Draper manuscripts: William Clark papers, 1780-1804

Clark, William, -1791

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  • PHOTOCOPY RESTRICTION: Photocopying originals is not permitted; researchers may copy from the microfilm available in the Library.


  • Papers of William Clark (died 1791), a cousin of George Rogers Clark, who served in the Illinois Regiment and as commissioner and surveyor of the Illinois grant; and of George Rogers Clark's younger brother, also named William Clark (1770-1838), who was one of the leaders of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, governor of the Missouri Territory (1813-1821), and superintendent of Indian affairs at St. Louis (1822-1838).
  • Papers of the elder William Clark include correspondence (1777-1791), pertaining to his service in the Illinois Regiment, administration of the Illinois grant, and the development of Clarksville, Kentucky and Clarksville, Indiana (including maps). Correspondents include his father Benjamin Clark, Richard C. Anderson, John Armstrong, Daniel Brodhead, Richard Butler, Abraham Chapline, Valentine Dalton, John Dodge, John Edwards, James Harrod, Gilbert Imlay, Harry Innes, John Montgomery, John Rogers, Arthur St. Clair, Robert Todd, and John Williams. Letters (1782-1790) of John Girault in New Orleans and Natchez concern economic conditions and relations with the Spanish in the lower Mississippi River valley. Also includes a letterbook (1782-1789), primarily of letters written to John Girault, a ledger (1784-1785) and daybook (1787-1791), muster rolls, supply inventories, and land survey notes.
  • Papers of the younger William Clark (1770-1838) include material on midwestern Indian affairs, 1814-1822, primarily messages delivered in 1815 to representatives of the Chippewa (Ojibwa), Kickapoo, Menominee, Potawatomi, and Sauk and Fox (Meskwaki) tribes signed by Clark, Auguste Chouteau, and Illinois territorial governor Ninian Edwards. Also includes the journal, May 14-August 17, 1804, of Charles Floyd, a sergeant with the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
  • The bulk of the papers in this series are those of the elder William.


  • Forms part of the Lyman Copeland Draper Manuscripts. The Draper Manuscripts consist of fifty collections, sometimes referred to as fifty "series," under the one overarching title. See the Draper Manuscripts Overview on the Wisconsin Historical Society website, and the "Guide to the Draper Manuscripts" by Josephine Harper (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1983) for further information.
  • This collection is also available as a microfilm publication.
  • Charles Floyd journal is also available online
  • Information on the entire Draper Manuscripts collection can be found in RLIN entry WIHV92-A52.
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