Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Stevenson, Washington"
Includes ... Stevenson ... Stevenson Spur ... "Shepard's Point" ... Rock Cove ... Rock Creek ... Iman Cemetery ...
Image, 2013, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Stevenson, Washington. Image taken February 19, 2013.


Stevenson ...
Stevenson, Washington, is located along the northern bank of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 150, just upstream of Rock Creek and Rock Cove, and downstream of Home Valley and Wind Mountain. Across the river is Cascade Locks, Oregon. Downstream the Bridge of the Gods links Stevenson with Cascade Locks. Also downstream is Ashes Lake, the site of Lewis and Clark's campsite of October 30 and 31, 1805, and April 12, 1806.

Image, 2010, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Lewis and Clark on a garage door, Stevenson, Washington. View from moving car. Image taken June 5, 2010.
Image, 2005, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Stevenson, Washington. View from the lawn of the Skamania County Court House. The Columbia River and the Oregon banks of the Columbia Gorge are in the background. Image taken June 19, 2005.


Early Stevenson ...
Robert Hitchman in Place Names of Washington (1985, Washington State Historical Society) writes:

"... Stevenson ... Town on a low bluff above Columbia River near Cascade Locks, south central Skamania County. The first settler was L.F. Iman, who built a water-powered sawmill in 1852 ..."

Actually it was Felix Grundy Iman, father to Louis Franklin Iman (L.F. Iman) who took that Donation Land Claim (DLC) in 1852. The location was on Rock Creek, on the west side of Stevenson. Felix's son, Louis F. Iman, was born in 1869 and he bought out part of his father's claim in 1893.

"... On July 17th, at 2:30 p.m. Felix Iman, who had taken a donation claim on Rock Creek in 1852, died ..." [Skamania County Pioneer, 24 July 1902]

"... In 1893 Lou bought part of the Iman donation land claim, for farming, from his father. This part of the claim also included the graves of Merry, Ellen and Nora Iman which later became the Iman Cemetery. ..." [Skamania County Deeds, 21 November 1893, about L.F. Iman, information via personal communication with geneological researcher James Windsor, 2005]

The 1864 cadastral survey (tax survey) shows Felix G. Iman having Claim No.44 of 323.24 acres in T2N R7E, Section 2. Between the Iman claim and the Columbia is the claim of D. Baughman, 319.91 acres, Claim No.42.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) website (2014), On March 21, 1866, Felix G. Iman and Margaret W. Iman were granted title to 323.24 acres of T2N R7E, Section 2, and T3N R7E, Section 11 (1850 Oregon-Donation Act).

Felix Iman's gravestone states (courtesy James Windsor, 2005):

"... Felix Grundy Iman, 11.24.1828 - 7.17.1902; Born DeKalm Co., Mo.; Arrived at Cascades by ox team in 1852; Married Margaret Windsor 1853; 1854 Built & owned steamer Wasco; 1855 Donation Land Claim of 323 Acres; Worked on Upper Cascades Block House; Built & owned 2 sawmills; Built 1st school; For short time saloon owner. ..."

In 1882 Henry Shepard and Lucinda N. Shepard filed a Donation Land Claim (DLC) for a section of land which soon would become Stevenson. According to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) website (2014), On May 6, 1882, Henry Shepard and Lucinda N. Shepard were granted title to 233.39 acres of T2N R7E, Section 1, and T3N R71/2E, Section 36 (1850 Oregon-Donation Act).

A small community developed on the DLC of Henry Shepard and was known as "Shepard's Point".

George Stevenson originally settled in the Cascades area in 1880. In 1893 he bought a part of the Shepard DLC and platted the town of Stevenson. Within a few years, the town contained saloons, a hotel, a skating rink, and a ball park. A ferry connected Stevenson to Cascade Locks, on the Oregon shore of the Columbia.

"... The Stevenson family, who settled in the Gorge in the 1800's from Missouri, founded the town of Stevenson on the old Shepard donation land claim. Under the auspices of the Stevenson Land Company, George Stevenson purchased the original town site for $24,000 in 1893, building the town along the lower flat near the river. Settlers expanded the original dock to serve the daily arrivals of sternwheelers unloading passengers, cargo and loading logs. ..." ["CityOfStevenson.com" website, 2014]

Also in 1893, the Skamania County Government (formed in 1854) moved from Lower Cascades to Stevenson, a moved made in the middle of the night. According to the Skamania County Chamber of Commerce website (2004):

"In the middle of the night, the records were moved out by the portage railroad, then onto a fishing boat, and arrived in Stevenson. As it turned out, this saved the county records because in 1894 the greatest recorded flood on the Columbia destroyed every remaining building. The town of Cascades was never rebuilt."

In 1894 the town of Stevenson survived the largest recorded flood on the Columbia River.

The Great Northern Railway and Northern Pacific Railroad, competitors in the transcontinental business, launched the Seattle Portland & Seattle Railway and built a line along the north side of the river through Skamania County beginning in 1906. This was known as the "North Bank Road". It reached Stevenson by 1908, shifting the town north to make way for the tracks. According to Place Names of Washington (Hitchman, 1985), the railway called their station "Stevenson's Spur" and later changed it to simply "Stevenson".

"... In 1908 the town was incorporated and the SP&S Railroad arrived, pushing the town up the hill away from the river. Streets were graded, wooden sidewalks constructed and the city asked residents to keep their cows from roaming the streets. Huge piles of logs were stacked along the waterfront to fuel the sternwheelers. ..." ["CityOfSteveson.com" website, 2014]

The building of the Bonneville Dam pushed the town of Stevenson further uphill.

"... With the construction of the State Highway, and later construction of Bonneville Dam, the town moved further up the hill as portions of the original town site were flooded by the Bonneville Pool. ..." ["CityOfStevenson.com" website, 2014]

Views around Stevenson ...

Image, 2014, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Stevenson, Washington, as seen from the railroad tracks. When the railroad came through in 1908 the town of Stevenson shifted north (uphill) to make room. Image taken July 31, 2014.
Image, 2014, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 31, 2014.
Image, 2014, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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1928 remant of a wall, located at the path to Stevenson Landing, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 31, 2014.
Image, 2014, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Waterfront Trail, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 31, 2014.
Image, 2014, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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View towards Stevenson Landing and the Stevenson Waterfront, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 31, 2014.


Stevenson, etc.

  • Bonneville Reservoir ...
  • Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center ...
  • Iman Cemetery ...
  • Petrified Wood ...
  • Rock Creek and Rock Cove ...
  • Seaman, "Four-Legged Friend" ...
  • Steamboats and Cordwood ...
  • Stevenson Landing ...
  • Stevenson to Cascade Locks Ferry ...
  • Teo Park Wind Sculpture ...


Bonneville Reservoir ...

Image, 2003, Bonneville Reservoir, from Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Bonneville Reservoir (Columbia River), from Stevenson, Washington. View from Stevenson Landing, looking towards Cascade Locks, Oregon. Reddish area is from 2003 burn. Image taken October 25, 2003.


Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center ...
The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center is located on the western edge of Rock Cove. It is the nonprofit museum of the Skamania County Historical Society and is dedicated to preserving, exhibiting and interpreting the cultural and natural history of the Columbia River Gorge. The center is located on Rock Creek Drive, in Stevenson, Washington.
[More]

Image, 2004, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken November 4, 2004.


Petroglyph ...
This petroglyph was moved from it's original location at the Fort Cascades Historic Site, located on Hamilton Island, six miles downstream. A replica stone stands in its place. According to the Fort Cascades Historic Site handout:

"Although floods have destroyed nearly all traces of prehistoric life, the petroglyph is a reminder of the people who first passed this way. The meaning of the rock carving is unknown. According to early historic records, the Cascades Indians once inhabited a village in this general area just below the Lower Cascades. The village, consisting of 14 houses, probably was a seasonal fishing site from which the Cascades Indians annually reaped abundant harvests of salmon. During their spring ascent of the river in 1806, Lewis and Clark noted in their journals the site was in the process of being inhabited by the Clahclellar band of the Shahalar Nation."

Image, 2011, Petroglyph, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Petroglyph, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.
Image, 2011, Petroglyph, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Petroglyph, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.
Image, 2011, Petroglyph, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Petroglyph, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.
Image, 2011, Petroglyph, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Petroglyph, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.



Iman Cemetery ...

Image, 2006, Iman Cemetery, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Iman Cemetery, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 2, 2006.



Petrified Wood ...

Image, 2005, Iman Cemetery, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Petrified Wood, Stevenson Courthouse, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken June 19, 2005.


Rock Creek and Rock Cove ...
On the western side of Stevenson lies Rock Creek and Rock Cove. On the western bank of Rock Cove lies the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center museum.
[More]

Image, 2010, Rock Creek, Skamania County, looking downstream, click to enlarge
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Rock Creek, Skamania County, Washington, looking downstream. View from walking bridge across Rock Creek, looking downstream towards Highway 14. Image taken November 2, 2010.
Image, 2010, Rock Creek, Skamania County, looking downstream, click to enlarge
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Walking bridge, Rock Creek, Skamania County, Washington. Image taken November 2, 2010.
Image, 2004, Rock Cove, click to enlarge
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Rock Cove, Stevenson, Washington. View from Rock Cove Drive. Image taken November 4, 2004.


Seaman, "Four-Legged Friend" ...
Captain Lewis's Newfoundland dog, "Seaman", went along on the expedition, covering thousands of miles, and returning safely back home. He was briefly stolen however, on April 11, 1806, while the men were camped at a location just above today's Bonneville Dam.

"... three of this same tribe of villains the Wah-clel-lars, stole my dog this evening, and took him towards their village; I was shortly afterwards informed of this transaction by an indian who spoke the Clatsop language, and sent three men in pursuit of the theives with orders if they made the least resistence or difficulty in surrendering the dog to fire on them; they overtook these fellows or reather came within sight of them at the distance of about 2 miles; the indians discovering the party in pursuit of them left the dog and fled. ..." [Captain Lewis, April 11, 1806]

[More]

"Four-Legged Friend"

"Many men on the Lewis and Clark Expedition were poor swimmers but not Captain Lewis's dog, Seaman! The Newfoundland was adept on land and in the water. His broad feet helped him swim, even in turbulent waters. Take a rubbing of this actual-size Newfoundland paw print for your journal."

Source:    Information display sign, Waterfront Trail, Steavenson, Washington, 2014.


Image, 2014, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Seaman, "Four-Legged Friend", detail on display sign, Waterfront Trail, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 31, 2014.
Image, 2014, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Seaman, "Four-Legged Friend", detail on display sign, Waterfront Trail, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 31, 2014.


Engraving of a Newfoundland done in 1803 by John Scott, and appearing in "The Sportsman's Cabinet".


Steamboats and Cordwood ...
"The shriek of steam through a brass whistle, ringing across the Columbia's waters and echoing off the Gorge cliffs, signaled the approach of a steamboat. In early-day Stevenson, a sternwheeler arrival was the high point of a pioneer's day, often beckoning most of the settlement to the river's edge. Supplies arrived, crops and goods loaded, passengers and baggage boarded. Stevenson fueled the huge steamboat boilers with wood cut from surrounding forests. From dock to deck, legendary quantities of cordwood changed hands. Steamboats had their heyday on the Columbia from the 1850s to the 1920s."

Source:    Information display, Stevenson waterfront, Stevenson, Washington, 2014.

Image, 2014, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Information sign, "Steamboats Docked at Stevenson, When Cordwood was Currency". Information sign, Stevenson Landing, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 31, 2014.

A "cord" of wood is 8 feet long, 4 feet wide and 4 feet high. Large steamboats burned four cords per hour making Stevenson a vital fuel stop for the steamers.
Image, 2014, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Detail, information sign, "Wood Scows". Information sign, Stevenson Landing, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 31, 2014.

"Wood scows were barges with sails that carried over 100 cords. They sailed from Stevenson to The Dalles, supplying wood for steamers and homes on the upper reaches of the Columbia."


Stevenson Landing ...
Throughout history steamboats have landed at Stevenson Landing and it is no different today as the community of Stevenson has a cruise ship pier jutting into the Columbia River. The concrete pier is 200 feet long, 15 feet wide, and has a 55-foot by 6-foot, 6-inch adjustable steel gangway. Columbia Gorge cruise ship visitors can land, stroll through Stevenson's waterfront parks, or visit the arts-oriented community of Stevenson just upslope of the pier.

Image, 2014, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Stevenson Landing Pier, Stevenson, Washington. Thunder Island and the Oregon community of Cascade Locks are across the river. Image taken July 31, 2014.
Image, 2014, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Stevenson Landing Pier, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 31, 2014.
Image, 2014, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Sign, Stevenson Landing Pier, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 31, 2014.
Image, 2014, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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View from downstream, Stevenson Landing Pier, Stevenson, Washington. Wind Mountain is visible in the background. Image taken July 31, 2014.


Stevenson to Cascade Locks Ferry ...
During the late 1800s and early 1900s the ferry "Eva Jane" made the trip from Stevenson, Washington, to Cascade Locks, Oregon. The pilot wheel of the "Eva Jane" can be seen at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center museum, located in Stevenson.

Image, 2011, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, click to enlarge
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Exhibit, Pilot wheel of the ferry Eva Jane, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.


Teo Park Wind Sculpture ...
Teo Park is located at Stevenson Landing and features picnic tables and grassy lawns. Teo Park is also home to Andrew Carson's kinetic wind art sculpture.

Image, 2014, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wind Sculpture, Teo Park, Stevenson, Washington. Crafted by Andrew Carson. Image taken July 31, 2014.
Image, 2014, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
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Wind Sculpture, Teo Park, Stevenson, Washington. Crafted by Andrew Carson. Image taken July 31, 2014.
Image, 2014, Stevenson, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wind Sculpture, Teo Park, Stevenson, Washington. Crafted by Andrew Carson. Image taken July 31, 2014.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 30, 1805 ...
A cool morning, a moderate rain all the last night, after eating a partial brackfast of venison we Set out [from their camp near Drano Lake and the Little White Salmon River]     passed Several places where the rocks projected into the river & have the appearance of haveing Seperated from the mountains and fallen promiscuisly into the river, Small nitches are formed in the banks below those projecting rocks which is comon in this part of the river, Saw 4 Cascades caused by Small Streams falling from the mountains on the Lard. Side,

[The possiblities in a two-mile area are - upstream to downstream - Starvation Creek and Falls, the seasonal Cabin Creek and Falls, Warren Creek and Falls, Wonder Creek and Lancaster Falls, Lindsey Creek and Falls, and Summit Creek and Falls.]

a remarkable circumstance in this part of the river is, the Stumps of pine trees [Submerged Forest]

[The Submerged Forest existed along the reach from above Dog Mountain/Viento Creek on the upstream edge and Wind Mountain/Shellrock Mountain on the downstream edge.]

are in maney places are at Some distance in the river, and gives every appearance of the rivers being damed up below from Some cause which I am not at this time acquainted with [Bonneville Landslide],     the Current of the river is also verry jentle not exceeding 1 1/2 mile pr. hour and about 3/4 of a mile in width. Some rain, we landed above the mouth of a Small river on the Stard. Side [Wind River] and Dined ...   :  here the river widens to about one mile large Sand bar in the middle, a Great [rock] both in and out of the water, large <round> Stones, or rocks are also permiscuisly Scattered about in the river, ...     The bottoms above the mouth of this little river [Wind River] <which we Call> is rich covered with grass & firn & is about 3/4 of a mile wide rich and rises gradually, below the river (which is 60 yards wide above its mouth) the Countery rises with Steep assent. we call this little river <fr Ash> New Timbered river from a Speces of Ash <that wood> which grows on its banks of a verry large and different from any we had before Seen, and a timber resembling the beech in bark <& groth> but different in its leaf which is Smaller and the tree smaller. passed maney large rocks in the river and a large creek on the Stard. Side in the mouth of which is an Island [Rock Creek near Stevenson, Washington], passed on the right of 3 Islands <on> near the Stard. Side, and landed on an Island close under the Stard. Side at the head of the great Shute [head of the Cascades Rapids], and a little below a village of 8 large houses on a Deep bend on the Stard. Side, and opposit 2 Small Islands imediately in the head of the Shute, which Islands are covered with Pine, maney large rocks also, in the head of the Shute. Ponds back of the houses, and Countrey low for a Short distance. The day proved Cloudy dark and disagreeable with Some rain all day which kept us wet. The Countary a high mountain on each Side thickly Covered with timber, Such as Spruc, Pine, Cedar, Oake Cotton &c. &c.     I took two men and walked down three miles to examine the Shute and river below proceeded along an old Indian path, passd. an old village at 1 mile ...     I found by examonation that we must make a portage of the greater perpotion of our Stores 2 1/2 miles, and the Canoes we Could haul over the rocks, I returned at Dark ...     a wet disagreeable evening, the only wood we could get to burn on this little Island on which we have encamped [near Ashes Lake, the island is now under the waters of the Bonneville Reservoir. Ashes Lake was near the head of the Cascade Rapids. Across from Ashes Lake is Cascade Locks, Oregon.] is the newly discovered Ash, which makes a tolerable fire. we made fifteen miles to daye






Clark, April 13, 1806 ...
The loss of one of our large Canoes rendered it necessary to divide the loading and men of that Canoe between the remaining four, which was done and we loaded and Set out at 8 oClock A. M. [from their camp near Ashes Lake]     passed the village imediately above the rapids where only one house remains entire the other 8 haveing been taken down and moved to the opposit Side of the Columbia [downstream of Rock Creek and Stevenson, Washington] ...     Capt. Lewis with 2 of the Smallest Canoes of Sergt. Pryor & gibson and Crossed above the Rapids [Cascade Rapids] to the Village on the S E Side [east of Cascade Locks] with a view to purchase a Canoe of the nativs if possible. ...     I with the two large Canoes proceeded on up the N. W. Side with the intention of gitting to the Encampment of our hunters who was derected to hunt in the bottom above Crusats River [Wind River], and there wait the arrival of Capt. Lewis. I proceeded on to the bottom in which I expected to find the hunters but Could See nothing of them. the wind rose and raised the wavs to Such a hight that I could not proceed any further. we landed and I sent out Shields and Colter to hunt; Shields Shot two deer but Could get neither of them. I walkd. to Crusats river [Wind River] and up it a mile on my return to the party found that the wind had lulled and as we Could See nothing of our hunters. I deturmined to proceed on to the next bottom where I thought it probable they had halted at passed 2 P M Set out and proceeded on to the bottom 6 miles and halted at the next bottom formed a Camp and Sent out all the hunters [near Dog Mountain, between Collins Creek and Dog Creek].     I also walked out my self on the hills but saw nothing. on my return found Capt. Lewis at Camp with two canoes which he had purchased at the Y-ep-huh ...

I was convinced that the hunters must have been up River Cruzatt [Wind River]. despatched Sergt. Pryor with 2 men in a Canoe, with directions to assend Crusats River [Wind River] and if he found the hunters to assist them in with the meat. Jo: Shields returned about Sunset with two deer which he had killed, those were of the Black tail fallow Deer. <the> there appears to be no other Species of Deer in those mountains. We proceeded on 12 miles.





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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:    "CityOfStevenson.com" website, 2014;    Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum website, 2004;    "Historylink.org" website, 2011;    Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington Historical Society;    Northwest Power and Conservation Council website, 2004;    Port of Stevenson website, 2014;    U.S. Bureau of Land Management website, 2014, General Land Office (GLO) Records;    Windsor, J., 2005, "Iman Family Notes" website, information used with permission, December 2005;   

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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April 2014