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William Clark

1770 - 1838

Great joy in Camp we are in view of the Ocean,
this great Pacific Ocean which we been so long anxious to see
and the roaring or noise made by the waves braking on the rocky
shores (as I suppose) may be heard distinctly.

                                                                  —William Clark in his Voyage of Discovery journal

William Clark, brother of Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark, was born in Caroline County Virginia on August 1, 1770. Along with Meriwether Lewis, Clark lead the "voyage of discovery" ordered by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the route across America's new territories of the Louisiana purchase. In addition to sharing command, Clark also had recordkeeping duties. Especially important were the maps he created of the party's route and the identification of native flora and fauna.

In May of 1804 the expedition started up the Missouri River from a camp near St. Louis. By late fall, the explorers reached what is now North Dakota and spent the winter there. The following spring they continued along the Missouri and in late summer crossed the Rocky Mountains. They obtained horses, supplies, and valuable information from the Indians they met on their journey. Following the Clearwater, Snake, and Columbia Rivers they made their way to the Pacific coast, which they reached in November of 1805. The party spent the winter on the coast of what is now Oregon and began the trip home in March of 1806. The explorers returned along nearly the same route by which they had come, reaching St. Louis in September of 1806 after traveling a total of 8,000 miles (12,800 kilometers).

After Lewis's death in 1809, Clark became responsible for the publication of the expedition's journals. Clark also held several public offices in St. Louis, including governor of the Missouri Territory and later, superintendent of Indian Affairs.

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•  Other Frontiersmen the Lucidcafé Library
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  Other Frontiersmen in the Lucidcafé Library

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  DVDs About Lewis

  • National Geographic - Lewis & Clark - Great Journey West (2002) - Studio: Warner Home Video

    National Geographic brings to life the epic journey of Lewis, Clark, their guide Sacagawea and the brave Corps of Discovery across the land that would become the United States.

    CLICK HERE to purchase this DVD edition of "Great Journey West"

  • Lewis & Clark - The Journey of the Corps of Discovery (1997) - Studio: PBS Home Video

    This well-crafted, engrossing documentary employs Ken Burns trademark approach to his subjects, from its elegant juxtaposition of period illustrations and portraits against newly filmed footage of historic sites to Burns's repertory of accomplished actors to provide gravitas for quotes from the key figures.

    CLICK HERE to purchase this DVD edition of "The Journey of the Corps of Discovery"

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Copyright © 1995-2016 Robin Chew
Article written by Robin Chew - August 1995