Lewis and Clark Walked on This Land!

OK, I dug into the L&C Journal reports to confirm the dates and activities of the Expedition relevant to the Fox Farm state land parcels. Lewis’s party arrived back at the Missouri River on July 11 as the airport map indicates. Ten of the horses disappeared that night, so he sent soldiers out the next day to search for them while he crossed the river and spend several days preparing for the downriver trip. The soldiers returned at noon the same day with 3 horses and Lewis then sent Fields and Drewyer out to search for the rest of the horses. Fields returned at dark unsuccessful. Drewyer continued to search for them, returning four days later on July 15 without the other horses. He reported finding evidence that Indians had taken them to the Dearborn and beyond. The next day, July 16, Lewis sent Drewyer and Fields with the remaining horses down the river along the west bank to the mouth of the Medicine (Sun) River.

Here’s my take on this. The MROLP parcels represent a very important historical and cultural resource. The parcels may be the only piece of highly-accessible public land left on this very eventful portion of the National Historic Trail. Lewis finally makes it back to the Missouri River, only to lose ten horses to resourceful Indians. Then he finds most of his precious collection flooded in the White Bear cache. He marvels at a vast buffalo herd of over 10,000 animals attended by many howling wolves. He sends soldiers out to look for the horses, but only three can be found. One soldier (Drewyer) continues to search all the way to the Dearborn but the Indians and horses elude him. Lewis sends McNeal downriver on horseback to check out the pirogue and cache at the lower portage. McNeal has a run-in with a grizzly and narrowly escapes. This is all really interesting and exciting stuff!!

 

I can only imagine the potential for an interpretive trail to tell about the amazing things that happened right on this part of the Trail.               —Michael Enk

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