Philadelphia Chapter Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation

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Jerry Garrett describes the launch of the Discovery Expedition in Pittsburgh

I'm back from a quick trip to Pittsburgh to see the launch of the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles keelboat as the crew headed down the Ohio River in the shadow of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. I traveled with Darold Jackson (President of the Discovery Expedition) and Joanne Bishop (wife of the late Glenn Bishop, builder of the replica boat).

Saturday highlights:
1. The Corps led a small parade down the main street of Elizabeth, PA. This town was home to John Walker, probably the man who built the keelboat.
2. Took a tour of the local cemetery where John Walker is buried.
3. A New York breeder of Newfoundlands presented Capt. Lewis (Scot Mandrell) with a 10-month old dog to accompany the Corps on their journey.
4. The Corps accepted some gifts, including an antique set of caulking tools like would have been used in the boat construction and a book on cartography.
5. The "retiring colors" ceremony took place in late afternoon.
6. We were guests of the Corps as they dined on camp-prepared beef stew and chicken and noodles.

Sunday highlights:
1. Attended (along with about 250 citizens) a morning sunrise service, which included hymns, prayers and a message.
2. A Mandan Indian (a native of Elizabeth) gave a peace pipe blessing as well as sang a traditional Iroquois song. A representative of the Mandan Nation/Fort Berthold Reservation (North Dakota) was also in attendance.
3. The mayor presented the keys to the city of Elizabeth.
4. Bob Plummer (member of the crew) asked all to follow the journey with their prayers.
5. Jim Rascher played Amazing Grace on his harmonica.
6. Tim Gore and Jim Sturm (Clayton school teachers) were busy webcasting the events to students around America.
7. The boat was manned by civilian re-enactors (in the spirit of the boat being built by civilians) and departed with local citizen John Boucher on board representing John Walker.

In Pittsburgh
1. The boat arrived at The Point (site of old Fort Pitt) to a welcome from over 1,000 people.
2. The mast was raised and the flag was raised.
3. The civilians on board transferred operation to the military re-enactors.
4. The land crew had convoyed from Elizabeth and were busy setting up camp on the grounds of the Fort Pitt Museum.
5. Also on the grounds was Corps II, the Park Service's moving exhibits on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. A steady stream of people visited this facility throughout the day.

People I met/saw:
1. Gary and Sandy Lucy of Washington, MO. Gary is a well-known artist of Lewis and Clark.
2. Jay Maxwell, retired pilot and longstanding member of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation.
3. Pat Jones, Chief of Interpretation for Corps II.
4. Helen Markwell, member of the Home Front Chapter and Patrick Gass interpreter.
5. Charlie (St. Louis) and Bud (Michigan, and without beard) Clark -- descendants of Captains Clark.
6. Norman Anderson and grandson Josh, descendants of Private George Shannon.

All in all, it was a grand and glorious day to start the water journey of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial.

Jerry Garrett





Updated October 13, 2003