In 1798—more than five years before he led the epic western journey that would make him and Meriwether Lewis national heroes—William Clark set off by flatboat from his Louisville, Kentucky home with a cargo of tobacco and furs to sell downriver in Spanish New Orleans. He also carried with him a leather-trimmed journal to record his travels and notes on his activities.
In this vivid history, Jo Ann Trogdon reveals William Clark’s highly questionable activities during the years before his famous journey west of the Mississippi. Delving into the details of Clark’s diary and ledger entries, Trogdon investigates evidence linking Clark to a series of plots—often called the Spanish Conspiracy—in which corrupt officials sought to line their pockets with Spanish money and to separate Kentucky from the United States. The Unknown Travels and Dubious Pursuits of William Clark gives readers a more complex portrait of the American icon than has been previously written.
About the Author
Attorney Jo Ann Trogdon lives in Columbia, Missouri, the same city where the 1798-1801 journal of William Clark has been housed, virtually overlooked, in the State Historical Society of Missouri since 1928. She was led to the journal by her research in Spanish archives for her book, St. Charles Borromeo: 200 Years of Faith. Her articles on history have appeared in publications including Arizona Highways and We Proceeded On, a publication of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation.
Published by University of Missouri, 2015. Hardback, 496 pages.