Editor Afloat

Dedicated to Sticklers everywhere!

A Nickel’s Worth of Lewis and Clark

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Corps of Discovery Monument, Jefferson City, M...

Corps of Discovery Monument, Jefferson City, MO (cropped for detail) (Photo credit: don j schulte @ oxherder arts)

I am an intrepid fan of Captains Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery. I have read their journals and enjoy visiting the many places where their travels took them. In case those names don’t ring any bells, they are the explorers who left Saint Louis in 1803 in search of a “Northwest Passage” for ships. President Jefferson, who had recently acquired the Louisiana Purchase was eager to find routes for commerce from coast to coast. Trouble was, not much was known about the western half of what would become all United States territory. But back to the journals…  The hardest part of reading the journals for me was not the length, but rather the spelling. Or lack thereof. Noah Webster did not publish the first edition of An American Dictionary of the English Language until 1828. There was no standardization of grammar or spelling for Lewis and Clark to follow. It shows. Every reference Clark made to the Sioux Indian tribe, he misspelled. When Lewis and Clark, canoeing down the Columbia River popped out into the estuary, they mistakenly believed they had finally reached the Pacific Ocean. “Ocian in view! O! The Joy!” is the entry Captain Clark logged on November 7, 1805. As part of the bicentennial commemoration, the United States produced a tribute nickel in 2005. On the reverse side of the coin is a beach scene with the inscription from the journal entry, but they corrected the spelling error. Probably a good thing for me because it would take me decades to edit all those nickels!


Author: The Editor Afloat

The Editor Afloat provides proofreading and editing services for the written word. The name comes from the NCIS designation for a Special Agent assigned to a vessel, "Agent Afloat". I live on-board and work from my boat. That makes me an Editor Afloat!

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