Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Ben York
Birth: unknown
Death: unknown

Explorer. Known as Ben York, he was Captain William Clark's black manservant and life-long slave companion, bequeathed to William by his father, John Clark, in a will dated July 24, 1799. In 1803, the two lived together in Clarksville, Indiana Territory, when he and Clark, accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition trekked to the Pacific Ocean and back to the East (1803-06). When York returned to daily life after the expedition, he again became a slave. He asked Clark for his freedom, or to be hired out near Louisville, Kentucky, to be closer to his wife, who had a different owner. At first Clark refused, but granted York his freedom in 1809. York went into the freighting business in Kentucky and Tennessee, until his death sometime before 1832. York is virtually unknown, but the journals of the expedition testify he was the first black man to cross the continent north of Mexico, plus played a meaningful role in the nation's first exploration of the American West. (bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith) 

Cause of death: cholera
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Dec 14, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 18790
Ben York
Added by: John "J-Cat" Griffith
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- J.Sullivan
 Added: Sep. 13, 2015

- quebecoise
 Added: Aug. 10, 2015

- Christina
 Added: May. 31, 2015
There are 21 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
Do you have a photo to add? Click here
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (3.4 after 24 votes)

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service