Oregon Chapter LCTHF

  Oregon Chapter of the  
  Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation  

  June 2000 Newsletter : Vol. 2, No. 3  

Oregon Chapter Newsletter
Vol. 2, No. 3                                   June, 2000

President's Corner

Our spring field trip to the Dalles on May 6 was attended by some 30 members a nd their families. The weather was perfect and the guided tour of the pictographs and petroglyphs, including "Tsagaglalal" (She Who Watches) in Horsethief Lake State Park, was fascinating. One can only imagine the extent and diversity of this unique, enduring art gallery of prehistoric talent, with 90% now beneath the waters of the Dalles Dam. The catered lunch was excellent and talks were given by Sue Huntington (The Dalles Chamber of Commerce) and chapter members Glen Kirkpatrick (on Gorge geology); Roger Wendlick (on Pomp's gravesite re-dedication) and myself (on the Dalles area and its history as an extensive trading center and slave market). The day ended with a trip to the beautiful Rock Fort site. Thanks to Glen for arranging such a fine outing. The rapid pace of Lewis and Clark events continue. This summer they will include:

  • June 2: A field trip to Cathlapotle, the large Chinook village on the Ridgefield Nat'l. Wildlife Refuge near Ridgefield, WA. Excellent talks by FWS archeologists and Chinook Chief Cliff Snider. Event arranged by Susan Saul, FWS.

  • June 15: Meeting with Oregon's Supt. of Education Stan Bunn to seek support for bicentennial education initiatives in OR schools. Arranged by Larry McClure and joined by members Chet Orloff, Ted Kaye and Keith Hay.

  • June 19: The Portland Lewis and Clark 2005 group is sponsoring a boat tour of 13 principal L & C landing sites in the Portland / Vancouver area.

  • June 24: Rededication ceremonies at Pomp's refurbished gravesite in the Jordan Valley. Arranged by Roger Wendlick.

  • June 30: Rocky Mountain Discovery Tours are arranging a dinner at the Governor Hotel. Chapter members will receive an invitation. See the article on page 6.

    (continued on next page)

    Inside This Issue:

    William Clark's Exploration of the Willamette River:
    Did you see the May 26, 2000 article in the Oregonian? What's all the controversy about? See the report that has 'em talking; page 7.

    Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau Gravesite Rededication:
    Roger Wendlick has been hard at work. See what he has accomplished. Report on page 12.

    Meriwether Lewis' Gravesite being refurbished:
    See news item on Page 2.

    New books to add to your reading list:
    See Page 5.

    Highlights of the NLCBC April Workshop:
    New Lewis and Clark Statue unveiled in Kansas City, MO. See photo and story on Page 6.

    Question and Answer Column:
    Michael Carrick expounds on Camas Root, York's "trounching" and firearms. See Page 3.

    Page 1

    President's Corner   (cont'd)

  • July 4: Dayton Duncan will lecture in the afternoon on L & C at Fort Columbia State Park, WA. Sponsored by Ft. Clatsop and Friends of Pacific County / Bicentennial. Call Ft. Clatsop for details 503-861-2471.

  • July 10-14: Professor James Ronda will teach a special class on L & C at PSU from 9:15 am to 11:35 am. On July 14 at 7:00 pm he will lecture on "Lewis and Clark: The 'Core' of Discovery" at the Cannon Beach Historical Society.

  • July 27: Chet Orloff, Executive Director of OHS, will speak on Lewis and Clark at the Governor Hotel. This event is also sponsored by the Rocky Mtn. Discovery Tours.

  • August 13-16. The 32nd Annual meeting of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation in Dillion, MT. Will I see you there?

    Hope you all have a great summer and I look forward to seeing you at one or more of the above events.

                                    Keith Hay

    Meriwether Lewis' Gravesite Being Refurbished

    Natchez Trace, Tennessee
    The gravesite monument of Meriwether Lewis is being refurbished this summer by the National Park Service. The column and stone monument have been removed from the site, leaving a large hole down to the concrete chamber that contains the Captain's remains. The column and stone monument will be carefully cleaned and reassembled. The project started in May and was to be finished within 60 days, but, upon examination it was found that some of the stones that comprise the monument need replacing and the NPS is having a hard time finding a source for these stones.

    Chapter Website At New Location

    The Oregon Chapter's website has been moved to a new, easier to access, www.lcarchive.org/or_lcthf.html

    Be sure and bookmark the new location on your next visit to this site.

    Since the Chapter newsletter is currently a quarterly publication, the website is very useful for disseminating more timely information on upcoming events, as well as providing an archive for meeting reports and previous editions of the Chapter newsletters.

    You are urged to make use of this resource and check in on a regular basis. If you have information for posting that you feel would be interesting or useful to chapter members, please contact Jay Rasmussen at

    Chinnok Chief Snider and daughter Jolyn
    Chinook Chief Snider and his daughter Jolyn Snider on the June 2nd outing to the site of Cathlapotle, near Ridgefield, WA. Lewis and Clark visited the Cathlapotle site on November 5, 1805 and again on March 29, 1806.
    Photo by Keith Hay

    Page 2

    Welcome To Our New Members!
    With these additions we now boast a membership of 174 . . . and growing!

    Howard & Jean Baumann Egon & Diana Bodtker Monte G. Boggs
    Robert J. Brown Jon Carlson Craig Daufel
    Roger P. Gillette Dale E. Johnson Linda Lagraff
    Dr. Carol Mortland Jim Neveln Judy Rudolph
    Don Striker Fred Van Natta  

    Special thanks to Roger P. Gillette for his extra donation!

    Lewis & Clark : Question & Answer
    By Mike Carrick

    Question Stephen Ambrose relates an incident of Clark writing, "York brought my horse, he is here but of very little Service to me, insolent and sukly, I gave him a Severe trouncing the other Day and he has much mended." In Ambrose's next paragraph, he laments that York was "beaten because he was insolent .... " This seems out of character for Clark - what do you think?

    Answer I agree that this seems out of character for Clark, and I do not think that Clark's words describe a beating.

    I consulted three unabridged dictionaries and one military dictionary published in 1867. Among the definitions of "trounce" are "To trouble, to discomfit, to punish, to rebuke, to censure, to scold severely (OED); "to censure sternly, to castigate verbally (WEB); "to punish" (RAN); and "To beat or punish" (Smyth) .

    Of course "beat" is one of the definitions, but I interpret Clark's words as, "I chewed him out severely, and he has mended his ways." If he had physically beaten York, I think he would have used the appropriate word such as "beaten" or "flogged" or "thrashed." And then he would have said that York "recovered" or "healed." "Much mended" implies a changing of his attitude rather than a healing from a beating.

    References: (OED) Oxford Dictionary of the English Language; (WEB) Webster's Third New International; (RAN) Random House Unabridged, and (Smyth) Admiral Smyth's Sailor's Word-Book.

    Question What kind of rifles, powder flasks and cartridge boxes did members of the Corps of Discovery carry?

    Answer There is no agreement among firearms historians on exactly which rifle Lewis picked up at Harpers Ferry. The U.S. Model 1803 Harpers Ferry Rifle had not yet been made. But some think that Lewis got "prototypes" of the Model 1803, and some even think that Lewis had a role in the design of that model.

    Page 3

    Q&A (cont'd)

    Others believe that Lewis picked up Pennsylvania-made rifles from the Contract of 1794 and still others think that Lewis picked out some of the 1794 Contract rifles and had them modified by shortening the barrels, adding sling swivels, altering to half-stock, and boring out to .54 caliber. The enlisted men that Lewis picked up enroute to St. Louis would have taken their standard issue U.S. Model 1795 smoothbore muskets with them. These muskets are mentioned several times in the journals.

    You may know that Lewis auctioned off all "Public Property" in St. Louis shortly after the expedition returned. I don't know if anyone will ever be able to prove exactly which guns Lewis picked up at Harpers Ferry.

    In that same auction, Lewis mentions specifically the powder horns. The powder horns are also mentioned in the list of supplies obtained from "Public Stores" in preparation for the trip, and the horns are mentioned several times in the journals.

    The only mention of powder flasks is some seen carried by Indians on the Columbia River. So, I would assume that L&C carried powder horns.

    The same list of supplies mentions picking up "Cartouche Pouches." I am not sure exactly what a cartridge pouch of the 1803 period might look like. I would think that it would be a typical military-style leather box with a large flap over a wooden insert with 15 or 20 holes drilled to accommodate the pre-made cartridges for the rifles Lewis picked up.

    Question Can you tell me something about the Camas root that is mentioned so often in the Journals?

    Answer What better answer can I give you than the following from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Report of 1870, entitled, "Food Products of the North American Indians"?

    Camas Bulb Kamass root, or wild hyacinth, (Camassia esculenta, Fig. 1, Plate 1.) - This root resembles an onion in shape and a hickory-nut in size. It bears a pretty, blue flower, and grows on rocky hills. The root is dug in June and July. When eaten raw the taste is pleasant and mucilaginous; when boiled it somewhat resembles that of the common potato. The Indian mode of preparing it for future use is to dig a pit, line it with rocks, upon which a fire is made, and, when heated sufficiently, the heated stones are swept clean and the roots are heaped upon them; grass or twigs are next laid over the pile, and, finally, a covering of earth. After several days the pit is uncovered, when the white roots are found to be converted into a thoroughly cooked dark- brown, homogeneous mass, of about the consistency of softened glue, and as sweet as molasses.

    Page 4

    Q&A (cont'd)

    Cooked in this manner, the roots are often made into large cakes, by mashing and pressing them together, and, when slightly dried in the sun, they become rather pliable and tough, and look like plugs of black navy tobacco. Its color does not recommend it to the taste, but it is sweet, mucilaginous, and as agreeable as the fresh root, excepting a slight smoky flavor acquired in baking. In this pressed form it keeps softer than in the raw state or when simply cooked, and may be kept for a year or more. The roots, when boiled in water, yield a very good molasses, which is much prized, and is used on important festival occasions by various tribes. The Indians of Cape Flattery, the Nez Perces of Idaho, and those of Pitt River, California, are the greatest consumers of this article of diet, under the name of kamass root.

    Reference: The Museum of the Fur Trade Quarterly, Vol. 28, No. 1, Spring 1992

    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, carrick123@aol.com.


    Special Thanks

    On April 14, 2000, Dayton Duncan spoke at the LaSells Stewart Center at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR, presenting a lecture entitled "What Lewis and Clark Mean to America." A number of Chapter members attended this very informative and entertaining presentation, but special thanks are due to Linda Nelson and Bob Holcomb who arranged for and manned a table where they answered questions and handed out Oregon Chapter and National Foundation membership forms to many interested persons.


    New In Print

    Three books that are due to be published in June of 2000 may be of special interest to Chapter members. Two are new works and one is an update to a useful guidebook. They are:

    Three Journals of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, 1804-1806 : From the Collections of the American Philosophical Society; Carter, Edward Carlos, ed.; American Philosophical Society.

    Lewis and Clark for Kids : Their Journey of Discovery with 21 Activities; Herbert, Janis; Chicago Review Press

    Traveling the Lewis and Clark Trail; Fanselow, Julie; Falcon Publishing Company

    Page 5

    NLCBC April Workshop
    Kansas City, MO

    The 5th Annual National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council Workshop, held in Kansas City, MO during April, was a very successful working meeting. In addition to the useful breakout sessions, participants were treated to moving speeches by Stephen Ambrose, Dayton Duncan and Tex Hall, among others; the unveiling of a wonderful new statue on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River; and choice of a field trip along the river or to Fort Osage. Chapter Vice President Jay Rasmussen was honored for his website work with the presentation of the NLCBC's Outstanding Service Award. Below are a few photos from this event.

    Kansas City Montage

    Rocky Mountain Discovery Dinner

    By now Chapter members should have received information from Rocky Mountain Discovery Tours regarding two dinner events to take place on Friday June 30th and Thursday July 27th at 8:00 pm at the Governor Hotel, SW 10th and Alder in Portland, OR. Both events feature the ambiance of the Governor Hotel, a scrumptious dinner, two speakers, one from out-of-town and the other from within our Chapter. The out-of-town speaker for both events will be Dr. Joseph Mussulman. The June 30th date will feature Chapter President, Keith Hay and the July 27th date will feature OHS Director, Chet Orloff. The cost is $25 per person, per date, and reservations are required and limited to 30 participants. Chapter attendees will be mingling with a group of L&C Trail travelers who are enroute with the tour company. Come on down, enjoy a dinner, hear the talks and welcome these out-of-town guests to Oregon. For further information and reservations, call Patricia Murphy at 1-888-400-0048.

    Page 6

    William Clark's Exploration of the Willamette River

    By Chuck Sawhill and Glen Kirkpatrick

    Introduction to Project
    Member Chuck Sawhill didn't set out to do anything controversial. He was only looking for more information on Clark's adventure up the Willamette River. Next thing he knew, OLCTHF President, Keith Hay, had "suggested" that Chuck lead a project to search and clarify the extent of Clark's exploratory excursion up the Willamette including the location of Clark's camp and turnaround point, as well as compile an inventory of existing and potential statues and plaques. Being a Lewis & Clark novice, Chuck asked for an experienced L&C person and got Glen Kirkpatrick. In addition, they received valuable advice and expertise from Keith Hay, Roger Wendlick, and Doug Erickson.

    Summary of Findings
    Using Clark's original maps, Moulton's descriptions, and various other maps, Glen found that currently accepted locations of Clark's camp at St. Johns and the turnaround at Waud's bluff were incorrect. Locations for Clark's camp should be just south of Terminal 4 and Clark's turnaround in the St. John's area. A statue and two plaques are located at the University of Portland. Another plaque is located at Kelley Point Park.

    Historical Background
    Lewis and Clark missed the Willamette River on both the west and east bound portions of their travels. Contrary to popular belief, the mouth of the Willamette River was not obscured behind Image Canoe Island (Hayden Island). Our findings, based on a comparison of Clark's maps to the 1888 nautical charts, reveal that the Corps simply mistook the mouth of the Willamette for water flowing around the numerous islands in the confluence of the rivers. This would be easy to do from the north edge of the Columbia River due to the flat terrain and wide gentle current of the Columbia. Also, the Captains had a pre-conceived notion that the Quicksand (Sandy) River was the main drainage to the south due to its massive multiple channel deltas into the Columbia. Therefore, they were not looking for a major river when they passed the mouth of the Willamette.

    They were only convinced the Sandy River was not the major river to the south after the Indians told them the Quicksand (Sandy) River was just a short river draining Mt. Hood and that the large river was below Image Canoe (Hayden) Island. Still in disbelief, they sent Pryor and two other men to explore the upper reaches of the Sandy River on April 1,1806 and realized the Indians were correct. The Corps of Discovery just missed an eruption of Mt. Hood that gave the Sandy River its appearance in the fall of 1803.

    On April 2,1806, Captain Clark, an Indian guide and 7 of his men (Thompson, Potts, Cruzatte, Weiser, Howard, Whitehouse and York) canoed up the Willamette from its mouth where it joined the Columbia River, past a sluice (Multnomah Channel) and camped near a native American house, spending the night. The next day, April 3, they proceeded up the Willamette River before turning back to join Lewis near present day Washougal, Washington.

    Clark's findings were important. He proved that the Willamette was navigable for the largest ships of the day as he found the width as great as 500 feet and 30 feet in depth. He also interfaced with Native American tribes not previously identified, showing the

    Page 7

    Willamette Valley was a much-used habitat. On March 30, 1805, Lewis estimated that the valley could support a population of 40,000-50,000 people.

    From Moulton we read "the course and distance ascending the Multnomah (Willamette) river from its entrance into the Columbia at the lowest point of the 3rd Image Island."

    S 30 W 2 Miles to the upper point of a Small island in the Middle of the Moltnomar [Multnomah] river. thence
    S 10 W 3 miles to a Sluce 80 yards wide which devides Wappato Island [Sauvie] from the Main Stard. Side Shore passing a Willow point on the Lard. side
    S 60 E 3 miles to a large Indian house on the Lard Side below Some high pine land. High bold Shore on the Starboard Side. thence
    S 30 E 2 miles to a bend under the high lands on the Stard Side passing a Larborad point
    miles 10  

    "thence the river bends to the East of S East as far as I could see. at this place I think the width of the river may be Stated at 500 yards and Sufficiently deep for a Man of War or Ship of any burthen"

    In Moulton, Clark states "I proceeded up this river 10 miles from its entrance into the Columbia at a house on the NE side and Encamped near the house." Note that this 10 mile distance from the Columbia to the Camp is actually only 8 miles (see chart above)

    Basic Documentation
    In order to understand the evidence for the proposed location of Clark's camp as well as Clark's turnaround point, it is absolutely essential to look carefully at the primary documentation of the trip up the Willamette by Clark and to have a clear picture of the Willamette River before alterations caused by dredging.

    The primary documentation of Clark's trip on the Willamette is presented in Volume 7 of Moulton, pages 55-70 that includes Clark's journal entries for April 2 and 3, and two maps of the lower Willamette River. The documentation of the river prior to dredging can be found on an 1888 Columbia River nautical chart (see
    page 11), sheet 6, Fales Landing to Portland.

    This nautical chart shows river depth and landforms in great detail that can be correlated to Clark's maps. Clark's primary documentation consisting of words, compass bearings, estimates of distance and maps clearly pinpoint the location of Clark's camp and turnaround further upstream.

    In working with compass bearings from the journals of the expedition, it is important to note the bearings are simply magnetic readings and there were no corrections for magnetic declination. It is also important to note that the declination of any spot on the earth changes over time. For this analysis, a declination of 21.5 east is given on the 1888 nautical chart. Although this declination is 82 years after William Clark's visit, it approximates the lines of sight taken by Clark in 1806. On the 1888 map, we have plotted Clark's 1806 bearings from the lower end of the Third Image Canoe Island to the turnaround point.

    Page 8

    Columbia River to Multnomah Channel
    Clark's map shows five distinct islands at the mouth of the Willamette. These can all be identified by their shape and location on the 1888 map of the river. Upon close inspection it is evident that the lower point of the third Image Canoe Island, today's Kelly Point, is where Clark starts his course and bearings. Clark measures from Kelly Point to the Multnomah channel, a dead reckoning distance of 5 miles. The actual distance from the mouth of the Willamette to the Multnomah Channel (then and now) is only 3.2 miles so Clark must have incorrectly estimated the distance. However, plotting Clark's 1806 bearings on the 1888 map confirms the accuracy of the bearings.

    Location of Clark's Camp
    Clark took a bearing of S 60 E from the Multnomah Channel to the Indian house on the Lard (east) side of the river where he camped on the night of April 2. He also notes high pine lands above the house and high bold lands on the starboard (right) side. He estimates the distance from the Multnomah Channel to the camp at three miles. He notes that some smaller houses are situated on two bayous, which appear on the S. E. side a little below the house.

    Clark's bearing from the Multnomah Channel to the camp was plotted on the 1888 map. It leads directly to two small lakes, a stream and bluffs that are identifiable on both Clark's maps and the 1888 map. These features pinpoint the location of the April 2nd campsite just south of Municipal Terminal #4. The distance from the Sluice (Multnomah Channel) to the campsite is nearly two miles.

    Location of Clark's Turnaround
    From the Indian House, Clark takes his final bearing of S 30 E to the spot where he turned around. Clark described the spot where he turned around as a "bend under the high lands on the Stard Side passing a larborad point." He goes on to say "thence the river bends to the East of S East as far as I could see," noting on April 3rd that "the mist was So thick that I could See but a Short distance up this river." At the turnaround point, Clark found "the wedth of the river ... 500 yards and Sufficiently deep for a ... Ship of any burthen."

    Clark's bearings from the camp to his turnaround point were plotted on the 1888 map. They lead directly to a bend under high lands (as Clark had described) near the present day St. Johns Bridge. The bend in the river at St. Johns is the only bend that can be reached by two lines of sight going from the Multnomah Channel to the east bank and back to the west bank.

    Many of the earlier editions of the journal interpret the turnaround point from Clark's dead reckoning of ten miles from the mouth of the river, thus putting the turnaround at Waud's Point. The required conditions do not fit Wauds Point. The river is taking a sharp east-west "s" curve to the east of Swan Island. If he had proceeded to Waud's point, he should have noted Swan Island and Boggs Bottom and plotted them on his maps. He would also have noted them in his journal, which he didn't. This is strong evidence that Clark did not make it that far up the river.

    Clark estimated the distance from the Columbia to the Multnomah Channel to be five miles when it was only about three miles. If he did the same for the distance from the Multnomah Channel to the turnaround, the distance would not be five miles but three miles. Scaled on the 1888 map, the original bearings and revised distance together lead to the St. John's area as the turnaround point.
    Page 9

      Clark Findings  
    Columbia to Willamette Channel 5 miles 3.2 miles  
    Camp 8 miles 5 miles Terminal 4 area
    Turnaround 10 miles 6 miles St. John's bridge area

    Clark's Map of the Willamette
    Clark's 1806 map of the Willamette as published in Moulton, Volume 7, pg 69

    A. Clark plots the West Hills as far as he can see to the south.

    B. April 2, 1806 campsite. Note the bluffs just to the SE of the arrow, the small lake just north of the arrow point, and the small slough a little further north. All these features are identifiable on the 1888 nautical chart of the Willamette.

    C. 3rd Image Canoe Island. Today this is Kelly Point. A close examination of the mouth of the Willamette River on this map identifies 5 islands and the outlet to the small slough. All these features are identifiable by their position and shape on the 1888 Willamette River nautical chart.

    Page 10

    1888 Nautical Chart of the Willamette

    Correction: The label at the top of the map (south) should read "Turnaround area is just north of the St. Johns Bridge."

    Page 11

    Jean Baptiste Charbonneau Project

    True to his Oregon heritage, Roger Wendlick has been a very busy beaver. As chairperson for the Jean Baptiste Charbonneau Gravesite Restoration Project, Roger has accomplished an amazing amount of work in a very short time. Through his efforts a lot of attention has been drawn to this project including a front-page Oregonian article by Peter Sleeth on May 3, 2000, a four-minute segment by Jim Hyde on KPTV Channel 12 News (June 14, 2000) and another Sleeth report in the Oregonian on June 25, 2000.

    Roger organized a work day on June 3rd, clearing sagebrush and weeds; rebuilding the perimeter fence, interior border pole and chain fence; relandscaping, including planting trees and positioning some boulders for seats; installing a new gate and putting a new rope on the flag pole. In addition, by organizing help from ODOT and Malheur County, the site was improved by grading and laying gravel in the parking area; applying a dust abatement treatment and installing new signs. A big thank you from the Oregon Chapter to all those who participated in these efforts.

    In addition, a number of contributions have been made to the Chapter in support of this project. The Oregon Chapter would like to recognize these organizations and individuals for their generous contributions. Contributors are:
    National Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation Glenmore Farms, Inc. (Carl and Craig Daufel)
    California Chapter LCTHF Idaho Chapter LCTHF
    Mrs. Mabel Johnson  

    Other contributions may still be forthcoming and will help support further site improvements.

    A moving rededication ceremony, attended by more than 250 people, occurred on Saturday June 24th and featured an invocation by Father Mathew of St. Bernards; a flag-raising ceremony by the local scout troop; taps played by a unit of the 7th Cavalry; talks by Dr. Albert Furtwangler, Keith Hay, Doug Erickson, Roger Wendlick; Lemhi Shoshone and Hidatsa representatives from Fort Hall and Fort Berthold; a prayer circle; a six-horse stage coach reenactment by Mike Hanley and a tasty luncheon.

    The Oregon Chapter is extremely fortunate to count Roger Wendlick as one of our own. His organizational talents, boundless energy and friendly smile are true assets to the Oregon Chapter and the Lewis and Clark community in general. Thank you Roger!

    Chuck Sawhill and Glen Kirkpatrick are requesting that Chapter members please send them location information about Lewis and Clark statues, monuments, plaques and interpretive signage within the state of Oregon. If you can help, please contact them at:

    Chuck Sawhill
    45 Eagle Crest Drive, Unit 502  
    Lake Oswego, OR 97035
    Glen Kirkpatrick
    15100 SE Gladstone Dr.
    Portland, OR 97236-2445

    Page 12

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

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    Updated: April 16, 2001

    Send Questions, Comments and Corrections to Jay Rasmussen