William Clark’s 1809 Memo(Journal)

The following is taken from William Clark’s “Memorandum 1809” which is a daily journal of his travel from Missouri to Virginia in 1809. With him were his wife, Julia, and their firstborn infant son, Meriwether Lewis Clark, who was barely one year old. The below information relates to the Virginia part of the trip. The Virginia Lewis & Clark Legacy Trail, Inc. wishes to recognize the Lewis & Clark Trust, Inc., whose board member initially interpreted this document, with a “Second Look” in 2018 offered by the Botetourt County Historical Society, Botetourt County, Virginia. Their important work helps to reveal the stories during this trip as recorded by William Clark in his own words. Four of the sites Clark describes are currently participating on the trail and others will be added in the future.     

From William Clark’s “Memorandum 1809” Travel Journal – Virginia Trip – A second look

9th  [Nov] Thursday  Rogersville   Co. Rogers   23 miles   *[$]3.75, servents  .12]

10th  [Nov] Friday     B. at a Mr. Armstrongs  *[$]1.50], crossed the N. fork of Holston, stayed all night at Mr. Wm. Sniders at Kings Landing on Holston *[$]4.50 cakes $0.62]   26 miles

11th Novr. [1809]       Breakfast at Mr. [possibly Mrs.] Earbis place *[($)1.75], stayed all night at Capt. Goodman’s   *[Capt. Goodsons [($)3.25]    28 miles

12th [Nov]                   Breakfast at Col. John Prestons, passed thro’ Abbingdon, stayed all night at the brick house  *[Mr. Carpenters ($)3.25, servants ($)0.25] – met Mr. Minor + his wife and [Miss] [Barber]   21 miles

13th [Nov]                   Breakfast at a house one mile [lack] of the 7 m[ile] ford   *[Jacob (?) Coal one mile from 7 m. ford  ($)1.50 apples + pie ($).25] – stayed all night at young Atkinses  * young adkinsins ($) 4.62, grain at straw “.25 P[…]whisky grog “.62 To a man to p[itch … to Majr Prestons ($)1.”]    23 miles

                                    *no dates   at River Canhaway    “ – 75

                                                            at Mjr (?) P. Levent (?)“ – 25

                                                            At Christians Burgh “- 50

                                                            At Roanoke                ” – 25

                                                            At horse shoeing       “- 75

                                    *at young adkinses 13 November 1809

                                    *To Capt Kents house

                                    *Horses at Capt Kents Tavern

14th [Nov]                   passed through Wyth, staid all night at Majr. Kents a little off the main road, sent [Only] + [sevt]  to his Tavern on the road   29 miles

15th [Nov]                   arrived at Majr Prestons late at night   25 miles

16th [Nov]                   at Majr Prestons  – Mr. Ben Howard arrived late

17th [Nov]                   at Majr. Prestons – Mr. Ben Howard set out

18th [Nov]                   at Majr. Prestons

19th [Nov]                   at Majr. Prestons – Dr. Floyd arrived about sunset

20th [Nov]                   set out with Dr. + [Mrs] Floyd – crossed at Englishes Ferry – arrived at Christians Burgh  – 12 miles  […of Alliganey? … *English ferry Christiansburg  25 miles

21st [Nov]                    Grass covered with snow – met Col. Hancock, George / James Preston Capt. Poiyton [?] on the Turnpike – much joy – Col. H + George return and we stay all night at [Botts], at Forthingay   12 miles

22nd [Nor 1809]          Wilson Lewis near Salom [near Salem, not New Salem] – children have hooping cough – “Tied a string around my childs nake [neck] to prevent his taking it”    15 miles

23rd [Nov]                   arrived at Col. Hancocks [*Fincastle] at dusk – great joy     21 miles

24th 25th 26th 27          at Col. Hancocks

28th [Nov]                   dined at Mr. Gussens

29th [Nov]                   at Col. Hancocks

30th [Nov]                   at Mr. Lockharts  Dined  [possibly started to write Gussens – crossed out]

2d [Decr] [1809]        at Col. Hancocks –“Col Hancock gave me in bank notes + silver $700 to have changed and sent to Gen. [Preston] of Richmon[d] with a letter”

3rd Decr [1809]          [team] of 2 horses – Mr. [ ]Conkeys [*McConkeys $1.57]    21 miles

4th Decr                      breakfast at Mr. Shields in Lexington [*1.25] (Consent – or Court? – Day)  – proceeded on to Col. McDowells [*boy .25]    [no mileage]

5th Decr                      Dined at Greenville [*1.25] – stayed all night at Mr. Blanks [*possibly Blacks ($)1.75]    [no mileage]

6th [Decr]                    Breakfast at Rockfish Gap [*$1.12]– and “stay’d all night at Mrs. Marks Gov. Lewis mother, she was not at home”. The family much distressed – I shewed young Mr. Marks all the letters I had about his Brothers situation…” *[Mrs. Marks boy -50]  [no mileage]

7th Decr 1809             Charlots ville   Mr. Thos. Jefferson – ‘invited me to stay at his house + I went with him and remained all night. Spoke much on the afs [affairs] of Gov. Lewis +c +c +c   *[Charlots ville .75, Mr. Jefferson boy -75]  [no mileage]