Polish Immigrant

 Many people have tried to do what Meriwether Lewis has done, but have failed.  Lewis

was born Augest 18, 1774.  His family had a history of Hipochondria (depression).  As a boy his

father died and he inherited a 2,000 acre plantation, 520 pounds in cash, 24 slaves, and 147

gallons of whiskey.  By the time he became a teenager Lewis had become an alcoholic.  As he

became older he joined the army and helped put down the whiskey rebelloin.  The whiskey

rebellion started because the govornment put a tax on whiskey, and many of the frontiersman

couldnt pay it.

On Febuary 23, 1801 Thomas Jefferson asked Meriwether Lewis to be his secretary.  The

job paid $500 a year. This was much less than he made at the plantation but he still accepted.  As

Thomas Jefferson and Meriwether Lewis became friends Thomas Jefferson taught Meriwether

Lewis to read.  Thomas Jefferson wanted to explore America so he asked Lewis to lead an

expidition to the Pacific coast and back.  He agreed but he knew it would be long and hard and

that they would need many supplies.  Meriwether bought 15 Pennsylvania Rifles, colapsable

boat, tackle, lead, ink powder, 30 steels, mosquito netting, and oilskin bags.  He also bought

many presents for the Indians: 5 pounds white glass beads, 20 pounds red assorted beads, 144

scissors, 288 brass thimbles, many blue beads, silk, paint, vermilion, and 288 knives.

On July 5, 1803 Lewis set out for Pittsburgh.  Upon arriving at Pittsburgh they discover

the colapsable boat is not even close to being done.  So they cant leave for the Pacific coast yet.

On August 31, 7:00 A.M. the last nail was driven into the boat.  But by that time the river was at

a record low.  On September 1st they left Pittsburgh and went Down the Ohio river.  In some

places the river was only 6 inches deep.  There were a lot of mosquitoes and fog on the way

down the river.  In late October George Rogers Clark Accepted his invitation to go along on the

expidition.  The voyage picked him up at Clarksville.

On November 13 the expidition set out for fort Mastic, on the Mississippi river.  From

November 20, 1803-March 1804 the expidition stayed the winter in St. Louis.  There they bought

corn, flour, biscuits, salt, pork, lard, and Indian goods from local traders.  On May 2nd they

started their way up the Missouri.  At the end of July they had made it 640 miles up the river.

The expidition Met their first Indians, the Ottoes, on August 2.  Soon after their

confrontation they held a council on Council Bluff.  The expidition continued on its way and

soon met the Sioux.  A disagreement came about between the two parties because the Sioux

wanted a canoe load of gifts.  This almost started a fight but the Sioux finally let the expidition


The Arikaras met the expidition on October 18.  The expidition was very generous to the

Arikaras with gifts.  Here Fort Mandan was built so the expidition could stay the winter.  The

blacksmiths proved to be very valuable because they made battle axes and sold them to the

Indians for corn.  During the stay at Fort Mandan the expidition would be there from Dec 21,

1804-April 7, 1805.  On April 7 the expidition continued their journey on the Missouri.

The expidition came to the junction of the Marias and the Missouri river on June 3.  The

captains were not sure which river was the Missouri.  The party split up and explored a part of

each river.  On June 16 they met back at the junction. They decided the south fork was the

Missouri.  They started to build the colapsable boat but they didnt have any pitch, so they made

a sealant out of beeswax and charcoal.  When they put it in the water it leaked so badly they

decided not to use it.  Instead they made some canoes out of cottonwood trees.  They started up

the Missouri again on June 16.

           They made it to the three forks of the Missouri on July 27.  At that time Clark had been

leading some men up ahead of the