Umatilla, Walla Walla & Cayuse
Traditional Culture
  Who's Who
Since Time Immemorial
Homelands
All My Relations
Camp Life & Seasonal Round
Horses, Trade, & Travel
Cultural Continuity
References Cited

  Contemporary Culture
  Sovereignty & Tribal Government
Arts and Artists
Language
Education
Recommended Web Sites

  Relationship with U.S.
  Lewis & Clark and the Early Fur Trade
Establishment of Fort Nez Perces
Life at Ft. Walla Walla
Missionaries and Early Settlers
Making Treaties
The Shrinking Reservation
References Cited

 

 

image

 

image
Portion of 1806 map by Lewis and Clark (Moulton Atlas: 1983).
 
image
"Comet Venus"
Photo by Paul Wicklund
 
image
Elk
Image courtesy the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute

 
image
Portion of Wm. Clark's 1806 map showing "Muscle Shell Rapids"
(Moulton Atlas map #123)

Umatilla River > Culture > Lewis & Clark and the Early Fur Trade
Before Lewis & Clark
 
For more than a decade before the arrival of Lewis and Clark, European explorers and traders had been in contact with the tribes of the Columbia River, either directly or through the inter-tribal trade network. Lt. William Broughton had explored 100 miles up the Columbia in the fall of 1792, where he exchanged some trinkets with the Skilloots, a Chinook band.
 
The Coastal Chinook and Clatsops informed Lewis and Clark about the many trade ships with which they had established commerce to acquire goods for their own use and for trading upriver. Trade was also well-established further north. Goods from coastal British Columbia could have made their way into the interior Plateau through the Salish trade network from the Fraser into the upper Columbia. The various Sahaptin groups participated in both inter-tribal trade networks. Goods from the Northwest Companies Saskatchewan outposts were effectively blocked by the Blackfeet from crossing the Continental Divide until after Lewis and Clark had returned to St. Louis. image
Sailing vessel at the mouth of the Columbia River.
From a painting by George Lagergren.
1805 - 1811
 
image
Portion of the Snake River Corridor, as drawn by Gustavus Sohon.
National Archives
 

In describing the Chopunnish people along the Clearwater River on October 10, 1805, Clark notes " …their Shirts are ornamented with quilled Brass, Small peces of Brass Cut into different forms, Beeds, Shells," etc. He also mentions "Sea Shells-.e the Mother of Pirl." These objects document trade from the coast" (Mother of Pearl) and acquisition of European goods (brass). On the 21st of October, near the boundary between Umatilla (Sahaptin speakers) and Methow (Salishan speakers) territory, Clark describes the European trade goods worn by people in a fishing camp: "here we Saw two Scarlet and a blue cloth blanket, also a Salors Jacket" The natives tell them that they have acquired their acorns from the natives who live at the falls below, "Timm" or Celilo. No doubt, then, their trade goods came via the Chinook network from the coast. There is no mention of firearms or metal tools or weapons among these interior groups, although guns (but no rifles) were observed among the Chinookan groups from the area around what is now Portland, out to the coast. Apparently, in the first years of the 19th century, little in the way of European trade goods was making its way very far upriver past the Dalles (Moulton:1988).

June, 1806, L&C encouraging peace among the tribes was in perfect accord with the needs of the Plateau tribes. Word of the peace process reached the Shoshones, whose representatives arrived, on June 6, among the Cayuses, having "come forward for the purpose of making peace with them, and also with the Chopunnish [Nez Perce] &c." Lead Nez Perce negotiator, Tin-ach-e-moot-oolt, produced two peace pipes, giving one to William Clark, and reserving the other for the Snakes. Negotiations with the Shoshone would take place at the summer intertribal council which was to start in about 10 days. If the Americans' promises were fulfilled, the Shoshone could switch from trading with the Spanish, who required slaves in exchange for horses and other goods, and begin to trade with the Americans on the Upper Missouri, and the allied forces could turn the tide of Blackfeet aggression.

According to Clark's journal entry of June 23, 1806, they learned that the peace negotiations had been successful. However, the Blackfeet successfully precluded an American presence in the Upper Missouri country for several decades, leaving the Shoshone in need of slaves to support their trade habit, and the Plateau tribes were once again vulnerable. Tension increased during the next two years, when full-scale war broke out in 1808, claiming hundreds of lives" (McWhorter: 1986).

After the departure of Lewis and Clark in 1806, life returned pretty much to normal for the peoples of the Columbia Plateau. According to a story recorded by Cox in 1814, their war with the Snakes escalated, bringing devastation to the Walla Wallas. During the summer of 1811 the Shoshones succeeded in stealing the horses of the Walla Wallas, preventing them from hunting that fall and terrorized them so that the Walla Wallas were driven from their fishing camps along the banks of the river. That winter, the Shoshones attacked their village, burned their lodges, killing many and capturing others as slaves.

During the winter of 1811-12, Donald McKenzie and his bedraggled overland band of traders of Astor's Pacific Fur Company wandered into a Nez Perce village on the Snake River, where they remained for some time, recuperating. Much like their predecessors of the Lewis and Clark expedition, these strangers were treated with much kindness and hospitality by the Nez Perce. These were the first known whites to visit the interior tribes of the Plateau since Lewis and Clark.

 

1812

 
image
View of Fort Astoria as it was in 1813
(Franchere: 1854)
Courtesy The University of Montana,
K. Ross Toole Archives
Ross Cox arrived at the mouth of the Columbia in May of 1812, as part of the Pacific Fur Company, owned by John Jacob Astor. In late June, he was part of a large group who headed upriver to establish the fur trade. These were the first known whites to visit the interior tribes of the Plateau since Lewis and Clark. Along the way, they…
"generally encamped on the northern banks of the river, purchased a number of horses for eating, and were several times without wood for cooking them. The Indians behaved in the most peaceable manner, and freely bartered with us such other provisions as they could spare" (Cox: 1957).

At the end of July, they spent time with the Walla Wallas, whom they found to be gracious hosts. Cox echoes Clark's earlier praise of these fine people:

 
"In the evening we encamped at the entrance of the Wallah Wallah River; a number of that tribe visited us, and remained for some time smoking. We informed Tamtappam, their chief, that we wanted good horses fit to carry luggage, and others to eat, and requested he would procure for us as many as he could the following day. This he promised to do, and departed. image
Columbia River at Wallula. Photo by Olin D. Wheeler, 1902. Courtesy of the Newberry Library. AP3814
"On the 29th we purchased twenty horses for Mr. Robert Stuart's party; which being deemed sufficient for them, he, with Messrs. Crooks and M'Lellan, and eight men, left us the next morning, under a salute of three cheers, to pursue their dangerous journey across the mountains, and thence by the Missouri to St.Louis. The Wallah Wallahs were decidedly the most friendly tribe we had seen on the river: they had an air of open and unsuspecting confidence in their manner that at once banished suspicion, and insured our friendship. There was a degree of natural politeness, too, evidenced by them on entering their lodges, which we did not see practiced by any others. We visited several families in the village; and the moment we entered, the best place was selected for us, and a clean mat spread to sit on; while the inmates, particularly the women and the children, remained at a respectful distance, with out manifesting any of the obtrusive curiosity about our arms or clothing by which we were so much annoyed amongst the lower tribes. The females, also, were distinguished by a degree of attentive kindness, totally removed from the disgusting familiarity of the kilted ladies below the rapids, and equally free from an affection of prudery. Prostitution is unknown among them; and I believe no inducement would tempt them to commit a breach of chastity" (Cox: 1957).

Cox also describes the Pierced-nose Indians of this area, apparently lumping several distinct Sahaptin-speaking cultural groups including the lower or downriver Nez Perce, the Palouse and probably Cayuse, as well. About these people he writes:

"They do not differ much from the Wallah Wallahs in their dress or language, but are not so friendly, and demand higher prices for their horses. Their habitations are covered with large mats, fixed on poles; some are square, others are oblong, and some conical; they are of various sizes, from twenty to seventy feet long, and from ten to fifteen feet broad. There are no interior divisions, and an opening in the top serves the double purpose of a window and chimney. These dwellings are pretty free from vermin, and are easily changed when occasion requires. The women wear leathern robes, which cover the shoulders, part of the arms, the breast, and reach down their legs. The men have robes nearly similar, but not so long, with leggings which reach up half the thigh, and are fastened to a belt round the waist by leather thongs. They are clean, active, and smart-looking, good hunters, and excellent horsemen. They enjoy good health, and with the exception of a few sore eyes, did not appear to have any disorder. They are fond of their children, and attentive to the wants of their old people. Their saddles are made of dressed deer-skin stuffed with hair; the stirrups are wooden, with the bottom broad and flat, and covered over with raw skin, which when dry becomes hard, and lasts a long time. The bridles are merely ropes made out of the hair of the horses' tails, and are tied round their under jaw. The women ride like the men: their saddles are high in front and rear, and formed something like the humps on a camel's back; and they must bring their horses to a rock or old tree to enable them to mount. The men are hard and unfeeling riders: the rope bridles cut the corners of the poor horses' mouths; and the saddles generally leave their backs quite raw; yet in this state they ride them for several days successively without the least pity for the tortured animals.

On the 7th of August, Cox and his group arrived at the junction of the Palouse with the Snake, where he describes the assembled village:

"A village of about forty mat-covered tents was situated at its junction with the main river. The inhabitants were busily employed in catching and drying salmon for their winter and spring stock; and as it was here we intended to leave the canoes and proceed to our destination by land, we encamped on the west side of the little bay, and immediately commenced trade with the natives for horses. This place is not more than fifty miles from the Columbia; but owing to the rapidity of the current, and the many rapids with which it was interrupted, our progress was slow…
"The inhabitants of this fishing village were part of the Pierced-nose Indians. We remained here seven days, endeavouring to complete our number of horses, which we at length effected. The natives were hard to deal with, and we had to raise our prices…
"In their dress, language, and dwellings these people differed little from those at the mouth of Lewis' River. On the evening of the 14th we laid up our bateaux and canoes in a snug spot covered with willow and loose shrubs, and recommended them to the care of the chief, who promised that they should be carefully preserved until our return the following spring. We made him a present of a fathom of blue cloth, an axe, a knife; to his wife we gave a few strings of white and blue beads, and three dozen of hawk-bells for her chemise de cuir; and among the remainder we distributed a few heads of leaf-tobacco.

"We purchased altogether fifty horses to carry goods and baggage; and from the difficulty we experienced in procuring that number, we were not able to obtain enough for our own use. M'Lennan and I, however, succeeded in purchasing one for our joint use; and Farnham and Pillet got another. The also obtained a few which occasionally served to relieve them in the progress of their journey" (Cox: 1957).

From the Palouse village, Cox and his group headed north to Spokane House. He doesn't mention Donald McKenzie's group who travel up the Snake to the Clearwater during this same time (August, 1812) where they open a small post on the north side of the Clearwater near Spalding, in Nez Perce country.

McKenzie's Clearwater post is short-lived. Like the Blackfeet with the NWCo traders several decades earlier, the Nez Perce were unwilling to become beaver trappers; McKenzie's men were disrespectful and demanding; and news of the outbreak of the War of 1812 reached the fort. McKenzie closed the Clearwater post and withdrew to the Pacific Fur Company's main post, Astoria, which soon would be sold to the North West Company.

A terrible event occurred at the mouth of the Palouse River, at the same village where Cox had traded for horses just a few short months earlier, while McKenzie's group were evacuating Clearwater post. John Clarke, known for his temper, had an altercation with a group of Nez Perce and Palouse Indians and ordered one of them to be hanged. This abuse set into motion a three-year period of difficulty between the Sahaptian-speaking peoples and the new NWCo employees who were trying to establish trade relationships in the region.


Alexander Ross reports a great increase in the trade with this event. "No sooner had the North Westers inherited the Oregon…, than ship after ship doubled Cape Horn in regular succession with bulky cargoes to the fulfillment of every demand…" More and more traders and clerks (and Canadians) arrived, and with them came change.

"They found fault with everything, yet could mend nothing. Even the establishment of Fort George could not please them therefore a fort built upon a large scale, and greater elevation, was more consonant to their ideas of grandeur; in consequence, the pinnacle of Tongue Point was soon to exhibit a Gibraltar of the West. An engineer was hired, great guns were ordered, men and means set at work, racks were leveled, and yet this residence more fit for eagles than for men was at last relinquished, and the condemned old fort was again adopted" (Ross: 1956).

 
1814 - Morning Star
 

The next recorded expedition into the southern plateau country and the first in which there was open hostility and intimidation from some of the local people, was conducted by the North West Company. Due to the timely arrival of a commanding young leader of the Walla Wallas, the matter was settled without great loss of life.

When the North West Company bought Astoria and its assets, Ross Cox turned to them for employ. On the 18th of November of 1814, Cox, with nine other traders and 54 canoe-men, including six Sandwich Islanders, departed Ft. George at the mouth of the Columbia in eight canoes for a trading expedition into the interior. Their travels were uneventful as they moved up the river, passing numerous villages in safety. They relaxed and Cox made note in his journal that they "threw by" their "leathern armour" as no longer necessary, and the men stowed their muskets into long cases, which were placed under the trading goods in the bottom of the canoes". They would regret this decision when, near the mouth of the "Wallah Wallah River" they encountered "a number of canoes filled with natives" who "attempted to take some goods by force". The traders used great restraint as they attempted to avert a disaster.

"We were awkwardly circumstanced: the only arms were those in the possession of the officers; and, with the exception of the paddles, the men had no weapons ready. Anxious to avoid coming to extremities, as long as possible, without compromising our character, we endeavoured to keep them in check with the paddles; but our efforts were unavailing, and some hard blows were given and received. Still we refrained from the dernier resort, and Mr. Keith gave orders not to fire while there was a possibility of saving the property"(Cox: 1957).

Unfortunately, the incident escalated and in order to avoid the Indians' arrows, Mr. Finan McDonald shot his opponent, then shot his two companions with his double-barreled gun, killing one and injuring the other. Everyone then fled. The traders took refuge on an island and spent the next two days in nervous anticipation of death. According to Cox:

"Our meditations this night were far from pleasing; and when we reflected on the hopelessness of our situation, in the centre of a great river, the natives on each side of which were brave, powerful, and hostile; our numbers comparatively few, and the majority men in whose courage we could not confide" (Cox: 1957).

The second night, a storm had subsided around midnight, yet the sky remained dark. Cox reports his alarm at seeing large fires emerge out of the darkness, while he and Mr. Keith were on watch.

"…we observed a large fire on a hill in a north-west direction. It was immediately answered by one in the opposite point, which was followed by others to the eastward and westward; while the indistinct sounds of paddles from canoes crossing and recrossing, afforded strong proofs that our enemies, by vigilant watching, and constant communication, had determined that we should not escape them in the dark" (Cox: 1957).

After assessing their dire situation, the traders decided to try their hand at negotiating. They sent Michel, their interpreter,

"forward alone, carrying a long pole, to which was attached a white handkerchief, and hailed them (the Indians) several times without obtaining an answer... They appeared to understand the import of our white flag; and after a little hesitation two of them approached, and demanded to know what we had to say" (Cox: 1957).

Michel conveyed that the "white chiefs" wanted to talk over the "disagreeable affair." The young men responded and rode off to inform their people of what had transpired, returning shortly thereafter.

"…They returned in a short time, and stated that the neighbouring chiefs, with the friends and relatives of the men who had been killed, would join us immediately.

"In less than half an hour a number of mounted Indians appeared, preced by about 150 warriors on foot, all well armed with guns, spears, tomahawks, bows, and well furnished quivers. They stopped within about fifty yards of our party. Among them we recognized several of the Wallah Wallahs; but in vain looked for our old friend Tamtappam, their chief: he was absent.

"A group of between thirty and forty equally well armed now approached from the interior. Their hair was cut short as a sign of mourning; their bodies were nearly naked, and besmeared with red paint. This party consisted of the immediate relatives of the deceased; and as they advanced they chanted a death-song…

"They took up their position in the centre; and the whole party then formed themselves into an extended crescent. Among them were natives of Chimnapum, Yackaman, Sokulk, and Wallah Wallah tribes. Their language is nearly the same; but they are under separate chiefs, and in time of war always unite against the Shoshone or Snake Indians, a powerful nation, who inhabit the plains to the southward…

"On the present occasion, their painted skin, cut hair, and naked bodies, imparted to their appearance a degree of ferocity from which we boded no good result. They remained stationary for some time, and preserved a profound silence" (Cox: 1957)..

With the help of Michel, the traders conveyed to the two chiefs who had come forward that they hoped to be able to resolve the situation by compensating the relatives of the deceased with trade goods consisting of "two suits of chiefs' clothes, with blankets, tobacco, and ornaments for the women, &c." The offer was refused and the chiefs demanded instead that nothing could be resolved until "two white men (one of whom should be the big red-headed chief) were delivered to them to be sacrificed, according to their law, to the spirits of the departed warriors". Mr. Keith's diplomacy averted disaster at this point, offering a clear message and refusal to consider responsibility for problems started by the Indians' thievery. None of their men would be sacrificed. He assured them that peaceful resolution would be the best thing all around, but if they refused it, his men were unafraid to fight. Despite their small numbers, they were well-armed.

"The interpreter having repeated the above, a violent debate took place among the principal natives. One party advised the demand for the two white men to be withdrawn, and to ask in their place a greater quantity of goods and ammunition; while the other, which was by far the most numerous, and to which all the relatives of the deceased belonged, opposed all compromise, unaccompanied by the delivery of the victims" (Cox: 1957).

The moderate voices were lost among the hostile calls for revenge. The Northwest Company traders and their companions readied themselves for action. Many of the Indians had withdrawn some distance away, leaving only two chiefs and an old man remaining, appearing undecided about the best course of action.

"From this group our eyes glanced to an extended line of the enemy who were forming behind them; and from their motions it became evident that their intention was to outflank us. We therefore changed our position, and formed our men into single files, each man about three feet from his comrade. The friendly natives began to fall back slowly towards their companions, most of whom had already concealed themselves behind large stones, tufts of wormwood, and furze bushes, from which they could have taken a more deadly aim; and Messrs. Keith and Stewart, who had now abandoned all hope for an amicable termination, called for their arms.

"An awful pause ensued, when our attention was arrested by the loud tramping of horses, and immediately after twelve mounted warriors dashed into the space between the two parties, where they halted, and dismounted. They were headed by a young chief, of fine figure, who instantly ran up to Mr. Keith, to whom he presented his hand in the most friendly manner, which example was followed by his companions. He then commanded our enemies to quit their places of concealment and to appear before him. His orders were promptly obeyed; and having made himself acquainted with the circumstances that led to the deaths of the two Indians, and our efforts towards effecting a reconciliation, he addressed them in a speech of considerable length, of which the following is a brief sketch:

"Friends and relations! Three snows have only passed over our heads since we were a poor miserable people. Our enemies the Shoshones, during the summer, stole our horses, by which we were prevented from hunting, and drove us from the banks of the river, so that we could not get fish. In winter, they burned our lodges by night; they killed our relations; they treated our wives and daughters like dogs, and left us either to die from cold or starvation, or become their slaves.

"They were numerous and powerful; we were few, and weak. Our hearts were as the hearts of little children: we could not fight like warriors, and were driven like deer about the plains. When the thunders rolled, and the rains poured, we had no spot in which we could seek a shelter; no place, save the rocks, whereon we could lay our heads. Is such the case today? No, my relations! It is not. We have driven the Shoshones from our hunting grounds, on which they dare not now appear, and have regained possession of the lands of our fathers, in which they and their fathers' fathers lie buried. We have horses and provisions in abundance, and can sleep unmolested with our wives and our children without dreading the midnight attacks of our enemies. Our hearts are great within us, and we are now a nation!

"Who, then, my friends, have produced this change? The white men. In exchange for our horses and for our furs, they gave us guns and ammunition; then we became strong; we killed many of our enemies, and forced them to fly from our lands. And are we to treat those who have been the cause of this happy change with ingratitude? Never! Never! The white people have never robbed us; and, I ask, why should we attempt to rob them? It was bad, very bad!-and they were right in killing the robbers…" (Morning Star: Cox: 1957).

The young chief continued, using various arguments in order to persuade those of differing viewpoints, about the folly in pursuing this course of action. He reminds the crowd that even if they killed all of these men, many more would come to revenge their deaths. If this happened, he continued,

"We should then be reduced to our former state of misery and persecution; our ammunition would be quickly expended; our guns would become useless, and we should again be driven from our lands, and the lands of our fathers, to wander like deer and wolves in the midst of the woods and plains" (Morning Star: Cox: 1957).

According to Cox, the great orator continued for two hours and Michel, the interpreter, had to admit that much of the speech was beyond his command of the language. He concluded with a call for his followers to join him, and to give up the fight: "Let the Wallah Wallahs, and all who love me, and are fond of the white men, come forth and smoke the pipe of peace!"

The force of this young Walla Walla chief's words altered the course that had been set in motion, averting a bloody battle and re-writing the script for Northwest history. "Morning Star", this young chief, had "handsome features, eagle glance, noble bearing, and (was a) majestic person," according to Cox. Cox also notes that he was no more than 25 years of age, and that "his father had been a chief of great bravery and influence, and had been killed in battle by the Shoshones a few years before".

 

 

Ross - 1815-trouble again with Cayuse, above the Walla Walla

image
Gustavus Sohon sketch, looking down the Columbia at Wallula" (on the left).
National Archives
 

The following June, following the annual council at the Company Headquarters where assignments are made and reports given, and the annual ship had arrived and goods distributed, Alexander Ross and others of the "inland brigade"

"...ascended the Columbia without any interruption until it had reached a little above the Walla Walla, near to the spot where the Cayouse Indians had in the preceding fall stopped the express and hauled the boat up high and dry on land, and here they intended to play the same game over again, for when the whites were in the act of poling up a small but strong rapid along shore with the intention of stopping as soon as they got to the head of it, the Indians who were still encamped there, insisted on their putting to shore at once. This invitation was, however, under existing circumstances disregarded by the whites as being almost impossible at the moment. When suddenly a party of the Indians mounted on horseback plunged into the stream, and so barred the narrow channel through which the boats had to pass that great confusion ensued. Still the whites in their anxiety to get up the rapids paid but little attention to them, which forbearance encouraged the Indians to resort to threats by drawing up their horses and menacing the whites. In this critical conjunction the whites seized their arms and made signs to the Indians to withdraw, but this only encouraged them the more to resist, and throwing themselves from their horses into the water they laid hold of the boats. The struggle and danger now increased every moment, as the Indians were becoming more and more numerous and daring. The whites had not a moment to lose; they fired. Two Indians fell dead on the spot, and a third was badly wounded. All three floated down the current. The instant the shots went off, the Indians made for land, and the firing ceased. The whites in the meantime drifting down to the foot of the rapid crossed the river to the opposite side, and soon after encamped for the night on a sandy island. Had the whites done what they ought to have done from the lesson of the previous year at this place, put ashore at the foot of the rapid, no difficulties would have ensued and no blood would have been shed…" (Ross: 1956).
In the morning - "the Indians assembled in fearful numbers" firing occasionally at the brigade on the island, without injury. A storm forced them to leave the blowing sand of the island:
"After appointing fifteen resolute fellows to guard the property, they embarked to the number of seventy-five men, well armed, made for the shore, and landing a little from the Indians' camp, hoisted a flag inviting the chiefs to a parley: but the Indians were distrustful…At last, however, after holding a consultation they advanced in solemn procession, to the number of eighty-four. After a three-hour negotiation the whites paid for the two dead bodies, according to Indian custom, and took their leave in peace and safety, and this ended the disagreeable affair" (Ross: 1956).
 

Cox - Spring 1817

 

Just prior to Cox's departure from the region after five years, he sums up his knowledge of the area around Ft. Nez Perces:

"I have already spoken of the Wallah Wallahs, and their friendly disposition. With the exception of the attack in autumn of 1814, they never manifested any hostility to our people; and we had reason to know the part they took in that transaction was compulsory…

"There is scarcely any beaver on their lands; but deer, wild fowl, and roots, are obtained in plenty, and, with the salmon, constitute their principal food. They are a well-formed race, cleanly in their persons, good hunters, and excellent horsemen. The Chohoptins (Shahaptians?), or Nez Perces, differ little from them in their language, customs, or mode of living. The productions of their lands are nearly similar; and they have immense bands of wild and tame horses. They reside principally on the banks of Lewis' River, and are a numerous and powerful tribe" (Cox: 1957).

On April 16th, Cox took his leave of Ft. George and ascended the Columbia for the last time. In his journal he reported on his last encounters with the Indians along the great river:

"26th. It blew a strong gale the greater part of last night, but moderated at day-break, when we crossed to the north side, and commenced the portage, which we finished in two pauses. We purchased twenty dogs for the kettle. None of the natives who came to us were armed, and we never observed them so tranquil. Our number, however, was sufficient to insure us a respectful reception among any single tribe of the Columbia. Mr. Mackenzie wrote a letter here to Fort George, which he intrusted to one of the chiefs, who promised to have it safely conveyed to its destination. On quitting this place we distributed a quantity of leaf-tobacco among the Indians, who crowded round the canoes, eagerly expecting this last act of our friendship. It was past eleven when we embarked. We had a strong breeze in our favour all day, and passed several bad rapids. Encamped late, short distance above John Day's River, so called from its having been the place at which that hunter was attacked.

"We had a strong aft breeze during the greater part of the 27th, which enabled us to go a la voile. Purchased seven horses, moderately cheap, from a party of Shyatogoes and Wallah Wallahs, who followed us the greater part of the day, and encamped with us at night" (Cox: 1957).

On the 28th, Cox notes that they saw few Indians, and they camped a little below the Grand Rapid, on the south side. (Editor's note explains that the Grand Rapid was above the mouth of the Umatilla River and about eighteen miles below Fort Walla Walla. Lewis and Clark referred to this as the Muscleshell Rapid, near where they were greeted by Yellept and his entourage in April, 1806.) Like Lewis and Clark, the party was in need of horses. The following day they made it a little above the Wallah Wallah River to camp, where they were visited by several members of that tribe. "Tamtappam the chief, and several of his tribe, visited us, and promised to trade some horses".

"We purchased nine horses from Tamtappam (Walla Walla chief of village "a little above the Walla Walla River"), and gave for each goods to the value of seven beaver skins, by the north-west tariff" (Cox: 1957). (30th of April, 1817)
Background: Sohon's Portion of the Snake River corridor