Having spent Carli’s formative years in Oregon, I got caught up in her history curriculum which included a huge dose of the expedition of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery.
She studied the entire two year exploration (1804-1806), wrote papers, saw films, and even took a field trip out to Fort Clatsop, their wintering log cabin in rainy Astoria, Oregon.
In effort to connect with this expedition, we took a road trip back in 2001 through the Northwest and Plains states which criss-crossed many portions of their trail. We even camped in the very camp they set up at the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin Rivers which becomes the Missouri River at Three Forks, Montana. In Washington, we camped at Beacon Rock where the team first noticed tidal changes in the Columbia River.
Yesterday, while driving the scenic byway of the Natchez Trace, we happened upon the very spot where Meriwether Lewis met his demise. The Natchez Trace is the old buffalo and Indian trail that stretches from Tupelo, Mississippi north to Nashville, Tennessee.
After returning from the expedition, Captain Lewis was appointed governor the Upper Louisiana Territory by President Jefferson and was on his way to Washington, D.C. to settle financial matters. At this spot there is some mystery revolving around his death. Some say Lewis arrived at the inn with servants. Others say he arrived alone.
One rainy and spooky full mooned October night, Mrs. Grinder, the innkeeper’s wife, heard several gun shots. She said she saw a wounded Lewis crawling around begging for water, but was too afraid to help him. He apparently died of bullet wounds to the head and gut shortly before sunrise the next day.
Murder or suicide?
He was buried nearby the following day only to be dug up later in an effort to find clues in solving the mystery. After visiting this site and searching for our own clues, we formulated OUR hypothesis; Contrary to most historical scholars, both Scooby and I believe it was murder.
It was Colonel Mustard in the kitchen with a candlestick.
Coincidentally, the only other tourist we met here was an older fella, dressed in full rain gear, riding the Natchez Trace on a motorcycle. He also was a student of the Lewis and Clark expedition and lives in the same neighborhood as us back in NE Portland. AND while on this road trip, this was the only day it rained, ALL DAY.
So the 2016 Halloween mystery still remains ~~~> Was the headless ghost of Meriwether Lewis hitchin’ a ride with us to sunny Florida OR was Meriwether following our license plate to the rainy winter of the Northwest?