Members of the Expedition
The Charbonneau Family
After Lewis and Clark, the most famous member of the expedition is
Sacagawea. She was born around 1788, probably near Lemhi, Idaho, the
daughter of a Shoshone chief. As a child she was kidnapped by the Hidatsa
and sold into slavery to the Mandan. While with the Mandan, Sacagawea
was sold or given to Toussaint Charbonneau, who made her his wife. On
February 11, 1805, she gave birth to a son - John Baptiste. Lewis described
Toussaint as a man "of no particular merit," while both captains
acknowledged the indispensable service Sacagawea provided the Corps
of Discovery. As Clark wrote, "a woman with a party of men is a
token of peace."
Interpreter George Drouillard (? - 1810)
The son of a French-Canadian and a Shawnee mother, George Drouillard
met Lewis at Fort Massac. Captain Daniel Bissell was probably employing
Drouillard when Lewis recruited him for the expedition. Drouillard was
known for his general skill as a scout, hunter, woodsman, and interpreter.
Indeed, he was one of the best hunters of the expedition and often accompanied
the captains on special reconnaissance missions. After the expedition,
Drouillard became a partner in Manuel Lisa's fur-trading ventures on
the upper Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers.
York (1770 - ?)
York was Clark's companion from childhood, in the fashion of the slaveholding
South. Clark legally inherited York in 1799. The journals indicated
that he was large, strong, and perhaps overweight. He carried a rifle
during the expedition and performed his full share of duties like the
other members of the Corps of Discovery. York received his freedom in
1811, and then operated a wagon freight business in Tennessee and Kentucky.