Hank and Cleo Kocol
The Lewis and Clark Expedition
Cleo Kocol presented the program, with assistance from Hank Kocol, with
whom she had shared the task of preparing the presentation and the
accompanying slides. It dealt with the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the
bicentennial of which is now being celebrated. This was the first
transcontinental travel by persons of European descent through what is now
the United States. (The continent had previously been traversed through
what is now Mexico and Canada.) The expedition was the result of President
Thomas Jefferson’s desire to explore the territory newly acquired from
France through the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.
Hank and Cleo
had driven last year through much of the route taken by Lewis & Clark.
Photographs of the route taken in 2003 punctuated Cleo’s account of the
history of the expedition. Most of the talk dealt with the history and
character of the two leaders, the men they hired, and of the vital
assistance given by Indians, particularly Sacagawea,1 who served as a guide, a
translator and as a means to obtain horses when their possession became
which left St. Louis in May 1804, initially consisted of 48 people. They
proceeded upstream on the Missouri River and spent the winter of 1804-1805
at Ft. Mandan, near present-day Bismarck, ND. They continued the following
spring up the Missouri, across the Continental Divide and continued down the
Snake and Columbia Rivers to the Pacific Ocean, where they wintered at Ft.
Clatsop, near present-day Astoria, OR. They were able to make it overland
all the way back to St. Louis during 1806.
brought a wealth of information about this little-known region to the East
and served as an impetus to later explorations by mountain men and for even
later settlement. Meriwether Lewis, the expedition leader, died three years
later, perhaps by suicide as a result of depression.
presentation was followed by a lively discussion.
Report prepared by Wayne Luney, HAGSA Recorder
mentioned that Sacagawea died in 1812. However, the pbs.org website has an
Sacagawea, in which the final paragraph
says, "Whether Sacagawea accompanied Charbonneau to St. Louis is
uncertain. Some evidence indicates that she did make this journey, then
returned to the upper Missouri with her husband where she died in an
epidemic of 'putrid fever' late in 1812. Other accounts say that Sacagawea
ultimately rejoined the Shoshone on their Wind River reservation and died
there in 1884."
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