Interview with Mr. Epstein
Did the Indians like Lewis and Clark when they attacked? It rally
wasnt an attack The Blackfeet braves were attempting to
steal the weapons from Lewis and his friends. (Remember that Clark was down
on the Yellowstone river at this time.) Did they like Lewis? The Blackfeet
were not very happy to have the explorers in THEIR territory, talking about
other tribes guns and other things that would make the enemies of the Blackfeet
more powerful. At this point in history, the Blackfeet dominated their enemies
because thy had been armed and given horses by the French Canadian fur Trapping
companies from Alberta.
Why is their only one tree ramaining at the fight site today? What happend
to the two trees at the fight site? Cottonwood trees generally grow old
and topple. These trees were too soft in the middle to identify annual rings
when the site was found in the 1960s so the scientists foun trees that
were the same size and too samples of their ringsto make sure these trees
could have been around when Lewis came through in July of 1806. Guess what--they
were plenty old. Now, age and all the attention has been more than they can
take and two have died. A fire set under the trees during a winter blizzard
by a lone fur trapper in the 1070s killed one and the wind down the
second one November of 1997.
What indians tried to steal the weopons? How may Indians were at the
fight site? Lewis says one of the indians, the fellow to whom I had
given the medal last night sliped (remember Lewis cant spell) behind
him (J. Fields) and took his gun and that of his brothers unperceived by
hime, at the same instant two others advanced and seized the guns Drewyer
and myself,.. So, it seems that 3 of the braves were chosen to steal
weapons while the other woked at taking the horses. There were 8 Blackfeet
warriors in all camped with Lewis, the Fields brothers and a man named Droulliard
(whom Lewis always calls Drewyer)
Were there more than 3 trees when Lewis and Clark fought the indians fought
the Indians? remember-- no Clark. The party had been splet so they could
explore more of Montana, especially the area around the Yellwstone River.
On the 25th of July, Lewis and his three companions are still camped on the
Cut bank Rever north of the Meriwether Elevators site of today. Lewis sent
Drewyer out to explore. When Drewyer returned, he described the Two Medicine
River as being a place with lots of timber. This is true today, where the
Two Medicine has much larger and more developed Cottonwood trees than the
Cut Bank River. In fact, on the 26th, LEwis notes in his journal that he
finds all of the three species of cottonwood which I have remarked
(he means he has seen) on my voyage assembled together. ( Did you know there
are three kinds of Cottonwood trees?). Later Lewis says they chose
a campsite. He says in theis bottom there stand three solitary
trees. We beleive he means that the trees grew back, away from where
the cottonwood trees grew near to the river. That is where the camp and the
How did you get interested in Lewis and Clark? My Boy Scout Troop
was the group that found the fight site in 1962. I became interested again
when I gegan studying with a man named Wilbur Werner who is one of the best
scholars about the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Did Lewis actually stop and examine plants when he was running away from
the Indians? Probably not. He does not that our whole rout (more
great spelling) so far was as level as a bowling green with but little stones
and few prickly pears. So, he was still looking around and observering
the country through which he and his three companions passed while hurrying
down to where the Marias River flows into the Missouri and where he had spent
9 days in 1805.
How often do you go out to the fight site per year? I try very hard
to go to the site about twice a month. In the summer,I am out the at least
once a week.
Are you nervous when you go out to the fight site? Exicited yes nervous,
mo way. It is very butiful spot withlots of plants ,birds, animals, fossils
and of course tremendous historc meaning and value. Trips to the outdoor
are very calming and help me recharge my battiers. I am worried
now that to many visitors may cause some damage to the area.
When you go to the fite site are you anxious to find new discoveries?
Yes, always . ther are amazing thing s to see on the two Medison. There
are lots of teepee rings, buffalo drive fences, fossils and lots of plants
and animals. The scenery is spectacular.
Where is the Fight Site? In terms of Latitude and Longitude, it is
at 48 27 and 112 27 30 W. Lewis using the latest instruments of his day,
gave it a reading 62 00 00 Longitude and 112 8 45 Latitude.
He was quite close, given his equipment and the recent failure of his
chronometer. It is located in Pondera County, Montana, below Flag Butte on
the Two Medicine River about 2 miles upstream from the Balier Highway, on
the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Remember, too that Lewis had been given
great scientific tools by President Jefferson.
Who found the Fight Site? A Boy Scout Troop from North of Cut Bank,
Montana, guided by their leader , Robert Anderson and an assistant curator
at the Blackfeet Museum in Browning, Helen West.
Do you actually think that the tree that is still at the Fight Site was
there at the time of Lewis and Clark? Im not sure. Cottonwood trees
of the same type and size were core drilled by the U.S. Park Service and
found to be over 200 years old in 1965 or 1966. So it is very possible .