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Two Masons and One Incredible Journey

On May 14, 1804, two of America’s most courageous heroes, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left St. Louis leading a group of about four dozen men to begin what was to be called the Corps of Discovery.

Following a directive by President Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis, who had served Jefferson as a secretary, was commissioned to explore the unknown territory west and north of St. Louis. Jefferson specifically challenged Lewis to find navigable waters to the mouth of the Columbia River where it met the Pacific Ocean. Jefferson made it clear that Lewis was to pave the way for further exploration and settlement of the lands recently acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. His directives included interacting with Native American tribes, determining lands which could be suitable for farming, and keeping scientific notations on animals, plants, and the terrain in each region.