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John Work's Journal, March 21 - May 14, 1825

March 1824, Monday 21. At noon left Fort Vancouver in the otter with four Owyhees for Fort George. The wind was favorable & we ran down the river under sail, till midnight when we brought up a little above the Cowlitz so that we might not pass the new Scow in the night. Showery weather.

Tuesday 22. Clear fine warm weather contd our course at daylight, and shortly after met the new scow opposite the Cowlitz, she was making very slow progress, & we could render her no assistance. Gave Casmas 8 books, 1 yd Tobacco, & 10 Ball & Powder to buy provisions. Passed the old scow below Oak Point village, manned by four Owyhees, three nights from the fort. The wind blew so strong ahead that we were stopped near four hours in the evening. during this time the men were employed mending the sail. Continued our course after sunset, when it became calm, and did not bring up till near 1 Oclock in the morning, when the tide was setting against us.

Wedy 23. At daylight contd our course under sail but the men mistook the channel and ran the boat aground at 7 Oclock and all efforts could not get her Off, & we had to wait till two oclock for the tide, when we got afloat & reached the fort at 7 in the evening. It was fine weather. An Indian of the fort Tete Plume, was badly wounded by one Casserned Slaves, who is supported by his master, The poor man is in the fort and is not expected to live.

Thursday 24. Fine weather in the morning, but heavy rain in the afternoon. Busy all the forenoon loading the otter and sent her off in the evening, with an additional man B. Poirier who is in charge of her. I am to go up in 2 canoe with Indians, but have to remain till tomorrow morning, as the stores are to be examined and an estimate formed of the number of trips that will be yet required to take up the remainder of the property. Some writings are also to be finished. The wounded Indian died in the afternoon.

Friday 25. Heavy rain & blowing strong from the Eastward the greater part of the day. Embarked in a canoe manned by four of the freemen's Indian Slaves, the wind being ahead & such heavy rain we made but slow progress & only got to opposite McKenzies encampment. We were completely soaked with wet. Having only two mats to make a shelter for myself in the night, my lodging is not very comfortable. [Passed the otter at 2 oclock. She was aground waiting for the tide a little below campment Verd.]

Satdy 26. Fine weather. embarked at daylight, and encamped near the lower end of deers Island in the evening. All the threatening and encouragement I can make use of I cannot get the slaves to go on as quick as I wish. Shot 4 bitterns.

Sunday 27. Fine pleasant weather - contd our journey at an early hour, and arrived at the new scow at the lower branch of the Wallamet and the old one a good piece farther up.

Monday 28. Showery weather - remained at the fort.

Tuesday 29.        Do                   Do

Wedy 30. Heavy rain the forepart of the day.

Thursday 31. Rained hard all day very weighty in the afternoon. Late last night the Otter arrived & was unloaded this morning. At noon I embarked in her for fort George. The wind was favourable and we continued under sail till 11 Oclock when it became calm and the tide being against us we brought up near the Cowlitz.

Apl. 1 Mild fair weather except some light Showers in the morning. Got under way at 2 Oclock in the morning and arrived at Fort George at 12 at night. It was calm and we made but little way when pulling against the flood tide. We were four hours getting from Tongue Point to the fort. Met the old Scow going off at the Tongue point, on her way up.

Satdy 2. Showery in the morning & very heavy rain afterwards. The men employed packing the furs, Some things in the other stores were also examined & prepared for packing. The freemen were off to the new fort at an early hour before I was aware, but wishing to inform Mr McLaughlin how affairs stood here, Mr McKenzie sent a canoe after them with letters, but it returned in the evening not being able to come up with them.

Sunday 3. Showery weather. This being Easter Sunday & it not being customary for the Canadians to work they were not employed. But Mr McKenzie & I were busy packing all day. A Boat with four men arrived from the new fort, another boat is behind.

Monday 4. Showery forenoon very heavy rain afterwards. All hands were busy packing &c. up all day. The other boat arrived this morning - with a letter from Mr McLaughlin requesting that 7 boats would be forewith be got ready besides the otter, four to be manned with two men each, white men and owyhees, and the other three with Indn Slaves, part of the men were employed preparing oars &c, but the day was so wet that nothing could be done at guming the boats. Some of them are so old and crazy that it is feared they will not be got in order fit to go up with any cargo without damaging it, especially as they are to be so weakly manned.

Tuesday 5. Cloudy fair weather forepart of the day Showery afterwards, Wind Westerly, blew fresh in the night and part of the day. The most of the men busy employed gumming the boats, the rain in the afternoon interrupted them We were employed with the rest of the people packing up and preparing the cargoes.

Wedy 6. Some heavy showers of hail and rain. Wind S. W. blew strong in the night & morning. Busy employed loading the otter and sending her off in the evening under the charge of Mr Cartier & 4 men - And getting their cargoes for the other boats in readiness to load them and be off tomorrow.

Thursdy 7th. Heavy rain the greater part of the day. Squalls of wind from S. E. Busy all day loading 7 boats, with the intention of getting off with the afternoon tide,- When they were loaded one of them a very old one got a hole broke in her bow by touching against the wharf. On hauling her up to be repaired she was found so rotten that she was considered unfit for the voyage, some heavy casks were therefore taken out and the remainder of the cargo distributed among the other boats, this caused so much delay that we had to defer starting till the night tide everything is therefore in readiness for that purpose - A man sleeps in each boat to take care of her for the night. A ship was seen entering the river at 4 Oclock in the afternoon, the weather was thick and hazy, so that it could not be distinguished exactly what kind of a vessel it was, perhaps it was a deception. On account of leaving the old boat, we were enabled by hiring some more slaves, to put three hands in each boat. Not knowing whether the ship may be a friend or enemy, we wish to get off with the furs as expeditiously as possible.

Friday S. Stormy from the S. E. with constant heavy rain in the night & almost all day. In order to be ready to go off with the night tide I staid up all night, but it being stormy, such a pour of rain and very dark, I considered it unsafe to attempt doubling Tongue point & deferred starting till morning tide and went off at 9 Oclock. It was stormy doubling Tongue point. Just as we were getting round one of the slaves who was hired from George the freeman, dropped down dead in the boat. No cause could be assigned for his sudden death, he was not complaining of ill health before hand. Such sudden deaths are very common among the Indians. We encamped about 4 miles above Tongue point at 3 Oclock and buried him.

Saturday 9. Squalls of wind from the S. E. with almost constant rain sometimes very heavy. I Embarked at 2 Oclock in the morning with the flood tide and encamped late in the evening a little below Oak Point village, the unfavorable weather retarded us a good deal. Bought 8 small sturgeon for the people.

Sunday 10. Stormy from the S. E. with incessant heavy rain in the night & with some short intervals, heavy rain all day. In order to take care of the boats which are kept at anchor in the night, I sleep in one of them myself and make a man sleep in each of the others We were completely drenched in the night, the mats which cover the property in the boats are quite wet, and with them it is impossible to keep the property dry with them. Embarked at 4 Oclock with the flood tide and encamped late in the evening a little above the Cowlitch, we were detained more than two hours waiting for the boats with Owyhees which fell behind. Came up with Cartier & the Otter.

Monday 11. Stormy with excessive heavy rain in the night & morning. The weather was so rough that we were detained two hours in the morning. very heavy showers during the day. encamped in the evening a little below Caismoir - Indians passed us in the evening, with letters intimating the ship had arrived.

Tuesday 12. Stormy in the night & heavy rain, very weighty showers of rain & hail during the day. Embarked at daylight, and reached to a little below the fort in the evening. We would have got to the fort had we not been obliged to wait for the Owyhees.

Wedny 13. Rained very little in the night, but very heavy rain in the morning, & occasionally during the day. Came up to the fort early in the morning and had the boats immediately unloaded, Carting the property up to the fort occupied the most of the day. The whole of the things were found very wet, particularly the furs. They were opened & set about to be dried directly.

Thursday 14. Showery weather. The Otter arrived in the evening.

Friday 15. Fair fine mild weather, busy getting the furs &c dry. In the night men arrived from the fort George with letters relating to the arrival of the Ship, in consequence of which Mr McLaughlin found it necessary to go below in a boat manned principally by slaves. The Otter went off also. The Scow arrived in the evening.

Satdy 16. Clear fine weather. Busy drying the wet property. The Scow was unloaded and sent off in the afternoon.

Sunday 17. Cloudy mild weather. Showers.

May Wedy 11. Cloudy fair Weather Wind Westerly. Left Fort Vancouver with 5 boats 3 men each for Fort George at 10 Oclock. It blew fresh part of the day & the wind being ahead we made but little way, in the evening we put ashore to sup opposite the Cowlitch. bought 22 small salmon from the Indn Tetiltih . Met the Old Scow a little below the Fort. Mr Douglas & Dr Scouller accompanies me.

Thursdy 12. Fair pleasant weather Wind Westerly blowing fresh part of the day. Embarked after supper last night & drove down the river, passed Oak Pt village early in the morning, and arrived at Ft Geo in the evening. We were greatly kept back by a head wind.

Friday 13. Fair pleasant weather. Wind Westerly. Loaded the Otter (which has been here two days) & sent her off under the charge of J. Desland & 3 Iroquois. The men were employed part of the afternoon getting 2 spars for yards to the vessel. The boats were gummed & ready to be loaded tomorrow morning.

Satdy 14. Heavy rain the greater part of the day, Wind S. E. & S. Had the men at work at daylight loading the boats but it came on to rain so hard that we had to stop and defer going off till tomorrow. The powder would have been injured by taking it out in the rain. However it faired up a little in the evening when we got the boats all loaded except the pigs which will be embarked in the morning.