Lewis and Clark

Journey's End - Life after the Expedition, Part 2

Journey's End - Life after the Expedition, Part 2
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.66

     challenging words:    ably, arduous, suicide, envoy, governorship, honesty, suspicion, trapping, ingenuity, skilled, suet, dual, planter, painful, proclaim, wilderness
     content words:    United States, President Jefferson, Native American, Private John Colter, Fort Mandan, John Colter, John Potts, Rueben Fields, Pierre Cruzatte, George Droulliard

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Journey's End - Life after the Expedition, Part 2
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     The return of the Corps of Discovery to the United States had caused a sensation. The explorers had been gone two-and-a-half years. Most people had given them up for dead.
2     Their appearance in September of 1806 caused one senator to remark to Lewis, "It's as if you'd just returned from the moon!"
3     The explorers were treated to parties and toasts. A very pleased President Jefferson congratulated the captains. Very soon, though, the excitement wound down. The men who had traversed a continent had to find a way to resume their normal lives. Lewis and Clark both received appointments to government posts. The captains and the other men were awarded double pay and a plot of land for their service. Some settled on their land and became farmers. Some couldn't get the frontier out of their hearts. These men returned to find their fortunes in the wild lands they had traveled together.
4     By the time the Corps had returned to St. Louis, some of the team members had already mustered out. The Native American woman Sacagawea and her husband and son had parted with the team at the Mandan villages. Private John Colter had fallen in love with the wilderness. He asked the captains' permission to leave the crew at Fort Mandan so that he could return to the West. Colter was released from the Corps and joined a group of trappers headed up the Missouri.
5     As fate would have it, only a few of the explorers lived to old age. John Colter roamed the mountains, trapping for a living. The Blackfeet captured him and friend John Potts, also a former Corps member. Potts was killed, but Colter escaped. Soon afterward, Colter gave up his mountain man life and returned to Missouri. He became a farmer and married, only to die in the War of 1812. Rueben Fields died less than a year after the voyage. His brother Joseph settled on a small Kentucky farm and died in early 1823.

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