Oregon Chapter LCTHF

  Oregon Chapter of the  
  Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation  

  January 2000 Newsletter : Vol. 2, No. 1  

Oregon Chapter Newsletter
Vol. 2, No. 1                                   January, 2000

President's Corner

Looking back on our first year as a new chapter we can reflect on a number of solid accomplishments toward our mission to stimulate and advance public knowledge of the legacy of Lewis and Clark within the state. We celebrated our first anniversary on September 28. Member-ship now stands at 161 (and growing) and nearly $1300 in the kitty - not bad for a new beginning! We have held or participated in a bundle of interesting activities including:
Thanks to the versatile skills of Jay Rasmussen, we have produced a superb chapter newsletter along with a web-site that posts minutes and photos of our meetings, announcements and other L & C information.

Last summer we lost a beloved member and one of the nation's most respected L & C scholars--Irving W.(Andy) Anderson. A close friend and mentor to many of us, he will remain a guiding light for L & C academic excellence and the importance of the primary documentation of their history.

Looking ahead we will hold our winter meeting at Lewis and Clark College on Saturday January 15. (See the announcement below). The chapter is involved in several interesting projects. Among them are:
It has been a busy and fascinating year with much to accomplish in the new millennium that begins in a few short weeks. Happy Holidays and a special thanks to everyone who has helped make our chapter a meaningful experience for all members.

Keith Hay

Chapter Needs Your Help

Volunteers are needed to work on the two cooperative bicentennial projects with committee members from the WA and ID chapters. The first project is the development of a northwest "milepost" guidebook of Lewis and Clark sites along highways in the Northwest. Our job would be to compile a listing for Oregon with locations and brief historical descriptions of each site. Much of this work has already been accomplished. The second project is our chapter's contribution in designing a regional symposium involving speakers from each state to address the Expedition's impact on the development of the Pacific Northwest and the nation, and its lessons for the 21st Century. The working title is "Beyond the Continental Divide with Lewis and Clark." The final product would be a 150-200 page book targeted for a general audience. If you are interested in participating in either of these projects please call Keith Hay at (503) 538-0924.

Welcome To Our New Members!
With these additions we now boast a membership of 161 . . . and growing!

Noble & Patty Adamek Pam Andersen Donald W. Anderson
Joni Boyle Randall & Sharon Clarke Nathan Douthit
Gilbert W. Gimbel Michael & Linda Hanley Gary Henley
Sylvia A. Hosie Margaret L. Ingram William & Shirley Langston
Deloras & Marvin Martin Betty McCauley Larry & Eleanor McClure
Constance E. Miller Jim & Nancy Mol Patricia A. Neal
Richard & Farl Tubb Umatilla County Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Committee Ray & Nancy William

Lewis & Clark : Question & Answer
By Mike Carrick

Question Sacajawea, Sacagawea, Sakakawea-What was that lady's name?

Answer The Indian lady's name was written seventeen times in the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Although its spelling varied, it never contained the letter "j". Lewis and Clark always wrote the name with the letter "g" in the third syllable.

In the journal entry of June 10, 1805, Lewis carefully wrote her name phonetically as "Sah-cah-gah, we a." For some unexplained reason, Nicholas Biddle changed the "g" to a "j" during the editing of the first edition of the journals.

If you visit Lewis and Clark sites in North Dakota, you will notice that her name is spelled Sakakawea. This is the result of nothing to do with either the journals or anyone contemporary to Sacagawea, but rather from reference to a dictionary published by the U.S. Government in 1877 entitled, "Ethnography and Philology of the Hidatsa Indians."

The Indian languages of the period were spoken languages. There was no alphabet, so any Indian word we see written today has been set down after being filtered through the ear of the transcriber and set into print according to how that person thought his system of orthography most accurately represents the sound that he thinks he hears. "Sah cog a wea" and "Sah kok a wea" could easily result from two individuals hearing the name of the Indian woman. But "Sack a juh wea" is just a transcription error on the part of Nicholas Biddle.

References: Irving Anderson, comments in a book review, We Proceeded On, February, 1999, page 34-36, and in the most recent issue of WPO, November 1999, pp 6-9.

Question The lists of goods carried by the explorers show "Scalping Knives." Are these what I think they are?

Answer Probably not (what do you think?) The term "Scalping Knife" was used by fur traders of the period to designate a certain style of knife for trade to Indians. Carl P. Russell described them as "any cheap butcher knife."

But Charles E. Hanson, Jr. has confirmed the existence of a specific pattern for the trade good known as "the scalping knife."

In the Quarterly Journal of the Museum of the Fur Trade, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Spring 1987), Hanson illustrates and describes the knife from notes and letters of Alexander Mackenzie & Co., a partner of the North West Company.
"These scalpers are of the simplest pattern possible-a generally straight or very slightly curved blade 6 or 7 inches long, fairly straight and unsharpened on the top, ending in a point from which the sharpened bottom edge begins and runs along the bottom back to the grip, making a curved edge suitable for skinning and slicing. The grip is a single piece of wood split with a saw for two-thirds of its length. The short tang of the knife blade was shoved into this split and fastened by two or three rivets inserted into holes drilled from side to side. With a minimum of machine polishing, the knife was completed and ready for sale."
Hanson goes on the say that "hundreds of blades of this general style have been found at fur trade sites of the 1780-1840 period."

Send your L&C Q&A questions to:
Michael Carrick
1230 Hoyt Street SE
Salem, OR  97302-2121
toll-free fax 1-888-394-7798 or e-mail mcarrick@teleport.com.

Sacagawea, Beyond The Shining Mountains With Lewis And Clark

Chapter member Joyce Badgley Hunsaker is putting the final touches to her new, nonfiction book entitled "Sacagawea, Beyond The Shining Mountains With Lewis And Clark". The text of the book is based upon the living history program of the same name, which she presented last spring at our joint WA and OR Chapter Meeting. However, in book form, the text is joined by quotations from the Lewis and Clark journals, by endnotes, a timeline, maps, extensive interpretive captioning, period etchings and photographs, including some from OLCTHF member Michael Carrick's weaponry collection. Also included are a Shoshoni vocabulary, a full bibliography, recommended reading lists, a suggested list of related study activities for educators and an index. The book, like the living history program, has been endorsed by Sacagawea's family descendants -- both the Shoshoni and Charbonneau sides.

The publisher will be Tamarack Books of Boise, Idaho (1-800-96BOOKS). The publication date and retail price has not yet been set, but Joyce feels safe in saying that the book will be easily affordable. If you missed Joyce's wonderful presentation in April, or if you would like to see it again, Joyce will be presenting her living history program of Sacagawea again as the March (Women's History Month) speaker at Mission Mill in Salem on Tuesday, March 21, at 7:30 pm.

Upcoming Events
January 2000 Chapter Meeting

Mark your calendars for Saturday, January 15, 2000. The first Oregon Chapter meeting of the new millennium is scheduled to begin at 1:00pm in room 105 of the Miller Center for the Humanities building at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR.

Dr. Stephen Dow Beckham

The meeting will begin with a presentation by Dr. Stephen Dow Beckham, Pamplin Professor of History at Lewis and Clark College. His talk, entitled "Meriwether Lewis: Pioneering Botanist", will be a special treat for all attending members. A Chapter business meeting will follow Dr. Beckham's talk. Items on the agenda include: To get to Lewis & Clark College from I-5 northbound or southbound, take the Terwilliger Boulevard exit. Turn right and follow the signs. Use the following map to locate the Miller Center for the Humanities building.

Miller Center Map
Map of Lewis and Clark College campus, with the Miller building (25) marked.

"All Prepared for Action" ~ Clark 7/1/1804 ~ Realizing the Vision

The 5th Annual Planning Workshop of the National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council will occur April 26 - 28 in Kansas City, MO. The featured speaker will be Dr. Stephen Ambrose, author of "Undaunted Courage." Special items on the agenda include a dedication of the Lewis and Clark Statue on Clark's Point, the debut of the National Lewis and Clark Board of Advisors and a gala celebrating the designation of the Millennium Lewis and Clark Historic Trail.

Workshop Headquarters will be the Hilton Kansas City Airport (1-800-Hiltons) and the adjacent Holiday Inn Express (816-891-9111). Hotel reservations should be booked by April 3, 2000. Be sure to reference the National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council to receive your discounted room rate.

The National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council will mail out workshop registration forms in January, or you can contact them directly at:
National Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Council
1101 Officers Row, U.S. Grant House
City of Vancouver, WA 98661
(888) 999-1803
Further information will be made available on their website at www.lewisandclark200.org

The Gravesite of Jean Babtiste Charbonneau, Oregon's "other" link to the Corp of Discovery
By Roger D. Wendlick

I volunteered to be Project Manager for improving the burial site of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau in Jordan Valley, Oregon. I was inspired after hearing Mike Hanley, noted author, historian, and rancher, speak to us at our meeting held in Philomath on October 10, 1999.

The first item of business, of course, was to visit the site in remote Southeastern Oregon. To save myself from an eight-hour drive each way, I decided to fly to Boise, Idaho, and drive a rental car an hour to the community of Jordan Valley. I stayed the night at one of the two 25-unit motels in the town that serves as a truck stop along Highway 95. The morning of November 11, I was to meet the local representatives at the "Old Basque Inn" at 10:00am. There I met with Mike Hanley, Malheur County Judge Russ Hursh, and County Road Supervisor Jim Silence. After a light breakfast and friendly, casual conversation, we piled into my rental S.U.V. We took off in a southwesterly direction on Highway 95 toward the Danner Loop Road exit. Passing grazing cattle, rolling hills of dry grass and sagebrush of the Owyhee country, we traveled 16 miles to the third Danner Loop Road access. Signs directing a person toward the site were inadequate. This need for improvement was noted. We turned off the highway onto a gravel road for another three and a half miles to the site. The ranch on which the site is located was the "Ruby Ranch," now owned by Bruce and Joni Boyle. We had a brief meeting in their home noting their concerns and requests. We then all visited the actual gravesite, which was in a state of disrepair. The interpretive "Beaver Sign" was recently restored after 25 years of abuse by weather, vandals, and time. Our good friend and Lewis and Clark historian, the late Irving Anderson, researched the informational sign. It looks beautiful.

Beaver Board
L-R: Roger Wendlick, Jim Silence, Mike Hanley, Russ Hursh & Joni Boyle.

The fence needs new posts and a gate. The sagebrush and other wild plants have overgrown the site and will need to be cleared. The turnout for cars and buses was inadequate. There was no toilet facility and dust abatement on the road was necessary. Afterward we went back to the front yard of the Boyle's residence to look at the remains of the Inskip Station. In the mid to late 19th century this was a stageline wayside station on an important travel route from the California gold fields to developing areas in Idaho and western Montana.

We returned to Jordan Valley to see Hanley's ranch. Many of his buildings were original town features destined to be removed for new structures. Mike and his son moved half a dozen of these old buildings to his ranch. Some are shelters for his prized covered wagons and stage coaches. Mike Hanley still re-enacts parts of this trail with one of his restored wagons each year. He owns a dozen or so old authentic wagons. He has acquired most of them through the years from ranchers in the area. Most were preserved having been used in the low humidity areas where wood doesn't rot.

I enjoyed my short stay in Jordan Valley. Good food, friendly people, 70 degrees, clear weather, and of course a trip into Oregon's historic past in a true rural setting were highlights of my trip.

Now the work begins. I am applying for a National Park Service Challenge Cost Sharing Grant to help defray costs. Efforts will also be made to obtain cost sharing funds from Federal and State (ODOT) sources to develop a rest stop and interpretive signage on Hwy. 95 near the gravesite. Hopefully, we can get a little help funding the project.

The project is an important one, not only for the Jordan Valley area, but also for Oregon's Chapter of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. Fort Clatsop, the wintering quarters for the expedition, is our prominent feature of the Corps. At the other corner of our state rests the youngest member of the party, although he was 61 years of age at his death.

The recent shut down of the Kinross-Delamar gold mine with a net loss of 162 jobs was a major blow to the area's economy. The latest ruling restricting grazing of cattle within an 18 mile sector of the wild and scenic Owyhee River impacting 19 ranching families has caused further suffering. With the completion of our project in time for next summer's tourist season, we hope in a small way to enhance the attractive qualities of Jordan Valley. We don't want to forget our friends in Malheur County. We want to share the fascination and historic values captive at this small but important site that can bring tour groups and wandering Lewis and Clark aficionados to view it.

Now, to proceed on ...

Meet the New Superintendent

The NPS has selected the new superintendent for Fort Clatsop National Memorial. Replacing Cindy Orlando, who has transferred to Washington DC, is Don Striker. Don is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business (Univ. of PA), and has been a comptroller at Yellowstone National Park for the past 4 years. He has never visited Fort Clatsop but will take the reins at his new job starting January 16. If you would like to welcome Don to his new position, a no-host reception is being planned for 6:30pm on Tuesday, December 28, 1999 at the Governor Hotel (S.W. 10th & Alder) in Portland, OR. Please RSVP to Alicia Tomasi at (503) 241-2132. Out-of-towners please note that a special rate of $65.00/night is available in conjunction with this event - so make a night of it!

For information on joining the National Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation click here.

For information on joining the Oregon State Chapter click here.

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Updated: February 7, 2000

Send Questions, Comments and Corrections to Jay Rasmussen