Newspaper suggests famous explorer visited Smyth County | Latest titles
Linda Burchette | Smyth County News and Messenger
To boost tourism in Virginia and highlight a little-known aspect of its history, members of the Virginia Lewis & Clark Legacy Trail are planning a visit to this region by William Clark of the famous Lewis & Clark Expedition.
According to History.com, the expedition began in 1804, “when President Thomas Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis to explore lands west of the Mississippi River which included the Louisiana Purchase. Lewis chose William Clark as co-leader of the mission. The excursion lasted over two years… the approximately 8,000 mile journey was considered a huge success and provided new geographic, ecological and social information on previously unknown areas of North America.
Lewis and Clark were both from Virginia.
Clark is known to have crossed southwestern Virginia in 1809, part of the journey from Bristol to Wytheville, according to a diary he kept along the way. His spelling was atrocious, but the diary notes visits and stops in places believed to be Bristol, Abingdon, Seven Mile Ford, Atkins and County Wythe, places where he knew people or had friends.
Peggy Crosson, president of the Virginia Lewis & Clark Legacy Trail, visited Marion last week to provide a program for members of the Smyth County Historical Society and the Holston Rivers Heritage Center.
According to the organization’s website, “The Virginia Lewis and Clark Legacy Trail is a driving and experience trail along or near the Great Valley Road (Rt. 11 and I-81), from Bristol to Charlottesville ” and beyond. ‘which tracks and honors the journeys of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in the Commonwealth, and the people and places they visited…. “