Lemay in St. Louis County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The Lewis and Clark Expedition Across Missouri
William Clark, in command of the boats and men of the future Lewis and Clark Expedition, passed this place on Dec. 7, 1803, on his way to Cahokia, Ill., where he would meet his co-commander, Capt. Meriwether Lewis. On the previous evening, the party camped on the Missouri shore, three quarters of a mile above the mouth of the Meramec River. A hard wind, accompanied by rain, blew all night, and continued the next day. The party pushed off at 7:15 a.m., and made their way up the river in the face of a hard wind. Around 10 a.m., the wind changed to the southeast and, according to Clark, "gave us an opportunity to Sailing."
Four and a half hours of travel brought Clark and his men to the vicinity of today's Jefferson Barracks. This country was described on a map of the period as "Undulated country interspersed with woods and meadows." At noon, just downstream from this site, the wind started to blow violently and took off a mast, possibly of the keelboat (see Clark map).
The last leg of the journey took the flotilla past the small French village of Carondelet, known locally as "Vice Poche," French for empty pockets.
Jefferson Barracks, named in honor of President Thomas Jefferson, was established in 1826 to maintain peace between American settlers pouring into the Louisiana Territory and the Native American tribes whose lands were being encroached upon by the new arrivals. Presiding over this tense confrontation was William Clark, who was Superintendent of Indian Affairs - a position he held for 30 years under six presidents. The most tense Indian conflict of Clark's tenure was the Black Hawk War. Clark had long known the fearsome Sauk leader, Black Hawk, and he was familiar with the powerful and warlike affiliated Sauk-Fox tribe. He had seen their war paths while going up the Missouri River in 1804. In 1816, he had forced Black Hawk to sign a treaty surrendering tribal homelands or "blood would be split for their disobedience."
In 1832, the Black Hawk War erupted when
"A Dark rainey morning with hard wind at N, E, upon which point it blew all the last night accompanyd with rain-- Set out a quarter past 7 oClock, the wind much against us."
William Clark, Dec. 7, 1803
"When I painted this chief, he was dressed in a plain suit of buckskin, with strings of wampum in his ears and on his neck, and held in his hand his medicine-bag, which was the skin of a black hawk, from which he had taken his name, and the tail of which made him a fan, which he was constantly using."
On Dec. 7, 1803, William Clark stated that a wind came up so violent as to take off one of the Mast's." This is possbily a reference to one of the masts of the keelboat. A doodle on a map by Clark drawn ca. Nov. 25, 1803, clearly suggests that the keelboat had two masts at this time. In late January, while at Camp Dubois, Clark had the keelboat fitted with a single 32-foot tall mast that was jointed so that it could be pivoted to a horizontal position.
This portrait of Black Hawk is a reproduction of a painting by George Catlin done in 1832 while the Sauk leader was imprisoned at Jefferson Barracks.
Erected by National Park Service, Missouri Dept of Natural Resources, and Missouri Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Exploration • Native Americans • Parks & Recreational Areas. In addition, it is included in the Lewis & Clark Expedition series list. A significant historical date for this entry is December 7, 1803.
Location. 38° 31.055′ N, 90° 16.248′ W. Marker is in Lemay, Missouri, in St. Louis County. Marker can be reached from Bagby Road. The marker is located in Jefferson Barracks Historic Site and Park. It is located on a path that is nearby the Jefferson Barracks Veterans Memorial Amphitheater. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 533 Bagby Rd, Saint Louis MO 63125, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Veterans Memorial (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Jefferson Barracks Historic Site - Powder Magazine Museum, Memorial Walk (about 500 feet away); A Triumph Of Valor (about 500 feet away); Jefferson Barracks Historic Site Old Guard Monument and Powder Magazine Patio (about 600 feet away); Jefferson Barracks Historic Site - Old Ordnance Room (about 800 feet away); Jefferson Barracks - At the Confluence of American History (approx. 0.2 miles away); Jefferson Barracks Historic Site - World War II Reception Center #1772 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Jefferson Barracks Historic Site - Tent City (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lemay.
Also see . . . Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. (Submitted on June 18, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 19, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 18, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 198 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 18, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.