If Spain had fared better in its 1796 war with Great Britain, or if Napoleon's fortunes hadn't soured in 1803, the team of Mackay and Evans might be celebrated today instead of Lewis and Clark.
Like the Mercury astronauts who rode rockets into space in the 1960s following in the wake of test pilots like Chuck Yeager who had braved the edges of the atmosphere months earlier, the 1804-6 Corps of
Discovery led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark followed a course previously blazed by James Mackay and John Evans.
The first 700 miles of Lewis and Clark's journey, in fact, was made following a detailed map of the Upper Missouri River surveyed by the 25-year-old Evans. And much of the Corp's knowledge of Indian tribes and their customs came from Mackay, the most widely traveled and experienced fur trader in America at the time.
Continued in ... The Mackay and Evans Expedition
Corps of Discovery Opens the West
Lewis & Clark Overwinter at Fort Clatsop
History and American West Titles
Out of the Past