ON THIS DAY IN UNITED STATES HISTORY
October 11, 1809
Famous Explorer, Meriwether Lewis, Dies
Under Mysterious Circumstances
On this day in 1809, the famous explorer, Meriwether Lewis (the Lewis of Lewis & Clark), died at Grinder's
Stand, and Inn on the Natchez Trail about 70 miles south-west of Nashville, Tennessee. The Natchez Trail was an old
pioneer road between Natchez, Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee.
Lewis had stopped there the night before on his way to Washington, D.C. to resolve some issues from the time he was
serving as the first American Governor of the Louisiana Territory. After dinner on October 10, he retired to his
bedroom. Early on October 11, the innkeeper heard gunshots. Lewis was discovered by servants with several gunshot
wounds, including one to the head. He died several house later.
Two of his closest friends, Thomas Jefferson, and William Clark accepted the findings at the time that it was a
suicide, however his family did not. And although most modern day historians accept that his death was a suicide,
the debate continues.