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Meriwether Lewis was born on the family plantation in Virginia. He moved to
Georgia and when he was 13 years old he returned to Virginia for schooling and
to learn how to manage the 2,000 acre plantation his father had willed to him.
When he was 18 he had come of age and could now manage the plantation himself.
He had a friend named Thomas Jefferson who became President of the United
States. Jefferson asked Meriwether to come to Washington to become his
personal secretary. Jefferson had a plan to send an expedition to explore the
land from the Mississippi River westward to the Pacific Ocean. He asked Lewis
and Clark to explore the land. Meriwether studied botany , fossils ,
astronomy, and mathematics. Meriwether prepared three boats.They had to carry
a lot of supplies and ammunition. Included in the supplies were trinkets,
beads, and mirrors which would be gifts to the Indians. Two important people
who joined them were Touissant Charbonneau and his Shoshone wife Sacagawea .
Sacagawea who had a tiny baby was the interpreter for the group. The members
of the expedition suffered many hardships as they traveled. The trip had taken
them a year and a half. Now they had to retrace their steps back over the
mountains and return. When they got back home each man who had accompanied
them was paid in cash, and a record was made of each man's name. The
government would give each one of them a gift of land. Congress gave
Meriwether 1,500 acres of land and made him governor of all the Louisiana
Territory. Three years after their return Meriwether Lewis died tragically
from gunshot wounds. Will Clark married, had a family, became governor of the
Missouri Territory, and lived to be sixty-eight years old.