Tuesday, July 24, 2012

West of the Shire

On July 24, 1801, Meriwether Lewis, 
personal secretary to President Thomas Jefferson 
and Jefferson's fellow Virginian, neighbor, and family friend,
provided Jefferson with a roster of all commissioned US Army officers.
Historians have evidence that the curious symbols on the list prepared by Lewis
signified each officer's loyalty to the President.
The roster exemplified Lewis's knowledge of  the US Army
and, coupled with Lewis's experience in the western territories,  
prompted Jefferson to choose Lewis to head the expedition 
to the Pacific Ocean and back again in 1803.

I bring this up because I recently visited what was once the Louisiana Territory
and within it, the starting point for the Lewis and Clark Expedition: 
the river town today called St. Charles, Missouri.

Missouri River at St. Charles:

It was there that I learned Lewis and Clark were both native Virginians,
Lewis having been born in Albemarle County and Clark in Caroline County.
These facts had heretofore escaped my attention.
Even though I lived in Missouri for a time and often drove by the road signs 
erected to commemorate the Lewis and Clark Trail, 
I didn't know much about the two men beyond their role in exploring the West.
Their life stories are really quite fascinating, 
and as many know, Lewis's demise is surrounded with mystery.
But here in this blog, we will explore the lighter side.
Join me tomorrow for a glimpse 
of the charming place where western expansion took root.

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