Unless you are a student of history and the Lewis & Clark Expedition in particular, you may be unfamiliar with Patrick Gass. Yet, this Ohio resident was one of four members of the expedition that kept a journal. And his journal of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is in the public domain to download as a free eBook.
Patrick Gass was born in Pennsylvania in 1771. In 1803 he joined the Lewis and Clark Expedition (presumably as a carpenter). While on the journey, Mr. Gass kept a journal. However, as his education was limited, after returning he hired and worked with a school teacher to create his journal.
Apparently Meriweather Lewis objected to the printing of unauthorized accounts of the expedition. And yet, by the time the official account was published, Gass’s journal was in its seventh printing.
Gass’s journal includes events, descriptions, and opinions that are not included in the official journals. He recorded many details left out of other records. The book is very easy to read.
Monday 24th. Some snow fell this morning ; about 10 it cleared up, and the weather became pleasant. This evening we finished our fortification. Flour, dried apples, pepper and other articles were distributed in the different messes to enable them to celebrate Christmas in a proper and social manner.
Patrick Gass lived to the ripe age of 99, out-surviving all other members of the expedition.
- The book is written in journal format. Create a timeline.
- Map the locations discussed.
- Keep a record of the number of animals killed to feed the expedition party.
- What types of flora and fauna did the expedition encounter? Keep a list.
- Create your own journal for one day keeping track of the details you encounter.
The Journals of Patrick Gass
Edited and Annotated by Carol Lynn MacGregor. More recent version that also pulls from Gass’s personal account ledger.
Biography from the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation.
Patrick Gass Historical Marker
More information about the author.
Free History Studies: Lewis & Clark
More resources in this section of our free history studies.