Page 1 of George Drouilard...Mr. Cool George Drouillard, was called several things in the “Journals of Lewis and Clark” but he was most often referred to as Drewyer (simply a phonetic spelling of his name), but his correct name was Drouillard. Clark spelled everyone's name phonetically. When Drouillard joined the Expedition he was the 28-year-old son of a French Canadian father stationed at Fort Massac and Shawnee Indian mother. He spoke both French, Shawnee and sort of a universal hand sign language. He was believed to have learned to read and write, probably from his father, but it is not known if he kept any type of diary during the Expedition. As the Expedition left Clark's cabin in Clarksville, Indiana the captains started realizing the two weakness of their crew. They had hired good woodsmen that lived along the river and could handle a small canoe, but few had any experience with a big barge like their keelboat. And they also had no one in the crew that could speak any Indian language. When they reached Fort Massac they would be entering Shawnee and Creek Indian country to the west of the fort. As they reach today's Illinois they stopped at Fort Massac on the Ohio River. There they meet Drouillard. Captain Bissell at the fort has previously recommended the civilian, Drouillard. He was an excellent hunter with a good knowledge of the Indians’ customs and sign language. Somewhere along his 28 years he had also learned how to navigate a larger canoe or barge. Going up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers Drouillard spent many days manning the rutter on the rear of the 22,000 pound keelboat. Apparently Drouillard's father and mother were stationed at Fort Massac and lived among the Indians on the edge of the Indian wilderness west of Fort Massac. Pictures of Fort Massac: View from the front entrance of the Ft. Massac replica. In his job as civilian interpreter, Drouillard was offered .80 cent a day to join the Expedition. Lewis also gave him a $30 advance for guiding eight volunteers from South West Point, Tennessee, to Fort Massac to join the Expedition to help row the big keelboat when they reached the downstream current of the Mississippi River, not far from Fort Massac. This was a big trip for Drouillard since it was 250 miles away and about 40 miles west of Knoxville, TN. If you look at a map of where Fort South West Point is you can see, George earned his pay. It was a puzzle to find a navigable route to Fort South West Point. The only image of what George Drouillard probably looked like when picked up at Fort Massac. Drouillard and York, the slave, were the only civilian members of the Expedition to travel from Camp Dubois to the Pacific and back. At North Dakota's Fort Mandan two other civilians, Charbonneau and Sacajawea, also joined the party as interpreters. Since Lewis was often dealing with the local Indians, Drouillard frequently stayed with Lewis on scouting missions to be his interpreter. He quickly became known as the man to go to in situations of danger, where nerve, endurance and cool judgment were needed. Lewis highly praised him as the most skilled hunter among the men. Drouillard quickly became one of the most valued recruits. Drouillard was used more as a scout and interpreter but his bravery and hunting skills put him on the front line any time there was danger or their lack of food forced the captains to call on Drouillard, again and again. Drouillard sign language skills played a key role in establishing relations with the various Indian tribes that the Expedition encountered. In late July 1804, just north of the Platte River’s entrance into the Missouri River, Drouillard and Private Pierre Cruzatte were sent by the captains to scout out the villages of the Oto and the Missouri Indians. This was the first time these tribes would face civilized white men from east of the Missouri River and Drouillard was asked to lead the search for the potentially hostile tribes. Being half Shawnee and not a military man he probably looked more like an Indian. They found the principal Oto village and fresh tracks but no people, as the villagers were off on an annual buffalo hunt. Days later, Drouillard came into contact with one Missouri and two Oto Indians, with whom Lewis and Clark had sought to have council. This site was named Council Bluffs and is a large Iowa city today, called Council Bluffs, Iowa. Council Bluffs Memorial picture: Drouillard was sent out to search for the Oto Indians for the Expedition's first council at today's Council Bluffs, Iowa. The site of Council Bluffs Memorial overlooks both Council Bluffs, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska. If anyone is ever in the Omaha Eppling Airport you can see Council Bluffs from the airport terminal. In early August 1804, two men of the Expedition were believed to have deserted. Drouillard was such a good tracker he lead four soldiers from the Expedition as a search party charged with locating deserters Moses Reed and La Liberte. Drouillard and the other members of the search party succeeded in bringing Reed back to the Corps.