Wednesday, August 27, 2014

More Lewis And Clark For Western Wednesday...!

There is something about the Lewis and Clark expedition that continues to call out to a lot of us. I don't really know what it is, but the call is there.

Here is a bit of history from that expedition that I didn't know until now. I thought I might share it with you!

Lewis and Clark promote Patrick Gass to sergeant

Following the death of Sergeant Charles Floyd, Lewis and Clark promote Patrick Gass as his replacement.

Barely three months into their journey to the Pacific, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark lost the only man to die on the journey. On August 20, 1804, Sergeant Charles Floyd died from a disease Lewis diagnosed as "Biliose Chorlick," or bilious colic. Based on the symptoms described, Floyd's appendix had probably ruptured and he died of peritonitis. After burying Floyd on a high bluff above the Missouri River, the expedition moved on toward the Pacific Ocean.

Two days later, the captains held an election among the men to determine Floyd's replacement. Private Patrick Gass received a majority of the votes. A native of Pennsylvania, Gass had joined the U.S. Army in 1799 at the age of 28. He proved to be a reliable soldier and soon won promotion to sergeant. When a call for volunteers to join Lewis and Clark's journey of exploration to the Pacific was released, Gass jumped at the chance. Lewis overrode the commander's objections to giving up his best noncommissioned officer, and Gass joined the Corps of Discovery as a private.

Gass proved himself a capable man in the first weeks of the mission. The captains agreed with their men--Gass was the best choice to replace Floyd as one of the two sergeants on the expedition. On this day in 1804, Lewis issued an order promoting Gass to the rank of "Sergeant in the corps of volunteers for North Western Discovery." Gass proved more than equal to the task. He served faithfully during the long journey to the Pacific and kept a careful journal throughout the journey, an important historical contribution.

After the expedition returned, Lewis and Clark released Gass from duty, giving him a letter testifying to his excellent service. Gass settled in Wellsburg, West Virginia, where he prepared for the publication of his journal. Appearing seven years before the official narrative of the journey was published, A Journal of the Voyages and Travels of a Corps of Discovery was a well-crafted account of the journey that continues to be useful to historians.

Having already completed the adventure of a lifetime, Gass still had many decades ahead of him. He served again in the army, lost an eye during the War of 1812, married at the age of 58, and fathered seven children. For most of his later years, Gass was the sole surviving member of the Lewis and Clark expedition. He lived until 1870, dying only a few months short of his 100th birthday.

Looks like this old boy had a lot going for him. To live that long at the time was quite an accomplishment in itself. Anoither unsung hero in our colorful history, I reckon!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, but we may have to go to the kitchen if it starts raining!


Chickenmom said...

Get a copy of "Undaunted Courage" by Stephen Ambrose if you can. A marvelous book about the expedition.
Running late today, gonna need a lot of coffee!

linda m said...

Very interesting story. You are right about his living to such an old age at that time period. He must have been doing something right - good clean living probably and seven children to keep him on the straight and narrow. hehe

Dizzy-Dick said...

He had quite a life. Just think, if he hadn't wore himself out having seven kids at an old age, he may have lived to 101. (grin)

John said...

Great story. I enjoy the very much.

Mamahen said...

Good rain coming our way also...making fresh apple fritters if anybody wants one :))

JO said...

I read a little about him not to long ago. What a hero he was and yes really didn't hear much about his life.

Ready for a refill please

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
Don't think I've read that one. I'll have to see if I can find it.

Thanks for coming by this morning!

Hey Linda M...
Whatever he was doing, had to be right! That's a long time, that's for sure!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Dizzy...
I'm sure that took a lot out of him! That's a lot of kids at any age.

Thanks for dropping over today!

Hey John...
Glad you liked the story.

Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Mamahen...
Fresh apple fritters sound pretty good to me!

Thanks for coming by this morning!

Hey Jo...
I figured that you might have read about him, being as you read a lot of history!

Thanks, sweetie, for dropping by today!