tv Lectures in History Lewis and Clark Expedition CSPAN August 21, 2021 1:56am-2:52am EDT
brigham young university provided the video. >> so today we're going to be looking at the lewis and clark expedition and discussing some of the ramifications of this most important expedition. some people have classified the lewis and clark expedition and compared it to the odyssey of the greek tragedies, just like the civil war is sometimes seen as america's iliad of that great
epic battle. so this great voyage of the lewis and clark expedition will be quite significant and important. a few years ago the atlantic monthly did a survey of the top 100 most influential figures in american history. and lewis and clark make the list at 70. and what i find interesting is they're the only names on the entire list where they're listed together. so it's almost like they're inseparable. and the smithsonian did one just five years ago on the hundred most significant americans, and meriwether lewis and william clark were hooked together. and sacagawea who accompanied the expedition also made it. so this young teenage shoshone
woman was considered one of the most 100 most significant americans. there is an impression across the united states that lewis and clark expedition was significant and that the people that went along are important for our country's history. today we're going to discuss the expedition and three main facets. we're going to look at it as the causes and historical context, the event itself, and the significance of the expedition. i wanted to start out with this quote from thomas jefferson. this was in a letter he wrote george rogers clark, who is the older brother of william clark. this was written in 1780, so it's just a few years before -- it's just a few years after the independence -- declaration of independence and a few years before the constitution is ratified. and he says, we shall form to
the american union a barrier against a dangerous extension of the british, province of canada, and add to the empire of liberty and extensive fertile country thereby converting dangerous enemies into valuable friends. so even during the time of the articles of confederation, jefferson is sending letters to various peoples to kind of formulate this empire of liberty that he had in mind. now, jefferson was a child of the enlightenment. he knew the significance of enlightenment through exploration, that people on the ground seen things and writing them down and recording those would be very valuable for science. and so his attempts to explore what became the united states are legendary. these are just three of the attempts that he made.
first was to george rogers clark in a letter that we just read. he was a military soldier who had won in campaigns during the american revolution. and he said that he wanted him to lead this expedition, and clark replied that he was not in very good health, but if he decided to do it in the future, he should think about asking his little brother william who will eventually join the lewis and clark expedition, so that's pretty cool. the second was john ledyard. this explorer had an interesting idea that you could explore the western part of the americas by coming from russia. and so he actually tried to cross russia and go through kamchatka and alaska and the coast. but he was stopped by catherine the great, one of the great czarinas from russian history. andre michaux was a french
botanist. and jefferson as a founding member of the american philosophical society in philadelphia got enough support to try to get him to at least find the flora of the west and bring that knowledge back to his friends at the philosophical society. unfortunately all three of these expeditions did not reach their zenith, nor were they successful in the terms that jefferson had hoped. when you look at a european depiction of north america in 1800, you see that the spanish have been quite active along the california coast. there are some french and spanish communities throughout the south and southeast, and then the pink indicates areas established or settled by the british in the colonies area.
but jefferson's vision of this empire of liberty was very powerful. you know, he may not have ever traveled west of the blue ridge mountains, but his mind certainly traveled all the way to the pacific. and in 1800, he learned from his friends in france that there had been a secret treaty in which the french had regained all of the area that had formerly been known as the louisiana purchase that had been given to spain during the french and indian war. and so this was pretty significant because france had been a growing empire and now was led by one of the great modern military figures napoleon. and so now there's not a crumbling, weak spanish empire on america's western flank but
an aggressive french militaristic opponent. the other thing that changed his way of thinking was the publication of a book. you know jefferson loved books. he collected thousands of them. he went into great expense and debt to do so. and when the library of congress burned down during the war of 1812, jefferson actually gave much of his private library to form the corpus of the new library of congress. and as you go there you can visit it and see some of the collections that jefferson donated to the library. but he was very keen on this book by alexander mackenzie because voyages from montreal to the pacific was a northwestern fur trader's account of traveling along the rivers and streams to the pacific ocean. and even though it was too far north into canada to be
effective for year-round travel, this greatly intrigued jefferson because mackenzie had postulated to the british that they could take control of the entire fur trade of north america if they put a monopolistic control into something like either the hudson's bay company or the northwest company to take this over. jefferson did not want america to miss out on the fur bounties of the american west. he also wanted to have this utilitarian knowledge that the enlightenment demanded and expected. and with the 1800 election, he had now been catapulted into becoming the second president of the united states of america, third president, excuse me. and his geopolitical issues and intrigues with outside and inside forces almost compelled him to do something about it. so, he sends messages and
diplomats to france to ask napoleon if he would be willing to sell what became known as the louisiana purchase. and it took several years for this to happen, but eventually it did on the 30th of april, 1803. this tract of land stretching from the gulf of mexico to the canadian shield was 828,000 square miles of land, draining much of what flowed into mississippi and missouri rivers. this was a huge territory in which the native people still claimed right of occupancy, but america was purchasing the right of discovery from france. jefferson announced this to the american people on the fourth of july in 1803 and saw this as a great boom for the country to double its size like this. he said, i look to the duplication of this area as a great achievement to the massive
happiness which is to ensue, and then postulated, is it not better that the opposite bank of the mississippi should be settled by our own brethren and children than by strangers of another family? so he's having this vision now of america expanding even beyond the boundaries of the mississippi, which in the boundary line in 1783 at the conclusion of the american revolution. and this enlightenment through exploration was to take a number of turns, but most significant were the scientific questioning, scientific method, and realtime reasoning that would occur with explorers that were on the ground. and his idea for this empire of liberty was one in which america would spread perhaps from sea to shining sea, but at this time that was quite a dangerous
proposition because there was a french philosopher by the name of montesquieu who said republics could not exist in very large continental ways because the further away you were from the periphery, the more prone or apt those fringes would spin off from the center. and so the question of how big a republic could get and still function was still undetermined. and so america became this great experiment for the expansion of freedom and democracy and equality. there were a number of explorers that went west during jefferson's tenure in office. we will focus on this red line where the lewis and clark expedition embark from -- well, they embark from really the falls of the ohio all the way
down to st. louis and then the st. louis portion to the columbia. and the zebulon pike explored the headwaters of the mississippi, arriving at lake itasca and he went on another expedition to find red river and eventually was arrested by the spanish and transported through spain and back around to natchez. and there was another expedition by hunter and dunbar that went up the washataw. and another expedition proposed to go up the platte river, but it never happened. there were lots of designs to try to explore these major river systems. and one of the reasons why the lewis and clark expedition is more famous than all of these others is because some of the
others were actually turned back by the spanish. in the case of pike he was arrested along with his men and taken under house arrest down to santa fe and then down to chihuahua. the freeman expedition was turned back by the spanish. the hunter and dunbar expedition went to the hot springs in arkansas, they had some r&r there with minerals and then returned home. and the stephen long expedition won't occur until 1819. so it's down the road. are you aware that lewis and clark, there were four different attempts by the spanish to arrest lewis and clark? and they sent out expeditions to apprehend them, and they came within a few hundred miles on two occasions to nearly arrest them. jefferson's instructions to
lewis were quite clear. the object of your mission is to explore the missouri river and such, principal stream of it, as by its course and communication with the water of the pacific ocean. we offer the most direct and practical water communication across this continent, for the purposes of commerce. and this was jefferson's letter to lewis that became kind of his marching orders. lewis knew that -- i mean, this letter to lewis was epic, it's over six pages long, it has a whole list of things that jefferson wants him to do. so he writes a letter to his friend william clark, who he had served under in a campaign in the 1790s, asking him to join him as a co-commander. and he says if there's anything under these circumstances in this enterprise which would induce you to participate in its
fatigues, its dangers, its honors, believe me there's no man whom i should share equal pleasure in sharing them as with yourself. this was an invitation to join him, even though the president and the secretary of war had not given permission for that rank. and clark wrote back and said i cheerfully join you in an official character as mentioned in your letter to partake of all the dangers, difficulties, and fatigues. and i anticipate the honors and the rewards should we be successful in accomplishing it. so this was a pretty exciting time for lewis and clark as they began preparing, now that the official news had been released in july for the following year's exploration. and you can see this journey that lewis and clark will head
on. this is about 8,000 miles, and is going to be a very long trip, 864 days that they will be gone. so this was a major expedition, and it required a lot of logistical preparation. one of the first things they did was try to find out about the region. so they gathered maps that had been published about the area. and i love this map by nicholas king called the map of the western part of north america. and you can see that the mississippi river and the great lakes and even the route of the canadians is quite well defined as is the pacific coast where vancouver and captain cook and others had mapped and charted the pacific coast. but i love this word right in the middle. i've looked at hundreds and hundreds of maps in my life, and this is the only time i found this word. i've blown it up so you can read it. and it says conjectural.
basically that means we don't know what's there. and this is amazing because lewis and clark are pretty much, they know where their destination is, but they're not quite sure what they're going to encounter in the interim. there were all kinds of stories of what they might find. they might find exotic animals or blue-eyed welchmen living up near the mandan, lost tribes of israel, mountains of silver, mountains of salt, a northwest passage, large furry beaver that were six feet long. who knew what to expect in this area. so, they're kind of exploring naturalists, they're going to pay attention to the flora and the fauna and the landscape and the native peoples to try to understand better what's going on in that region.
now, they also knew that if they got onto the great plains and there weren't any trees to build boats that they may need to have another form of transportation. so lewis devised an erector set boat called the experiment that he could put together and cover with hides in the event that they needed a boat and they didn't have any trees. the fact is after they crossed the great falls of the missouri they did need additional craft and they put this boat together, but unfortunately they didn't bring any duct tape or caulk to keep the seams from leaking. so the boat ended up not being as useful for that purpose as they had hoped. he also made one of his important acquisitions, and he bought a newfoundland dog named seaman. we don't know whether he was a black dog or the red and white
colors of the newfies. but seaman will play an important role as kind of the mascot and pet along the journey. he and clark meat near the falls of the ohio on clark's point near louisville, kentucky. and in october, they start discussing the kinds of things that they will need to have a successful voyage. clark had been in the military as a captain or as a lieutenant, excuse me. and lewis was now formally a captain. they kept up the charade that they had both become captains. and so they refer to one another as captain, each though clark's not promoted until later on. clark bid his family a fond farewell. his family lived at the falls of the ohio in kentucky, which had been a province or a county of
virginia until it became a state in the 1790s. and so they head down on this keel boat or barge, that was 55 feet long and could tow 10 to 12 tons of material. they also did some recruiting as they went to the forts, some of the officers tried to give them the people they wanted to get out of the fort, they wanted to vote off the island, so to speak. but lewis and clark were quite careful in who they chose. they wanted unmarried men primarily that could participate in these dangers and fatigues, and there were only one or two married men that actually went on the expedition. almost all of the others are single. and when all is said and done, about 55 members embark in st. louis in may of 1804. sergeant gas was one of the noncommissioned officers that joined them.
he passed inspection. and they built a winter encampment on the illinois side of the river because the transfer of the louisiana territory had not taken place yet. so they were waiting for that formal ceremony to occur. during the winter, however, they were quite busy. lewis went to st. louis to procure supplies, and clark spent most of the time training the men in shooting and also in the other things that they would need to be successful. now, there were at least five journalists who kept records of this expedition. lewis and clark will both be some of the most important writers. there are several stretches in which lewis either did not write or we've lost those entries.
clark wrote all but ten days, and even those ten days when he was gone on a hunting trip he summarized. so he basically accounted for every day of the expedition, which is quite remarkable. when you look at the words of lewis and clark and their enlisted men, they wrote more words than are contained in the holy bible. so this is a pretty extensive record. and it's been digitized, it's available free for the public at the university of nebraska press. and it's a national treasure because it can be searched, keyword searched for almost any kind of topic you can think about. now the expedition was kind of a village on the move. lewis was the trained scientist. jefferson had sent him to philadelphia to meet with his friends, the philosophical society in the university of pennsylvania to receive training on how to take astronomical
observations and the equipment that he would need and things like that. clark was the soldier. he's the one who made the expedition happen. he's the one day to day that's getting the boats up the river, getting the maps, he's overseeing the men. york was his body servant. they had been lifelong companions, and clark took him with him on the trip. they will meet sacagawea a third of the way into the expedition. we'll talk more about her when that happens. they had french voyagers that were the boatmen to take them upstream. they had regular army. and they also had civilians who were hunters and interpreters, people like john coulter and george juilliard. they carried with them a huge amount of trade goods to give as
gifts to the tribes that they met. they also had tokens of sovereignty like these peace medals with jefferson on the front and the hands clasped of a native and soldier on the back with the words "peace and friendship." these are called jefferson peace medals, and they're quite famous. the mint has remade replicas of them. and i have some in my office that you can come see. they have hudson's bay blankets similar to the ones we looked up before. and especially trade beads. the lewis and clark beads here and here, but the ones that the natives like the most seem to be the blue beads, and they traded those at almost every stop that they went. they gathered this ten tons of material and they put it inside
this barge. and clark had also made some platforms that could be marched on by the men as they were pulling the boat upstream and also raised as defensive shields if their boat ever came under attack. so it was quite an ingenious way to do that. and here's a drawing that he made of the barge. and on the 14th of may, 1804, they sent out from st. louis under a gentle breeze. they traveled up through st. charles and up the mighty missouri river. it was a challenge to go upstream. the river flows at four to 12 miles an hour depending on what currents and eddies that you're in. and so this was a very laborious way to try to get upstream. sometimes they would row. other times they would pull when they could push against a hard
bottom. they could furl their sails if the wind was blowing in the right direction. and of course the rivers meander. so this may only last for a short distance before you'd have to try a different method. they even attached long ropes to the front of the boats so that they could pull them from the shore. you can imagine how fun that would be to try to pull this ten-ton boat upstream. in addition to the large keelboat or barge, they had two red and white pirogue. that's a french word for a fancy canoe. and they became the boats that would be used for hunting expeditions to travel faster or to set up camp or to do other
kinds of things because of their greater mobility. so these are the three main vessels that are hauling these 55 men. clark was the principal cartographer and mapmaker. he was very good at dead reckoning. he also had the gift of seeing the landscape from a horizontal point of view. so think about it as you're looking across the landscape horizontally, but you could see it vertically like you're looking down from an airplane. that's the kind of maps that he's drawing is from the top view. and so he actually does a pretty good job with his distances. i think he was off something like 30 miles after this entire journey of just using a compass and estimations on how far they traveled. it's pretty amazing. they did run into some trouble. they'd get stuck on sand bars or have trees try to tip them over. but there were also moments of fun and levity where they would play the fiddle and dance around
the camp fire. if you did not follow the rules there were consequences. in this case the army required flogging. and so this involved a cat of nine tails. you can see the whip here. it would do massive damage to your back, and they would lay these on usually 25 strokes for offenses, sometimes 50 and in one case a hundred. the person couldn't even walk for several days after receiving that, as you can imagine. their trip upstream was a little of an adventure. initially the french knew a lot of the names that native people and french referred to certain
places. and so that's what they were using as their names. the further along into the trip that they go, they start naming the rivers and streams for people that they know and friends back home, even the president of the united states. so kind of changes over the course of time. lewis is primarily walking on the shore by himself, sometimes accompanied by seaman. he's observing the flora and the fauna. he's taking detailed notes, he's gathering specimens. he's kind of being this scientific explorer. meanwhile, clark is running the barge and making sure that all of the expedition's moving forward. lewis had a narrow escape with death where he came to the edge of a cliff, nearly fell off. he grabbed his hunting knife and dug it into the side of the mountain to hold himself from falling into the river. and here the people down below are wondering whether lewis is
going to be dead or not that night. we'll talk about how lewis actually dies next on friday. so, hopefully you're here for that. at night they would sit and write in their journals. sometimes they would copy from one another. there's a private who keeps record every day. and so after the journey's over, lewis and clark will try to buy all of the journals that were kept by other individuals so that they could put this all into one record. and they're also noting the flora and fauna. in this case lewis and clark discover, according to the scientific linnaean system, 178 plants and 122 animals that were new to science.
so this was quite remarkable. and you read their descriptions of how they spent half a day pouring water into a prairie dog hole up in south dakota where they were trying to catch one. and, believe it or not, they did. and they made a little cage for it and they kept it alive all winter and they sent it back to thomas jefferson as a gift. can you imagine how many stamps you'd put on a prairie dog to mail it to monticello? well, they also encountered animals that they had heard about but didn't see. and we'll discuss the grizzly bear nation when we arrive to montana. on the fourth of july they stopped at a creek and they named it independence creek. they fired shots and cannons and drank the last of their whiskey as a celebration of independence day. and, like i mentioned, the most
expensive things they took with them besides the scientific equipment were indian presents. they spent almost $700 on that, which was a huge amount of money at the time. and you can see the kinds of things that they took. their first encounter with native peoples occurred near present-day council bluff, iowa, and omaha, nebraska. it's named council bluff because of this council that took place in august of 1804 when they met members of the oto and missouri nations, and they had -- they did their little get-together where they would have a military parade. they would choose some of the cool things they brought along like a magnifying glass and an air gun and things like that. and eventually this ended up being quite nice because the natives invited them to a barbecue. they brought bison and pimekin
and melons. and both of them exchanged different kinds of food and had a little get-together in august of 1804. the only death of any member of the expedition occurred just north of there when sergeant floyd died likely from a burst appendicitis or some kind of an internal organs malfunction. and he was buried in a site called floyd's buff near sioux city, iowa. as they moved upstream, they encountered the mighty lakota nation. the lakotas are the western band of the teton sioux and are comprised of seven main bands. this encounter was one that was filled with difficulty because the lakotas already had trading
relationships with the british. and the story that lewis and clark were telling that they wanted all of the tribes to become peaceful, they wanted to build fortifications for the fur trade where they could exchange goods did not sit well with the lakotas because they already had the trade goods that they needed and they didn't want their neighbors to acquire any of them. so they tried to prevent lewis and clark from proceeding forward. they took hold of the tow rope and held their boat. clark grabbed his sword, and he said, we are not a bunch of women, we will defend our boat with our lives and makes all of these grand proclamations. but, fortunately, cooler heads prevail, and this gentleman, black buffalo, will tell everyone to calm down, and eventually they give them more
gifts and are able to move forward. but this was seen as one of the potential obstacles of ascending the missouri was to either get past the lakotas or have a confrontation. now, fortunately for lewis and clark, after the expedition clark will spend a lot of attention and time as indian agent in formulating a very positive relationship with the lakotas. and they actually become united states allies up until the 1850s. so for almost 50 years clark is able to negotiate a peaceful outcome between the united states and the lakotas, which is a pretty cool thing to study. further upstream, they come to
the earth lodges of the arikara villages. this is where the grand river flows into the missouri. and the arikaras were a very hospitable and prosperous people, and they had a very enjoyable stay with them. lewis and clark make promises to tribes that on their return trip if there's anyone from their villages who want to return that they will take them. unfortunately, one of the men who decides to do this is an arikara chief who travels back east and actually dies from disease. so when the news of that comes back, the arikaras are greatly disappointed. some of them suspect foul play, even though there wasn't anything nefarious that went on. that it ends up being a problem that will last until 1823, and there's actually a war fought between fur traders and arikaras
in 1823 that kind of result from this arikara leader dying from disease. when they arrive in north dakota at the knife river villages, they meet the mandan peoples, these villages spread along the river were quite important. lewis and clark decided to winter there. it was already november, it was getting very cold. they knew the river would ice over. and so they asked the mandan if they could winter with them, and they built a fort and they name it fort mandan. while at the fort, this is one -- this is the second fort that lewis and clark's men construct. remember, they had built one for the winter of 1803-04 down in illinois. this one is built in north dakota near present day bismarck, and they will also
build one on the pacific coast for the following winter. so those are the three posts that they will erect. they have the great fortune of meeting sacagawea. and even though she had -- this was a shoshone girl who had been captured or enslaved by the hidatsas when she was 8 or 9 years old, she was now a young teenager. she was a plural wife of a northwest company trader and was pregnant with their first child who meriwether lewis delivers during the winter in february. and they name it jean baptiste charbonneau. this baby goes along with them on the expedition along with sacagawea. this is an amazing story. they also take her husband along as an interpreter.
and both of them are important liaisons when they arrive at the shoshone villages in the continental divide. clark's enslaved man york was also big medicine in many tribes. there was a tradition among plainspeople that when you were in mourning you would paint your body with ashes to become black. but when they tried to rub his skin and the ash didn't come off, they thought this was very significant. and so there are lots of interactions between the natives and york that are recorded in the diaries because of this interchange. it was very, very cold in north dakota that winter. it got below 60 degrees farenheit below zero before their last thermometer broke. and people were getting frostbitten in places you don't want to be frostbitten and having a really hard time trying
to keep away from the elements. but they did spend time forging things that they could exchange for the mandan for corn because the mandan corn pretty much was the main food source for them that whole winter. so they would exchange these goods for the corn. they also joined the mandan in pursuing the lakotas who raided the mandan village in a short foray in february of 1805. one of the mandan leaders that they become quite close to is a man named -- known as the big white or the big white coyote. and he is going to be an important figure because on the return journey, he travels back with lewis and clark to meet with thomas jefferson. and we have the documents and
records of these interactions between sheheke and the president. they're quite fascinating to study. but then it takes two or three years to try to get him home. i already told you about the troubles they had getting the news of the arikara leader's death back home. so to take the mandan chief all the way back up to north dakota became a herculean effort that required a huge fur company to help transport him back. and so that expanse from bringing him back, his wife and children, back to the mandans will be one of the factors that causes meriwether lewis to become financially indebted. i told you already that they gave a gift of a prairie dog to the president. they also sent him a magpie and they sent him some elk antlers.
and these still hang in the entryway of monticello. you can see those elk antlers still hanging there. so it's pretty cool that they're still there. they were traveling now upstream in canoes because they heard from the hidatsas and mandans that the missouri river had a series of cataracts or falls in which the boat could not proceed past. so they had to construct these seven canoes to proceed forward. they traveled through beautiful country in montana like the white cliffs of the missouri that are still a very favorable canoeing and rafting place. i often take lewis and clark groups on this three-day float trip through the white cliffs because it's such a stunning place to be. it's just kind of magical.
they arrived at a river that flowed into the missouri, and they could not decide which one was the principal stream. and so they decided to have a vote. and at this time they had sent about 25 of the people home on the keelboat from the mandan villages. and they had 33 members of the permanent party, which included sacagawea, her baby, and her husband. they arrived at this river, and they had a vote on which was the stream. was it the one to the right, which was kind of muddy and looked just like the missouri had for a year and a half. or was it the clearer stream to the west? and 31 people voted that it was the stream to the north, the muddy stream. and lewis and clark are the only ones who voted that it was the clear stream to the west.
well, they didn't want to make the wrong decision, so they decided to send some groups to explore them for a couple days. so they explored and came back, and they gave their reports. and they had another vote. guess what the vote was. exactly the same. 31-2. well, they decided to follow the captains because it was their choice and it'd be their responsibility. and, fortunately, they chose correctly. as they proceeded up from this confluence of the marias river and the missouri river, they started to encounter a different landscape on the plains. and lewis forged ahead to make sure they were on the right stream, and he was separated from the group. and in a 24-hour period he was nearly killed by a buffalo bull, a badger or wolverine, a
rattlesnake and a grizzly bear. and that night in his journal he says, the entire animal kingdom has conspired against me. he was scared out of his mind up near great falls, montana. fortunately, the bear didn't eat him, so he survived that. and he arrived at the great falls, and he wrote that this was such a splendid view, he said i again viewed the falls and was so much disgusted with the imperfect idea which it conveyed of the scene that i determined to draw my pen across it and begin again. but then i reflected that i could not perhaps succeed better than penning the first impressions of my mind. so he's giving this idea that he just can't write down how cool this place is. and eventually the rest of the party arrived, and they know how
difficult it would be to try to get boats around this. so they know they had to portage. portage means to take the boats out and take them over land so they cut down some trees and they make some wheels out of them, and they start carting them for 18 to 19 miles across the prairie at great falls. unfortunately there was lots of prickly pear that was puncturing their moccasins. it was a great pain in the legs and feet and created all kinds of problems. here's a fellow picking it out of his toes. but eventually they are able to get these vessels all the way to the upper portage. and there they make camp. but they also run into huge numbers of grizzly bears. the grizzlies were so numerous at the missouri because either they could fish at each fall, each of the falls because the
fish would have a hard time ascending the river there, would gather in the pools. and they also feasted on carrion on animals who drown in the missouri. and these bears were not afraid of people. and this is the only time that the lewis and clark expedition ever declares war. lewis declares war against the grizzly bear nation in 1805. they also proceed forward and are excited to meet the shoshone people. these are the tribe of sacagawea, and they were very happy to visit with her and meet. they meet the flatheads and negotiate trade with horses. they meet the nez perce and do the same things.
these tribes of the columbia plateau were very friendly, they were open to american trade and were excited to welcome the explorers. and they had very good relations with all of these groups. the nez perce told them that they were going to have a difficult mountain crossing so they traded for more horses and then made the laborious trek across the bitterroot mountains, had a very tough time of it. they eventually come to lolo pass and they see these rocky mountains where not a single chain of mountains like they had anticipated but were mountain range upon mountain range. it was kind of demoralizing for them but they proceeded on. after crossing the rocky mountains they arrived at the weit prairie and met another group of nez perce who were very friendly to them. and there are lots of stories of
their interactions together. the nez perce agree to keep their horses. and lewis and clark make more boats so that they can proceed down the river to the columbia river and eventually to the pacific. and as they shoot the rapids at places like the dells, native peoples line up on the banks thinking these crazy white men are going to crash, and we can take whatever floats to the bank. but they make it through. and eventually they arrive at the pacific ocean in november of 1805. now we don't have much more time to discuss their return trip, but i'll review that with you when we meet again on friday. but i want to thank you for your attention for today, and if you
have any questions, i'm happy to entertain them. >> professor, i had a really quick question. >> go ahead. >> i was wondering if lewis and clark, if we know if they were aware that the spanish were trying to arrest them. >> they were not. in fact, one of the fellows that had sent out, or told the spanish that lewis and clark were even going was the commanding general of the united states army. his name was james wilkinson. and we'll be talking about james wilkinson as a potential figure in the eventual death of merry weather lewis. so they weren't aware the spanish were after them but they did learn later that the spanish had turned back these other expeditions. great question.is my pleasure tr
speaker this afternoon joey pool who joins us from new mexico joy is a returning, missouri valley sunday speaker in 2019. she gave a talk on her book. over the santa fe trail to mexico the travel diaries and autobiography of dr. roland willard. at that time she mentioned she was researching first-hand account. so several women specifically young rides. he traveled to santa fe trail in the mid 19th century. with this year marking the 200th anniversary of the opening of the trail. we figured it was a perfect time to invite joey back to tell us the stories of these women. who will currently serves as deputy librarian for the new mexico state library?