Exploring the Lewis and Clark Expedition

215 years ago the most physically and mentally challenging expedition began with its first steps led by two men who would change our country’s history forever. It all started when the new president, Thomas Jefferson, gave Meriwether Lewis the tedious task of exploring west from the new lands purchased from France and on toward west coast. This task would be known as  The Corps of Discovery, being the very first expedition to pass through the western portion of the United States of America and return as well. Lewis was in charge of all preparations for the expedition including picking his crew to assist him on the trek, of course including William Clark of which he would declare Co-leader and his right hand man. The journey wouldn’t start until May 14, 1804 where they were soon to encounter numerous amounts of troubles and legendary discoveries they could never have expected for the two years of which this expedition will last. Their legacy will forever be remembered for what these men and women did for the expansion of our country.

William Lewis and Lucy Meriwether had five kids through their marriage including Meriwether Lewis the second born child of the family. He was from a respectable old prosperous family. Born in Ivy Creek he lived a 2,000 acre family estate named Locust Hill not far from Monticello home of Thomas Jefferson who was actually a family friend. Jefferson would later state that depression ran through the Lewis family. Virginia Meriwether and his family moved to Georgia after his father passed from Pneumonia in 1779 while serving in the military. From his mother Lewis developed an intense hatred for the British, who looted and burned much of his home county during the war. Also from his mother he picked up an interest in herbs and medicines, many would come to his mother for medical help. This skill Lewis obtained would carry on to be used in his expedition. Lewis and his family left for Georgia where his mother’s new husband Thomas Marks owned some land. Growing up on this frontier he learned how to hunt and fish as well as interact with local Indians. He would later move back to Virginia to manage the Locust Hill plantation under his uncles supervision as well as receive education from private tutors.

At twenty years old Lewis joined the Virginia Militia and helped stop the rebellious farmers in the west who were responding to the federal liquor tax. This would be called the Whiskey Rebellion. Lewis and 13,000 other soldiers under the control of George Washington would march towards the area where the opposition would be stopped with no battles occurring. Through the Military he would soon become an officer and travel the country for the next 5 years on different assignments such as delivering messages and meeting and interacting with Indians of the region. He would serve in William Clark’s Rifle Company. This is where their relationship started, they had many common traits, they were both tall, strong, and respected Virginians who grew up on the american frontier.

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