Trail News/ What's New?

Louisville, Kentucky/
Clarksville, Indiana

Lewis and Clark Trail "Re-live the Adventure" 

From the Journals of
Lewis and Clark



Search the Trail

Travel the Trail 
Travel Stories
Travel the Trail ~ From Sea to Shining Sea
Events & Exhibits
Eastern Legacy Trail
Lewis & Clark in Illinois
Lewis & Clark in Missouri
Lewis & Clark in Kansas
Lewis & Clark in Iowa
Lewis & Clark in Nebraska
Lewis & Clark on the Missouri National Recreational River
Lewis & Clark in
South Dakota
Lewis & Clark in
North Dakota
Lewis & Clark in Montana
Lewis and Clark Portaging the Great Falls of the Missouri  
Lewis & Clark in Idaho
Lewis & Clark in Oregon
Lewis & Clark in Washington 
Lewis and Clark in the Northwest
Print & Play Travel Games (PDF)>>


Meriwether Lewis set out to find the best possible men he could and recruit them to join his expedition. The criteria for the positions were no easy things to come by, the men were expected to be excellent hunters with a variety of skills that would ensure their survival in the wilderness. They must be brave, unwed, and undeniably healthy.

William Clark was put in charge of actually recruiting the men to meet Lewis’ criteria and went Louisville and Clarksville to do so. Over one third of the party’s permanent members were from that surrounding area and it is believed that as many as half of the expedition members were Kentuckians or had close Kentuckiana ties, these men became known as the “Nine Young Men from Kentucky”.

These men were chosen to be an integral part of a crucial journey, where their footsteps and triumphs would forever change and create history, making every single one of them legends and heroes for generations to come.

Charles Floyd, Sergeant
Floyd County, Indiana bears the name of this man because of the work he did while traveling with Lewis and Clark on their expedition. While Floyd was born in Kentucky, some time afterwards his family decided to move to Clarksville, Indiana. At the young age of 18 he was named the first constable of Clarksville Township, and enlisted into the army on August 1, 1803. Floyd was the first member to join the expedition, however, he also became the first and only member to die during the expedition, the cause being none other than what Lewis and Clark described as “bilious cholic” which is presently known today as a ruptured appendix. He is best known for his detailed, factual journals concerning land quality and soil conditions. Floyd was buried in Sioux City, Iowa close to the spot where he died in August 20 1804. His gravesite consists of a 100-foot high sandstone masonry obelisk, which was dedicated to him on Memorial Day in 1901. It is the second largest in size, the Washington Monument being the firs

John Ordway, Sergeant
Born and raised in New Hampshire, John Ordway was responsible for providing a detailed account and descriptions about Native American life, which has proven to be invaluable to history. Ordway was considered to be one of the few well-educated men that served in the expedition. Not only did Ordway provide us with a historical account of Native American life, but during the expedition he was responsible for tasks such as issuing provisions, commanding the group while Lewis and Clark were away, keeping all records, and appointing guard duties.

Nathaniel Pryor, Sergeant
When Lewis began his expedition it was decided that only unmarried men would be allowed to enlist. However, Nathaniel Pryor became the only exception to this rule. Pryor enlisted on October 20, 1803 and became a sergeant and part of the Permanent Party on April 1, 1804. His duty was to serve on the keelboat, which was to be manned by all members of the Permanent Party as well as assume the roles of army administration. Pryor was described as a man of impeccable character with the ability to accomplish anything.

William Bratton, Private
Born in Virginia but raised in Kentucky, William Bratton is considered one of the “Nine Young Men from Kentucky”. Bratton became a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition on October 20, 1803 and became one of the most vital members of the team. He was not only a superb woodsman and hunter, but he was most useful as a blacksmith and an even better gunsmith. His talents were limitless and he was a true asset to the expedition. After the expedition Bratton served in the War of 1812, and moved from Kentucky, to Missouri, to Ohio before finally settling down with his wife in Waynetown, Indiana. In June of 1824 he was chosen to be the first justice of peace in Wayne Township and became the first superintendent of schools in section 16T 20N R6 only a few months later. He was pronounced dead on November 11, 1841 at the age of 63.

John Colter, Private
Born near Staunton, Virginia in 1774 John Colter then moved at the young age of five to Maysville, Kentucky where he was raised. He enlisted on October 15, 1803 and was selected by Lewis to join the expedition because of his remarkable hunting skills and later became a part of the Permanent Party.

Joseph and Reuben Field, Privates
Reuben Field was born in 1772 in Culpepper County, Virginia, while his brother Joseph was born two years later in 1774, however, their family quickly moved to Kentucky where the boys were to be raised. They enlisted on August 1, 1803 and became the earliest members to join the expedition. Both men were skilled woodsmen and hunters and often accompanied one another in every duty, building a lasting relationship of confidence and loyalty.

George Gibson, Private
George Gibson, who enlisted on October 26, 1803, offered a variety of expertise to the expedition members, like others he was a skilled hunter and an experienced woodsman. However, Gibson was one of the two fiddle players in the expedition and also possessed sign language skills.

George Shannon, Private
In 1787 George Shannon was born, a relative to Governor Shannon of Kentucky and of Irish-Protestant descent. During a visit to Pittsburgh he had a chance meeting with Lewis who was patiently waiting for the completion of the keelboat that was to be used on his expedition. Shortly afterwards Shannon enlisted on October 19, 1803 and became one of the “Nine Young Men from Kentucky” and the youngest member of the expedition. He was selected to be a member of the Permanent Party and was sent to Camp Dubois.

John Shields, Private
Born in 1769 in Harrisonberg, Virginia John Shields at the age of 34 was recruited by Lewis and enlisted on October 19, 1803 becoming the expeditions oldest enlisted member. Shields possessed immaculate blacksmith, gunsmith, huntsmen, and craftsmanship skills, he was also a general mechanic. The success Shields had with all of these things were astonishing, there are over 70 references in journals made about Shields’ success with hunting. A year after the expedition, he spent a year with a close relative, Daniel Boone. Shields finally settled in near the Falls of the Ohio in Corydon and it is believed that he was a member of the Squire Boone Party that moved there. He resides in Little Flock Cemetery in Harrison County, having died in November of 1809.

York, Body Servant
York, according to history has proven to be much, much more than a slave. Born in Caroline County, Virginia York was chosen to be William Clark’s servant at the age of 11 moving from place to place with the entire Clark family. York became the first African-American to cross the United States from coast to coast and the first African-American to cross the North American continent north of Mexico. After the expedition York was forced to return to life as a slave, but was granted freedom in 1815 when he was 42 years of age. Afterwards, he was in charge of freight operations, however, when the business failed he decided to travel. He died in Tennessee shortly after before ever having the chance to travel, and it is rumored that he lived the last few years of his life with the Crow Indians in the Rocky mountains.

Seaman was a black, Newfoundland dog that was owned by Lewis. He accompanied Lewis and Clark during the expedition and it is believed that he survived the entire trip and was the only animal to accompany the men. Lewis described Seaman as extremely active, docile, and strong. Seaman was a remarkable hunter and killed everything from swimming squirrels to pronghorn antelopes attempting to cross the river. Not only did he hunt but Seaman was an incredible watchdog who fought away a buffalo and a bear in the middle of the night, who both posed serious threats to the expedition if they were caught off guard.


Lewis & Clark 101
Lewis & Clark Biography 
Thomas Jefferson & Louisiana Purchase
Corps of Discovery
Lewis & Clark with Sacagawea
Lewis & Clark Among the Tribes
York, Clark's man-servant
Seaman, Lewis' Dog
Clark as Cartographer
Lewis as Botanist
Medical Aspects
Court Martial's
Geology on the Lewis and Clark Trail
Lewis and Clark 1806
Trail Trivia

 For Educators

Teaching & Lesson Plans

Learning Page
(Library of Congress)

Beyond Lewis & Clark (KSHS)