“Fort Clatsop, the residence of Capts. Lewis & Clark while
in this country, is now in ruins, and distant about seven miles in a
south east direction, it was very disagreeably situated, being surrounded
with swamps and quagmires, but the immense number of Elk and wild Fowl,
which resort thither in winter for feed, more than compensates for that
inconvenience" (Stuart 1953:27-28).
on which Lewis and Clarke’s winter encampment
was fixed is still discernible, and the foundation logs remained till
within a year or two. It was on the west bank of a little river, called
by the Indians Netul, but generally known as Lewis and Clarke’s
River, about two miles from its mouth. The trail by which they used to
reach the coast can also be traced.
“Their visit produced a stronger impression than any event before
the arrival of the Astoria party, and they are still remembered by the
older Indians. One of these Indians told a settler that the captains
were real chiefs, and that the Americans who had come since were but
tilikum, or common people. Ske-mah-kwe-up, the chief, and almost
the last survivor of the Wah-kiakum band of Tsinük, preserved
with great pride the medal given him by Lewis and Clarke, until within
a year or two, when it was accidentally lost, to his great grief" (Gibbs
Dick Basch (Clatsop)
Joe Scovell (Tillamook)
at site of beached whale which
Lewis and Clark visited in January, 1806.
|Fort Clatsop > Culture > Fort Clatsop Winter
Kenneth Furrow photo
Dick Basch and daughters
"When Lewis and Clark left, they turned the fort over
to our family. And when they left in 1806, Lewis and Clark signed the
document, nailed it to the wall, signing the fort over to our family.
And after that our family did move in here, and lived here for several
years" (Dick Basch interview:2002).
Dick Basch with replica of Lewis and Clark dugout canoe, at Fort Clatsop.
Kenneth. Furrow photo.
|"The materials Lewis and Clark
made their canoes from were the pine, from up river.
But it's the skill it's the technique that really shows
the difference. I have referred to these canoes as something
like a tootsie roll, just with the middle dug out, just
so short and blunt and tipsy. Our canoes, of course,
the classic Chinook canoe, could go out on the waters
of the Columbia River, across the bar, to the ocean.
They were so sturdy" (Dick Basch interview: 2002).
"Celiast was born in 1801, and was four years
old when Lewis and Clark arrived in 1805. Her father...was
the neighbor, the, to the fort. The one that Lewis and
Clark looked to, for trade, for support, and they had
a very important relationship.
" ... it was a real long-term relationship.
It was a long winter for Lewis and Clark, and they went
through a lot of hardships, and towards the end of their
visit were close to starving. You know, they didn't
have a lot of food; they were worried about where they
were going to get their next meal, but when you look
at what it must have been like back in our house, in
the longhouse, you know, we had a lot of foods, I'm
sure still stored up.
"But Lewis and Clark had run out of things to
trade, you know, we had traded with people, with sailors
before and we know, knew what was good stuff and what
wasn't, especially us. Chinook and Clatsop cultures
were so good with trades, trading.
"...what it must have been like for Celiast
as a little child running around in the village, the
longhouse, and to see Lewis and Clark arrive and to
build a fort right next door, more or less. What it
must have been like back at the village to hear what
was going on, on that side. Too bad somebody really
didn't keep journals on that side, that would have been
real interesting. But, really, all we can do now is
imagine, and then realize they weren't the first non-Indians
that came along, and there was many before them on the
sailing ships" (Dick Basch interview: 2002).
"What I would say about Lewis and Clark that
I like to say, is you know, those were poor looking
sons-of-guns in the sense of what they came down the
Columbia River in. They may well have had, well, what
they had that was impressive to everybody was their
guns. You know, they had impressive guns, but in terms
of how pitiful their clothes were.
"And especially, you know, they came down the
Columbia in canoes that a five year old, you know, I
mean literally a little kid Chinook would've made a
slicker canoe, in terms of for this water down here.
That, their canoes somewhat resemble the shovel-nosed
canoes I was speaking about earlier, so they have some
of the attributes that are good for traveling on sweetwater,
but they're not refined like the canoes that we made
to travel on sweetwater.
"And so, when they got down here, it really
is almost miraculous they made it to here, because this
canoe is made for this country. It's refined over a
thousand years to be that, and you know, and they appreciated
that. I mean, that's one thing we'll say is they note
that we were some of the finest or if not, I guess,
the finest canoe makers and canoe people they'd seen,
so" (Tony Johnson interview: 2002).
Route to the Whale Site,
ca. Jan. 6-10, 1806, Clark’s
first draft. (Moulton V.6, 1990)
James G. Swan’s “blubber feast"
“..a whale was washed ashore on the beach between Toke’s
Point and Gray’s Harbor, and all the Indians about the Bay went
to get their share" (Swan 1857:360).
5 January, 1806, news of the whale reaches Clark from the men at the
Salt Works near present day Seaside, Oregon:
“...near the houses of Some Clat Sop & Kil a mox families; that
the Indians were very friendly and had given them a considerable quantity
of the blubber of the whale which perished on the Coast Some distance S.E.
of them...” (Clark in Moulton V.6, 1990:167).
8 January, 1806, from Lewis’s journal:
“...I saw 5 Lodges of Indian of the Ca la mix nation, boiling whale
in a trough of about 20 gallons with hot Stones, and the oyle they put
into a Canoe I proceded on a Short distance to the whale which was nothing
more than the Sceleton, of 105 feet long...” (Lewis in Moulton
Looking across the mouth of the Lewis and Clark River.
S. Thompson photo