About half a mile north of this marker is the site of the birthplace of Meriwether Lewis, Locust Hill. Lewis in fact lived here twice in his life: From birth to the age of 6 when the family moved to Georgia and then he retuned when a young managing the estate before joining the army. He is best known for his exploration of the Louisiana Territory with William Clark. He also served in the Virginia Militia, and US Army.
Meriwether Lewis was born in
Albemarle County, Virginia in 1774 on the Locust Hill Estate. At the age of 6, his mother and stepfather (his birth father died of pneumonia shortly before his 6th birthday) took Meriwether to Georgia. When a young man he returned to Virginia and his place of birth. He worked on the estate for a few years. He had no formal education until he was 13
years old when his uncle Nicholas Lewis became his guardian, he graduated from
Liberty Hall in 1793. After graduation he would join the Virginia militia, a
year later his detachment would be sent to help put down the Whiskey Rebellion.
In 1795 he would join the U.S. Army, he would rise through the ranks until he
retired as a Captain in 1800.
After his military career he was
appointed to be an aide the president Thomas Jefferson. He would stay in this
role until 1803 when Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory. Then he
appointed Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the new territory and
find a water route that would allow them to trade with Asia.
Lewis and Clark spent two years exploring
the new territory and meeting with the Indians along the way and found that
they had dealt with Europeans before. They reached the Pacific Ocean in 1805,
they returned in 1806 with a vast knowledge of the new land.
After the expedition he was
appointed as the Governor of the Lousiana Territory in 1807. In 1809 he would
attempt to travel to Washington from St. Louis but would never make it he died
at a cabin he was found with two gunshot wounds. It is still disputed if Lewis
was murdered or if he committee suicide.
Today, Locust Hill is located in a much desired area where people can be away from the town of Ivy, but also not too far from it. The estate is a part of the renown Virginia Historic Garden Walk tour. As of 2009 the current structure that makes up Locust Hill is for sale.