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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cape Girardeau in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

The Lewis and Clark Expedition Across Missouri

 
 
The Lewis and Clark Expedition Across Missouri Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, August 12, 2012
1. The Lewis and Clark Expedition Across Missouri Marker
Inscription. On Nov. 23, 1803, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark arrived at Cape Girardeau, a trading post established in 1795 by Louis Lorimier, the Spanish-appointed Commandant of the Cape Girardeau District. Here, Lewis, co-commander of the expedition, left the keelboat to pay and official visit to Commandant Lorimier. The remaining party, under the command of Clark, who was feeling ill, continued upstream about two miles and camped on a point of land that was the site of Lorimier's original post, which probably constructed in 1793.

Lorimier established himself at what came to be known as Old Cape Girardeau about 1793, and then moved two miles down river to what came to be known as New Cape Girardeau. A large band of Shawnee who followed him from Ohio settled nearby. The Spanish welcomed these Natives American newcomers, hoping potential American incursions from across the Mississippi.

Capt. Lewis found the commandant and his family at a horse race being held nearby, and after Lorimier settled a heated dispute with fellow gamblers over the results of one of the races, he invited Lewis to join his family for supper. The party returned to Lorimier's residence, known as the "Red House," to enjoy the commandant's hospitality.

After supper, which Lewis said was "really a comfortable and desent one," the captain bid
The Lewis and Clark Expedition Across Missouri Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, August 12, 2012
2. The Lewis and Clark Expedition Across Missouri Marker
1st marker on left in front of Red House.
the family an affectionate farewell and was conducted by one of Lorimier's sons on the three-mile horseback ride up to Old Cape Girardeau where he rejoined his companions and the boats.

Louis Lorimier was a French Canadian who had supported the British and their Indian allies during the American Revolution. His trading post on a branch of the Miami River had been burned by men under the command of Gen. George Rogers Clark (brother of expedition co-leader William Clark) in the early 1780s. Lorimier then relocated to Spanish Louisiana in the late1780s with a group of Shawnee and Delaware Indians, who became known as the "Absentee Shawnee." Meriwether Lewis described Lorimier as a cheerful man with a thick, long mane of hair that fell nearly to his knees. He guessed Lorimier was about 5 feet 8 inches tall and about 60 years old, but had scarcely any gray in his hair. Lewis was also much taken with Lorimier's mixed blood Shawnee Indian wife and their handsome children. Lewis later secured an appointment to the recently founded United States Military Academy at West Point for two of Lorimier's sons.

"...landed at the cape and called on the Commandt. [Louis Lorimier] and delivered the letters of introduction which I had for him, from Capt. Danl. Bisselle, and a Mr. Drewyer [expedition hunter and interpreter, George Drouillard?] a nephew of the Commandt's.... On
Sketch of Cape Girardeau by Charles Lesueur, March 12, 1826. Drawing courtesy of Museum d'Histoire N image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, August 12, 2012
3. Sketch of Cape Girardeau by Charles Lesueur, March 12, 1826. Drawing courtesy of Museum d'Histoire N
my arrival at the Comds dwelling I was informed that he had gone out with his family to attend a Horse race he himself being as I afterwards understood a party to the race... The district of Commandant Lorimier estends from the grand bend of the Mississippi to Apple River without limitation back this settlement extends the distance of sixty miles W. from the river as far as the river St. Francis.... The estimated distance by the french watermen to New Cape Jerd: is 42 miles from the mouth of Ohio..."

Meriwether Lewis, Nov 23, 1803
 
Location. 37° 18.058′ N, 89° 31.123′ W. Marker is in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in Cape Girardeau County. Marker is on South Main Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Located in front of the Red House Museum first marker to the far left. Marker is at or near this postal address: 128 South Main Street, Cape Girardeau MO 63701, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Red House Interpretive Center (a few steps from this marker); George Drouillard (a few steps from this marker); The Red House (a few steps from this marker); Old St. Vincent's Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Cape La Croix Creek
Map of Cape Girardeau at the time of the visit image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, August 12, 2012
4. Map of Cape Girardeau at the time of the visit
(within shouting distance of this marker); Don Louis Lorimier / El Camino Real (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Telephone Service (approx. mile away); The Mississippi River (approx. mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cape Girardeau.
 
Categories. Exploration
 
Louis Lorimier was a French Canadian image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, August 12, 2012
5. Louis Lorimier was a French Canadian
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 23, 2012, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 403 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 23, 2012, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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