Painting of a gray-haired man looking to the left

Meriwether Lewis

(1774 - 1809)

Born on a plantation near Charlottesville, Meriwether Lewis joined a Virginia militia and took part in the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794; seven years later Thomas Jefferson hired him as a secretary. In 1803 Lewis was sent to examine the lands that Jefferson purportedly acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase, joined by his former military superior William Clark. After they returned from the Pacific Coast, Lewis was given 1,600 acres of public land and the governorship of the Upper Louisiana Territory. He died at the age of thirty-five of two gunshot wounds while en route to Washington, DC, where he hoped to resolve his debts.

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