November 8, 1833

8 November: Fort Clark had not undergone any important changes during the time of our absence from [the place]. At the time [of our earlier visit] the Yank-tonais wanted to make peace with the Mandans and Hidatsas, which did not materialize. At the beginning of September, the Yanktonais had finally achieved their ultimate purpose. Two hundred tents of Yanktonais had camped on the prairie behind Fort Creek and stayed there three to four days. They had many festivities and dances, and Fort Creek was crowded all day long with Dacota, Mandan, and Hidatsa Indians. Now it was quiet in the fort's surroundings. Some Indians had already moved into their winter quarters in the neighboring forest. But many still maintained to besiege Mr. Kipp's room every day. In the fort itself, there were two interpreters ([one of them,] Belhumeur, was an Ojibwe) for the Mandan language. By the way,Mr. Kipp was more fluent in speaking the Mandan language than Belhumeur. The other one was Ortubise, an interpreter of the Dacotalanguage. [Aside from] the interpreters, there were only six more men.

Mr. McKenzie had departed four days ago for Fort Union.He left many letters for me, among them, three from Germany written in December, January, February, and May. He had left orders to complete a recently started house in the fort for us to live in. But there was a lack of workers, meaning craftsmen. The fort's store was well stocked [with] merchandise having a value of $15,000 in St. Louis, but with such a large number of rats here, all supplies were in danger. There is always a large quantity of corn on hand, often 600 to 800 bushels. However, it can be assumed that, at the time of our presence, these rodents were eating five bushels of this grain daily.M1The rat that causes so much damage her is the one called Norway rat (Mus decumanus). Unknown to the Indians earlier, these rats came up with the first military expedition. It should be noted here that a bushel of Indian corn weighs 50 pounds. [Ed.: Rattus norvegicus, Norway rat.] The news I received from all places, except for a few, was generally good.Ortubise was absent; they expected him back daily with news from the lower Missouri.

Mr. McKenzie had taken a physician upriver with [him], because they were generally afraid of the cholera that had caused great devastation on the lower Missouri this past August. At Bellevue and Mr. Cabanné’s's post, most people had died. Major Dougherty was almost the sole survivor of this frightful illness. We had the prospect of receiving new letters from Europe [soon]. Because the new house could not be finished quickly enough, all of us lived in Mr. Kipp 's small room, where he, too, slept, with [his] wife and child. As I mentioned, that [room] was always besieged by Indians. They sat down wherever they could find a place without further ado, amoked, and frequently received food. Mr. Kipp's wife is a Mandan [with] nice facial features and rather white skin, showing even red cheeks. He has already been here eleven years without having been once in the United States. He therefore fluently speaks the language of the Sipuska-Númangkake (Mandans) and knows perfectly all their manners and customs. This day was clear, as [was] the night, but [it was] very raw, with strong wind.

Friday, November 8, 1833
XML Encoder: 
Roz Parr
Daniel Bost