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VERSO
Artist label with title, date, and signature
Typed artist’s description of painting

Describing this painting the artist wrote, “When Lewis and Clark arrived at the mouth of the Columbia River in November of 1805 it was time to go into winter camp. It would be necessary to find an area with plenty of game for their winter food supply and to be near the sea shore where they come make salt from sea water. They were also in hopes of finding a trader and a ship so that they could procure more trinkets to trade with the Indians. By questioning the local Indians they learned that the largest supply of game animals was on the south side of the river so they crossed over from the north shore to the south shore to look for a suitable spot there. From their camp near present day Astoria, Captain Lewis with a party of five explored the area and found a spot a few miles from camp where there was a high point of land about thirty feet above the tide level and two hundred yards from a small river. There were also elk in the area. The party moved to this spot on December seventh and immediately began cutting trees to build their winter quarters. Meanwhile Captain Clark set out to find the way to the sea coast for the salt makers camp. He blazed a trail from the winter camp to the coast some seven miles away.

“By Christmas Day of 1805 the party had all moved into their wooden huts. Their only Christmas dinner was some spoiled elk meat they had on hand. By January first 1806 the pickets for the stockade had been placed, the gates made and hung and their wintering place, which they named Fort Clatsop was completed. They celebrated the New Year with a volley of arms and a dinner of boiled elk meat and wapato roots. They remained in their winter quarters until March twenty-third. On leaving they concluded that though they had not fared sumptuously during their stay they had lived as comfortably as could have been expected and had accomplished every object of their visit except meeting with one of the traders whom the Indians had told them often visited the mouth of the river.

“During the time the Lewis and Clark party were at Fort Clatsop they were visited from time to time by small parties of neighboring Indians who brought various articles to trade such as mats, roots, berries and fish.

“Lewis and Clark described these Indians as being very low of status, illy shaped with thick broad feet and crooked legs.

“They were impressed by the conical shaped, rain proof hats which the natives wore woven of cedar bark and bear grass and ordered some for their own party.

“In the picture a group of neighboring Indians such as would have been in the area arrive at Fort Clatsop with articles to trade.”

PROVENANCE
Private collection, Texas

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