Meriweather Lewis

Meriweather Lewis


Meriweather Lewis: (1774-1809) was born in Albermarle County, VA. Thomas Jefferson picked him as leader of the western expedition in which he was to explore the land obtained by the Louisiana Purchase. He was aloof, an introvert, and held himself apart from his party, keeping copious notes of their journey. He loved Clark and chose him to be his chief side on this journey. Lewis spent some time in Philadelphia, studying the natural sciences and uses of instruments for determining positions and altitudes. He was always a student, always withdrawn and introspective. After performing this tremendous feat of discovery (the western expedition), he was made Governor of the northern part of the Louisiana Territory in 1807, and discharged his duties with great efficiency. Alas, his end was shrouded in tragedy - in 1890, he started for Washington on official business and on October 11, 1809 was found dead at a place near Nashville, Tennesee. For many years it was thought he committed suicide, until it was recently discovered and definitely established that he was murdered. It was Clark's unswerving judgment that Lewis had not, could not, have killed himself that led to the discovery of the tragic truth.

Marshall Papers-ACHS