The grave of celebrated explorer Meriwether Lewis lies along the Natchez Trace Parkway, where he died in mysterious circumstances October 11, 1809. As part of the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition, Lewis added volumes to our scientific and geographical knowledge of the northwestern U.S., and he later became the first governor of the Louisiana Territory. At milepost 385.9 on the parkway, you can visit the monument at his grave and see interpretive exhibits in a log cabin near the site of Grinder's Stand, the inn where he stayed. In September of 1809, Lewis began his journey to Washington D.C. to document and defend his spending of government funds, publish the expedition journals, and meet with former President Thomas Jefferson. While traveling, he wrote his will, leaving his possessions to his mother Lucy Marks. At Fort Pickering, near modern day Memphis, Tennessee, Lewis and his traveling companions met with James Neely, the Chickasaw agent who would escort them through Chickasaw territory. He then traveled through the remote wilderness along the Natchez Trace north to Grinder’s Stand, an inn run by the Grinder family. Mrs. Grinder prepared a meal that evening, and made up a room for Lewis. Later that evening gunshots were heard, and Lewis was found with two gunshot wounds: one to the head, and one to the chest. Lewis’s life ended on the morning of October, 11, 1809 at the age of 35. Who inflicted those wounds remains a mystery to this day. Today, the park includes a free campground (no amenities), picnic area, hiking trails and restrooms.
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