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Secretary to Jefferson

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Georgia

Shortly after the tragic loss of William Lewis, his widow Lucy married a fellow officer, Captain John Marks in May of 1780. John Marks was a friend of Thomas Jefferson and was forced to leave the military for health-related reasons. Some time after the Revolution ended Capt. Marks moved the entire family to Broad River Valley, Georgia as part of the new settlement Goosepond Community created by General George Mathews (Hendrix p. 26). Though Meriwether had inherited Locust Hill through tradition primogeniture upon his father's death, he was too young to run the large plantation and family members held it in trust for him while he accompanied his family to their new home.

At this time Georgia was considered more of a frontier territory than Albemarle County, Virginia. This area was "a wilderness of hard-woods and deciduous trees- walnut, poplar, white oak, ash, pine, hickory, chestnut, birch, and beech- with carpets of wild grasses, pea vines, shrubs, and reed canes along the streams" (Hendrix p. 25). It was in this raw, untamed land that Meriwether enhanced his skills as a hunter and outdoorsman. Also, it was at this time that Meriwether became interested in natural history, a lifelong passion. Lucy Marks taught her eldest son how to gather wild herbs for medicinal purposes (Hendrix p. 25). It was also in Broad River that Meriwether Lewis first dealt with a native Indian group. The Cherokee Indians lived in antagonistic proximity to the white settlers, but Meriwether seems to have been a champion for the Cherokee amongst his own people. The family grew while in Broad River when Lucy Marks gave birth to Meriwether's half-brother and sister, John Hastings Marks in 1785 and Mary Garland Marks in 1788 (Lewis p. 14). Meriwether Lewis stayed in Georgia only a short time, he chose to return to Virginia sometime between the ages of 12 and 14 to claim his inheritance, Locust Hill and to take his place amongst the community of Albemarle County.

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