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Other Kentuckians with Lewis and Clark

The "Nine Young Men from Kentucky" with Lewis and Clark have rightfully achieved recognition and a degree of fame as the first enlistees of the Corps of the Discovery and that all-important foundation upon which the rest of the Corps was built. But there were others who joined the expedition with Kentucky ties. As Lewis and Clark proceeded down the Ohio and then up the Mississippi in the fall of 1803, they recruited additional men from army posts at Fort Massac and Kaskaskia. Five of these recruits are identified as being associated with Kentucky. Like so many members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, these men's backgrounds are shrouded in uncertainty. This extends to some of their post expedition lives as well. So many of the members of the Corps of Discovery appear on "stage," with little know past to participate in this epic adventure, and many of them disappear into the anonymity from which they came. The five other expedition members listed as having Kentucky ties are:


Hugh McNeal (?-?)
Little is known about McNeal, including his birth and death dates. He was born and raised in Pennsylvania but is believed to have been living in Kentucky when he joined the army. His army unit and posting when he met Lewis and Clark are unknown. He joined the permanent party of the Corps of Discovery on January 1, 1804. He was an excellent hunter and might have remained in the army after the expedition. A Hugh McNeal appears on an 1811 muster roll. William Clark apparently knew of his eventual fate. In a list of expedition members he compiled in the mid-1820s, he noted that McNeal was dead.


William Werner (?-?)
Werner's pre-expedition life is also essentially a blank. It is believed that he was born in Kentucky. His army unit and posting prior to joining the expedition are unknown. His enlistment in the Corps of Discovery dates from January 1, 1804. He was one of the salt makers on the Pacific, which might indicate earlier experience at one of Kentucky's salt making operations. After the expedition he assisted William Clark with Indian affairs and in the mid-1820s his former captain reported him living in Virginia.


Joseph Whitehouse (ca. 1775-?)
Whitehouse was born in Fairfax County, Virginia, and is believed to have moved with his family to Kentucky about 1784, possibly in the Boyle-Mercer Counties area. He joined the army at an unknown date and was stationed at Fort Massac on the lower Ohio (essentially across the river from present Paducah). He was part of the detachment that accompanied Lewis and Clark from Massac to Kaskaskia and subsequently joined the permanent party on January 1, 1804. He had an interest in Indian trade and is noted in the journals as being a tailor and tanner. Whitehouse disappeared in 1817 when he deserted from the army and Clark didn't know his status in the mid-1820s. Private Whitehouse kept a journal during the expedition. A contemporary copy was apparently made not long after the expedition's return. Whether the original has survived is unknown. Only part of the copy survives today.


Photograph of Willard and his wife, Eleanor.  Williard was one of only two expedition members known to have had their photographs taken.
G.P. Putnam & Sons Publishing

Alexander Hamilton Willard (1778-1865)
Willard was born in New Hampshire and was reportedly living in Kentucky when he joined the army in 1800. Willard was recruited at Kaskaskia and joined the permanent party on January 1, 1804. He was a good blacksmith, gunsmith, and hunter, but made the unfortunate mistake of falling asleep on guard duty (which he denied) and received 100 lashes as his punishment. In 1807 he married Eleanor McDonald of Shelby County, Kentucky, in Missouri. He worked as a blacksmith in the Indian service and served in the War of 1812. About 1824 he and his family moved to Wisconsin and in 1852 they traveled overland to California, settling in Franklin, near Sacramento. Willard was one of the last surviving members of the Corps and one of only two to have their photograph taken.


Richard Windsor (?-?)
Windsor's date and place of birth are unknown. He is believed to have been living in Kentucky when he joined the army. Windsor was recruited at Kaskaskia in November of 1803 and officially joined the Corps on January 1, 1804. Like many of the explorers, he hunted as well as performing other duties on the expedition. He settled in Missouri and later rejoined the army, serving until 1819. In the mid-1820s William Clark listed him as living in Illinois along the Sangamon.


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