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 Ben York

Ben York

Birth
Death unknown
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 18790 · View Source
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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


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 14 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 18790
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ben York (unknown–unknown), Find A Grave Memorial no. 18790, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Unknown.