When Thomas Jefferson wrote these words to Meriwether Lewis, his private secretary, in June of 1803, he did not know what inhabited the land that he just purchased from Napoleon Bonaparte. There were stories of mountains of gold, wooly mammoths, and spewing volcanoes. Even the Fountain of Youth was rumored to be hidden among the wilds of the land then called the Louisiana Territory. Trusting Lewis, Jefferson instructed him to explore the newly purchased lands.
Locally, Greenville is well known as “the Treaty City.” It is where the Treaty of Greene Ville was signed in 1795, and Mad Anthony Wayne put a decisive end to the Northwest Indian War following the Battle of Fallen Timbers (another historical site that Ohio claims). It was amidst the Treaty signing that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark met and formed their legendary friendship. Surprisingly, their first meeting did not occur under the best of circumstances. Featured in Garst Museum’s Crossroads of Destiny exhibit and thanks to an anonymous donor, you can learn the story behind Lewis and Clark’s first meeting in Greenville via the latest upgrade.
During January, the museum worked to install two new exhibits about Lewis and Clark’s time during Greenville’s fort period. One exhibit details their nearly disastrous first meeting, a meeting that involved a demand for a duel and the court-martial case that followed. The other explains how the events they witnessed in Greene Ville later ensured the Expedition's success. A pair of pistols donated by former Darke County resident Jon Brown will be part of this new permanent display.
Today, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail stretches 4,900 miles across 16 states, including Ohio. It is represented by dozens of monuments, museums, parks, and wildlife areas, each telling a story of one of the most remarkable explorations of the North American continent in history. Garst Museum shares part of that story.
Cait Clark will share more about the fascinating story behind this new exhibit on March 9, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. Although the program is free, regular admission rates apply for those interested in touring the museum.