Volume II: Journal Entries, Surveyor Notes, Indices & References
Part 1. Journals & Correspondence
1. Alexander McLeod Journal Excerpts, October 26, 1826 – February 5, 1827
This section of the Coquelle Trails report is a compilation of McLeod’s complete journal entries during the times of his four historic visits to the Coos, Coquille, New, Sixes, and Elk river basins: October 24 to November 2, 1826; November 10 to December 16, 1826; December 25, 1826 to January 7, 1827; and January 15 to February 5, 1827. They are presented here in some detail because of their specific historical importance to this report, the fact that they are an otherwise obscure and somewhat difficult to locate resource, and because of their intrinsic value to a better understanding of Coos County and Coquille Tribal histories.
These journals were first published in their entirety in 1961 as “Appendix C. Journal of a hunting Expedition to the Southward of the Umpqua under the command of A. R. McLeod C.T. September 1826,” of the Hudson’s Bay Record Society book, “Peter Skene Ogden’s Snake Country Journal, 1826-27” (Davies 1961). The McLeod writings were assembled and annotated by Dorothy O. Johansen, the Professor of History at Reed College, in Portland. In the late 1980s Zybach had the pleasure of discussing this work directly with Dr. Johansen by telephone, as he first attempted to trace McLeod’s steps through the Willamette Valley, along the Oregon Coast, Umpqua River, and the Middle Fork and East Forks of the Coquille. At that time she commented that all of her research had “taken place in her armchair” with topographical maps, and seemed much pleased by the interest and field-tested accuracy of her findings (Zybach and Wasson 2009: 100).
We have tried to keep annotations and commentary to a minimum in the current assemblage, and have cited Dr. Johansen directly when depending on her own notes. Spelling and typos are, so much as possible, given exactly as they appear in Davies (1961), with some minor corrections of obvious typos or odd punctuation. Our own comments are enclosed in brackets () and/or written in italics. Thanks and credit are due Nana Lapham, Oregon Websites and Watersheds Project, Inc., who did the careful transcription and word processing required of this process.
First visit: October 24th, 1826 – November 2nd, 1826
On October 23, 1826 Fine weather. In the course of the forenoon we startd. in a body, leaving Laframboise [Michel La Framboise, well-known HBC trapper and trader known as “Old Raspberry”: the literal meaning of his French name] in Charge with an Assistant. All the families remained at the camp. After obtaining canoes in addition to the number we have, our party gradually diminished as we approached the sea. Being coupled in each canoe together they took different directions up the various streams in hopes of finding beaver. They were directed not to exceed ten or twelve days absence at which period I expect to return. With five men and two Indians in a canoe, accompanied by the old Chief and suite in another craft, continued descending the main [Umpqua] river till dark . . .
Tuesday 24th. Fine weather. Proceeded about six miles and landed at a Village of two houses, where we were very hospitably treated and breakfasted on sturgeon and salmon, after satisfying our host with a few trinkets, we continued our progress after a delay of two hours half mile further on terminated our Journey by water. Put up our crafts in a secure place and proceeded along the beach with our baggage and some trading articles to secure a welcome reception, carried on mens backs in this manner, we drudged on three hours and came to a small river whose breadth does not exceed thirty yards [probably Tenmile Creek: McLeod and his troupe are now in Hanis Coos territory], yet Indians find plentiful supply of salmon trout in it, as we were informed by a few that cast up at the moment we appeared, their habitations being in the neighborhood they observed our approach from a distance and came to us with extreme caution apparent dismay, which soon was dispelled when notified of our friendly intentions, being the first people of a different colour to themselves they had ever seen, their eyes were fixed on us, our fire arms attracted particular notice, tho, they were aware of the use of them had never witnessed an instance of the effect. We lost an hour to allow the men to refresh themselves and went forward about nine miles and formed our camp near a small Lake, having receded from the beach since leaving the little river, yet walked on bare sand with now and then a clump of trees dispersed here and there, the sand is so loose as to leave the prints of a Bears feet very plain, yet we saw none, and but few tracks of deer; indeed there is no grass to attract the latter. A messenger was dispatched ahead to notify the natives of our approach.
Wednesday 25th. Light rain at intervals, for which we are ill prepared, having no other covering than a coat and blanket each. Past a restless night; the rain fell so heavily that we had to lose time in the morning to put our arms in order, after which we continued our Journey about seven miles to a river or rather an inlet, the discharge of several rivers [Coos Bay], the most noted is of no great magnitude, the main Channel running into the Ocean is about a mile broad. This being the season for the salmon trout to ascend the different streams, the natives had an abundant supply of which we obtained some for trinkets. The main land is lofty and covered with impenetrable wood, if we can judge from appearances. After the ceremony of meeting was over, we experienced a work to get an Individual to serve in the capacity of a linguist further on. No one appeared willing to accept our offer; alledging that they were unacquainted with the inhabitants of the next river; or rather, I imagine, apprehensive of trusting themselves amongst them, less they suffer for past aggressions, we had to visit several habitations and at last succeeded with great deal of entreaty to gain our individual and he requested, we would grant him the liberty to engage a second, to which we readily assented, by this time, the day was far spent; however we got out of the reach of the majority of the Indians and past the night about three miles short of the Ocean, a short distance to the Southward of where we first made this river. The loose sand heaped by the violence of the wind, proved very fatiguing to the men who had burthens to carry. We hired a sizable canoe to take us forward our old Chief and suite declined to go further, he was left to his own will, still we had four natives, attached to us, seemingly well disposed to serve us, yet the new comers somewhat discomposed, tho they place every confidence in us, which alone I believe has influenced them to comply with our solicitations relying on our protecting for their safety. Our Guide informed us, that for expeditions sake, we ought to take advantage of the ebb tide, as we had a rocky point ahead [Fossil Point] to double, which at flood tide would be attended with danger.
Thursday 26th. Rained most part of the day very heavily. We took advantage of the ebb tide agreeable to our Guides desire. The obscurity of the night suggested the Idea of entrusting the management of our craft to our new Guests, who acquitted themselves handsomely course three miles west then turned to the south, up an inlet where we found an Indian family lodged; being out of danger we waited day light then proceeded as before, 4 miles and secured our canoe with our baggage and things on the mens backs, we entered the woods in a westerly course, the distance of six miles and made the Ocean. Continued our progress on the beach composed of sand hard and level. The close of the day brought us to a fine river about a hundred and twenty yards broad [Coquille River: McLeod and his men are now in Miluk Coos territory, near the historical Indian town of Nasomah], except near the sea, it assumes the shape of a Bay, up this stream, we were told, the country abounded with Beaver; but that like every other Indian report of the kind deserves little credit. Our unexpected arrival caused much alarm, as we came unobserved within a few yards of the dwelling of a few families, before we gave them notice of us; however their fears soon subsided and their aspect recovered its former gaiety, for we could hear their merriment at the moment we gave notice of our approach. After distributing a few presents with which these poor people were much gratified we proceeded to a convenient spot to pass the night, signifying to the natives our intentions of ascending the river on the morrow, and requested them to notify their friends of our intentions, and added if they had beaver, would readily traded with them. To all our questions they replied in the affirmative. Before we had kindled a fire, messengers were off to give notice to their friends up the river of our mission.
Friday 27th. Weather fine. Prudence dictated the necessity of keeping watch during the night: the result justified the measure, the night was not far spent when a party of seven and twenty of the natives came to us, but with no evil intentions, at least we observed no symptims of hostile inclination on their part, yet it evidently appeared, that the Indians of our party, stood much in awe, of the Intruders, after a few hours conversation, as well as we could make ourselves understood and paying them for the few fish they brought, we signified our wish of going to rest; and the party left and proceeded to the houses close by and set up a dance, which annoyed us all night. When the day dawned we obtained a Canoe and proceeded up the river about 12 miles, visited several little villages from one to the other. The party of Indians following us increased as we ascended. Altho’ they possess Beaver, they were not very eager to open a trafic with us. Observing this, I resolved to return to the spot we occupied last night and to renew our visit on the morrow with more apparent prospects of success. As far as we have proceeded the river keeps the same width: the country on each side is low and marshy, beaver vestiges frequently seen and the natives confirm the report that beaver is plentiful within land. Obtained fresh salmon for our supper. Wild fowl plentiful, time is too precious to hunt. Traded 3 Sea Otters, 27 large and small beavers and 3 common Otters.
Saturday 28th. Rain fell heavily all night, we were so far fortunate as not to be incommoded by it during the day. Conformable to our resolutions of yesterday, proceeded up the river and put up at dusk for the night by an Indian dwelling containing two families the distance we come in short, we made frequent stoppages at the different residence of the natives, traded 45 beavers large & small.
Sunday 29th. The rain falling in torrents all day caused this days detention: traded a small otter skin. Some Indians cast up with the meat of an Elk, they found drowned in the river, yet my men relished the meat tolerably well, and made their supper of it.
Monday 30th. The rain having abated in the course of the night, we had an early start, still ascending the river, till about 10 A.M. having reached the limits of our Journey, we returned towards the sea, but had to put up for the night a few miles above the first village. The period for our return to our party is drawing to a close, and it would create serious uneasiness to disappoint our people, to avoid which we need make some exertion on our way back. Our interrogatory questions to the Natives of this river, produced no satisfactory result, relative to their knowledge of the Country, or its inhabitants to the Southward of which they profess themselves ignorant, alledging that they never venture in that direction beyond another small river about thirty miles from hence, where a few of their friends reside. Seemingly they are not acquainted with any great body of water in this neighbourhood, they make mention of an old man residing about the source of this stream, who is in the habit of visiting a river of some note to the Southward of us, the rout thereto is over land about three or four days Journey, and they imagine that body of water to be the one we allude to – as far as we have been this stream, the country wears the same aspect denoting the appearance of possessing beaver. Traded 13 beavers.
Tuesday 31st. Constant rain during the day. As we intimated our intentions to the natives of returning in some time hence, we did not fail admonishing them to make every exertion to collect beaver to trade. Being hurried continued tracing our steps back at the hazard of wetting our furs having no other means of securing them from wet but by wrapping them in our blankets. Encamped where we disembarked the 26 Instant [near the mouth of the Coquille], found our canoe removed from the place we left it: this was caused by the extraordinary rise of water from the late heavy rain Killed two Bustards many more might shot had we time for the purpose.
Wednesday 1st November. The rain continued unabated all night, of course, we had a restless night, having no other canopy but the heavens. As soon as we could see, we got afloat and directed our course forward till we reached the rocky point, noticed above, the tide flooding confirmed the story of our Guide, and we had to wait for the ebb before we dared venture, therefore we had to stop short of the villages for the night. Killed a couple of Bustards & a heron, an Elk was wounded, the hurry of the moment only prevented us from tasting his flesh.
Thursday 2nd. Fine weather. Early in the morning we were on board reached the principal on the afternoon where we landed our Guide traded ten beaver and took our leave of these people and reached the little river [Tenmile Creek] where we formed our Camp for the night. When we past here few Indians were to be seen, now the number is pretty great; and in fact, they are so much dispersed at this season of the year, that an Idea of their number must be erroneous, to a person passing amongst them: for my part I dare not hazard an opinion certain not to come near the thing.
Second Visit: November 10th, 1826 – December 16th, 1826
Friday November 10th. Rain at intervals, still we continued our rout as on the former Trip, and encamped at the first little river [Tenmile Creek], Indians supplied us with salmon trout for supper. Few ducks killed before leaving Camp.
Saturday 11th. Fine weather, about midday encamped on the bank of an inlet connected with the main river, river Cahourz [Coos River], in this neighborhood the hopes of getting a few beaver suggest the propriety of making a stay. The spot fixed upon is not yet known as we had no time to see the country. In the evening some traps were set and few wild fowls killed.
Sunday 12th. Rained heavily all night, but the day fine. Some Indians visited us, from whom, we got a few Beavers. The men traded some fish killed a few Bustards.
Monday 13th. Fine weather, the men provided themselves with canoes and more traps set a deer killed, and three beavers caught.
Tuesday 14th. Fine weather. Changed encampment, distance three miles men off to set their traps, three Beaver caught, some wild fowl killed.
Wednesday 15th. Weather fine. Four men with Laframboise and self keep camp, the rest have leave of absence to trap.
Thursday 16th. Heavy rain all night, which abated only about 12. Six beavers brought to camp. P. Charles and his companion killed three Buck Elk some wild fowl shot.
Friday 17th. Fine weather. Some Indians came to us with few beaver that we obtained, men going for their traps, four beavers brought by the trappers removed to a more eligible situation distance a mile and half, some Bustards killed.
Saturday 18th. Cloudy weather. Sent a man and two Indians to the second village, who obtained a few Beaver by the way of trade, report states, those Indians have no more furs. A party of trappers that were up the north branch [possibly Haynes Inlet], returned with two Beaver. That Stream is of no extent, so they have relinquished that place. Some wild fowl killed. The skins of the Elk lately killed and little meat brought to camp.
Sunday 19th. Fine weather. A party in four canoes started for the purpose of trapping on the rout we propose going, others arrived, brought six beavers more wild fowl killed, indeed our daily fare depends thereon.
Monday 20th. Fine weather. The arrivals of yesterday have returned to resume their former occupations killed more wild fowl, many Indians going backwards and forwards, some brought us berries, but we discountenance the same for various reasons.
Tuesday 21st. Fine weather. Nothing of a particular nature transpired today, more wild fowl killed.
Wednesday 22nd. Heavy rain. In the evening two of our trappers arrived brought couple of beaver. The country is reported to be poor and unproductive, where ever our people have visited; their wish now is to proceed forward to where we discovered lately, as the appearances there more favorable.
Thursday 23rd. It rained heavily all night, the day was fine. We started to join the small party sent ahead on our rout, who are waiting for us at an appointed place. Course South, distance 9 miles encamped late and some had to sleep on board their Canoes for want of a better place. Saw many Indians employed in fishing &c. some wild fowl killed.
Friday 24th. Fine weather. Continued the same course as yesterday up an inlet to its termination at a portage half mile long [Overland], distance today ten miles. Our men being stationed at the south end of the portage came to us and returned with each a load of our things. Some Indians cast up who also assisted, however we had to stop for the night, at the north end. This little party since leaving the camp, caught 13 Beavers.
Saturday 25th. Fine weather, and by means of canoes hired for the purpose, continued our rout through a Creek [Beaver Slough], much encumbered with brush wood that gave great difficulty to work the craft forward – with two men I took the woods to join the party at the main river [Coquille River] where we arrived in good time, but not without trouble from the marshy ground, frequently above knee deep in mire and water, tho’ in a direct course, the distance does not exceed three miles, yet we took four hours constant traveling night coming on before all hands could get to the Camp, accounts for many remaining in the rear Seven beaver were caught today. Three of our Indians who were in our rear join us today, they brought ten beavers skins.
Sunday 26th. Fine weather, men started for the purpose of trapping 2 Beavers brought to Camp. A trap belonging to [Alexis] Aubichon said to have been stolen, provisions getting scarce.
Monday 27th. Fine weather, canoes are not easily got here, as the Indians have resorted to the upper part of the river where fish is more abundant. It is moreover reported that the Indians grumble at our presumption in trapping without paying them tribute: to see into the truth of this Laframboise and P. [Pierre] Charles took a turn up and visited several houses, recovered the stolen trap and learned the origin of the above complaints, falls on two lads with Ignace and Jacques [Iroquois freemen from the Willamette Valley], both of the Umpqua tribe [likely Kelawatsets or Etnemitane], and like them, they have given too much scope to their tongues, the first meeting with them I shall try if little wholesome advice will have effect, if not I warrant other means that I can command, will keep them in subjection; else their masters require some thing of the kind.
Tuesday 28th. Heavy rain, which subsided and allowed us just time to leave and from our Camp at a more convenient place [this location may be easier to pinpoint with Mcleod’s next trip to the Coquille, in late December], before that job was completed the rain returned with great violence. P. Charles is gone a hunting 2 Beaver caught.
Wednesday 29th. Rained all day. P. Charles returned, had no luck. Six Beaver brought to camp.
Thursday 30th. Heavy rain all day and night. Laframboise accompanied P. Charles to set traps, but, meeting an Elk which they killed, returned with part of the meat. In the evening Aubichon and his associate arrived from trapping no success owing to the great rise of water from the late excessive rains.
Friday 1st. Rain fell in torrents all night, but subsided a little in the course of the day. Laframboise accompanyed [sic?] by [Nicholas] Dupont started for Depaty’s [Jean Baptiste Depaty dit McKay] Camp with a message to the latter. P. Charles is going for the remainder of the animal killed yesterday, met with a herd and killed six more, part of which brought to the camp. Four Beavers brought today. A party of Indians visited us today: some among them led us to expect them in a day or two, as they had a few skins which they disposed to trade.
Saturday 2nd. Constant rain, in consequence of which the water rises rapidly and proves a serious obstacle against trapping. Men employed in bringing meat to the camp, till the darkness of the night rendered it necessary to defer till tomorrow to bring the remainder. A party of Indians came to us and we obtained fourteen Beavers large and small from them, late in the evening two of our men who were trapping up this river, (Shequits) arrived with the skins of four beaver, and an otter, they report, the country to be inundated; they have been up to the forks [apparently Myrtle Point] where they left their companions with their traps under water and no possibility of getting at them, till the heavy rains subside.
Sunday 3rd. Heavy rain still prevails, a part of an Elk having remained on the field was brought to camp. Men and women employed in preparing skins and curing meat: a job not easily accomplished under such unfavorable weather. 4 Beaver brought to Camp.
Monday 4th. Torrents of rain falling till evening when appearances gave hopes of a change of weather. The few hands about the Camp employed as yesterday.
Tuesday 5th. The rain somewhat subsided and fine weather ensued but we cant flatter ourselves with the hope of a continuance. Traps gave four Beaver, various reports are circulated by the Natives rather unfavorable to our views; however appearances denote no cause of danger, as those stories came thro’ a channel not much to be relied on, creates of course, little uneasiness, for it is evident those Indians in the marvellous and endeavor to excel one another in fictions most likely with an intent to dissuade us from prosecuting our Journey to the Southward; for on this subject they never fail in representing insurmountable obstacles, and add that the natives are vicious and very numerous, those and similar other stories of a like nature have of late so often assailed my ears that a repetition passes unnoticed, nor will all they can say or do deter me from accomplishing the object in view.
Wednesday 6th. Weather fine. Finished scraping the skins and made further preparations to proceed up the Channel to join the other division of our party, hired canoes from a party of Indians that paid us a tempory [sic] visit and returned to their quarters. Dubruille [John Baptiste Dubreuil] and Joudoin [Charles Jeaudoin] gone to bring their traps, they have leave of absence of the night.
Thursday 7th. Rained hard all day, the two men who went yesterday for their traps returned and brought two beavers as luck would have it, they met a she Bear and two Cubs, they could only succeed in securing the former, the young ones escaped. One of our canoes carried off by the rise of the water in the course of the night and brought to us by an Indian who received suitable compensation.
Friday 8th. Weather fine, proceeded up the river which continues fine and of equal breadth. About midday met our people descending also returned with us, put up at sun set passed many Indian habitations, indifferently erected, and their owners poorly off gave them a share of our stores. The party who joined us today had little success, indeed since we are in this river, the weather has proved very unfavorable, and till the [water level?] falls, little success can be anticipated, consequently a loss of time must ensue. I design therefore to avail myself of the period to visit the country southward [South Fork of the Coquille River] some distance from the upper part of this stream and [if?] it is found practicable for horses, we shall endeavor to find a passage from thence to the Umpqua to bring over our horses and baggage; distance 15 miles.
Saturday 9th. Fine weather, After ascending the river about five miles, we stopped to erect our camp, on a suitable spot on the north bank. The river continues fine with beaver vestiges along its banks but the excessive rise and fall of the water baffle the skill of our Trappers. A party of Indians cast up and took up their abode near neighbourhood for the night, they are on a visit to their friends to the source of this stream. Made preparations to proceed southward to obtain a knowledge of the Country.
Sunday 10th. Weather cloudy. About 8 A.M. I started with P. Charles [,] Laderoute [Xavier Seguin dit Ladiroute], two Owhyhees [Hawaiian servants of the HBC] and three natives; proceeded by water about 11 miles, where the river is divided into two branches, one coming from the northward, and the other from the opposite direction at the confluence of the former, stands a small village, containing half dozen of men and families. Engaged a guide for the main Channel, where we found a foot path on the west bank of the south branch, which we followed and seasonably came to the river – past three small plains abounding with fine grass in full verdure. After dusk we put for the night, distance by land 14 miles course southerly. Left six men of all descriptions with strong injunctions to be on their guard, that their attention might not be drawn from that object I deemed it necessary to prohibit setting traps till my return, provided Ignace and Jacques with ammunition to procure the means of subsistence.
Monday 11th. Heavy rain all day. As soon as day light enable us to see our way we moved forward, after passing a short belt of wood we opened into a fine plain at the extremity of which, we came to a village of five dwellings rather unexpectedly. Our sudden appearance amazed the inhabitants who had not observed us, till we reached their door their fear was soon dissipated, we obtained some dried salmon indifferently cured for which they got in return a few trinkets. My men took their breakfast and by means of canoes, we forded the river, about 50 yards wide – continued our Journey on the east bank about five miles and reached another village greater and more populous than the last. Here the river assumes a different aspect, it becomes rocky, with many cataracts, some perpendicular falls, that afford the means of spearing the salmon trout, our guide made some objections for going further alledging [sic] that we could not reach the great river (for by this time, it appeared evident to him, our intention led that way) owing to the high state of the water, all the others supported the argument, yet persisted in going forward, tho’ aware we could not go far, not being prepared to encounter such difficulties as the natives represented, but still no impediment as yet afforded to obstruct our progress, with great deal of persuation [sic] our Guide assented to proceed as we gave him to understand, our intention was merely to see the country, we would defer till a more favorable period to visit the Great [Rogue] river, which these people are in the habit of visiting and from hence in Summer reached it in two days they represent it to be a fine stream, not very large somewhat answering by their description the Umpqua: like it the country on each side is plains, those people know nothing of its junction with the Sea. We continued our Journey, passed the village about 4 miles, following the same track by which we came, and in this short space, had to ford the river three different times, on one occasion Laderoute proved unable to follow his companions, had to go to his assistance still we had not come to the worst part of the way, seeming difficulties increasing, without any advantage accruing from persevering further I deemed it advisable to trace our steps back, to examine the Indian route to the Umpqua, which if practicable for loaded horses at this period of the season, the length of the river, Shequits, no doubts exist, but we can get to the great river [Rogue River] by this rout after a few days fine weather as the water falls as rapidly as it rises. At dusk we formed our camp about a mile south of the last village we past. The Indians brought us some fresh trout of small size, but not unpalatable, their dried fish of which also they brought us some, is very indifferently cured without taste of a bad quality: in this respect, they fare better than their friends in the lower part of the river. The former having the advantage of vegetable productions growing abundantly in their neighborhood a luxury to Indian palate that the later [sic?] seldom enjoys as none grows within their reach.
Tuesday 12th. Very heavy rain throughout the night and day – as early as possible we proceeded to the village and to our surprise found the water had risen four feet perpendicular since we past yesterday, had some further conversation with the Indians on the subject of the resources of the country, their assertions tend to encourage us to persevere in our pursuit, several minor streams are pointed out to us said to contain beaver, but the great river in particular is frequently alluded to, as possessing beaver in great plenty; but these people like their neighbours are subject to exaggerate, so we can’t rely on what they say. These people seemingly never molest those animals, I presume others either judging from appearances they never kill an animal and depend solely on the produce of the waters for subsistence, with roots that grow spontaneously in the vicinity, the same observation is applicable to the natives on the great river, who never trouble themselves about furs, and have little or no intercourse with strangers. At the second village, we hired two canoes; in which we embarked and proceeded before the current with uncommon velocity to its junction with the main river. It keeps the same breadth all long [sic?], bank in many places high and perpendicular. The bed of this river is of gravel in the present state of the water, no impediment exists to obstruct the progress from the upper village; but in the summer it is very shallow, during the low state of the water. As we descended many Beaver vestiges were observed, and many must have remained unnoticed from the velocity with which we passed many places. At the forks we took our own crafts and before dusk reached our Camp, found every thing safe.
Wednesday 13th. Light rain and cloudy weather. Made some preparations for a trip to the Umpqua, thro’ the country, the object of which his [sic?] to bring our horses if practicable. The women employed in drying skins, at which job the men assist.
Thursday 14th. Rainy weather. With the same men as on the former occasion accompanied me, we left the Camp in canoe ascended the river the length of the forks, left our craft, being provided with Indian guide, shaped our course southerly thro’ a foot path leading along the west shore of the north branch about two miles up the river we found a small village containing half dozen of Indians situated at the foot of a steep rock, which obstructed our passage but by means of the only canoe these people had, we were enabled to pass the precipice, which otherwise might have caused much loss of time, thro’ more than seventy yard in the direction we are going. After dusk the two Owhyhees [Hawaiians] cast up being in rear ever since we left our crafts, the present state of the water renders the road infinitely worse than it otherwise would be, could we ford the Channel occasionally, it would exempt us from passing many bad places. We find the representations the Indians made of this rout to be very incorrect: however in summer it certainly assumes more favorable aspect. The country on both sides of the river as much as we can see of it, is mountainous and broken and covered with much wood.
Friday 15th. Heavy rain continues and in the evening came on snow. Continued our Journey and ascended the mountain nearly to its summit, passed two small villages collectively not exceeding twenty inhabitants of the masculine gender. Lost couple of hours waiting for the two oyhees [sic?], their non appearance, and our uncomfortable situation from the inclement weather, hurried us forward leaving them to make their way forward the best way they can, taking for granted that they cannot stray from the track. We put up in the face of a steep hill, much exposed, having no other canopy than what our Blankets afforded. Saw elks tracks as we came along, we crossed four small streams running from west to east.
Wednesday [sic] 16th. Weather fine, in the course of the forenoon descend the mountain and entered a fine plain [Possibly Fluornoy Valley] where I appointed a rendezvous with Depoty but to my surprise no vestiges can be found which circumstance led us to continue forward after passing a short mountain covered with thick woods we again got into a plain country on the bank of a small river, met Indians who informed us of Depote’s residence and added that a gentleman with some men, was stationed at the Umpqua river, we directed our steps towards Depotys camp, but the darkness of night put a stop to our progress, previously we espied a grizzly she Bear, and two Cubs having nothing for supper, was an inducement to make some exertions and success crowned our endeavors, one of the young ones escaped owing to the obscurity of the night. Encamped in the open plain.
Third Visit: December 25th, 1826 – January 10th, 1827
Monday 25th. Weather fine. Having every thing ready, the same men, that accompanied me, now return, John Kennedy and Gobin being the only addition. Having light loads we went a good part of the mountain, whose ascent is very steep and the descent not so steep but very long at its base. Pass’d the first river flowing in from the west and encamped, one of our party little Michel [probably one of the Hawaiians: perhaps “Michel” Otoetanie or “Michel” Oaumtanie, according to Johansen, p. 201] missing, having returned on the way for some thing, he forgot come night coming on he could not find his way.
Tuesday 26th. Fine weather, as soon as day dawned, we got in motion just at the moment, little Michel hove in sight. In the evening we reached our camp and found every thing in good order and safe. Four of our party remained in the rear.
Wednesday 27th. Fine weather. The remainder of our party cast up, today in two divisions – settled a party to proceed under the guidance of P. Charles – to trap beaver in a river in our front not very remote from hence, Ignace having found some beaver in this vicinity, sent him to set his traps.
Thursday 28th. Fine weather. Eight men under the guidance of P. Charles departed for the purpose of trapping in a river southward of us they descend this river to the sea from hince [sic] proceed along the beach, the two Indians that accompany them, are to act as Interpreters. In the course of the day, the remainder of the party, except Ignace, who attends to his traps, proceeded down stream below our first encampment, in this stream, many vestiges of beaver. Few Indians are now seen, to what we formerly saw, occasioned by the failure of fish which makes the natives resort to other parts.
Friday 29th. Still fine weather, all hands setting traps, with instructions to be at the camp every night, unless leave of absence is previously obtained. A party of Indians visited us, they were much gratified with a hearty meal we gave them
Saturday 30th. Same weather as yesterday. At dusk Ignace and family arrived, he caught seven beavers and otters, since we left him others who visited the traps set yesterday, brought two beavers. More traps set – many shots missed at otters.
Sunday 31st. Fine weather still, altho’ beaver so common hereabouts, the ebb and flow of the Ocean is much against trapping; moreover in land, the height of the water proves an insurmountable obstacle, for the men can neither, proceed afoot nor with craft, brush wood and fallen trees obstruct the various channels – 4 Beaver brought to the Camp. Indians engaged as guides, to show where beaver resides.
Monday 1st January 1827. Fine weather, all the men out the whole day the close of which brought them home, with only 3 beavers a party of Indians visited us, among whom were many elderly men whom we interrogated on various subjects, but to little purpose as they can give us no satisfactory information or else they plead ignorance, it is obvious, fiction is predominant failing with them.
Tuesday 2nd. Fine weather. Having but six men about me still they were not backward in observing the usual ceremony of the new year, a fathom of tobacco given them on the occasion – afterwards they were directed to decamp – from hince, to a more eligible spot about seven miles nearer the Ocean [Riverton], which we reached in good time to form our Camp. Great indication of beaver. Two Elks killed a part of one brought to Camp.
Wednesday 3rd. Fine weather, the men after bringing the meat we had in the field to the camp, went to visit their traps, they only caught one Beaver, two missed, in the course, we heard beaver playing in the water.
Thursday 4th. Rained at intervals. The Indians who accompanied P. Charles and party arrived, reported no bright prospects little or no Beaver to be found, they brought the skins of two state that the party will soon be here, unless they find greater encouragement than they have thitherto experienced, the natives attribute the disappearance of the beaver to the hight [sic?] of the water one beaver caught, an Umpqua Indian who ranks as a chief with this people [possibly St. Arnoose, the “old Chief”], voluntarily accompanied us since leaving said river and was one of those that accompanied the party to the southward on his return yesterday, passing a village situated by this stream, some miles westward of us, took advantage of a favourable opportunity and seized on the person of a youth and succeeded in carrying him with impunity: no doubt this act of aggression will be imputed to us, as being committed by an individual attached to our party; therefore to do away with any bad impression, this act of cruelty might create, after reproving the old fellow sharply, in presence of many Indians, for his misconduct took the youth from him and returned him to his friends.
Friday 5th. Heavy rain in the course of the night, succeeded by fine weather during the day. Sent two men to deliver the above mentioned youth to his Parents, who were grateful for our interference. Perre [sic?] Charles & four of the party arrived, the others have stopped to lay their up a small river where some Beaver vestiges were seen, they have had no success: seventeen Beaver is all they caught. All hands daily at their traps, they brought eight beaver today two men stopped out to examine a creek running some distance to the interior.
Saturday 6th. Cloudy weather. Aubichon and Joudoin who slept out on leave of absence, returned today, brought one beaver and two cranes, made preparations to proceed with a few men along the coast, the object in view is to reach, if possible, the great [Rogue] river, said to be some distance to the southward all our endeavors to obtain satisfactory account of it have failed but I hope the excursion in contemplation, will put the question at rest. Settled two Indians to be of the party, gave instructions to the people remaining at the camp to continue trapping, turn about day after day, only half of them to absent themselves at once.
Sunday 7th. Fine weather, till midday when heavy rain and occasionally hail came on, accompanied by high S.W. wind – with the rising sun six men and self on board of a canoe, descended the [Coquille] river to its confluence with the Ocean, from hence afoot along the beach about 14 miles and sixteen by water, passed a small river by the natives (Chiste etudi) [possibly New River] formed our Camp near where our people were lately trapping, on the border of an extensive marsh or swamp. Saw many wild fowl, but the stormy weather precluded hunting, tho’ our situation and circumstances would render it a necessary expedient for our means of subsistence entirely depend o the chase.
Monday 8th. Fine weather, we started , having previously sent forward our three Indians, (for we took one on the way)to obtain guides and Interpreters at the next river, we found them before the Indians came with a canoe, the village being situated on the east bank of a small lake, which divided us from them, and without a craft we could not get at them, for no wood is to be found on the west shore, which is composed of sand thrown up by the sea, after waiting some time at last a canoe brought us, still further delay incurred before we got a guide: that object accomplished we continued our journey. This tribe of Indians is called, Got tam you, the discharge of the lake we passed yesterday, and today passed the river of the same name, also another stream about an hundred yards wide, here we found a deserted village; for want of timber we were obliged to use the planks with which the natives form their huts to raft us over the river. Beaver muck seen at every river as we go along, the Indians who never saw a European face before, seemed to be alarmed, for we observed in the course of the day, several runing [sic] with all their might from us. Thro’ the means of our Interpreter, we hailed them but ineffectually. This river termed Squits en. Proceeded about 17 miles and formed our Camp on the border of a small lake, about a mile and a half long killed 3 geese and a duck, saw Elk tracks, tho of a late date, yet we are too much hurried to lose time to hunt.
Tuesday 9th. Fine weather: as we preparing to start, we saw a Beaver swimming opposite to our camp, and gave the name to the Lake --- he was shot at but too long distance to do execution.
Wednesday 10th. Fine weather, continued our rout, in consequence of many steep rocks, we had to ascend and descend the hills alternately, little or no wood, having a foot path along which we followed. Passed the river Quatachen and river Henne-Chenni both small and not above knee deep water at ebb tide, Beaver vestiges in both, the natives never molest the we observed also several Sea Otters close to the rocks; one was wounded by a rifle shot, but for want of a canoe, we lost it, met with some Indians in the course, after their panic was dissipated and a few presents handed them, they assented to keep us company, so we continued in company, till evening when we shared our booty of the day with them, having three deer we gave them one and reserved two small ones for ourselves distance 13 miles. Country rough tho’ free of woods. Many tracks of Elk and deer. Seen no harbors for vessels along this part of the coast, except where points of rocks can afford, which are more favorable to Indian canoes than any other crafts.
Fourth Visit: January 15th, 1827 – February 5th, 1827
Sunday 14th. Fine weather, we had an interview with the [princi]pal Indians of the place at an early hour and notified [them of] our intentions to join our party, and observed that [we wo]uld again visit them in quest of Beaver, in reply to [which] they replied as before, that up this river would find………..abandoned the idea of ascend this river for a proper………..canoes these people have, are not all calculated…………such strong currents as run in this river, they are [shaped] like [a tr]ough, square at each end, their breadth about………of their length. On leaving our camp we went……………animals killed yesterday laid, many Indians………us, to whom we gave the greatest share, reserving a little…………us forward; while the men were preparing their [brea]kfast,……..of the natives succeeded in escaping unobserved………..one of our small hatchets after our search made in which the remainder of the natives joined, to no avail we had recourse to other means and detained half a dozen of them for sometime, till a message was delivered to the principal characters, signifying our intentions of recovering the stolen article, or else ample remuneration made us in return in a short time, three Chiefs with about sixty followers made their appearance, and informed us that our suspicions were well founded, but that the offender was out of reach and some days would elapse before the article could be recovered, to bring the case to a termination, they offered us a hostage and gave us up the services of an Indian of their tribe till our return when they would recover the stolen article and restore it, this settlement was acceded to and both parted us with our hostage on our return and the Indians to their dwellings --- we availed ourselves of the opportunity this circumstance offered of intimating our abhorence of thieving and that indeed it was the value of the article as the act to have passed it over in silence might not only leave a bad impression but actuate them to further aggression, we encamped near river Ukejeh, a few Indians from thence came to us, spent part of the evening at out camp and went back.
Monday 15th. High northerly wind with frequent showers of hail and snow continued our progress passed the river Ukejeh [Euchre Creek?] had an interview with the Indians, passed the river Hene Chenni [Mussel Creek?] at dusk we put up in the face of a steep hill, where we laid much exposed to the wind – two deers killed and one only rendered to the camp.
Tuesday 16th. The same weather as yesterday, continued our rout and encamped at the last woods south of river Got tom ye [Sixes River?] killed three bustards.
Wednesday 17th. Weather still more stormy than yesterday, in the evening the wind increased to a gale, however we reached our camp, found every thing safe, the night being far spent when we got home, the Indians accompanying us could not keep up, but did not stop in the rear, our hunters had but little success, both with traps as well as with the gun; yet it is acknowledged both beaver and elk are plentiful; the rise and fall of water is so frequent and generally on either extreme which renders trapping a very precarious business at this season.
Thursday 18th. Stormy weather continued throughout the day the arrivals preparing to set traps, granted leave of absence to Kennedy and Laderoute, to be here the day after tomorrow, to leave their traps set, if appearances justify the measure. Two beaver and an otter brought to camp, at my suggesting to some of our party previous to my departure on my late jaunt to proceed to river Cahouse [Coos] for the purpose of trade, the instruction was followed up, but no success ensued in consequence of the high value the Indians put on the few furs they possessed, being informed by stragglers that we put an advance on our property, above the rate allowed at the establishment which precluded the possibility of settling with them and without being authorised I am not justifiable in establishing such precedent, as would satisfactory to those people, for it is very evident they will not give their skins, under the value of the Fort Vancouver Indian Tariff. I felt somewhat disappointed that Laframboise and party are not arrived.
Friday 19th. Same weather as yesterday with rather less rain men started in various directions to set traps and hunt large animals provisions scarce.
Saturday 20th. During the forenoon the weather was fine, but soon changed and rain fell in torrents traps visited no success, great rise observed in the water.
Sunday 21st. Cloudy weather, and light rain all day, an elk and a beaver brought to camp, the missing of Beaver is echoed from every mouth all day; the meat of three elk brought in and a beaver. Having barely time for the men to reach the establishment agreeable to orders, making allowances for detention by stress of weather, it is now necessary to put a stop to trapping even if time permitted, the weather is too unfavorable for the purpose.
Monday 22nd. Same weather as yesterday, issued orders for all the traps to be taken up, in doing which two beaver were found in them. Women employed in scraping skins settled with the little Chief Kitty yeahun and Neaze who return to their respective homes along the coast. Made some preparations for starting tomorrow should the weather permit. As the navigation of the Umpqua is very dangerous at this season of the year, suggests the other rout by the north east branch of this river, as the surest way, as we can by means of canoes reach the foot of the mountain from thence men can easily in three days carry our property over to McKays camp, at least where we last left them in a fine plain at the base of the mountain, southward from hence. Some of the party having traps above were allowed to start to recover them.
Tuesday 23rd. Cloudy weather, with frequent showers of rain Aubichon, Joudoin Turoucoohinna requested to proceed by the Umpqua to recover some property they left there in November which I agreed to, having no burthen but their own things from where the navigation is dangerous, they can proceed by land gave a note to Ignace for Laframboise directing him to afford the party what assistance he can, and take every advantage of the favorable weather to get forward, directed this little party to keep together with the exception of Ignace who stopt to finish scraping a skin or two meantime the others go a short distance forward to lay their traps and are to wait for him, about midday the remainder of the party and self proceeded a few miles up the river, the heavy rain made us put sooner than we otherwise would have done, having upwards of two hundred skins in furs and no proper covering gives much trouble to preserve them from injury. The men who preceeded us yesterday, we found near where we formed our Camp, they could not recover some of their traps owing to the heavy rise in the water, in the traps taken up, four Beavers were found in them.
Wednesday 24th. The rain fell so heavily that we could not stir many Beaver vestiges about our camp, induced the men to set a few traps some Indians came to us from above, report many elk in that quarter water is very high and the current proportionally strong. In the course of the afternoon Ignace cast up, with a sick child of his, whose indisposition suggested the idea of coming to us to obtain medical assistance. The childs case is not dangerous, tho’ the father alarmed.
Thursday 25th. Heavy rain – in the course of the night the water rose about four feet perpendicular in the river, during the night the Indian that was given us as hostage, effected his escape he was seduced by an acquaintance of his who residing on this river who accompanying Ignace, the latter Indian informed of this circumstance took to the woods and we saw him no more, confirmed us in the opinion that he was privy to the others escape. Ignace departed in the course of the forenoon, I admonished him to make all haste and join the others, in fifteen days he expects to reach the old fort at the Umpqua, the appointed place of rendezvous.
Friday 26th. Light rain, we proceeded to the first fork distance about 9 miles, heavy rain made put up, no particular occurrence.
Saturday 27th. Heavy rain so that were forced to remain in camp, three elks killed and the meat brought in, three Indians stopped with us, on their way down stream, with a cargo of camass, their chief subsistence at present, fish having long ago almost entirely failed in this river which made the majority of the Indians to resort to other places.
Sunday 28th. In the forenoon the rain having somewhat subsided orders were given to raise camp, the extraordinary rise of water made it necessary to make two trips to avoid accidents accordingly the furs and some other effects were put on board of the two largest crafts we have, both strongly manned, we succeeded by the close of day to enter the N east branch, about a mile, where we landed, two men and self remained, and the others went to assist in brining up the remainder of our things. No sooner were landed, then the rain again came on in torrents, however fortunately our furs getting wet.
Monday 29th. The rain ceased in the course of the forenoon, and the men brought up the remainder of our things by the close of the three elks killed. Some Indians came to us, their dwellings are on the banks of this river, a short distance above, a fall observed in the water.
Tuesday 30th. Little or no rain, the meat of the animals killed yesterday, which gave general occupation in drying and in preparing the skins for wrappers for our furs.
Wednesday 31st. Heavy rain: however having our furs wrapped in elk skins with the hair on we ventured to proceed with part of our baggage, having a chain of rapids to ascend suggested the idea made a portage above which we formed our camp with the exception of two men, the others assisted in bringing forward the remainder of our baggage, the distance we came to day not exceed two miles this part of the river is rapidous yet not dangerous, water falling fast, the apparent continuation of bad weather leaves us no hopes of making much progress and the appointed time to meet Depoty agreeable to settlement made with him being expired induced me to send Cartreah [This may well be the same person Douglas wrote about on October 17 (Davies 1961: 183): “Baptiste M’Kay having given me one of his Indian hunters, a young man about eighteen years of age, as a guide. To what nation he belongs he does not know, as he was brought from the South by a war party when a child, and kept as a slave until M’Kay took him. He is very fond of this mode of life, and has no desire to return to his Indian relations; and as he speaks a few words of Chenook and understands the Umptqua tongue, I trust to find no difficulty in conversing with this my only companion.”] forward to give him tiding of us, in case our absence should create uneasiness, being short of hands I was necessitated to send that Individual alone – the Indians about us are ill clad, that they can’t venture any distance in such weather, besides the mountains over which we must pass, are covered with snow and no compensation that we can offer will tempt any of the natives to accompany our messenger.
Thursday 1st February. We had less rain than for some days back – and our progress greater than many former days – often making a portage of about a quarter of a mile, we met with no other impediment till dusk put a stop to our labour.
Friday 2nd. Continued our rout, and put up near an Indian village situated on an eminence in a plain of some extent, to our surprise the messenger [Cartreah] we sent forward, did pass the spot and we met him close by on his return, the awful aspect of the mountains intimidated him, or rather some acquaintance of his residing here attracted his attention, and dissuaded him from going to join his master J.B. Depoty, being one of his household I expected he would shown more determination.
Saturday 3rd. Hard frost in the course of the night and fine weather succeeded, but we could not avail ourselves of it, as we wished, for we had a long rapid to ascend, and afterwards the men find themselves destitute of paddles as well as setting poles, to provide themselves with which, took part of the day. Hunters went to the chase, but had no success.
Sunday 4th. In the course of the night, the rain returned as heavily as ever, by sun rise, every was on board of our canoes and as the men were going to push off, I notified my intention of proceeding forward with an Individual of our party, Nostey [possibly an Indian, also spelled as “Nasty”], recent verbal intelligence by a late arrival from over the mountains purporting to state that an officer and some men had arrived at Depotys camp and that they gone together to the eastward. Our informant further adds that they had been reduced to kill a horse, tho’ the report is doubtful [the report was accurate], I cannot believe second express to come from the establishment, yet I feel desirous to ascertain the fact, particularly, as the informant tells that Depoty who is well known among those Indians expressed a suspicion at our non arrival the appointed place of rendezvous, he has abandoned, if so we shall find ourselves without horses – which will cause some detention, unless we come up with them, before the men, I leave, reach the north side of the mountains, I admonished them to be cautious in case of an accident in the rapids and as we could not rely upon our future plan, being short of provisions, directions were given to hunt a couple of days before attempting to ascend the mountains, over which the men must carry the baggage &c on their backs. The day was rainy, yet we continued our Journey till night precluded a possibility of going further, in lieu of going over the mountain as on former occasion we took another track, following its base now and then touching the river expecting it to be more advantageous than the former one, in this idea we were sadly mistaken. We past a small village at the extremity of the mountain but had no conversation with the few people in it. Much snow as we got near the mountain.
Monday 5th. Light rain, as soon as the day dawned, we were glad to avail ourselves of it to leave a disagreeable berth, having past the night exposed to snow and rain –shortly after sun rose, we entered the open country [probably Lookingglass prairie], having got out of the mountain . . .
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