portrait of william clark
Portrait of William Clark (c. 1810)

Quick Facts

Significance:
Co-led Lewis & Clark Expedition
Place of Birth:
Ladysmith, Virginia
Date of Birth:
August 1, 1770
Place of Death:
St. Louis, Missouri
Date of Death:
September 1, 1838
Place of Burial:
St. Louis, MO
Cemetery Name:
Bellefontaine Cemetery

William Clark was born on August 1, 1770 in Virginia and was the ninth of 10 children. His older brother, George Rogers Clark, was a was a well-known Revolutionary commander. After the War, when William Clark was 14, his family moved to Kentucky, settling near Louisville.

In 1789, Clark joined the Kentucky militia. He later joined the U.S. Army, eventually becoming an officer. In 1795 he met and became friends with Meriwether Lewis, and a year later he left the Army to manage his family’s plantation.
Clark was contacted by Meriwether Lewis in 1803 to help lead the Expedition West. Clark, with Lewis, prepared for the journey by studying astronomy and map making. In addition, Clark was tasked with assembling and training a group of men that would become the Corps of Discovery. The Corps included an enslaved named
York, who Clark owned.
He, along with Meriwether Lewis, led the Corps of Discovery to the Pacific Ocean between 1804 and 1806. Upon their return Jefferson appointed Clark the principal Indian agent to the Louisiana Territory, and in 1813 he became Governor of the Missouri Territory. In 1820 he lost the election to become governor of the new state of Missouri, and was later appointed Superintendent of Indian Affairs in St. Louis in 1822. He held this post until just before his death in 1838.


Sources:
https://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/people/a_c/clark.htm

http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark/inside/wclar.html