198 f . C. ELLIOTT at Fort William on Lake Superior in the summer of 1810 ; for the "Northwesters" had declined to join with Mr. Astor in the enterprise to occupy the mouth of the Columbia and expected to develop the Indian trade there on their own account, as they afterward did. But let me revert to David Thompson's own records. He was at Astoria on the 16th of July and from there visited Cape Disappointment at the mouth of the river, but at once started up river again, for his journal reads: "August 8th, 1811, Chapaton River, at noon, latitude 48 degrees 36 minutes 26 seconds north, longitude 112 degrees 22 minutes 15 seconds west. Laid up our canoe." The Chapaton (Shahaptin) was the Snake river and this entry shows him to have been at the mouth of the Palouse river, a well known camping place for the Nez Perces Indians; from whence the party took to the hurricane decks of as many Nez Perces horses and followed the well established Indian trail to the Spokane (Aug. 18th) and thence to Kettle Falls again (Aug. 23rd). By the third of September he was again prepared with canoe and provisions and proceeded UP the Columbia, through the Arrow Lakes and the Dalles des Mort to Boat Encampment on Canoe river, and from there crossed the Rocky Mountains again to the Athabasca in October. I mention the details of the career of David Thompson in the year 1811 because these facts are not yet familiar to the residents of our Columbia river region, because they are perti- nent to our anniversary season and because their narration serves to reveal to us the traits individual to the man. At the age of forty-one years David Thompson thus traversed every reach of this magnificent river from source to mouth, a physi- cal achievement for a man even at the present day ; but much more than a mere physical achievement by him because his record gave first to the world its knowledge of the long sought for source and windings of this river, as a few years previous lie had been the first to discover and mark the real source of the mighty Mississippi river.
Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/206
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