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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Fanny's Island and Fanny's Bottom, Oregon"
Includes ... Fanny's Island ... Crim's Island ... Fanny's Bottom ... Clatskanie River and Beaver Slough ... "Fanny's Valley" ... Bradbury Slough ...
Image, 2003, Crims Island downstream tip, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lewis and Clark's "Fanny's Island", today's Crims Island, Oregon, downstream tip. Downstream tip of Crims Island, as seen from along the Washington banks of the Columbia River. Gull Island is to the left. Image taken November 9, 2003.


"Fanny's Island", "Fanny's Valley", and "Fanny's Bottom" ...
"Fanny's Island", "Fanny's Valley", and "Fanny's Bottom", were names Lewis and Clark used for Crims Island and the Clatskanie River and Beaver Slough floodplain. The areas were presumably named after Captain Clark's younger sister (by three years), Frances Eleanor Clark.

"... after dinner I walked on Shore through an eligant bottom on the South Side opposit to Fannys Island. This bottom we also Call fannys bottom it is extensive and an open leavel plain except near the river bank which is high dry rich oak land. I saw Some deer & Elk at a distance in the Prarie. ..." [Clark, March 26, 1806]

On one of the Lewis and Clark journey maps [Moulton, vol.1, map#81], Crims Island was shown as a single island and called "Fanny's Island", while the large "eligant bottom on the South side", part of the Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough/Westport Slough floodplain, was shown as "Fannys Valley" (although in his journal Captain Clark uses "Fanny's Bottom"). On another map [map#89], both the island and the floodplain were left unnamed.


Today's "Fanny's Bottom" ...
"Fanny's Bottom" is the floodplain of the Clatskanie River and Beaver Slough, stretching from approximately Columbia River Mile (RM) 50 to RM 57. Today this area has dikes and levees and is used for farming and lumber. The Oregon development of Port Westward is situated at the location of the original "Oak Point".

Fanny's Bottom in 1940 ...
From the Oregon State Archives "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon":

"At 61.7 m. is a junction with a gravel road.

Right on this road to QUINCY, 1 m. (18 alt., 503 pop.), center of a drained and diked area of the Columbia River lowlands; L. here 3 m. on a dirt road to OAK POINT. The Winship brothers of Boston attempted to establish a trading post and settlement at this place which is known as Fanny's Bottom. On May 26, 1810, while Astor was still maturing his plans for the Pacific Fur Company, Captain Nathan Winship arrived in the Columbia River with the ship Albatross. He began construction of a two story log fort and planted a garden. However, the attempt was abortive. Robert Stuart, of the Astorians, wrote in his diary under date of July 1, 1812: "About 2 hours before sunset we reached the establishment made by Captain Winship of Boston in the spring of 1810 It is situated on a beautiful high bank on the South side & enchantingly diversified with white oaks, Ash and Cottonwood and Alder but of rather a diminutive size here he intended leaving a Mr. Washington with a party of men, but whether with the view of making a permanent settlement or merely for trading with the Indians until his return from the coast, the natives were unable to tell, the water however rose so high as to inundate a house he had already constructed, when a dispute arose between him and the Hellwits, by his putting several of them in Irons on the supposition that they were of the Chee-hee lash nation, who had some time previous cut off a Schooner belonging to the Russian establishment at New Archangel, by the Governor of which place he was employed to secure any of the Banditti who perpetrated this horrid act The Hellwits made formidable preparations by engaging auxiliaries &c. for the release of their relations by force, which coming to the Captain's knowledge, as well as the error he had committed, the Captives were released, every person embarked, and left the Columbia without loss of time "".


Views ...

Image, 2012, Clatskanie floodplain and Port Westward, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Clatskanie floodplain looking towards Port Westward, Oregon, once the original "Oak Point". View looking west from the road to Mayger. Image taken August 27, 2012.
Image, 2012, Clatskanie floodplain, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Clatskanie floodplain, Oregon. View looking south from near Port Westward. Image taken August 27, 2012.
Image, 2012, Port Westward, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Port Westward, Oregon, and the cliffs of Oak Point, Washington. Image taken August 27, 2012.
Image, 2012, Clatskanie floodplain, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Clatskanie floodplain, Oregon. View looking north from the road to Mayger. Image taken August 27, 2012.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, March 26, 1806 ...
The wind blew So hard untill 8 A M. that we detained [at their camp on the Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough, across from the upstream tip of Wallace Island], we gave a Medal [Jefferson Peace Medals] to a Man by the name of Wal-lal-le a principal man among the Cath lah mahs, he appeared very thankfull for the honor Confured on him and presented us with a large Sturgion [Columbia River White Sturgeon]. we Continued our rout up the river to an old Village on the South Side where we halted for dinner. we met on the way the principal Chief of the Cathlahmahs, Sh-hh-wh-cop, who had been up the river on a trading voyage, he gave us some Wappato and fish, we also purchased Some Wappato Soon after halted for dinner at an Old Village <at> on the South point [today's Port Westward, originally was called "Oak Point"] opposit the lower pt. of Fannys Island [Crims Island]. ...     here our hunters joined us haveing killed 3 Eagles and a large Wild goose. I had now an oppertunity of Comparing the bald <and> with the grey Eagle; I found the grey Eagle about 1/4 largest, its legs and feet were dark which those of the bald eagle were of a fine orrange yellow; the iris of the eye is also of a dark yellowish brown, while that of the Grey is of a light Silvery colour with a Slight admixture of yellow.     after dinner I walked on Shore through an eligant bottom on the South Side [Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough Delta] opposit to Fannys Island [Crims Island]. This bottom we also Call fannys bottom it is extensive and an open leavel plain except near the river bank which is high dry rich oak land [Oak Point]. I saw Some deer & Elk at a distance in the Prarie. we continued untill late in the evening and encamped on a Small Island near the Middle of the river [Walker Island] haveing made 18 Miles. 2 Indians Visited us this evining.





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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:    Oregon State Archives website, 2012, "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon";   

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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August 2016