Lewis and Clark
Merriweather Lewis and William Clark were charged with the
responsibility of leading a "Corps of Volunteers on an Expedition of
North Western Discovery," to determine if there was a water route to
the Pacific Ocean. They left St. Louis, Missouri on May 14, 1804. At
that time, of course, South Dakota did not exist as a State, or even
as a Territory.
On August 25 they climbed
Spirit Mound, an isolated hill six miles north of the present
Vermillion, South Dakota. Five days later they met with Yankton Nakota
Indians near the present Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River. As
they proceded up the River they met Teton Dakota Indians at the mouth
of a river they named "Teton," today, the Bad River. On the 5th of
October they reached the Chien or Dog River, which flows from the
"black mountains," or Black Hills. Today it is called the Cheyenne
River. A week later they met the Arikaras near the North Dakota
border, and left South Dakota around October 14.
The Corps of Discovery
built Ft. Mandan in North Dakota and passed the winter there. They met
Sacagawea, a Shoshoni woman married to a French fur trader, Toussaint
Charbonneau, there. She and her husband were hired to help guide the
expedition. Sacagawea died at Ft. Manuel (named for Manuel Lisa) in
Corson County, South Dakota December 20, 1812.
On their return they passed through South
Dakota in late August, and arrived in St. Louis on September 23, 2006.