Open main menu

Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/205

This page needs to be proofread.


DAVID THOMPSON AND THE COLUMBIA RIVER 197 Okanogan river, on the 9th they were a little way above the mouth of Snake or Lewis river, and on the 14th or 16th arrived at Fort Astoria, there to be greeted by Duncan McDougal and other former associates of Mr. Thompson in the Northwest Company, but then partners and managers in the Pacific Fur Company of John Jacob Astor. These people had arrived in the Columbia by sea during the month of April preceding. You ask how did David Thompson arrive at Kettle Falls in June, 1811, and whether by chance or design? He came on horseback from Spokane House, a trading post or fort then already established, erected the previous year at the junction of the little Spokane with the main Spokane river by one of his men, presumably Finan McDonald. This seems a little early to find the name Spokane in written form, but so it ap- pears; "Skeetshoo" was the designation given by David Thompson to the Spokane river and to the lake later known as the Coeur d'Alene. He had reached Spokane House by the "Skeetshoo road" or trail from the Kullyspell (Pend d'Oreille) river and tribe. The Kullyspell (or Saleesh) river and lake were already fa- miliar to him through several months spent in exploring and trading there during 1809-10 and the establishment of two trad- ing posts, one near to the Thompson Falls, Montana, of the present day. To the Saleesh he had come by the "Kullyspell Lake Indian Road" from the Kootenay river, where he left the canoes used in descending the Kootenay from a point in British Columbia opposite to the waters of the Upper Colum- bia Lake and distant from that lake not more than three miles across the low divide since known as Canal Flat, but to him as McGillivray's Portage. This portage he had reached by canoes UP the Columbia from Canoe river at the extreme bend of the river in British Columbia, so named by himself because of his enforced encampment there from January until April of this same year 1811 in preparation for his "sortie" to the mouth of the Columbia. The occasion for this "sortie" was the per- mission given to him or the instructions received from his partners of the Northwest Company at their annual meeting