LEWIS, MERIWETHER. 1774-1809. Manuscript Document, 2 pp recto and verso, 4to (225 x 195 mm), St. Louis, Louisiana Territory, August 19, 1809, in ink. Being a contemporary copy of his final Power of Attorney, in the hand of his attorney Edward Hempstead,
Lot 193
LEWIS, MERIWETHER. 1774-1809.
Manuscript Document, 2 pp recto and verso, 4to (225 x 195 mm), St. Louis, Louisiana Territory, August 19, 1809, in ink. Being a contemporary copy of his final Power of Attorney, in the hand of his attorney Edward Hempstead,
Sold for US$ 7,500 inc. premium

Lot Details
LEWIS, MERIWETHER. 1774-1809.
Manuscript Document, 2 pp recto and verso, 4to (225 x 195 mm), St. Louis, Louisiana Territory, August 19, 1809, in ink. Being a contemporary copy of his final Power of Attorney, in the hand of his attorney Edward Hempstead, with cover sheet docketed, "M. Lewis/ to/ A. Stuart/Wm. C. Carr/Wm. Clark/ Letter of Attorney Copy," Separating at fold creases, chipping to edges and corners, browned.

A TRUE COPY OF LEWIS' FINAL POWER OF ATTORNEY, in the hand of his personal attorney, of the Power of Attorney drafted just weeks before his last journey, giving his three closest friends, William Clark, William Carr and Alexander Stuart, the ability to dispose of property to satisfy his creditors. Racked by debt, Lewis spent much of August attempting to put his affairs in order, giving several associates instructions on dispersing his possessions in the event of his death. On September 3, 1809, Lewis left St. Louis for Washington D.C., hoping to resolve some potentially ruinous debts incurred while Governor of the Upper Louisiana Territory. Likely in New Madrid, on September 11, he wrote out his last will and testament. He suffered from depression, and had reportedly tried to take his own life several times in the preceding weeks. On October 10, 1809, after checking into a lodging house known as Grinder's Stand just south of Nashville, a number of gunshots were heard by the Innkeeper's wife, who later said that she saw Lewis wounded and begging for water, but was too frightened to help him. He died early the next morning, presumably by self-inflicted wounds. The original remains unlocated, although the document was known to Billon in his 1888 sketch of Lewis (see Billon, Annals of St. Louis in Its Territorial Days, St. Louis, 1888).
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