Birth of William Clark
Country Gentlemen on the Frontier
The Falls of the Ohio
>>William and George Rogers Clark
William and George Rogers Clark
In 1798, two years after William retired from military service, Ann Rogers Clark, William's mother, died, shortly followed by John Clark in 1799. Due to the financial difficulties of George Rogers Clark, William inherited the bulk of his father's estate, including 24 slaves, a distillery, a grist mill, and 7, 040 acres (Steffen 29). Additionally, William also received lands north of the Ohio River, which George Rogers had signed over to his father at an earlier date. William Clark was particularly devoted to George Rogers, selling his own farm and house to prevent further financial disaster. The two moved across the river to Clarksville, Indiana, in 1803 in order to escape George Rogers' creditors. George Rogers, grateful and proud of his brother, wrote to Thomas Jefferson on 12 December 1802, "…any further information, and the best perhaps that can be obtained of that country [Ohio Valley], may be got from my brother William." George Rogers continued, "He is well qualified for most any business. If it should be in your power to confur on him any post of Honor and profit…it will exceedingly gratify me" (Jackson, 1963, 7-8). George Rogers had been asked by Jefferson, before the latter's presidency, to undertake a mission similar to the 1803 expedition, however, George Rogers declined, saying, "a tour to the west and North west of the Continent would be Extreamly agreahle to me could I afford it" (Jackson, 1962, 655). George Rogers and William remained close until George Rogers' death in 1818.
Three years later, Meriwether Lewis asked Clark "from the long and uninterupted friendship and confidence which has subsisted between us" to join him on an expedition to explore "the interior of the continent of North America, or that part of it bordering on the Missourie & Columbia Rivers." Clark's experience, maturity, diplomatic skills, and responsibility aided the expedition as much as Lewis' knowledge of the natural sciences and formal education. Clark, having spent is entire life on the frontier, was an ideal candidate for the journey. (Jackson, 1962, 57).
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