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Lewis and Clark
|edHelper's suggested reading level:||grades 4 to 6|
|Flesch-Kincaid grade level:||8.06|
By Colleen Messina
1 Most people have big dreams about adventures when they are young. Not everyone can achieve them, however. Meriwether Lewis was different. His exploration of new lands surpassed his wildest boyhood dreams.
2 Meriwether Lewis was born in Virginia on August 18, 1774. Meriwether lost his father when he was only five years old. His father died of pneumonia. His mother, Lucy, soon remarried. John Marks, Meriwether's stepfather, moved the family from the family estate called Locust Hill. They moved to Georgia in 1780.
3 Young Meriwether loved to hunt and explore. When he was only eight, he often went out in the middle of the night to go hunting with his dogs. Nothing bothered him. He wasn't afraid of the dark. He wasn't afraid of being uncomfortable. He even went in the middle of winter! He learned a lot about nature from his own experiences and from his family. His mother taught him how to gather herbs. She knew how to use them to cure illness. Meriwether thought that studying plants and animals was almost as much fun as going out in the middle of the night.
4 Meriwether also met Indians at his new home. The Cherokees lived close to the white settlers, but they were not friendly. Meriwether tried to help establish friendship between the Indians and his neighbors. A friend once described him as "having inherited the energy, courage, activity, and good understanding of his mother." Meriwether was not only brave and curious; he was also a good friend.
5 When he was about 13, Meriwether went back to Virginia for schooling and to manage his family's estate, Locust Hill. He was taught by local pastors, known as parsons. He had two teachers, William Douglas and Matthew Maury. Parson Douglas also taught three future presidents during his teaching career. Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe were also his students. A few years later, his stepfather died. His mother returned to Locust Hill with the rest of the family. Eighteen-year-old Meriwether was now the head of a large household.
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