We are all familiar with the Lewis and Clark Expedition. We know of William Clark, Meriwether Lewis, and their Indian guide, Sacagawea. However, an important member of the expedition is much less well knowon. York, William Clark's personal slave, also accompanied the explorers.
York (whose last name is not known) grew up on the plantation owned by the John Clark Family. The Clarks had six sons, four daughers, and about twenty slaves. Though most slaves spent their time tending the tobacco and vegetable fields, York, who was a few years younger than William, the Clarks' youngest son, was chosen to be William's personal servant.
York slept in the Clark house and was treated much better than the other slaves. He and William became more than servant and master. They became friends.
Around the same time that York was assigned to be William's servant, the Clark family bought a large tract of land in Kentucky, in the verdant Ohio River Valley. They settled there in 1785, with everyone working to clearing fields, planting crops, and building a house, barns, fences, and slave quarters. Part of York's duties consisted of protecting William from raiding Indians.