Sunday, March 3, 2013
Day 36, March 3
After crossing the mountains, the expedition decided to split into two groups, wanting to explore different river valleys. William Clark's group, including York, went down the Yellowstone River until it joined the Missouri. Clark drew maps and named features of the landscape after members of the group. A river that flowed into the Yellowstone was named for York. In 1805, Clark had named a cluster of ilsands in the Missouri "York's Eight Islands."
The two groups reunited on the Missouri on August 12, 1806. The party depended heavily on York's ability to hunt for food, such as elk and bison.
The Corps of Discovery had been gone for twenty-eight months. When they met trading boats heading upriver, they discovered that nearly everyone had given them up for dead. Crowds greeted the explorers when they reached St. Louis on September 23, 1806.
Dinner parties were held to celebrate the expedition's return in St. Louis, Washington, DC, and other cities. Everyone praised Lewis and Clark, but all members of the group, including York the slave, were hailed as national heroes.