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Kentuckians made indispensable contributions to the success of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Fully half the members of the Corps of Discovery were Kentuckians or had Kentucky connections. This section includes biographies of expedition co-leader William Clark, his enslaved African-American York, the Nine Young Men from Kentucky, and others with Kentucky ties to the expedition, as well as articles and other information.

Historical markers
The "Lewis and Clark in Kentucky" historical markers project commemorates many of the significant people and places connected to the expedition.

The "western" state of Kentucky was a prime recruiting ground for the Corps of the Discovery. Lewis and Clark knew they could not carry sufficient provisions with them for what they knew would be at least a two year expedition to the Pacific Ocean and back. As the saying goes, an army travels on its stomach - and this was an army expedition. The food needs of the Corps required that excellent hunters and woodsmen be part of the expedition. The demand for food would be constant, and without the "fuel" needed by these hardworking explorers, the expedition would grind to a halt. Thus, these young Kentucky hunters and woodsmen became an important part of the journey. The responsibility largely fell to them to keep the Corps provisioned with meat so that they could draw ever closer to achieving their goals. But there was more than hunting and shooting expertise to these Kentuckians. They also provided leadership. William Clark, co-leader of the expedition, was a Kentuckian. Noncommissioned officers - those all-important sergeants - numbered three on the journey and initially two of the three were Kentuckians. It is with good cause that William Clark referred with affection and pride to the "Nine Young Men from Kentucky" and the important contributions they made to the expedition. York, Clark's enslaved African American, was never an official member of the Corps, but he made important contributions to the expedition's success, more so than most of his fellow explorers. All the explorers returned from their western trek - save one. The one member of the Corps to die was one of the Kentuckians. Other Kentuckians died soon after their return; one violently and two from natural causes. One became the "Father of the Mountain Man," and more famous for his post expedition exploits rather than for being a member of the Corps. One stayed in the army and fought in the famous Battle of New Orleans. Another went to Transylvania University and became a legislator and judge. But whatever the post expedition fates of these Kentuckians, they were, for three years, participants in one of history's greatest exploring adventures.


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