Meriwether Lewis grew up near the Blue Ridge Mountains. He was a neighbor and family friend of President Thomas Jefferson. Lewis had joined the American Army as a boy and when he was 19 years old he served as an officer in the army. Most of the time he was on the frontier dealing with the Native Americans of the Northwest. When he was there he came to know and respect William Clark when he was a junior officer in the company that Clark commanded.
Lewis was a careful and thorough man but he was often moody. Even when he was a young boy he liked to spend nights alone camping out in the Virginia woods hunting raccoons. When Thomas Jefferson became President, Lewis became his personal secretary. He lived and worked with him in the new White House in Washington D.C. Much of his time there was to prepare for his expedition. Jefferson had sent Lewis to Philadelphia to study Botany and navigation.
His appointment as Governor of the Louisiana Territory was an honor and it was meant as a reward for Lewis’s accomplishments. Lewis was often miserable and felt he did not fit in anywhere. He was often criticized by other officials. He committed suicide three years after his return from his expedition when he was only 35 years old. Lewis felt his life had become unbearable. This great scientist and explorer did so much in his short lifetime.
Mrs. Huber's Class | Pocantico Hills School
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