Lewis and Clark

Lewis Portrait

Independence National Historical Park

Meriwether Lewis
(1774 - 1809)

Born in Albemarle County Virginia, Meriwether Lewis served his country from the age of 20. He joined the US Army and rose to the rank of Captain in 1800. After active military service, Lewis became President Thomas Jefferson's private secretary in 1801. Jefferson asked Lewis to command an expedition to explore the land west of the Mississippi. With William Clark, Lewis led the journey to the Pacific Ocean and back between 1804 and 1806. In 1807, as reward for his hard work, he was appointed governor of the Louisiana Territory.

Clark Portrait

Independence National Historical Park

William Clark
1770 - 1838

William Clark was born on August 1, 1770, in Caroline County Virginia. Clark served in the militia, resigning in 1796 to attend family properties in Kentucky. In 1803, he accepted the invitation of Meriwether Lewis to co-command an expedition to the Pacific Ocean. Clark was recruited by Lewis to help lead the "corps of discovery" ordered by President Thomas Jefferson. Clark’s duties included record keeping of the voyage, which has given historians much of the information on this important trip. Clark also created maps of the uncharted area for future explorers. After the successful journey, Clark published the journals from the expedition and from 1813 to 1820, he served as governor of the Missouri Territory. Clark held many public offices in St. Louis and served as U.S. Superintendent of Indian Affairs.