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Lewis and Clark: Screwing Their Way Across a Continent

In public appearances, I like to tell a story about my own experience with learning history.

Eighth grade.

United States History.

In South Carolina, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were tangential figures. They didn’t visit South Carolina, never called it home. History tends to focus on the familiar, the things we can experience beyond the immediate bounds of our classroom doors.

I remember a paragraph in my textbook:

“Lewis and Clark went to the Pacific with Sacagawea. Thomas Jefferson sent them. They came home. The end.”

Or something like that.

How boring. Lifeless. Banal.

It wasn’t until I read Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose that I started to see historical figures as people. Flesh and blood. Bone and sinew. Real human beings who struggled through challenges and faced the same foibles as I did.

Or maybe not the same.

Because Lewis and Clark and their randy band of twenty-something men didn’t just drag themselves up the Missouri River against the current. They screwed their way, their lust anchors penetrating the shore.

Because the Native Americans believed sex with the White Man stole their power, the Corps of Discovery usually disembarked after a week or more of grueling labor to find hoards of naked women ready to ‘do the business’, as Clark so eloquently put it.

Does Meriwether Lewis have direct descendants somewhere, products of his couplings with random strangers?

Perhaps.

Perhaps not.

On the first day of his Birthday Month, I like to think there are pieces of him, roaming the earth somewhere.

Curious.

A little awkward, maybe.

And fearless.

*********

I hope I honor Meriwether Lewis as a hero in my debut novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis. It’s getting great reviews, but it needs more readers.

Kindle copies of the book are $2.99 in honor of Meriwether Lewis’ birthday month, and a new paperback version is available now.

Click below to give Merry the birthday gift of remembrance.

Or, if you know someone who’s balked at paying $4.99 for a novel that’s garnering great reviews, share this post with them and let them know about the discounted price.

Heck, at $2.99, you can give the gift of reading to several people in your life.

amazon.kindle

 

TODAY’S MERIWETHER LEWIS BIRTHDAY MONTH TRIVIA QUESTION:

WE DON’T KNOW IF MERRY FATHERED ANY ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN IN HIS LIFETIME. HOW MANY DID CLARK SIRE DURING THEIR TRAVELS?

60 Comments Post a comment
  1. ‘their lust anchors penetrating the shore.’- so well said and probably would have drawn more people in, had this line been in the history books. i have a feeling there are many offspring wandering around along the path they followed. happy birthday month to meriwether and to all of those whose births he was directly responsible for.

    August 1, 2014
    • I’ll always wonder whether he was responsible for any.

      August 4, 2014
  2. “Lust anchors”. I will have to remember that phrase.

    August 1, 2014
  3. If your post here had been the paragraph in any eighth grade textbook, I’m certain American (or any other) history would have been more avidly explored by students. 🙂

    August 1, 2014
    • I often tell this story at talks and say how interesting history would’ve been if it had been taught that way.

      August 4, 2014
  4. I believe it was de rigeur back then. I remember tales of Captain Cook and his crew doing very similar around about the time Lewis was born, spreading venereal disease where’er they went despite some fairly stringent rules to try to prevent anything untoward happening. Explorers will be explorers.

    August 1, 2014
    • One of the reasons practically everyone had VD………..everyone slept with everyone………

      August 4, 2014
  5. As so often happens, you’ve sent me Googling this morning. In answer to your trivia question, one reference suggests Captain Clark had two wives — I didn’t dig far enough to determine whether successively or concurrently 🙂 — and 9 children: http://www.geni.com/people/Capt-William-Clark/6000000001784875241

    Of course, there’s little chance of knowing a precise number of offspring for either Captain Clark or Merry. I’ve been trying to put together some of our own family history, and finding that while some records are very reliable, others are sketchy, at best. I suspect this is true for all families, but maybe records are more accurate for those with a modicum of notoriety?

    I was also interested to find this: http://www.luciefield.net/descendants.html about descendents of ALL members of the Corps.

    August 1, 2014
    • Clark did have two wives. He remarried after his first wife died. He married the first wife upon his return from the West.

      August 4, 2014
  6. Lust anchors?! Classic!

    August 1, 2014
  7. Boys will be boys and girls will be girls. Most always. “Hey Handsome, nice anchor.”

    August 1, 2014
  8. lifeonthecutoff has said exactly what I was thinking. History was so boring back then, but now? Lust anchors. Great post.

    August 1, 2014
  9. If that photo isn’t a phallic symbol, I don’t know what is!
    I’m sure there are offspring aplenty!

    August 1, 2014
  10. Kir Piccini #

    Well really Andra, what else is there to do when you’re discovering the American Northwest? Ahem.

    I love reading these tidbits of the story, you’re right , it makes them real and human. I felt this way about History in my 24th year when I was back in college full time and was encouraged to take an American History course at 1pm. Back then I didn’t want to “give up” Days of Our Lives but I had to fill my requirements and I liked the teacher.

    I said from then on, I gave up one “story” for a much *MUCH* better one. One where sex, lies, families, secrets and politics built a world not just a fictional city. 🙂

    August 1, 2014
    • Days of Our Lives……….my mom watched that and got me hooked very young. I too always tried to plan my days around seeing it………..

      August 4, 2014
  11. tarakianwarrior #

    I’m going to buy a few more and pass them out to the libraries that are in town…I’m sure they’ll accept free books don’t you think?

    August 1, 2014
    • You betcha, Lori….I routinely give all my read/no room to keep books to the local library. They are then free to add them to their shelves, or put them into their annual fund-raiser sale; their choice! I would hope that ANY library would graciously accept a copy for their shelves!

      August 1, 2014
      • tarakianwarrior #

        Thank you Karen! I can hardly wait to give them out. 😀

        August 1, 2014
    • That would be awesome, Lori. My local library has given out multiple copies.

      August 4, 2014
  12. I agree.!! History became way more interesting when I entered college and professors actually took the time to make historical figures three dimensional. Great post 😉

    August 1, 2014
    • I wasn’t always lucky to find great professors, even in college.

      August 4, 2014
  13. Ha! Great post, Andra. Lust Anchors Aweigh!

    August 1, 2014
    • I wonder whether they shouted that as they pulled into shore……..

      August 4, 2014
  14. I was born and raised in Oregon. Lewis and Clark (and good ol Sacagawea) are a big deal here. No one ever mentioned the “lust anchors” before though. I’m sure I would’ve remembered that. 😉

    August 1, 2014
    • I wonder whether you know some of their distant offspring………..

      August 4, 2014
      • Sounds like it’s a distinct possibility!

        August 5, 2014
  15. Lust anchors… oh, Andra…

    August 1, 2014
  16. It is a wonder the expedition got anywhere with all that power taken away

    August 1, 2014
  17. That’s a thought for this Friday evening. Merry screwing naked women. Hmm….Who needs porn? LOL. 🙂

    August 1, 2014
  18. I never heard much about Lewis and Clark in history class. Of course in the 8th grade I went to a Catholic school, where lust could not be discussed, but where our religion teacher, a priest, called the girls in our class prostitutes bc he thought our skirts were too short on picture day. Your book was the first thing I read that brought these two guys to life for me. I guess they didn’t talk much about sex in their diaries.

    August 2, 2014
    • They talked about sex in their journals. They didn’t outline each exploit or conquest, but they were pretty open about what they were doing. In early versions of the journals, much of that was edited out by the editor, who feared what readers would think of them.

      August 4, 2014
  19. I’m just about ready to go to bed tonight, Andra. I wonder if the lusty antics of the Corps will invade my dreams. You’ve given me some images that you’re so right, never came into the textbooks I read! 🙂 Congratulations on another paperback printing. It’s a good month for me to share some more gift copies.

    August 6, 2014
  20. I can’t blame them, I would take advantage of that situation if I were in the same boat. Wherever their descendants may be, I hope they are living adventuresome lives.

    August 8, 2014
  21. Kathy Waller #

    Americans like to pretend our historical figures were saints. If we acknowledged their flaws, learning history would be more interesting. And more valuable to us, perhaps.

    August 30, 2014

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