Meriwether Lewis's ancestry, birth, and early life are considered. Lewis is born August 1774 in Virginia to William Lewis and Lucy Lewis nye Meriwether, cousins. Lewis is born on the eve of the American Revolutionary War and his ancestry includes numerous military accomplishments in both lines. Lewis has an older sister, Jane, and a younger brother, Reuben. William Lewis dies of pneumonia in 1779; thereafter Nicholas Lewis, William's older brother, becomes family guardian pending Lewis' attainment of legal age. Lucy Lewis remarries in 1980 to John Marks, and has two additional children—John Hastings and Mary Garland. One significant family friend is Thomas Jefferson, future president of the United States of America and a nearby plantation owner.
As a young boy, Meriwether spends a considerable amount of time out of doors, including accompanying a frontier pioneer group to a new settlement. He is considered to be curious, inquisitive, coolheaded, and courageous...
Chapter 2 Planter 1792 - 1794 Summary and Analysis
During his youth, Lewis develops excellent skills in riding, hiking, and outdoor skills as well as a penchant for what he refers to as 'rambling'; that is, adventure and wilderness travel. He develops a scrupulous honesty and is widely considered trustworthy. He assumes plantation management with minor misgiving over having given up his formal education. Nevertheless, he is a capable administrator, constantly increasing the size of his land holdings. Like most other plantation owners, he is land rich and cash poor. Slaves work his plantation and, like most men of the era, Lewis is not troubled by the moral quandary slavery presents. He esteems Native Americans as the archetypical noble savage and believes that one day they will accept European civilization and become productive and co-equal citizens; he simultaneously considers African Americans somewhat sub-human and incapable of the degree of energy