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William Clark


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The Lewis and Clark Expedition
Meriwether Lewis
Sacagawea
The Louisiana Purchase
American History Glossary

William Clark was best known early in his life as the younger brother of Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark. He served in the Virginia militia in the 1770s, where he met Meriwether Lewis.

Clark was a mapmaker. He carried with him a map of North American and drew on it as the journey progressed. He also took measurements of river miles, speed, and depth. He labeled mountains, bluffs, islands, creeks and rivers. In doing so, he created a master map that is a historical marvel.

He and Lewis shared the duties of command of the expedition. On the way back, they split up. Clark and several men went southeast, to the Yellowstone River, and followed it to the Missouri. Lewis took Sacagawea and several men and went northeast. They met again in the Dakota Territory, where they had first met Sacagawea.

They returned to St. Louis on Sept. 22, 1806. In the more than two years of their journey, they had covered 8,000 miles and discovered 173 new plants and 122 species and subspecies of animals.

The following year, Clark married Julia Hancock. They had five children, the first son of whom was named Meriwether Lewis Clark.

In 1813, he became governor of the Missouri Territory and Superintendent of Indian Affairs. In 1820, his wife died. The following year, he married again. They had two children.

Clark died in 1838, a famous man.

Graphics courtesy of ArtToday


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