Postlude: After 23 September 1806
In September 23, 1806, the tattered Corps of Discovery arrived at St. Louis and "received a harty welcom from it's inhabitants." Jefferson's explorers had covered 8,000 miles of territory over a period of 2 years, 4 months, and 9 days. Its records contributed important information concerning the land, its natural resources, and its native peoples. Lewis and Clark learned that the surprising width of the Rocky Mountain chain destroyed Jefferson's hoped-for route between the Missouri and Columbia river systems. This finding resulted in a route over what is now South Pass (Wyoming) during later trips westward by fur traders and other explorers. Despite difficulties, Lewis and Clark remained friends after the Expedition. Congress rewarded the officers and men of the military enterprise, including Toussaint Charbonneau, with grants of land. Neither Sacagawea nor York received compensation for their services.
On February 28, 1807, President Jefferson picked Lewis to be Governor of Upper Louisiana Territory. His career started well, but controversy involving government finances arose in 1809 culminating with his decision to travel to Washington, D.C. to resolve the dispute. Traveling through Tennessee, Governor Meriwether Lewis on October 11, 1809 died mysteriously from gunshot wounds inflicted while at Grinder's Stand, a public roadhouse. It is not known conclusively whether he was murdered or committed suicide. His grave lies where he died, within today's Natchez Trace National Parkway near Hohenwald, Tennessee.
Clark enjoyed a lifelong, honorable career of public service in St. Louis. On March 12, 1807, Jefferson commissioned him Brigadier General of Militia and Indian Agent for Upper Louisiana Territory. In 1813 he was appointed Governor of Missouri Territory, a position he held until Missouri Statehood in 1820. In 1822 he was appointed Superintendent of Indian Affairs by President Monroe. He was reappointed to this post by each succeeding president and served in this capacity for the remainder of his life. General William Clark died of natural causes in St. Louis, September 1, 1838 and is buried in the Clark Family plot at Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis.
- ↑ Adapted from an article by Irving W. Anderson