Meriwether Lewis
Childhood Home, Oglethorpe County, Georgia
Capt. Meriwether Lewis, along with William Clark and the Corps of Discovery, were the
first United States citizens to:
First to cross the continental United States from east to west.
First to experience the Great Plains.
First to see the daunting peaks of the Rocky Mountains.
First to cross the Rocky Mountains and the Continental Divide.
First, only after encountering cold, hunger, danger, and wonders beyond belief, to reach
the Pacific Ocean by land.
First comprehensive description and collection of flora and fauna in the Western United
First detailed maps from the Mississippi to the Pacific.
Undoubtedly the greatest pathfinder this country has ever known.
It was the greatest adventure of their lives!
But before Meriwether Lewis made all of those great accomplishments,
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Post Rev. War
Members of Oglethorpe Co. Historical
Meriwether Lewis
Meriwether Lewis was born in Virginia during 1774 to William and Lucy Lewis. In November of 1779,
William Lewis died of Pneumonia. Less than six months later on May 13, 1780, Lucy married Capt. John
When Meriwether was eight or nine years old, Capt. Marks and his family migrated to Wilkes County
(now Oglethorpe), Georgia and settled on the Broad River in a colony developed by General John
Meriwether lived in Georgia for about three to four years. During this time he first learned to hunt,
becoming an excellent marksman. A family friend commented, "He acquired in youth hardy habits and a
firm construction. He possessed in the highest degree self-possession in danger." [1]
Also while in Georgia, Meriwether learned about the trees, bushes, shrubs, and grasses; of the fish,
animals, birds, and insects.[2]  He always asked why, as he wanted more knowledge.
Meriwether also learned to read and write while in Georgia, but the education he desired could not be
found in this wild frontier. Sometime at about age 14, Meriwether left Georgia for Virginia in his quest for
higher education.
He came back to Georgia several times to visit his family, but in fall of 1792 he made his last. Capt. Marks
died leaving Lucy and the family with no means of income. "Meriwether organized the move of his mother
and her children, the slaves, animals, and equipment, and brought the whole back to Virginia."[3]
It might be said that Meriwether Lewis obtained his sound foundation in Georgia, which enabled him to
become the greatest of all American explorers. In 1813, Thomas Jefferson wrote of Meriwether Lewis. "
Of courage undaunted, possessing a firmness and perseverance of purpose which nothing but
impossibilities could divert from it's direction, careful as a father of those committed to his charge, yet
steady in the maintenance of order and discipline, intimate with the Indian character, customs and
principles, habituated to the hunting life, guarded by exact observation of the vegetables and animals of his
own country, against losing time in the description of objects already possessed, honest, disinterested,
liberal, of sound understanding and a fidelity to truth so scrupulous that whatever he should report would
be as certain as if seen by ourselves, with all these qualifications as if selected and implanted by nature in
one body, for this express purpose, I could have no hesitation in confiding the enterprise to him."

[1] Bakeless, Lewis and Clark
[2] Ambrose, Undaunted Courage
[3] Ambrose, Undaunted Courage
Meriwether Lewis
Artist Interpretation
"Young Meriwether, Leaving Georgia For
School in VA."
Picture Courtesy Edward Jordan Lanham
(All Rights Reserved)
Meriwether Lewis
Artist Interpretation
"The Expedition"
Picture Courtesy Edward Jordan Lanham
(All Rights Reserved)
Edward Jordan Lanham