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Who Was Meriwether Lewis’ Godfather?




Congratulations to reader Jim Stewart for nailing the answer to the last Meriwether Lewis trivia question: How did Merry (Meriwether Lewis) treat the sexually transmitted diseases acquired by the Corps of Discovery?

Answer: Mercury, primarily. Lewis painted the nether-region lesions caused by syphilis with pure mercury, and he prescribed Dr Benjamin Rush’s Thunderclapper pills, a purgative whose largest component was mercury.

With all that mercury floating around inside and outside their systems, it’s a wonder the Corps of Discovery didn’t die en masse of mercury poisoning.

Recent excavations of latrine trenches used by the Corps on their journey still indicate high level of mercury in the ground. Over 200 years later, the Corps still leaves its mark on the landscape of the American West. In mercury.

Photo from Brandon Info, Brandon, South Dakota


Still skeptical that I can write a decent story? In August, think of Meriwether Lewis and celebrate his Birthday Month instead. I hope I honor him 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 to celebrate Meriwether Lewis’ Birthday Month, and a new paperback version is available now.

Click below to give Merry the birthday gift of remembrance.

At $2.99, you can give the gift of reading to several people in your life and celebrate Merry’s birth at the same time.


41 Comments Post a comment
  1. Andra, you write the best of stories and keep the mercury flowing as well. 🙂

    George Washington?

    August 4, 2014
    • George Washington is a great guess, Penny. I wonder whether Lewis knew him. Surely, he must have. Your guess has set me to googling this morning.

      August 4, 2014
  2. Pure guessing, Thomas Jefferson.

    August 4, 2014
  3. I have a guess, but since I’ve been reading other “statistics” about Merry the past several days (which may have provided an unfair advantage) I won’t say here.

    Considering that I was raised in Indiana and have no recollection of ever reading it before, I was very surprised this morning to read that he joined General “Mad” Anthony Wayne in 1795, and that’s where he met Clark. Maybe I don’t remember that because more focus was put on Wayne here?

    August 4, 2014
  4. I have no idea! But I’m entertained nevertheless by these posts. 😀

    August 4, 2014
    • Some of them are more entertaining than others to write, Linda, but I’m enjoying them as well. I’m glad they’re not scaring everyone off.

      August 4, 2014
  5. Don’t know who Merry’s godfather was, but he was godfather to Clark’s son, Meriwether Lewis Clark.

    August 4, 2014
    • Yes, Clark’s son spent a lot of his life trying to prove Lewis didn’t commit suicide.

      August 4, 2014
  6. I am guessing D Who! He is a time lord you know …

    August 4, 2014
    • If you google images of Meriwether Lewis, D Who does come up………

      August 4, 2014
  7. #

    Daniel Boone?

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID

    The Accidental Cootchie Mama wrote:

    > a:hover { color: red; } a { text-decoration: none; color: #0088cc; } a.primaryactionlink:link, a.primaryactionlink:visited { background-color: #2585B2; color: #fff; } a.primaryactionlink:hover, a.primaryactionlink:active { background-color: #11729E !important; color: #fff !important; } /* @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { .post { min-width: 700px !important; } } */ Andra Watkins posted: “TODAY’S TRIVIA QUESTION TO HONOR MERIWETHER LEWIS’ BIRTHDAY MONTH: MERIWETHER LEWIS HAD A GODFATHER. HE WASN’T MARLON BRANDO. WHO WAS HE? *************** Congratulations to reader Jim Stewart for nailing the answer to the last Meriwether Lewis tr”

    August 4, 2014
  8. I admit I tried to cheat and Google the answer but I became distracted by this:

    August 4, 2014
    • What a great post, Jill.

      This is precisely the reason I sent out a plea for more handwritten communication the other day (and BOY, did you readers respond.) These handwritten notes and letters make these lives seem closer, more concrete. It’s evidence that the person really lived.

      August 4, 2014
  9. This one is next on my list. Looking forward to it!

    August 4, 2014
    • Looking forward to hearing what you think, Carrie. I hope you enjoy it.

      August 4, 2014
  10. I blame my ignorance on M Lewis trivia on having been educated in the great white north.

    August 4, 2014
  11. i would be tempted to look up the answer to the trivia question, but I won’t. 🙂 I can’t think of anyone other than some of the already suggested figures. I’ll be very curious. The fact that mercury is still evidenced in the old latrines is utterly fascinating!

    August 6, 2014
    • They must’ve taken tons of it. Of course, arsenic was also a big deal back then as well. The ladies (and many men) ate arsenic wafers to lighten the skin. Most of downtown Charleston’s soil is still contaminated with arsenic (and lead, from all the lead paint chips………) Makes me want to go back and plant some vegetables…….

      August 6, 2014
  12. I just love the name “Thunderclapper”.

    August 8, 2014
  13. Mercury is also a neurotoxin and a nephrotoxin, meaning that these guys probably had psychological diseases as well as trouble regulating blood electrolytes. Maybe it was the treatment for VD that drove people crazy in those days!

    August 16, 2014

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