Brookes’ Universal Gazetteer, page 506
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MIS    505    MIS

Ing mountain torrent. It then spreads into a
broad and comparatively gentle stream full of isl-
ands. Precipitous peaks of blackish rock frown
above the river in perpendicular elevations of
1,000
feet. Tne mountains, whose bases it sweeps, are
covered with pines, cedars, and firs ; and moun-
tain sheep are seen bounding on their summits,
where they are apparently inaccessible. In this
distance the mountains have an aspect of inex-
pressible loneliness and grandeur.

The river then becomes almost a continued
cataract for the distance of about 17 m. In
this distance its perpendicular descent is 362 feet.
The first fall is 98 feet; the second, 19; the third,
47; the fourth, 26. These falls are next to Niag-
ara the grandest in the world. The river contin-
ues rapid for a long distance beyond. The
Roche Jaune, or Yellow Stone, is probably tlie
largest tributary of the Missouri. It rises in
tlie same ranges of mountains with the main
river, and has many points of resemblance to it.
It enters from the south by a mouth 850 yards
wide. It is a broad, deep, and sweeping river;
and at its junction appears the larger of the two.
Its course is commonly calculated at 1,600 miles.
But the size and length of all these tributaries
are probably over rated. Its shores, for a long
distance above its entrance, are heavily timbered,
and its bottoms wide, and of the finest soil. Its
eimvuic is deemed to be 1.880 m. above themouth
of tile Missouri; and it was selected by the gov-
ernment, as an eligible situation for a military
post, and an extensive settlement. While bears,
elk, and mountain sheep, are the principal ani-
mals seen along this part of the river. The oth-
er tributaries arc the Kansas, Platte, Osage, Lit-
tle Missouri, Running Water, White and Milk
Rivers.

At the point of junction with the Yellow Stone,
the Missouri has wide and fine bottoms. But its
banks are for the most part destitute of timber,
and this for a long series of years will prevent its
being inhabited. The‘Gates of the Rocky Moun-
tains.' through which the Missouri seems to have
torn itself a passage, are commonly described as
among the sublimest spectacles in the world. For
nearly
6 m. these mountains rise in black and per-
pendicular masses
1,200 feet above the surface of
the river. The chasm is little more than 250 yards
wide ; and the deep and foaming waters of the
Missouri rush through the passage, as if it were
a cataract. The heart of the beholder is chilled,
as he contemplates, in these wild and uninhabited
regions, this conflict between the river and the
mountains. The smooth and black walls of the
cleft rise more than twice as high as the moun-
tains on the Hudson,below West Point Every pas-
senger up that river has been impressed with
the grandeur of that scene in the midst of ameni-
ty and life. What then must be the sensations
of the passenger through the gates of the Rocky
Mountains, who witnesses the proofs of this con-
flict of nature, in a region three hundred leagues
from civilization. Vast columns of the rock are
torn from the mountains and lie along the banks
of the river.

The bottoms of the Missouri have a character,
very distinguishable from those of the Upper Mis-
sissippi. They are higher, not so wet, more san-
ay, with trees which are not so large, but taller
and straighter. Its alluvions are something nar-
rower ; having for the first 500 m. a medial width
of more than 4 m. Its bluffs, like those of the
other river, are generally limestone, but not so
perpendicular; and have more tendency
to run
into the mamelle form. The bottoms abound with
deer, turkeys and small game. The river seldom
overflows any part of its banks, in this distance
It is little inclined to be swampy. There are much
fewer lakes, bayous, and small ponds, than along
the Mississippi. Prairies are scarcely seen on the
banks of the river, within the distance of the first
400 m. of its course. It is heavily timbered, and
yet from the softness of the wood, easily cleared
The water, though uncommonly tiybid with a
whitish earth, which it holds in suspension, soon
and easily settles, and is then remarkably pure,
pleasant and healthy winter. The river is so rapid
and sweeping in its course, and its bed is compos-
ed of such masses of sand, that it is continually
shifting its sandbars. A chart of the river, as .t
runs this year, gives little ground for calculation,
in navigating it the next. It has numerous islands
and generally near them is the most difficult to
be stemmed.—Still more than the Mississippi be-
low its mouth, it tears up in one place, and depos-
ites in another; and makes more frequent and
powerful changes in its channel, than any other
western river.

Its bottoms are considerably settled for a dis-
tance of 400 m. above its mouth. That of Chara-
ton is the highest compact settlement. But the
largest and most populous settlement in the state
is that called Boone’s Lick. Indeed, there arc

American settlers, here and there, on the bottoms,
above the Platte, and far beyond the limits of the
state of Missouri. Above the Platte the open
and prairie character of the country begins to de-
velope. The prairies come quite into the banks
ofthe river; and stretch from it indefinitely, in
naked grass plains, where the traveller may wan
der for days, without seeing either wood or water.
—The ‘ Council Bluffs’ are an important mil
itary station, about 600 m. up the Missouri. Be-
yond this point commences a country of great
interest and grandeur in many respects ; ana de
nominated, by way of eminence, the Upper Mis
souri. The country is composed of vast and al
most boundless grass plains, through which stretch
the Platte, the Yellow Stone, and the other rivers
of this ocean of grass. The savages of this region
have a peculiar physiognomy and mode of life.
It is a country, where commence new tribes of
plants. It is the home of buffaloes, elk, white
bears, antelopes and mountain sheep. And its in-
exhaustible supplies of game make it the paradise
of hunters. Sometimes the river washes the ba-
sis of the dark hills of a friable and crumbling
soil. Here are found, as Lewis and Clarke, and
other respectable travellers relate, large and sin-
gular petrifactions, both animal and vegetable.—
On the top of one of these hills they Foqnd the
petrified skeleton of a huge fish, 45 feet in length










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Brookes' Universal Gazetteer of the World (1850)


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