By His Own Hand?: The Mysterious Death of Meriwether Lewis

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By his Own Hand?: The Mysterious Death of Meriwether Lewis John D. W. Guice, Editor. Contributions by James J. Holmberg, John D. W. Guice, and Jay H. Buckley. Foreword by Elliott West. Introduction by Clay S. Jenkinson. Norman: University of Oklahama Press, 2006.

Some historical mysteries are apparently never to be solved, sometimes because probers do not want them explained, or because researchers are not allowed into the evidence. Such, apparently, is going to be the fate of the death of hero-explorer Meriwether Lewis. A brief roster of facts is known. Early October 11, 1809 while it was still too dark for one to see outside, two shots rang out in the open space between two cabins on the Natchez Trace, some seventy miles southwest of Nashville, TN. Lewis, who was sleeping alone in one of the cabins, stumbled out with a gunshot wound just below his chest and another that had blown away a portion of his cranium, leaving his brain exposed. One witness, Priscilla Grinder, wife of the proprietor of the inn, whose husband was away, said she looked through the cracks of her cabin and saw Lewis stumble around for two hours crying for help and for someone to shoot him and put him out of his misery. …


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