February 11, 2012 - Birth of Sacagawea's Bouncing Baby Boy

– 1805

When she was about 12 years old, she was kidnapped from her own Shoshone Indian tribe by Hidatsa Indians.

When she was around 13 years old, she was purchased by (and married off to) a French fur trapper.

When she was 14 years old, she became pregnant.

Now, just 15 years old, she was living in a fort with her husband and a whole lot of English-speaking white men who were part of the Corps of Discovery (which we call the Lewis and Clark Expedition). Her husband had been hired as interpreter—even though it was she who knew the Shoshone language the group desired!

And her baby was ready to be born...

This Sacagawea dollar honors
the brave teenage mom/
Sacagawea gave birth to little Jean Baptiste Charbonneau on this date in 1805. One of the other Indian interpreters helped out by “administering” crushed rattlesnake rattles to speed the delivery. (I have no idea how or where he “administered the crushed rattles – did he make them into a paste and smear it somewhere? Did he make the rattles into a drink? Or did he just lay the crushed rattles on Sacagawea's hand?)

William Clark nicknamed the baby “Pompy.” And when the expedition left the fort and went up the Missouri in their canoes, Sacagawea held little Pompy the whole way!

By the way...

When Pompy was just three months old, one of the expedition's boats capsized. Sacagawea was able to stay calm and rescue several items that fell out of the boat, including Lewis and Clark's journals and records. The corps commanders commended her for her quick action and named the river Sacagawea in her honor.

Sacagawea and Little Pompy had many other adventures on the expedition, traveling from what is now North Dakota to Oregon and then back again. Read about some of them here.  (Click the various words “interpreter,” “her return home,” and so forth.) The story of Sacagawea is also told here and, in a briefer version, here

Also on this date:

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