That bend in the river has come to be called South Point, the most southern course of the Missouri River. The Corps members took their readings, and continued on. They passed the lands of W. Hughes, W. Massey, W. Fullerton, E. Rogers, J. Cowan, L. Dubois, H. Stephenson, J. Caulk and Kincaid Caldwell.
Sgt. Patrick Gass, a member of the expedition, wrote in his journal "We proceeded three miles and passed a creek on the south side called Wood river; the banks of the river here are high and the land rich: arrived at St. Johns. . ."
Back on July 9, 1793, El Baron de Carondelet, the Governor-General in charge of Spain's domain in North America, New Orleans, appointed Don Antonio Gautier as a lieutenant and ordered him to form a company of Spanish militia. In 1796, Gautier was appointed to command a fort at San Juan del Misuri, or St. John on the Missouri River. Most likely, if this fort was built, it was a small log house to protect the first settlers against the Indians and to control unlicensed fur traders leaving St. Andrews, St. Charles and St. Louis.
Gautier lived in St. Charles in 1796 with his wife Elizabeth Becquetta. Her father, Jean B. Becquetta, was a blacksmith and had been one of the first residents of St. Louis. In his journal, Gass goes on to say "St. Johns, a small French village situated on the north side and encamped a quarter of a mile above it. This is the last settlement of white people on the river."
While no one is certain that a fort was ever erected at San Juan del Misuri, or St. John, many historians do agree that the San Juan or St. John settlement was on the south side of the Missouri River, where Washington is today. This theory is supported by the fact that St. John Creek flows to the south of the river, which is noted by William Clark on his manuscript map that accompanied the journals.
In 1816, the St. John River was also noted by a surveyor on the south side of the Missouri River and was said to be 55 links wide. The surveyor also gave information about the residents in the area in 1816, Phillip Miller, Joseph Maupin, Thomas Brown and Elisha Estes. By 1816, Kincaid Caldwell's land adjoined that of John Long, the original claimant of 5,000 arpens (a Spanish land measurement) that is Washington today. Rio San Juan, or River St. John [Creek], is noted on the survey on the south side of the river.
The island at the mouth of the creek was called St. John as well. The island was at times really two islands that had a shallow creek that flowed across it. The furthermost east island was called Sante Fe, but the other island, No. 74, was also noted as St. Johns Island on the early survey. Eventually, probably due to flooding, both islands became one and were referred to as St. John.
Within a few years, a post office was established called St. Johns, which was on the south side of the river. And by 1818, and the formation of Franklin County, the same area became the St. John Township.
On May 25, Lewis and Clark would turn the expedition northward and reach the settlement of La Charette, going a half mile past to camp for the night.