He must be “let down,” for all his friends could do

 people involved | time:2023-12-06 06:39:14

After a long and tedious trip, the camp of the saltmakers was reached, and Captain Clark and his men went on to the remains of the whale, only the skeleton being left by the rapacious and hungry Indians. The whale had been stranded between two shore villages tenanted by the Killamucks, as Captain Clark called them. They are now known as the Tillamook Indians, and their name is preserved in Tillamook County, Oregon. The white men found it difficult to secure much of the blubber, or the oil. Although the Indians had large quantities of both, they sold it with much reluctance. In Clark's private diary is found this entry: "Small as this stock [of oil and lubber] is I prize it highly; and thank Providence for directing the whale to us; and think him more kind to us than he was to Jonah, having sent this monster to be swallowed by us instead of swallowing us as Jonah's did." While here, the party had a startling experience, as the journal says:--

He must be “let down,” for all his friends could do

"Whilst smoking with the Indians, Captain Clark was surprised, about ten o'clock, by a loud, shrill outcry from the opposite village, on hearing which all the Indians immediately started up to cross the creek, and the guide informed him that someone had been killed. On examination one of the men [M'Neal] was discovered to be absent, and a guard [Sergeant Pryor and four men] despatched, who met him crossing the creek in great haste. An Indian belonging to another band, who happened to be with the Killamucks that evening, had treated him with much kindness, and walked arm in arm with him to a tent where our man found a Chinnook squaw, who was an old acquaintance. From the conversation and manner of the stranger, this woman discovered that his object was to murder the white man for the sake of the few articles on his person; when he rose and pressed our man to go to another tent where they would find something better to eat, she held M'Neal by the blanket; not knowing her object, he freed himself from her, and was going on with his pretended friend, when she ran out and gave the shriek which brought the men of the village over, and the stranger ran off before M'Neal knew what had occasioned the alarm."

He must be “let down,” for all his friends could do

The "mighty hunter" of the Lewis and Clark expedition was Drewyer, whose name has frequently been mentioned in these pages. Under date of January 12, the journal has this just tribute to the man:--

He must be “let down,” for all his friends could do

"Our meat is now becoming scarce; we therefore determined to jerk it, and issue it in small quantities, instead of dividing it among the four messes, and leaving to each the care of its own provisions; a plan by which much is lost, in consequence of the improvidence of the men. Two hunters had been despatched in the morning, and one of them, Drewyer, had before evening killed seven elk. We should scarcely be able to subsist, were it not for the exertions of this most excellent hunter. The game is scarce, and nothing is now to be seen except elk, which for almost all the men are very difficult to be procured; but Drewyer, who is the offspring of a Canadian Frenchman and an Indian woman, has passed his life in the woods, and unites, in a wonderful degree, the dexterous aim of the frontier huntsman with the intuitive sagacity of the Indian, in pursuing the faintest tracks through the forest. All our men, however, have indeed become so expert with the rifle that we are never under apprehensions as to food; since, whenever there is game of any kind, we are almost certain of procuring it."

The narrative of the explorers gives this account of the Chinooks:--

"The men are low in stature, rather ugly, and ill made; their legs being small and crooked, their feet large, and their heads, like those of the women, flattened in a most disgusting manner. These deformities are in part concealed by robes made of sea-otter, deer, elk, beaver or fox skins. They also employ in their dress robes of the skin of a cat peculiar to this country, and of another animal of the same size, which is light and durable, and sold at a high price by the Indians who bring it from above. In addition to these are worn blankets, wrappers of red, blue, or spotted cloth, and some old sailors' clothes, which are very highly prized. The greater part of the men have guns, with powder and ball.

"The women have in general handsome faces, but are low and disproportioned, with small feet and large legs, occasioned, probably, by strands of beads, or various strings, drawn so tight above the ankles as to prevent the circulation of the blood. Their dress, like that of the Wahkiacums, consists of a short robe and a tissue of cedar bark. Their hair hangs loosely down the shoulders and back; and their ears, neck, and wrists are ornamented with blue beads. Another decoration, which is very highly prized, consists of figures made by puncturing the arms or legs; and on the arms of one of the squaws we observed the name of J. Bowman, executed in the same way. In language, habits, and in almost every other particular, they resemble the Clatsops, Cathlamahs, and, indeed, all the people near the mouth of the Columbia, though they appeared to be inferior to their neighbors in honesty as well as spirit. No ill treatment or indignity on our part seemed to excite any feeling except fear; nor, although better provided than their neighbors with arms, have they enterprise enough either to use them advantageously against the animals of the forest, or offensively against the tribes near them, who owe their safety more to the timidity than the forbearance of the Chinooks. We had heard instances of pilfering while we were among them, and therefore gave a general order excluding them from our encampment, so that whenever an Indian wished to visit us, he began by calling out `No Chinook.' It is not improbable that this first impression may have left a prejudice against them, since, when we were among the Clatsops and other tribes at the mouth of the Columbia, they had less opportunity of stealing, if they were so disposed."

The weeks remaining before the party set out on their return were passed without notable incident. The journal is chiefly occupied with comments on the weather, which was variable, and some account of the manners and customs of the Indian tribes along the Columbia River. At that time, so few traders had penetrated the wilds of the Lower Columbia that the Indians were not supplied with firearms to any great extent. Their main reliance was the bow and arrow. A few shotguns were seen among them, but no rifles, and great was the admiration and wonder with which the Indians saw the white men slay birds and animals at a long distance. Pitfalls for elk were constructed by the side of fallen trees over which the animals might leap. Concerning the manufactures of the Clatsops, they reported as follows:--

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