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Seaman the newfoundland dog

Seaman the newfoundland dog

Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery Expedition was commissioned by President Jefferson shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Jefferson asked Captain Lewis to and C statue head a get group that partially consisted of U.S. Army volunteers; Lewis was to be aided by his good friend, lieutenant Clark. Their primary goal was to explore and map the newly acquired territory and find a practical route across an essentially unexplored part of the continent. it had been a risky journey, and nobody could predict how long the Corps would be gone.

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The group planned to depart from St. Louis within the spring of 1804, and Seaman was thought to possess been purchased by Lewis for $20 while he was in Pittsburgh expecting the completion of the boats that might be taken on the journey. there's no record on why Lewis selected a Newfoundland—whether it had been simply a dog that caught his attention or whether he selected Seaman because the breed is understood for being smart and powerful with good swimming ability.

Occasionally readers may find the Newfoundland mentioned as Scannon. In 1916 Lewis’s handwriting was misinterpreted by a historian, and therefore the dog’s name was written as Scannon. Not until 1987 was the error discovered. Historian Donald Jackson was at work with the fabric and re-examined the journals, realizing that the dog’s name was actually Seaman.

Lewis and Clark: The Trip

As one would expect, the Corps of Discovery participants were totally occupied finding their way through the country they didn't know, dealing with adversity, and documenting their discoveries—both the routes taken also as notes on flora and fauna found along the way. Seaman is mentioned only on an “as necessary” basis– and therefore the n|every now and then"> sometimes of crisis or when Lewis had touched over time and the dog’s story illustrated some extent.

Lewis and Clark mopane of the primary mentions of the dog is as Lewis and Seaman departed from Pittsburgh on August 30, 1803. Lewis writes that Seaman was skilled at catching and killing squirrels, which Lewis found excellent to eat once “fried.”

Once on the journey, Seaman attracted positive attention from the Shawnees who offered three beaver skins for the dog, but Lewis said no. Later Seaman also was reported as a favorite of a “buffaloe calf” that followed them along the shore until Lewis and Seaman re-boarded the boat.

Seaman had some nights when he would wander and explore on his own, and infrequently, Lewis expressed concern in his journal entries, but each morning Seaman returned to accompany the group on the subsequent leg of the trip.

On May 19, Lewis notes that Seaman was seriously hurt. one among the lads had shot and wounded a beaver, and when Seaman went bent retrieve it, the animal bit him through the hind limb, cutting an artery. Both Lewis and Clark took extraordinary medical measures to save lots of Seaman, and fortunately, the dog pulled through.

And only ten days later, Seaman was credited by the lads with saving the expedition. During the night a buffalo bull charged through the camp. Another member of the party, Sergeant Ordway, documented in his journal that the good beast passed “between 4 fires & within a couple of inches of Several men; it had been Supposed if he had trod on a person it might have killed him dead. The dog flew at him which turned him from running against the lodge [in] which the officers paid, [and] he passed without doing more damage than [breaking the stalk] of a rifle & injuring one among the blunderbusses [muzzle-loading firearm] within the pirogue [type of boat used for the expedition] as he skilled .”

The occurrence had the whole camp in an uproar, with everyone up and armed. After greater wakefulness, they realized that because of Seaman the threat had passed.

Nature’s AnnoyancesLewis and Clark dog

Lewis’s journals also note that Seaman was suffering from a number of equivalent annoyances of nature that bothered the lads. Mosquitoes were everywhere: “…the mosquitos still infest us in such manner that we will scarcely exist…my dog even howls with the torture he experiences from them, they're almost insupportable, they're so numerous that we often get them in our throats as we breathe.”

Another irritation to man and beast were the barbed seeds of the foxtail. Seaman’s heavy coat, which helped him withstand the cold from swimming in icy water, made him an honest target for carrying these seeds. Lewis wrote: These…” penetrate our mockersons and leather leggings and provides us great pain until they're removed. My poor dog suffers with them excessively, he's constantly biting and scratching himself as during a rack of pain.”

Other adventures of Seaman are described here and there within the journals, except for almost a year (August 1805 to July 1806), Seaman isn't mentioned. Then in July of 1806, there's a journal entry noting that a creek was being named in Seaman’s honor. This left historians with the impression that Seaman was still alive. Most also feel that if anything had happened to him, the event would are recorded.

What Happened to Seaman After the Journey?

After the trip, there's no mention of Seaman as a part of Lewis’ life, but author and historian James J. Holmberg has done some additional sleuthing to work out what happened to the dog. Seaman Overlook Summer image
Eventually, Holmberg came across some information during a book published in 1814 that leads him to believe that Seaman survived the trip and continued to form his life with Lewis. The book that led Holmberg to the present conclusion was a book of epitaphs and inscriptions of the day, recorded by a priest and educator named Timothy Alden.

According to Holcomb, Entry 916 of yank Epitaphs and Inscriptions lists an inscription that was on a dog collar that had been donated to a museum in Alexandria, Virginia. The inscription read:

“The greatest traveler of my species. The name is SEAMAN, the dog of captain Lewis whom I accompanied to the Pacific ocean through the inside of the continent of North America.”

The additional details noted by Alden had to try to to with the amount following Meriwether Lewis’ untimely death in 1809. Lewis had suffered from depression for several years but whether the death was suicide—as most historians feel—or murder remains an ongoing discussion.

Alden’s note following the inscription was this (exactly because it was written): “The fidelity and attachment of this animal were remarkable. After the melancholy exit of gov. Lewis, his dog wouldn't depart for a flash from his lifeless remains; and once they were deposited within the earth no gentle means could draw him from the spot of interment. He refused to require all kinds of food, which was offered him, and truly pined away and died with grief upon his master’s grave.”

Unfortunately, the collar can't be found. The museum suffered a fireplace in 1871 when many artifacts were lost. The ledgers from that period still exist but Holmberg notes that while they didn't mention the donation of a dog collar, they also seemed to be generally incomplete.

Despite this, Holmberg’s discovery of the knowledge in Alden’s book does add a stimulating possibility to what may have happened to Seaman.

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