The 52nd Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation Annual Meeting was hosted by Charlottesville, Virginia’s Home Front Chapter. The future of Lewis and Clark scholarship and involvement will depend on both the Lewis and Clark trails we can walk on (and row on) and on virtual space that is becoming more and more important to learning and community. As we recruit new members and face the challenges of this year, we are creating online spaces and using the new technology.
We had lectures and live question and answer sessions with scholars such as Elizabeth Chew of Montpelier, who answered the question, “What happened to the University of Virginia’s Lewis and Clark artifacts. An online, interactive experience, “A Vote for Democracy,” examined Lewis and Clark documents and also pointed the way to new educational outreach in schools. For the Moulton Lecture, J. Jefferson Looney, the Daniel P. Jordan Editor of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, highlighted the retirement years of Thomas Jefferson, the culmination of his life of thought and action.
The meeting included film of the home places of the Lewis and Clark families and of Thomas Jefferson, as well as portraits of the new spaces devoted to history in Charlottesville and the region. Through video and photographs we looked at the University of Virginia’s Memorial to Enslaved Laborers; the Lewis Family’s estate house within Charlottesville, “the Farm,” and the Woolen Mills area; the Lewis & Clark Statue, now slated to be moved; and the new welcome center at Monticello. You’ll see where Ken Burns celebrated his Lewis and Clark film at the birthplace of George Rogers Clark, and where the new Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center was constructed on land once owned by William Clark’s grandfather.
Virtual tours included the new Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center, the new Visitor’s Center and exhibits at Monticello, and the expanded Montpelier. We will also be giving you a close look at the Lewis & Clark statue on Charlottesville’s Main Street, which is slated to be moved, possibly to the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center. In particular we will highlight the friezes along the base that tell the Lewis & Clark story.
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October 4 to 9, 2021, Missoula, Montana 53rd Annual Meeting
Travelers’ Rest: Crossroads of Travel, Trade, and Time will be the theme of a program that brings together scholars, tribal elders, history buffs, and trail experts to examine Lewis and Clark’s travels through this region in 1805 to 1806. The Expedition proceeded on along time-worn trails traveled by the Indians through the heart of the Rocky Mountains to reach the bison and salmon. The captains’ observations give us the gift of opportunity to compare what they saw with what is here today and to reflect on what we are passing on to future generations.
Our tours will follow in the footsteps of the Lewis and Clark Expedition across the Bitterroot Mountains and discuss their deliberations at Travelers’ Rest to split up on the return journey in fulfillment of the President’s charge to seek out possible routes for the “purposes of commerce." We will explore and experience the rugged and beautiful landscapes of Montana and Idaho and learn more about the Salish and Nez Perce Indians who helped the Corps of Discovery members succeed in their mission.
Conference headquarters will be at the Holiday Inn Parkside on the banks of Missoula’s Clark Fork River. It’s not too early to put these dates on your planning calendar because we expect the meeting to sell out early! Not only will our long-time members want to return but this will be the first opportunity for our new members from the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail’s Eastern Extension to attend an annual meeting in the West. Early October is usually a beautiful time of year to visit Montana. We hope you will join us then! Submitted by the Travelers’ Rest Chapter.
Down the Ohio 1803: The Journey Begins is the theme of the LCTHF’s 54th Annual Meeting from August 7 to 10, 2022, in Pittsburgh, PA, now the start of the newly expanded Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, which traverses 4,900 miles from Pittsburgh to Astoria, OR. In partnering with the Senator John Heinz History Center and the Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation, the LCTHF’s meeting will focus on Lewis’ preparations in Pittsburgh through talks, activities, and a cruise down the Ohio to see the river and its shoreline as Lewis may have seen them. The meeting headquarters will be the Drury Plaza Pittsburgh Downtown.
Located atop Pittsburgh’s Mount Washington overlooking the Ohio River is the historic marker, dedicated in August 2019, commemorating the inception of Lewis’ trip “Down the Ohio in 1803.” Upriver from the sign is the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, which come together to form the Ohio River. Downriver is Brunot(s) Island, the first stop for Lewis and his crew on their westward journey.
Brunots Island is the site of the nearly tragic incident with the air gun in which a woman was shot but quickly recovered. Lewis mentioned in his journal that Blais(z)e Cenas was the person on the island who fired the air gun and inadvertently hit the woman. Cenas became a postmaster in New Orleans and is buried in that city’s cemetery. Thomas Rodney, traveling down the Ohio at the same time as Lewis, also described the air gun in his journal. Rodney later became a respected judge in the Mississippi Territory.