OTDIH—Christmas Day at Fort Clatsop

­On this day in history, 25 Dec 1805, Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery spent Christmas Day at Fort Clatsop in the Pacific Northwest.

At first light on Christmas morning, 1805, the men woke the captains with a volley, a shout, and a song. They exchanged presents—Private Whitehouse gave Captain Clark a pair of moccasins he had made, Private Silas Goodrich gave him a woven basket, Sacagawea give him two dozen white weasel tails, and Captain Lewis gave him a vest, drawers, and socks. The captains divided the small quantity of tobacco they had left, keeping one part for use with the Indians and dividing the other among the men who smoked. The eight non-smokers each got a handkerchief.

The celebration didn’t last long. It was a wet and disagreeable day, and, as Clark recorded, ‘We would have Spent this day the nativity of Christ in feasting, had we any thing either to raise our Sperits or even gratify our appetites, our Diner concisted of pore Elk, So much Spoiled that we eate it thro’ mear necessity, Some Spoiled pounded fish and a few roots.’

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West, by Stephen E. Ambrose, 1996.
Fort Clatsop replica built in 2007, near Astoria, Clatsop County, Oregon.

After successfully reaching the Pacific Ocean on 20 Nov 1805, the Corps of Discovery established their winter camp, Fort Clatsop, on 7 Dec 1805 near present day Astoria, Clatsop County, Oregon.

­CPT Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) is 3rd cousin 9x removed of MKS in the Knight branch.