Lewis and Clark Expedition
Who was Meriwether Lewis?
Meriwether Lewis was an American explorer, soldier, and public administrator. He is best known for the Lewis and Clark Expedition which he co-led with his friend William Clark.
Meriwether Lewis was born in 1774 to a Virginia Planter family. His father William Lewis was an officer during the American Revolution. Just three years after his famous expedition out west, Meriwether Lewis died in 1809 while traveling through Tennessee on his way to the nation's capital. It is still debated today as to whether he committed suicide or was murdered.
Lewis and Clark Expedition (aka Corps of Discovery)
In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson acquired from France's Napoleon Bonaparte territory that became known as the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson commissioned a two year expedition to explore these lands and chose Meriwether Lewis as the leader. Lewis then chose his friend William Clark as his second in command. Lewis and Clark were accompanied on most of the trip by a young Shoshone woman named Sacagawea. She was instrumental to the success of their mission as her presence let the Native American tribes they met along the way know that their intentions were peaceful. The mission lasted two years, starting in 1804 and ending in 1806.
Meriwether has a large number of famous kin, but what is most interesting is how closely related he is to some of them. President George Washington is a second cousin one time removed while President James Madison is a third cousin. He is a second cousin four times removed to General George S. Patton and a fourth cousin one time removed to General Robert E. Lee. He is also has some fairly close kinship to the current royal family being a third cousin six times removed to Queen Elizabeth II.
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