Lewis and Clark Map

Lewis and Clark in South Dakota

One of our newest additions to our American County Histories collection includes A History of South Dakota: From Earliest Times compiled and revised by Doane Robinson includes this description of the Lewis and Clark expedition’s activities in what is now South Dakota.

Lewis and Clark Expedition

In the month of January, 1803, anticipating the cession of Louisiana to the United States, President Thomas Jefferson secured authority from Congress to dispatch a small detachment of regular soldiers on an exploring expedition by way of the Missouri river to the Pacific coast. This expedition President Jefferson placed in charge of Captain Merryweather Lewis, his private secretary, with Wm. Clark, as first assistant. The explorers were charged with the duty of examining the country along the route, becoming acquainted with the various Indian tribes and winning their friendship and good will. Before the expedition started, the cession of Louisiana to the United States had been consummated, and Captains Lewis and Clark were further instructed to secure an acknowledgment of the sovereignty of the United States over the several Indian tribes.

A map of Lewis and Clark's track across the western portion of North America, from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean by order of the executive of the United States in 1804, 1805 & 1806.

A map of Lewis and Clark’s track across the western portion of North America, from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean by order of the executive of the United States in 1804, 1805 & 1806.

On May 14, 1804, the party, consisting of forty-three men, including soldiers, boatmen, guides, interpreters, etc., embarked in two pirogues and one bateau, entered the Missouri river and started upon their long journey.

This expedition excited the liveliest interest throughout the country, in which President Jefferson fully shared. He watched it with the greatest solicitude and when information from it came back at the end of the first year, he promptly transmitted it to Congress.

The expedition slowly moved up the river but did not reach the mouth of the Big Sioux and consequently the territory now embraced within South Dakota, until August 21, 1804. Their first night passed on the Dakota side was the night of August 22d and 23d, which was spent on the site of the present city of Elkpoint. Here Patrick Gass was elected as successor to Sergeant Charles Floyd who died two days before, near the site of Sioux City. On the morning of August 23d, on the meadow three or four miles west of Elkpoint, they came upon their first herd of buffalo, and Captain Lewis killed one of them from which they salted two barrels of meat.


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A Pro-Slavery Catechism

A Pro-Slavery Catechism

This ran in the Wiskonsan (Wisconsin) Freeman and was reproduced in the African American Newspapers’s The National Era (Washington, D.C.) on July 8, 1847.

The 1847 Prospectus for The National Era stated, “…While due attention will be paid to Current Events, Congressional Proceedings, General Politics and Literature, the great aim of the paper will be a complete discussion of the Question of Slavery, and an exhibition of the Duties of the Citizen in relation to it; especially will it explain and advocate the leading Principles and Measures of the Liberty Party, seeking to do this, not in the spirit of the Party, but in the love of Truth—not for the triumph of Party, but for the establishment of Truth…”

A Pro-Slavery Catechism

  • Who was the first negro? Cain.
  • How did he become so? The Lord set a black mark upon him.
  • Did the Southern slave come from him? Yes.
  • How did they get through the flood? O, no! they didn’t come from him; they came from Ham.
  • How do you know that? Because Ham means black.
  • Upon whom did Noah pronounce a curse? Upon Ham.
  • Does the Bible say so? No, it says Canaan, but then it means Ham.
  • Does that curse make it right that the blacks should be enslaved? Yes.
  • Why? Because they should be.
  • Don’t the Bible say that Christ should be crucified? Yes.
  • Well, did that make it right? No; but the cases are not parallel.
  • From what country did the slave come? From Africa.
  • Did the descendants of Canaan people Africa? No; but that makes no difference.
  • Who were the happiest men that ever lived? The Patriarchs.
  • Why? Because they didn’t have to work.
  • Who was the first Patriarch? Abraham.
  • Why were not Methusaleh, Enoch, and Noah, Patriarchs? Because they didn’t hold slaves.
  • How do you know that Abraham’s servants were slaves? Because he whipped Hagar.
  • How do you know that? Because she ran away.
  • How do you know that it is right to flog slaves? Because God sent Hagar back.
  • When Abraham took three hundred and eighteen slaves, and pursued the kings, why did they not run away, as slaves now do? Either because Abraham had his hounds along, or because God had taught them better.
  • Were the Israelites allowed to hold slaves? Yes.
  • Whom might they hold? The heathen round about.
  • How long? Forever.
  • Whom else might hold them? Their children after them.
  • Who are those children? Southern slaveholders.
  • How does that appear? The Jews were cut off, and the Gentiles grafted in, in their place.
  • But are not the slaves Gentiles, too? Yes, but they are heathen
  • Who ere the heathen whom the Jews might hold? The Canaanites.
  • How does that make it right to hold negroes, then? O, because they come from Ham.
  • Have the negroes been sold as slaves in all ages of the world? Yes.
  • Were the Roman slaves negroes? Yes.
  • How do you know? Because it is impossible to make anybody else slaves but negroes.
  • Did Christ and his apostles approve of Roman slavery? Yes.
  • How do you know? They didn’t say anything against it. (No; but the Bible does; for it says, “the merciful man spareth his beast.”)
  • Was Paul a good man? Yes, he was a holy saint.
  • What did he do? He sent back a runaway slave.
  • What was his advice, and that of the other apostle, to the slave? To abide in their calling, and be obedient to their masters.
This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.
A Pro-Slavery Catechism in The National Era - July 8, 1847

A Pro-Slavery Catechism in The National Era – July 8, 1847

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Major General Clinton’s Proclamation to North Carolina

This proclamation offering amnesty to rebels by Major General Clinton appeared in the June 19, 1776 issue of The Pennsylvania Gazette.

By Major General Clinton, Commander of his Majesty’s Forces in the southern Provinces of North America.


WHEREAS a most unprovoked and wicked rebellion hath for some time past prevailed, and doth now exist, within his Majesty’s province of North Carolina, and the inhabitants (forgetting their allegiance to their Sovereign, and denying the authority of the laws and statutes of the realm) have, in a succession of crimes, proceeded to the total subversion of all lawful authority, usurping the powers of government, and erecting a tyranny in the hands of Congress and Committees of various denominations, utterly unknown and repugnant to the spirit of the British constitution; and divers people, in avowed defiance to all legal authority, are now actually in arms, waging unnatural war against their King; and whereas all attempts to reclaim the infatuated and misguided multitude to a sense of their error have unhappy proved ineffectual:

I have it in command to proceed forthwith against all such men, or bodies of men in arms, and against all such Congresses and Committees, thus unlawfully established, as against open enemies to the state. But, considering it a duty inseparable from the principle of humanity first of all to forewarn the deluded people of the miseries ever attendant upon civil war, I do most earnestly entreat and exhort them, as they tender their own happiness, and that of their posterity, to appease the vengeance of an injured and justly incensed nation, by a return to their duty to our common Sovereign, and to the blessings of a free government, as established by law; hereby offering, in his Majesty’s name, free pardon to all such as shall lay down their arms and submit to the laws, excepting only from the benefit of such pardon Cornelius Harnett and Robert Howe.

And I do hereby require, that the Provincial Congress, and all Committees of Safety, and other unlawful associations, be dissolved, and the judges allowed to hold their Courts according to the laws and constitution of this province; of which all persons are required to take notice, as they will answer the contrary at their utmost peril.

Given on board the Pallas transport, in Cape Fear river, in the province of North Carolina, the 5th day of May, 1776, and in the sixteenth year of his Majesty’s reign.

–H. Clinton.

By command of General Clinton,
To the Magistrates of the province of North Carolina, to be by them made public.

The Pennsylvania Gazette was one of the United States’ most prominent newspapers from 1728—before the time period of the American Revolution—until 1800. Published in Philadelphia from 1728 through 1800, The Pennsylvania Gazette is considered The New York Times of the 18th century.
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Flowers for Susan

This letter from Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Matilda Joslyn Gage was printed in the June 1879 issue of Gage’s National Citizen and Ballot Box.

CHICAGO, May 15th.

Dear Friend:

I reached the St. Louis Convention at the last moment, and was sorry to find that you and Olympia Brown had just gone. However, I was in time to make a short. speech, preside for two hours, and witness one of the most touching incidents that ever occurred on our platform.

The ladies of the convention, delegates from many different states, presented our dear friend, Susan B. Anthony, two beautiful baskets of flowers, in the presence of the immense audience which had gathered through all the long sessions for three days.

Mrs. May W. Thompson of Indianapolis, in presenting the flowers referred in the most happy way, to Miss Anthony’s unselfish and untiring devotion to all the unpopular reforms, through long years of pitiless persecution and ridicule, and thanked her in behalf of the young womanhood of the nation, that their path had been made smoother by her brave life. Our Susan was so overcome with the delicate compliments offered her, and the fragrant flowers at her feet, that for a moment she could find no words to express her appreciation of the unexpected acknowledgment of what all American women do indeed owe her.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Newspapers Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily, The Revolution, and the National Citizen and Ballot Box.


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