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The Monster Missouri

As they passed the painting and began to discuss it, they ran into another danger of which the Menominee did not warn them.  Seven miles downstream they passed the mouth of the Missouri River in full flood.  Marquette calls it the “Pekistanouï”.

While conversing about these monsters, sailing quietly in clear and calm Water, we heard the noise of a rapid, into which we were about to run. I have seen nothing more dreadful. An accumulation of large and entire trees, branches, and floating islands, was issuing from The mouth of The river pekistanouï, with such impetuosity that we could not without great danger risk passing through it”

Marquette, or more likely, Joliet is measuring their latitude (how far north or south they are) as they pass down the Mississippi.  He correctly deduces that not only are they going to the Gulf of Mexico, but that it is the Missouri that will lead them to the Pacific Ocean.

“Judging from The Direction of the course of the Missisipi', if it Continue the same way, we think that it discharges into the mexican gulf. It would be a great advantage to find the river Leading to the southern sea, toward California; and, As I have said, this is what I hope to do by means of the Pekitanouï,….There are many Villages of savages along this river, and I hope by its means to discover the vermillion or California sea.”

One hundred and thirty three years passed before the Lewis and Clark Expedition was able to complete that journey.


Next page: The River Demon