Thursday, August 1, 2013
August 1 - William Clark
Explorer and public servant William Clark was born on August 1, 1770, on his family’s plantation in eastern Virginia. He grew up in what is now Kentucky and, at age 19, joined a militia to fight Indians in the Ohio Valley. Later he became an officer in an extension of the U.S. Army, but retired in 1796 due to poor health and managed the Clark plantation. He had met Meriwether Lewis while in the army and, in 1803, Lewis asked him to be his co-leader in the Corps of Discovery, the three-year transcontinental expedition across the Louisiana Purchase territory to the Pacific Coast, commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson. Clark was responsible for record-keeping and map-making. The pair returned to St. Louis, whence they had begun, in September 1806, with maps, sketches, journals and artifacts. Jefferson appointed Clark the Indian agent and brigadier general of the militia for the Louisiana Territory, and he became governor of the Missouri Territory in 1813. In 1822 he was appointed Superintendent of Indian Affairs.