
and repudiating "factions * * * demagogues * * *
dictating to the Senate."3
Finally, by the signing and ratifying of the Oregon
boundary treaty with Great Britain in June, 1846, president
and senate accepted the Calhoun policy and its consequences as
to the "whole of Oregon." Their action left the "Northwestern Senators * * * excited and in a bad temper;"
"lashed into a passion" against all who had any part in the
compromise transaction.4 But in less than two months after
their humiliation by the Oregon treaty, opportunity for revenge
seemed to be offered the Northwestern Democrats. The
President asked for two millions to negotiate a peace with
Mexico. The purpose of the appropriation and of the proposed negotiation was well understood to be the acquisition
of Mexican territory to the south of the traditional line of
36° 30'. "All was going as merrily as marriage bells toward
its consummation," reported the National Intelligencer.5
when suddenly "the friends of the administration from the
i Ibid., 288-289.
2 Ibid., 388.
3 Ibid., 459.
4 Statements of Polk, Quaife, "Diary of Polk," I, 474, 487.
5 Quoted in Niles' Register, LX, 374 (Aug. 15, 1846). The "Bargain of 1844" and the Wilmot Proviso   145
free States led off the opposition to their Southern brethren."1
Northwestern Democrats, remembering, said the Washington correspondent of the Baltimore American, "the 'bad faith'
of the South, as they called it, upon the Oregon question,
* * * were resolved that no more slave territory should
come into the Union with their consent."2 This determination found expression in the Wilmot proviso, introduced, it
is true, by Wilmot of Pennsylvania, a Northeastern Democrat,
but its authorship claimed by the Northwestern Democrat,
Brinkerhoff of Ohio. The original draft of this proviso, in
Brinkerhoff's handwriting, is still, I am informed in a recent
letter from Prof. R. T. Stevenson, of Ohio Wesleyan University, in the possession of Brinkerhoff's son, Mr. George
Brinkerhoff, of Mansfield, Ohio.
In conclusion and summary: From the original establishment of free-soil and slave-soil sections of the Union during
the late or post-Revolutionary period down to as late as 1843,
the traditional principle upon which the country acted in regard to the slavery question was the equal, or approximately
equal, division of all new territory between free soil and slave
soil. When the proposal of Texan annexation threatened
preponderant southward extension, Northeastern Democrats