Lewis and Clark

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark visited Locust Grove together on November 8, 1806 upon returning from their historic expedition to the Pacific.

“Captains Lewis & Clark arrived at the Falls on their return from the Pacific Ocean after an absence of a little more than three years”

Johnathan Clark’s Diary, November 5th, 1806

A Stopping Place for Lewis and Clark

Locust Grove is the only verified remaining structure west of the Appalachian Mountains known as a stopping point for Lewis and Clark. It was here that people at the Falls would have had perhaps the first opportunity to learn about what remains the greatest exploration venture in our county’s history.

George Rogers Clark, older brother to William Clark, spent the last nine years of his life at Locust Grove, from 1809 until his death in 1818.

Learn more about Lewis and Clark and find events here.

York, ca. 1772 – before 1832

York, born between 1770-1775, most likely in Caroline County Virginia, was enslaved by Jonathan Clark, and then willed to his son William Clark. York became the only enslaved member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition from 1803-1806, becoming the first African American to cross the United States coast to coast. York’s upbringing was alongside Clark, as they were very near in age. York moved with the Clark Family to Kentucky in 1785, living and working at the family farm called “Mulberry Hill.”

In October of 1803 York was in attendance with the explorers leaving the Falls of the Ohio, headed westward. York became an invaluable member of the expedition, particularly in diplomatic relations with the many Indigenous Tribes the group met along the way. York was allowed to voice his vote along with the other men concerning decisions such as where to make campsites, and which direction to head next. However, while granted this agency during the expedition, upon his return with the Corps, he was not granted his freedom from enslavement by Clark.

Clark and York’s relationship soured when Clark moved to St. Louis and took York with him, away from his wife and community. Eventually, York was hired out to a man in Louisville, so he could be nearer to his family. Sometime between 1815 and 1832 Clark manumitted York, but the documentation has not yet been discovered. The date and place of York’s death remains unknown.