Thornton was the daughter of Francis Thornton and Mary Taliaferro.
He later served as governor of Upper Louisiana Territory. His mother then married John Marks and relocated her family to Georgia before being widowed again by He joined the Virginia militia in to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania. In President Jefferson asked Lewis to be his personal secretary and aide-de-camp.
In Jefferson appointed Lewis commander of an expedition to explore the American territory newly acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. His considerable frontier skills, military service, physical endurance, intellectual prowess, and literary skills made him an excellent choice.
He also began making preparations, recruiting men, and purchasing equipment, boats, and supplies for the expedition. When Jefferson informed Lewis of the numerous commercial, scientific, and diplomatic purposes of the venture, Captain Lewis invited his good friend Clark to co-command the expedition.
Although Clark was officially a lieutenant and second in command because the U. The Lewis and Clark Expedition spanned 8, mi 13, km and three years —06taking the Corps of Discoveryas the expedition party was known, down the Ohio Riverup the Missouri Riveracross the Continental Divideand to the Pacific Ocean.
Lewis served as the field scientist, chronicling botanical, zoological, meteorological, geographic, and ethnographic information. He also gathered specimens—plant, animal, and mineral—to send back East for further study.
The co-commanders advanced the American fur trade by documenting the river systems and fur resources in the West. They met Indian leaders, distributed trade goods, delivered speeches, invited Indian delegations to travel to Washington, and conducted peace, friendship, and trade negotiations.
Moreover, they announced the sovereignty of the United States and left calling cards of empire such as medals, flags, and certificates. C Upon the conclusion of the expedition, Congress rewarded Lewis with double pay and 1, acres hectares of public land.
Post-expedition endeavours—preparing a three-volume narrative of the expedition for publication, courting women, reporting back to Jefferson on the treason trial of his former vice president Aaron Burrand attending to family business—delayed Lewis from assuming his post until March When Lewis arrived in Missouri, he clashed with Bates over the administration of Indian and territorial affairs, which resulted in an irreparable rift between them.
His attention was also demanded by the Osage Indians, who protested treaties and whose land had been encroached upon by emigrant tribes such as the Cherokee. Lewis faced additional pressures from his superiors regarding his infrequent correspondence and his handling of land claims, mining disputes, unlicensed traders, intertribal warfare, and the delayed return of Mandan Chief Sheheke who had traveled with Lewis to Washington, D.
Nonetheless, Lewis had been successful in publishing territorial laws, supporting St. In Lewis, age 35, embarked for Washington, D. There on October 11 Lewis died a violent and mysterious death from gunshot wounds to the head and chest; the circumstances have fueled a long-standing debate over whether his death was a suicide or murder.
Many scholars believe Lewis took his own life as a result of depression, alcohol abuseor failing to marry or to publish. Others assert that thieves, opportunists, or political opponents murdered him.
Another explanation suggests it may have been accidental.
In Tennessee erected a grave-site marker that in became the Meriwether Lewis National Monument. See also Lewis and Clark Expedition.Lewis And Clark Expedition summary: The United States purchased Louisiana from France in The huge part of the land west of the Mississippi River was completely unknown to Americans and needed to be examined first before it could be settled.
Bestselling Books: The Journals of Lewis and Clark (Lewis & Clark Expedition), The Essential Lewis and Clark (Lewis & Clark Expedition), The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Volume 9: The Journals of John Ordway, May 14, September 23, , and .
Meriwether Lewis: Meriwether Lewis, American explorer, who with William Clark led the Lewis and Clark Expedition through the uncharted American interior to the Pacific Northwest in – He later served as governor of Upper Louisiana Territory. Born to William .
A database of political history and cemeteries, with brief biographical entries for , U.S. political figures, living and dead, from the s to the present.
Meriwether Lewis by Charles Willson Peale, from life, Independence National Historical Park. Diplomat, explorer, scientist, governor, soldier, Virginia gentleman, student, secretary to the president: during his 36 years, Meriwether Lewis bore each of these titles.
Lewis and Clark, the companion Web site to the Ken Burns film, 'Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery.'.