Meriwether Lewis

Lewis, Meriwether, 1774–1809, American explorer, one of the leaders of the Lewis and Clark expedition, b. near Charlottesville, Va. He was a captain in the army and served in a number of campaigns against Native Americans before becoming (1801) secretary to his friend President Jefferson. Selected to head the expedition for a land route to the Pacific Ocean, he chose William Clark as his associate. Upon that successful venture Lewis's fame rests. In 1807 he was made governor of Louisiana Territory, with headquarters at St. Louis. In 1809, while traveling to Washington to prepare the journals of the expedition for publication, he died suddenly—either by murder or suicide—in a lonely inn on the Natchez Trace. The cause of his death is still the subject of controversy.

See biography by R. H. Dillon (1968); see also bibliography under Lewis and Clark expedition.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Meriwether Lewis from Fact Monster:

  • Meriwether Lewis - Biography of Meriwether Lewis, Co-leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
  • Explorations - Explorations See also Explorers The following table lists important explorations of each of the ...
  • The Lewis and Clark Expedition - The expedition that uncovered the American West
  • Charlottesville - Charlottesville Charlottesville , city (1990 pop. 40,341), seat of Albemarle co., central Va., on ...
  • Lewis and Clark expedition: Purpose - Purpose Thomas Jefferson had long considered the project of a western expedition, having encouraged ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies

Play Hangman

Play Poptropica

Play Quizzes

Play Tic Tac Toe