Lewis and Clark Elementary was named in 2011. Lewis and Clark are most well-known for the expedition that they led across North America. Both for the expedition and for their careers that followed, Lewis and Clark are held up as examples of national visionaries and nobly-serving patriots with entrepreneurial spirit and diplomatic skill and intention.
Though they didn’t get immediate recognition in history books, national expositions celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase and (a few years later) of the expedition itself brought their story back to light, and in great measure referred to them as pioneers and the corps and expedition as among the nation’s most important endeavors.
In 1804-1806, Captain Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) and 2nd Lieutenant William Clark (1770-1838), at the commissioning of President Thomas Jefferson, led a select group of U.S. Army volunteers on a westward expedition. Beginning near St. Louis, MO, they crossed the continental divide to reach the west coast. Lewis was from the colony of Virginia and was of Welsh and English lineage. He developed a lifelong passion for natural history, particularly the use of herbs/plants, and served in the Virginia militia and the U.S. Army. He was selected to aide President Jefferson in 1801, and two years later the President chose him to lead the Expedition.
Clark was born in Virginia; his family were planters and owned several estates and slaves. Also a militia man, following the expedition, Clark was appointed (by Jefferson and then more formally by President Madison) governor of the Missouri territory, which by default made him an early “superintendent of Indian affairs.” Clark was a slave owner, and in fact brought one slave, York, on the expedition. While there are stories of their honoring and celebrating the work of the native people (and while we cannot discount the role of the lone woman on the expedition, Sacagawea, “the interpreter’s wife”), it would be hard to ignore that what was often couched as “diplomacy” and may actually have taken advantage of the Sioux, Hidatsa, Mandan, Arikara, and other peoples.
Lewis & Clark Elementary
737 South Garnett Road
Tulsa, Ok 74128