Birth: Aug. 1, 1770 Death: Sep. 1, 1838
Explorer - Born in Caroline County Virginia, Clark moved with his family to Louisville, Kentucky in 1785. In 1789, he joined the militia. He was commissioned a lieutenant in the regular army in 1792, and was assigned to Anthony Wayne's regiment, participating in the Battle of Fallen Timbers. One of the men briefly under his command was Meriwether Lewis.
Clark left the army in 1796. In 1803, Captain Meriwether Lewis invited Clark to share the leadership of a corps of exploration in an extensive journey into the vast uncharted area newly acquired by the United States with the Louisiana Purchase. Clark acted as mapmaker and artist, portraying in great detail the life they observed. Clark was credited with rescuing the expedition from disaster on more than one occasion.
After Clark's successful return from the Pacific coast three years later, President Jefferson awarded him 1,600 acres and made him brigadier general of militia for the Louisiana Territory as well as superintendent of Indian affairs. He held that post the rest of his life. From 1813 he served as governor of the Missouri Territory.
Clark died in St. Louis where a 35-foot gray granite obelisk was erected to mark his grave. His descendants raised $100,000 to rehabilitate the deteriorated obelisk and rededicated it with a ceremony on the bicentennial of the start of Corps of Exploration. The western American plant, Clarkia Onagraceae, related to the evening primrose, is named after him.