The Lewis and Jefferson family were long-time neighbors of the theme. Meriwether Lewis was Thomas Jefferson’s personal assistant before the expedition. Lewis has a lifetime of experience as a naturalist, hunter and herbalist, all the facts that Jefferson was aware of and influenced his decision to choose him as the leader of the Corps.
While in the Great Falls on the Missouri River, Lewis pondered how, at the age of 31, he felt he had not accomplished much in the way of helping the progress of humanity.
In September 1809, Lewis left for Washington DC to answer complaints about his actions as governor. On the way, he stopped at an inn called Grinder’s Stand, about 70 miles (110 km) from Nashville, Tennessee in Natchez Trace on October 10, 1809. The following morning, the servants found Lewis severely injured from several gunshot wounds. He died shortly after sunrise.
While modern historians generally accept his death as a suicide, there is some debate. Mrs. Grinder, the wife of the restaurant keeper, claimed that Lewis behaved strangely the night before his death. He said that during dinner, Lewis stood up and paced about the room talking to himself like someone was talking to a lawyer. He watched his face turn red as if it had come to him in a fit condition.
After he retired for the night, Mrs. Grinder continued to hear him speak for himself. At one time during the night he heard a lot of gunfire, and he believed that someone was asking for help. He claimed he could see Lewis through the gap in the door to crawl back to his room. He never explained why, at that time, he did not investigate further about Lewis’s condition or the source of the shot. The next morning, he called Lewis’s servant,
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