Suicide or Murder?: The Strange Death of Governor Meriwether Lewis

Overview

The death of Meriwether Lewis is one of the great mysteries of American history. Was he murdered at Grinder’s Stand or did he commit suicide? Vardis Fisher meticulously reconstructs the events and presents his own version of the case with the precision and persuasiveness of a fine trial lawyer. But Fisher was also a great novelist and it is his sense of character that serves him best here. We know Lewis’ complex sensibility as well as we know that of any man of his time — his Journals are so self-revealing, so ...

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Overview

The death of Meriwether Lewis is one of the great mysteries of American history. Was he murdered at Grinder’s Stand or did he commit suicide? Vardis Fisher meticulously reconstructs the events and presents his own version of the case with the precision and persuasiveness of a fine trial lawyer. But Fisher was also a great novelist and it is his sense of character that serves him best here. We know Lewis’ complex sensibility as well as we know that of any man of his time — his Journals are so self-revealing, so exacting in the record they make of his musings, doubts, and elations. Fisher offers us this complex Lewis and, with equal perceptiveness, sets the rough, frontier scene at Grinder’s Stand. The result is a fine mystery, well solved, that leans toward tragedy.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804006163
  • Publisher: Ohio University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1993
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.55 (w) x 8.51 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Table of Contents

What Happened at Grinder's Stand? 17
I Governor Meriwether Lewis 22
II His Problems as Governor 35
III Meriwether Lewis and Frederick Bates 48
IV Lewis's Financial Problems, 1809 61
V His Mental and Emotional Condition 69
VI From St. Louis to the Wilderness 77
VII Across the Wilderness to Grinder's 89
VIII The Grinders and Their Stand 118
IX James Neelly: Chief Witness 127
X Captain Brahan Writes Three Letters 139
XI A Distinguished Scientist Reports 146
XII Mrs. Grinder's Third Version 154
XIII Malinda's Story 160
XIV As Thomas Jefferson Told It 171
XV As the Newspapers Told It 183
XVI As the Old Timers Told It 188
XVII The Family Tradition 196
XVIII Was There a Coroner's Jury? 203
XIX James D. Park: It Was Murder 210
XX Vernon S. Pease: It Was Murder 217
XXI William J. Webster: It Was Murder 223
XXII Dawson A. Phelps: It Was Suicide 229
XXIII Suicide or Murder? 241
Appendix A. Opinions Pro and Con 250
Appendix B. The Lewis Myth 258
Appendix C. A Neglected American 269
Acknowledgments and Notes 276
Index 286
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 10, 2009

    An interesting version of the ongoing debate of Meriwether Lewis' death

    Since this is the bicentennial year of Lewis' death, whether his death was by murder or suicide is an ongoing debate that is coming back into popularity. This book was written over thirty years ago, and some new evidence, letters, etc. have surfaced since then. Fischer presents both views of the debate, although he is inclined to the suicide theory, as are most historians at this time. His presentation of the possibility of murder is interesting, but a little weak.

    For anyone interested in this topic, I would definitely recommend this book, especially is you are just getting interested in this debate. It's a good book to start with. We will never know for sure how this great American hero lost his life on the Natchez Trace, but this book will get you thinking!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2004

    What REALLY hapened to Lewis on the Natchez Trace?

    This is a great book. Fisher shows both sides of the matter,both suicide and murder,but mostly murder, which I believe is how he died. You have to read it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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