William Clark

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Clark, William

Clark, William, 1770–1838, American explorer, one of the leaders of the Lewis and Clark expedition, b. Caroline co., Va.; brother of George Rogers Clark. He was an army officer (1792–96), serving in a number of engagements with Native Americans. In 1803 he was chosen by his friend Meriwether Lewis to accompany the overland expedition to the Pacific. His observations of nature enlarged the findings of the expedition; his journals and maps recorded its history. In 1807, after the expedition had returned, Clark was appointed superintendent of Indian affairs, with headquarters at St. Louis, and from 1813 to 1821 he was governor of Missouri Territory. During the War of 1812, he led (1814) an expedition against the British and Native Americans in the upper Mississippi valley; upon reaching Prairie du Chien, Wis., he built Fort Shelby. Later, with Auguste Chouteau, he negotiated a number of important treaties with Native American tribes and aided in suppressing the Winnebago and Black Hawk uprisings. He was again superintendent of Indian affairs from 1821 until his death.

Bibliography

See bibliography under Lewis and Clark expedition.

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Clark, William

(1770–1838) soldier, explorer; born in Caroline County, Va. (brother of George Rogers Clark). He entered the U.S. Army (1789) and fought under General Anthony Wayne. He resigned from the army (1796) and tended to his family's estate. He shared command of the famous Lewis and Clark expedition (1804–06) with Meriwether Lewis; among his various contributions to its success were his fine maps and his illustrations of the animals of the territory. He was brigadier general of militia and superintendent of Indian affairs for the Louisiana Territory (1807–13) and governor of the Missouri Territory (1813–20). He established Fort Shelby, the first U.S. post in Wisconsin (1814), and negotiated treaties with various Indian tribes. He was surveyor general for Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas (1824–25).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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