Did Lewis and Clark Ever Actually Travel Through Montana?
We know Lewis and Clark traveled through Montana on their extraordinary expedition, but how do we know? Only one piece of physical evidence proves they were ever actually here.
In May of 1804, Lewis and Clark set off from Camp Dubio in Illinois with thirty men on an epic adventure. They were destined to find the most practical water route across the new Louisana purchase for commerce upon the urging of then-president, Thomas Jefferson. Along with this task, the crew was to catalog plants, animals, and the landscape along the way.
Lewis and Clark are somewhat of rock stars when it comes to Montana, as much of their journey was spent here and was written about in their journey, but how do we know they were actually ever here?
Well, as luck would have it one large piece of physical evidence still remains. As it turns out Captain Clark was somewhat of a vandal.
Outside of Billings along the Yellowstone river stands a 200-foot high sandstone pillar named "Pompey's Pillar", affectionately named after Sacajawea’s toddler. On July 26th, 1809, Captian Clark carved his name and the date into the pillar like it was a truck stop restroom.
This, as it stands, is the only remaining physical evidence the thirty-man crew actually ever traveled across the Big Sky state. Could you imagine if we had it wrong all these years, and they didn't actually travel through Montana? The amount of Montana businesses that would have to change their name would be staggering.