History 8, Period 2
Born on August 18, 1774, in Albemarle County, Virginia. Meriwether Lewis spent much of his youth outdoors, developing an interest in plants, animals, and geology. When Lewis turned eight, his family moved to a colony on the Broad River in northeastern Georgia. In the four years he lived there, he harnessed his wilderness skills and became proficient with a black powder rifle. He then returned to Virginia at age 13 for formal schooling and learned to administer the family plantation of nearly 2,000 acres, worked by 24 slaves. Work for Jefferson
As a member of the state militia, Lewis helped to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794. The next year he served with William Clark. Lewis then joined the regular army and achieved the rank of a captain. In 1801, he was asked by President Thomas Jefferson to act as his private secretary.
Jefferson also made Lewis another offer: to lead an expedition into the lands west of the Mississippi. Jefferson's interest in the area increased with the purchase of the Louisiana Territory. Jefferson then asked Lewis to gather information about the plants, animals, and peoples of the region. Lewis was eager and selected his old friend, William Clark, to join him as co-commander of the expedition.
The Expedition Begins
Lewis, Clark, and the rest of their expedition ( A.K.A the Corps of Discovery) began their journey near St. Louis, Missouri, in May 1804. They encountered dangerous waters and harsh weather and endured hunger, illness, injury, and fatigue. Along the way, Lewis kept a journal of their sightings and adventures in addition to samples of plants and animals he confronted.
Lewis and the expedition received assistance, on their journey, from many of the native peoples. The Mandans provided them with supplies during their first winter where they picked up two new members. The two new members included Sacagawea and Touissant Charbonneau,...