AfriGeneas Western Frontier Forum
YORK, Captain William Clark’s black “manservant,” accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific Ocean and back to the East (1803-1806). William Clark’s life-long slave companion, York and William were roughly the same age. He had been bequeathed to William by his father, John Clark, in a will dated July 24, 1799. In 1803, the two lived together in Clarksville, Indiana Territory, opposite Louisville. On October 29, he and Clark, who would become co-commander of the expedition, joined Lewis and “Nine young men from Kentucky” when they stepped aboard the Corps’ keelboat and set off on a journey into history.
[York is not mentioned again until the party reached the tidal waters of the Columbia River. Here he is found “shooting two geese and brant” near a temporary base camp they established on the north (Washington State) shore of the river. Then, joining Clark and several others, he walked 19 miles to see the “main ocean.” Standing on beach, he became the first black man to have crossed the continent north of Mexico.]
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