I watched a television program last night that totally fascinated me. It was about Meriwether Lewis. Those of you who are not familiar with him, I will tell you a little about his background. He was born on August 18, 1774 in Charlottesville, Virginia. He became a soldier, served under William Clark who he later picked to be co-charge for the great exploration of the west, authorized by Thomas Jefferson. Meriwether started out as the personal secretary to President Jefferson, but Jefferson gave him another job to explore the Louisana Purchase and westward.
President Jefferson also gave them a mandate to see if there were signs of Welch occupancy in the west. Since Lewis had served under William Clark, they knew each other well. The two gathered their supplies and other men and left for the unknown in May 1804.
Meriwether Lewis kept journals of everything he saw during his mission. He retured in May 1806. Documentation along with drawings showed President Jefferson what was seen on the journey.
Three years after returning home, Meriwether was going back to Washington DC with his Journals He was staying at an Inn on the Natchez Trace. The Trace was a well used 440 mile trail from Mississippi to Tennessee. At the Inn on October 12, 1809, a couple of gun shots were heard and Meriwether Lewis was found dead. He had one shot in the abdomen and one through the head, with blew part of the skull off exposing the brain. It was ruled as a suicide.
Since that time there has been a theory that the United States Government had him killed because he had found something during the expedition that would threaten the United States right to the lands west of the Mississippi. Such as the Welch having been there before which would give England the right to the land.
Pages had been torn from his journal and were never seen again. Lewis was a Mason and had his apron in his pocket. When they removed it, it was blood spattered. The apron is on display in Montana. Blood samples were taken and it has been shown that it came from two different men and not Meriwether Lewis.
I think it’s fascinating to know that even back when the country was new that a National Hero could have been killed because of knowledge he had that could harm the government. It’s something we will never know for sure but does make for a good story.