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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 52, December 25, 2010, Article 15

QUERY: DID LEWIS AND CLARK CARRY AN EARLY DOLLAR ON THEIR EXPEDITION?

Nathan Markowitz submitted this question. Does anyone know of any other references to this coin? -Editor

I came across the following excerpts from Gary Moulton's Lewis and Clarks journals. Ample evidence exists to demonstrate that Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clark carried Washington Seasons Medals and other Peace Medals during their expedition but I have never seen a reference implying that a U.S. coin was used in barter. Can anyone shed light on this possibility?

It seems like this was likely an early U.S. dollar. Although I cannot rule out a Pillar Dollar, that would seem most unlikely with the stated goals of converting Indians to believe in the USA as central to the expedition.

On November 23, 1805 Captain William Clark wrote:

"In the evening, seven Indians of the Clatsop nation came over in a canoe. They brought with them two sea-otter skins, for which they asked blue beads &c., and such high prices that we were unable to purchase them without reducing our small stock of merchandise on which we depended for subsistence on our return up this river. Merely to try the Indian who had one of those skins, I offered him my watch, handkerchief, a bunch of red beads, and a dollar of the American coin, all of which he refused and demanded ti-ƒ-co-mo-shack, which is "chief beads," and the common blue beads, but few of which we have at this time."

Perhaps this is the earliest known appearance of a Bust Dollar in the Pacific Northwest?

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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