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W&L Alum Meriwether Lewis: Suicide or Murder?

Was it suicide or murder? On Wednesday Washington descendants of Meriwether Lewis held a news conference in which they continued to push the federal government for permission to exhume Lewis’s body for scientific investigation. Lewis, who hailed from Albermarle County, attended Liberty Hall Academy in the 1790s. He joined William Clark for their famous 8,000-mile expedition which began on May 14, 1804, and during which they explored the newly acquired and largely unexplored Louisiana Territory. Lewis died of gunshot wounds on October 11, 1809, in Lewis County, Tenn., and questions about whether it was suicide or murder have persisted. Last month collateral descendants of Lewis launched a new Web site, Solve the Mystery, as part of their campaign to get his body exhumed. Since Lewis is buried on federal parkland, permission of the National Park Service is required and has been rejected thus far. You can read about Wednesday’s Washington news conference here and can listen to an NPR story here.

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