[Clark] had all of our Skins &c. Suned and Stored away in a Storeroom of Mr. Caddy Choteau. payed Some visits of form, to the gentlemen of St. Louis. in the evening a dinner & Ball
Clark makes a good effort towards preserving the many specimens they had returned with. Most of them were still wet from the long river trip and they were properly dried and stored in a room provided my Jean Pierre Chouteau.
The celebration Clark speaks of was held at William Christy's tavern. According to journal records a total of eighteen toasts were drunk, the first to President Jefferson "The friend of science, the polar star of discovery, the philosopher and the patriot," and ending with "Captains Lewis and Clark—Their perilous services endear them to every American heart." One is forced to wonder how well, after seventeen quaffs, the last toast was executed. Evidently the long period of the Party's forced abstention didn't diminish their capacities very much.
[Clark] I sleped but little last night however we rose early and Commencd wrighting our letters Capt. Lewis wrote one to the presidend and I wrote Govr. Harrison & my friends in Kentucky and Sent of George Drewyer with those letters to Kahoka & delivered them to Mr. Hays &. we dined with Mr. Chotoux to day, and after dinner went to a Store and purchased Some Clothes, which we gave to a Tayler and derected to be made. Capt Lewis in opening his trunk found all his papers wet, and Some Seeds spoiled
Tidying up after such a great adventure takes some time, and the two captains are doing their best by it. Writing to old friends and relatives would be about the only way to announce their return.
The letter written by Clark to his Kentucky relatives was probably meant for publication and was in fact published and became the first report that went into print. Actually Lewis wrote the first draft and Clark copied it. Clark wrote several letters to his brother Jonathan that have been preserved.
[Clark] we rose early took the Chief to the publick store & furnished him with Some clothes &c. took an early breckfast with Colo. Hunt and Set out decended to the Mississippi and down that river to St. Louis at which place we arived about 12 oClock. we Suffered the party to fire off their pieces as a Salute to the Town. we were met by all the village and received a harty welcom from it's inhabitants &. here I found my old acquaintance Majr. W. Christy who had Settled in this town in a public line as a Tavern Keeper. he furnished us with Store rooms for our baggage and we accepted of the invitation of Mr. Peter Choteau and [par] took a room in [the] his house of Mr. Peter Cadeaus Choteaus we payed a friendly visit to [Mes. Choteau and] Mr [Ogustus] August Chotau and Some of our old friends this evening. as the post had departed from St. Louis Capt Lewis wrote a note to Mr. Hay in Kahoka to detain the post at that place untill 12 tomorrow which was reather later than his usial time of leaveing it
Well, the much anticipated return celebration sounds like it all went off pretty well. The "Chief" got a new wardrobe and they stored their baggage in the back of a tavern. The Chouteaus were old time French residents of St Louis and seemingly long time friends of Captain Clark.
[Clark] This morning being very wet and the rain Still Continueing hard, and our party being all Sheltered in the houses of those hospitable people, we did not [think?] proper to proceed on untill after the rain was over, and continued at the house of Mr. Proulx. I took this oppertunity of writeing to my friends in Kentucky &c. at 10 A M. it seased raining and we Colected our party and Set out and proceeded on down to the Contonemt. at Coldwater Creek about 3 miles up the Missouri on it's Southern banks, at this place we found Colo. Hunt & a Lieut Peters [in Command of] & one Company of Artillerists we were kindly received by the Gentlemen of this place. Mrs. Wilkinson the Lady of the Govr. & Genl. we wer Sorry to find in delicate health.
we were honored with a Salute of [blank] Guns and a harty welcom— at this place there is a publick Store kept in which I am informed the U. S have 60000$ worth of indian Goods
Clark decides to watch the rain from inside a house, an event he hasn't been able to enjoy for some time. The "Contonemt" was the first fort on the west side of the Missippi and the officers mentioned were both veterans of the Revolution. They're close enough to St Louis now that Clark doesn't mark down the miles traveled.
[Clark] rose early this morning Colected our men Several of them had axcepted of the invitation of the Citizens and visited their families. at half after 7 A. M we Set out. passed 12 canoes of Kickapoos assending on a hunting expedition. Saw Several persons also Stock of different kind on the bank which reviv'd the party very much. at 3 P M we met two large boats assending. at 4 P M we arived in Sight of St. Charles, the party rejoiced at the Sight of this hospital village plyed thear ores with great dexterity and we Soon arived opposit the Town, this day being Sunday we observed a number of Gentlemen and ladies walking on the bank, we Saluted the Village by three rounds from our blunderbuts and the Small arms of the party, and landed near the lower part of the town. we were met by great numbers of the inhabitants, we found them excessively polite. we received invitations from Several of those Gentlemen a Mr. Proulx, Taboe, Decett, Tice Dejonah & Quarie and several who were pressing on us to go to their houses, we could only visit Mr. Proulx and Mr. Deucett in the course of the evening. Mr. Querie under took to Supply our party with provisions &c. the inhabitants of this village appear much delighted at our return and seem to vie with each other in their politeness to us all. we Came only 48 miles today. the banks of the river thinly Settled &c. [NB: some Settlements since we went up]
Falling into the role of heroes seems to come about very naturally for our the party. The home cooking and hospitality must have seemed dreamlike after the long two years of roughing it.
[Clark] as three of the party was unabled to row from the State of their eyes we found it necessary to leave one of our Crafts and divide the men into the other Canoes, we left the two Canoes lashed together which I had made high up the River Rochejhone, those Canoes we Set a drift and a little after day light we Set out and proceeded on very well. The Osage river very low and discharges but a Small quantity of water at this time for so large a river. at meridian we passed the enterance of the Gasconnade river below which we met a perogue with 5 french men bound to the Osarge Gd. village. the party being extreemly anxious to get down ply their ores very well, we Saw Some cows on the bank which was a joyfull Sight to the party and Caused a Shout to be raised for joy at [blank] P M we Came in Sight of the little french Village called Charriton [NB: Charrette] the men raised a Shout and Sprung upon their ores and we soon landed opposit to the Village. our party requested to be permited to fire off their Guns which was alowed & they discharged 3 rounds with a harty Cheer, which was returned from five tradeing boats which lay opposit the village. we landed and were very politely received by two young Scotch men from Canada one in the employ of Mr. Aird a Mr. [blank] and the other Mr. Reed, two other boats the property of Mr. Lacomb & Mr. [blank] all of those boats were bound to the Osage and Ottoes. those two young Scotch gentlemen furnished us with Beef flower and Some pork for our men, and gave us a very agreeable supper. as it was like to rain we accepted of a bed in one of their tents. we purchased of a Citizen two gallons of Whiskey for our party for which we were obliged to give Eight dollars in Cash, an imposition on the part of the Citizen. every person, both French and americans Seem to express great pleasure at our return, and acknowledged them selves much astonished in Seeing us return. they informed us that we were Supposed to have been lost long Since, and were entirely given out by every person &c.
Those boats are from Canada in the batteaux form and wide in perpotion to their length. their length about 30 feet and the width 8 feet & pointed bow & Stern, flat bottom and rowing Six ores only the Skeneckeity form. those Bottoms are prepared for the navigation of this river, I beleive them to be the best Calculated for the navigation of this river of any which I have Seen. not they are wide and flat not Subject to the dangers of the roleing Sands, which larger boats are on this river. the American inhabitants express great disgust for the govermt of this Teritory. from what I can lern it arises from a disapmt. of getting all the Spanish Grants Confirmed—. Came 68 ms. to day.
Clark admires the so called "schenectady boats" which were first made in the city of that name and were used in upstate New York and on the St. Lawrence river. The sighting of catlle grazing was indeed a joyful sight for everyone in the Group and heralded their return to St. Louis.
[Clark] Set out this morning a little after day & proceeded on very well the men ply their oares & we decended with great velocity, only Came too once for the purpose of gathering pappows, our anxiety as also the wish of the party to proceed on as expeditiously as possible to [get to] the Illinois enduce us to continue on without halting to hunt. we Calculate on ariveing at the first Settlements on tomorrow evening which is 140 miles, and objecet of our party is to divide the distance into two days, this day to the Osarge River, and tomorrow to the Charriton a Small french Village— we arived at the Enterance of Osage River at dark and encamped on the Spot we had encamped on the 1st & 2d of June 1804 haveing Came 72 miles. a very singular disorder is takeing place amongst our party that of the Sore eyes. three of the party have their eyes inflamed and Sweled in Such a manner as to render them extreamly painfull, particularly when exposed to the light, the eye ball is much inflaimed and the lip appears burnt with the Sun, the cause of this complaint of the eye I can't [account?] for. from it's Sudden apearance I am willing to believe it may be owing to the reflection of the Sun on the water
The sore eyes didn't slow them up very much as they made seventy-two miles this day. The cause of the sore eyes has been ruled either infectious conjunctivitis or the pawpaws. Handling the fruit is known to cause dermatitis and handling the fruit and then rubbing ones eyes could have been the cause. But whatever, they're close to their end destination.
[Clark] we rose early Capt McClellin wrote a letter and we took our leave, and proceeded on passed the Grand river at 7 A M. a Short distance below we came up with our hunters, they had killed nothing. at 10 oClock we Came too and gathered pottows to eate we have nothing but a fiew Buisquit to eate and are partly compelled to eate poppows which we find in great quantities on the Shores, the weather we found excessively hot as usial. the lands fine particularly the bottoms. a charming Oake bottom on the S E Side of the Missouri above the 2 Charletons rivers we find the Current of this part of the Missouri much more jentle than it was as we assended, the water is now low and where it is much confin'd it is rapid. we saw very little appearance of deer, Saw one bear at a distance and 3 turkeys only to day. our party entirely out of provisions Subsisting on poppaws. we divide the buiskit which amount to nearly one buisket per man, this in addition to the poppaws is to last is down to the Settlement's which is 150 miles the party appear perfectly contented and tell us that they can live very well on the pappaws. we made 52 miles to day only. one of our party J. Potts complains very much of one of his eyes which is burnt by the Sun from exposeing his face without a cover from the Sun. Shannon also complains of his face & eyes &c. Encamped on an Island nearly opposit to the enterance of Mine river.
Our Group totally runs out of game with one hundred fifty miles between them and St. Louis. The shortage of meat doesn't seem to lower the troops' morale, they're picking and eating wild fruit and watching the miles dwindle and not being troubled much about anything.
[Clark] We Set out as usial early pass the Island of the little Osage Village which is considered by the navigator of this river to be the worst place in it. at this place water of the Missouri is confined between an Island and the S E main Shore and passes through a narrow chanel for more than 2 miles which is crouded with Snags in maney places quite across obligeing the navigater to pick his passage between those Snags as he can, in maney places the current passing with great velocity against the banks which cause them to fall &c. at 11 A. M. we met a Captain McClellin late a Capt. of Artily of the U States Army assending in a large boat. this gentleman an acquaintance of my friend Capt. Lewis was Somewhat astonished to See us return and appeared rejoiced to meet us. we found him a man of information and from whome we received a partial account of the political State of our Country, we were makeing enquires and exchangeing answers &c. untill near mid night. this Gentleman informed us that we had been long Since given out by the people of the U S Generaly and almost forgotton, the President of the U. States had yet hopes of us; we received some civilities of Capt. McClellin, he gave us Some Buisquit, Chocolate Sugar & whiskey, for which our party were in want and for which we made a return of a barrel of corn & much obliges to him. Capt. McClellin informed us that he was on reather a speculative expedition to the confines of New Spain, with the view to entroduce a trade with those people. his plan is to proceede up this river to the Entcrance of the river platt there to form an establishment from which to trade partially with the Panas & Ottoes, to form an acquaintance with the Panias and provail Some of their principal Chiefs to accompany him to Santa Fee where he will apear in a stile calculated to atract the Spanish government in that quarter and through the influence of a handsome present he expects to be promited to exchange his merchindize for Silver & gold of which those people abound. he has a kind of introductory Speach from Govr. Wilkinson to the Panias and Ottoes and a quantity of presents of his own which he purposes distributing to the Panias and ELeatans with a view to gain their protection in the execution of his plans, if the Spanish Governmt. favour his plans, he purposes takeing his merchendize on mules & horses which Can easily be procured of the panias, to Some point convenient to the Spanish Settlements within the Louisiana Teritory to which place the inhabitants of New mexico may meet him for the purpose of trade &c. Capt McClellins plan I think a very good one if strictly prosued &c.
Robert McClellan was indeed a former US Army officer and a rather shadowy figure in the development of the west. Counter to what he discussed about his plans to Lewis and Clark he proceeded up the Missouri and finally started a trading post in the Flathead country of western Montana. He and most of his group were supposedly killed there by the Blackfeet in 1810. Evidently there were serious concerns for the Group's well being and rightly so. Indeed the Spanish sent out four different expeditions from New Mexico out onto the Great Plains to intercept the party, either going or coming back. The first and the last came uncomfortably close but were probably defeated by logistical problems and lack of Indian cooperation.