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Updated April 17, 2003

Wallace Hansen Celebrates Lewis and Clark


Botanical Discoveries of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Chocolate Lily, Checker Lily, Mission Bells, Rice Root (Fritillaria lanceolata (aka affinis)

Cascades of the Columbia River in Hood River County, Oregon, April 10, 1806

Known by both fritillaria lanceolata and fritillaria affinis, this Northwest Native plant is a lily of rare beauty. A handwritten Lewis label on one specimen (see below) states he collected this species on 10 Apr 1806 as the party worked their canoes up the rapids around Bradford (then "Bryant") Island, Multnomah Co., Oregon, in the Columbia River. It is interesting to speculate on the scene that Lewis must have presented, carefully collecting this checker lily while others labored to pull boats up stream through cascading waters.

Lewis wrote: Specemin of a lilliacious plant obtained on Brant Island 10th of apl 1806. the root of this plant is a squawmus bulb and is eaten by the natives. the Clah-clel-lar opposite this Island call it tel-lak-thil-pah.

Pursh's notation added later: Brand island Aprl. 10, 1806. Bulb squamous, eaten by the natives, who call it tel-lak-thil-pah.

Captain Lewis' note:


(Click on images for large views)

At this time in 1806:

The expedition had only 4 canoes left which is not enough space for the goods, making the journey more hazardous than necessary. Several members set about getting more canoes, more horses and other items for the next leg of their trip. Others were put to work making pack saddles and putting the equipment to the ready.

". . . found Captain Lewis at camp with two canoes which he had purchased at a village for two robes and four elk skins. He also purchased four paddles and three dogs from the natives, with deer skins. The dogs now constitute a considerable part of our subsistence, land with most of the party has become a favorable food. Certain I am that it is a healthy, strong diet." 
Captain Clark, 13 April 1806

Although negotiations with the various native groups eventually gave good enough results that the expedition could survive, they were sometimes tricky to conclude.

I rose early after a bad night's rest, and took my merchandise to a rock which afforded an eligible situation for my purpose and divided the articles of merchandise into parcels of such articles as I thought best calculated to please the Indians. And in each parcel I put as many articles as we could afford to give, and thus exposed them to view, informing the Indians that each parcel was intended for a horse.  

They tantalized me the greater part of the day, saying that they had sent out for their horses and would trade as soon as they came. Several parcels of merchandise were laid by for which they told me they would bring horses. I made a bargain with the chief for two horses. About an hour after, he canceled the bargain, and we again bargained for three horses, which were brought forward. Only one of the three could be possibly used, the other two had such intolerable backs as to render them entirely unfit for service. I refused to take two of them, which displeased him, and he refused to part with the third. . . " Captain Clark, 17 April 1806  

On April 18, 1806, the native peoples caught the first salmon of the season. This was cause for true celebration, as the harbinger of good things to come. This first fish was dressed, divided into small pieces and each child in the village was given a portion. The custom of sharing the first fish was believed to hasten the arrival of the salmon. Such a welcome addition to the diet of the native peoples as well as the expedition was undoubtedly a delicious event!

Current events:

If you're in the area of Columbia, Missouri, the first part of May, 2003, don't miss this outstanding event!

Columbia, Missouri  •  May 2, 3 and 4, 2003

World Premiere
Show-Me Opera of the University of Missouri-Columbia will present
The World Premiere of
Corps of Discovery, A Musical Journey
May 2, 3 and 4, 2003
The three-act musical drama is an artistic interpretation, 200 years later, of the significance of Lewis and Clark’s expedition

Cast and Action of
Corps of Discovery, A Musical Journey
By Michael Ching and Hugh Moffatt
Pamela Legendre, Artistic Director
Commissioned by MU Show-Me Opera
University of Missouri-Columbia

Capt. Meriwether Lewis (tenor), Organizer of the Expedition, Jefferson’s secretary
Capt. William Clark (baritone), Co-commander, brought on by Lewis
George Shannon (tenor), Youngest member of the Corps
John Potts (baritone), One of the older members of the Corps, born in Germany
Sacagawea (soprano), 16-year-old Shoshone wife of Charbonneau
Toussaint Charbonneau (tenor), 37-year-old French interpreter
York (bass-baritone), Slave belonging to Clark

Other characters:
Members of the Corps and the Teton Sioux, Hidatsa,
Mandan and Shoshone tribes and vision characters

ACT I – Camp Dubois to Fort Mandan (December 1803 to April 1805)
It is September 1806, and the Corps has just returned to St. Louis. Shannon and Potts find themselves deluged with questions by the patrons of a tavern, La Tigresse. Among the adventures they relate are vignettes of the formation of the Corps, the tense encounter with the Teton Sioux, the joyful dancing and celebration with the Mandans one New Year’s Day, and the birth of Pomp, Sacagawea’s son, in February 1805. Potts realizes during his stories that he has been changed by his travels and by the beauty and wildness of the land and its people. At the end of the act, he determines to return to the West. Shannon discovers that his experience with Sacagawea’s family has given him a need to settle down with a family of his own.

ACT II – Fort Mandan to the Pacific (Summer to Christmas Day 1805)
It is August 1806, and the Corps has returned to the Mandan/Hidatsa villages on its way back to St. Louis. Sacagawea joins her family group of women who are drying squash. She relates that Captain Clark has asked to take Pomp back to St. Louis to raise and educate as his own son. Sacagawea finds herself challenged by the women to defend her travels with the white men. She remembers the flash flood when Clark saved her and Pomp’s lives, her time of great illness when Clark nursed her and a vision she had. She describes the meeting of the Corps with her tribe by birth, the Shoshone, in August 1805, when she discovered her brother, Cameahwait, had become chief. She recalls the vote on the Columbia River and the Christmas at Fort Clatsop. At the end of her stories, Sacagawea realizes that her richness of experience has set her apart from others. She is of no nation and of all nations. She embraces her individuality as she decides to send her son to Clark when he is older.

ACT III – The Death of Lewis (Oct. 11, 1809)
The scene is Grinder’s Inn on the Natchez Trace, Tenn. There is a sound of gunshots, and Lewis staggers out with self-inflicted wounds. While he is dying, he is visited by vision characters who guide him toward personal peace and meaning. There is The Bear, his totem and spirit guide; Bates, his political enemy in St. Louis; Jefferson; York and Sacagawea as messengers from the future; and finally, Clark as an old, disillusioned Indian agent. Lewis’ despair is countered by his spiritual connection to the wilderness. As he dies, he realizes the success of his dream — to further the happiness of the human race and advance the information of the succeeding generation — and that the partnership between diverse cultures that the Corps of Discovery represented offers us great hope for the future.

For information on booking the three-act Show-Me Opera production or the 45-minute smaller stage version; for rental or purchase of orchestral score and parts; and for rental or purchase of piano/vocal score and other options, please contact:

Pamela Legendre, Director of Show-Me Opera
University of Missouri-Columbia

138 Fine Arts Building
Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: (573) 882-7657
E-mail: legendrep@missouri.edu

The Creative Team of
Corps of Discovery, A Musical Journey

Michael Ching, Composer
Michael Ching is a prolific composer, as well as the general and artistic director of Opera Memphis. His composition credits include operas such as Buoso’s Ghost and Faith, as well as concerti and symphonic works. With librettist Hugh Moffatt, Ching has co-written two one-act operas: King of the Clouds, commissioned in 1993 by Dayton Opera, and Out of the Rain, commissioned in 1998 jointly by Opera Delaware, The Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Opera Memphis.

Hugh Moffatt, Librettist
Singer/songwriter Hugh Moffatt has released seven highly acclaimed country music albums and toured extensively around the world. Artists who have recorded his songs include Dolly Parton, Alabama, Ronnie Milsap, Jerry Lee Lewis, Patti Page, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Merle Haggard, Johnny Rodriguez, Kathy Mattea and many others. His previous collaborations with Michael Ching are the successful one-act operas, King of the Clouds and Out of the Rain.

Pamela Legendre, Artistic Director
Pamela Legendre, an assistant professor in the MU School of Music, is the director of Show-Me Opera. For 15 years, she has been an active orchestral and choral conductor, as well as stage director and pianist in the New Orleans area. She served as guest director and conductor for the University of New Orleans Opera Theatre Workshop, preparing and performing full-length opera productions. She has been music director and conductor for more than 60 theatre productions, primarily at Tulane University Summer Lyric Theatre and Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré. For 10 years, she was guest conductor of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, a professional symphonic orchestra in New Orleans.

The Corps of Discovery II

Lewis and Clark Traveling Exhibit

Beginning it's 4-year tour, stopping at communities along the trail that the Corp of Discovery took during the three years and eight months it took to make their journey. The exhibit will end in Oregon.

The exhibit consists of a 53-foot long trailer carrying two tents, a stage, chairs, lighting, sound and visual gear and heating and air-conditioning equipment. One tent will hold an audio tour of replicas of historical paintings depicting the expedition's main characters and the landscapes they saw.

Guided and sponsored by the following organizations: Library Associations of Washington D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Oregon - which collectively comprise Trail States Library Associations - and the U.S. National Park Service (NPS).

Deepwood Estate Museum

1894 Queen Anne Style Home Salem, Oregon

Landscape architects Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver were commissioned by Alice Brown to create the formal gardens at Deepwood Estate. Lord and Schryver were the first formally trained women landscape architects in the Northwest. Pictured at right, top, is the 1905 Lewis & Clark Gazebo acquired by Mrs. Brown and sited at Deepwood in 1949. Below is an architectural drawing of the grounds at Deepwood.

Deepwood is the most significant example of landscape architects Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver's Northwest work. It is their only garden design that is open to the public. Intriguing features at Deepwood include a scroll garden with a hidden signature, an ivy tunnel and a pastel tea garden. There are three other superb examples of their designs in the area, but they are associated with private residences.


Visitor Information

1116 Mission Street SE

Salem, Oregon 97302


Deepwood grounds open dawn to dusk daily at no charge.

Deepwood House Tours are 12:00-5:00 pm. hourly, May thru September, Sunday-Friday; October thru April, Tuesday-Saturday

Admission: Adults, $4.00/Students and Seniors, $3.00/Children, $2.00 (under six - free)



House Tour Information: 503-363-1825

PICTURING THE CORPS OF DISCOVERY: The Lewis and Clark Expedition in Oregon Art

An exhibit at the State Capitol building Presented by Oregon Historical Society

December 20, 2002 through December 2004


State Capital building, 900 Court Street NE,

Salem, Oregon

8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday

12 p.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday

Closed - Sunday

Detail of Capitol Rotunda mural, Frank Schwarz, 1938

"Picturing the Corps of Discovery demonstrates how artistic interpretations of the Lewis and Clark Expedition mirror the history and evolving values of Americans, and more specifically Oregonians, over the past two centuries. Viewers will be introduced to works of art with Lewis-and-Clark themes that reflect changing understandings of topics as diverse as democratic ideals, ethnicity, and the environment.

A collection of images of Lewis and Clark pointing westward, including Frank Schwarz's treasured 1938 mural in Oregon's Capitol rotunda, demonstrate how the two explorers were credited with introducing civilization to the West well into the first half of the twentieth century. By the end of the century, however, works like Michael Florin Dente's 1988 sculpture, The Naming of Mount Jefferson, at the University of Portland, celebrated the expedition's ethnic mix as a historical precedent for a multicultural, pluralistic society in the West."



Back Issues:

To see back issues of Wallace Hansen Celebrates Lewis and Clark, click on this link to jump to the index

Commemorative Painting by Heidi Hansen:

The illustrated map below was created by renowned botanical artist Heidi D. Hansen especially for this website. Done in ink and watercolors, Heidi shows many of the plants Captain Lewis documented overlaid atop a map showing a portion of the journey. (Click on image for large view).

Good luck and happy gardening!


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