Meriwether Lewis, Natchez Trace,1 day ride.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by LewisNClark, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,387
    Location:
    North GA and Atlanta
    Continuing my travels of the Lewis and Clark Trail, little over 30,000 miles
    Departure: 8:30 AM returned home 9:30 PM – 702 mile day
    Atlanta, GA to Natchez Trace (Hohenwald, Tennessee)

    For those not familiar with the Natchez Trace, this trail runs from Natchez, Mississippi to the general vicinity of Nashville, Tennessee. It’s probably a few thousand years old and was originally a buffalo and deer trail, that eventually became the main travel path for Indians (Creek). The Natchez Trace is the walking trail and the Natchez Parkway is the modern day asphalt that roughly follows the original trail. As part of the National Park Service it is a very well maintained two lane road but speeds are pretty strictly enforced.

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    This is the Natchez Trace (Trail)

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    Three years after the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Clark was a Brig. General in charge of Indian Affairs. Lewis was appointed by Pres Jefferson to be the first Gov of the Louisiana Territory. Lewis had worked over a year compiling his journals about the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Desperate to get his Journals and much other business taken care of in Washington, Lewis left St Louis headed down the Mississippi River to the Gulf Coast, then by ship. At Memphis, Tennessee (
    Chickasaw Bluffs) Lewis heard rumors from other travelers of a potential invasion up the Mississippi from British troops so he and his companions (slaves) decided to change their plans and loaded several trunks on the back of 2 pack mules and left Memphis to catch the Natchez Trace and walk and ride to Washington. (British did invade 3 years later in War of 1812).

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    Spooked by a lighting storm and rain storm the mules were spooked. At this site is where Lewis’ mules ran away with his Journal notes. Extremely sick at the time Lewis had his main slave chase his mules to retrieve the trunks. Lewis said he’d continue on the trail to the first house (inn) he came across, which he did.

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    Natchez Trace historical marker. No one knows for sure if Lewis committed suicide or was murdered….most likely it was a suicide. Lewis was known to have a family history of mental illness (father). He was under intense pressure to finish his journals (he knew Pres Jefferson was upset with him). He had a number of financial problems as Governor of Louisiana. He was known to have syphilis (contacted from Indians during L & C Expedition), malaria and was on a number of dangerous drugs that could have contributed to mental problems. Remind me not to tell you how they cured syphilis in the early 1800’s (a hint carterized).

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    Meriwether Lewis marker and grave/monument. Date of Death: Oct 11, 1809

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    I paid 4<SUP>th</SUP> of July reverence to the man by staking American Flags at his Monument while there.

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    Meriwether Lewis Monument from a distance. No one knows but the facts indicate he has one pistol wound in the his side and one in the head. There were 3 or 4 suspects (including one of his slaves, a rogue Indian in the area, and the Grinder Inn owner).

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    Natchez Marker

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    If you ever want solitude for a ride this will be for you. Unbelievably beautiful territory and solitude. Lewis would have been walking down this trail when he found the Grinder Inn.

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    Natchez Trace Marker

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    Natchez Trace Marker

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    When the mules bolted Lewis continued on the trail to Grinder Inn for the night awaiting his slave&#8217;s retrieval of his mules and journals. This is a very good reenactment of the original Grinder Inn. The interior is probably 700 sq feet.

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    Front of the Grinder Inn

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    Rear view of the Grinder Inn

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    I rode the entire Natchez Trace a few years ago and this is what it looks like from Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi. (it a good long one day ride)

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    The Natchez Parkway which runs side by side with the Natchez Trace.

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    If anyone wants to find the Meriwether Lewis Memorial Monument set your map or GPS to a little community called Hohenwald, Tennessee and you will find it.

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    There is much more to the story. If interested do a Google for
    "Meriwether Lewis Suicide".

    Also this link:

    http://www.prairieghosts.com/meriwet.html

    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    70,291
    Thanks for the informative report about the Natchez Trace.. I must admit I travelled the entire length of the NT on our way to New Orleans and didn't do much stopping to smell the roses or read the signs! Now I know what I missed.. Thanks for the pics and report :thumb
    #2