The Ohio River Trail Council (ORTC) is supporting the National Park Service Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Eastern Legacy Special Resource Study in an effort to assess the suitability and feasibility of extending the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail to include sites associated with the preparation and return phases of the Lewis and Clark “Corps of Discovery” expedition.
The ORTC current study area will investigate sites along the proposed Ohio River Trail Corridor, from the the Ohio - Pennsylvania State line to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and will include additional sites and overland routes followed by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, whether independently or together, prior to and after the expedition.
Below are the Beaver County, Pa. sites for the Lewis and Clark Expedition noted on the Ohio River Navigation Charts are based on historical references and are approximate locations. The misspellings are from Lewis’ journal as he wrote them. In 1803, the year Lewis came down the river, it was particularly dry. Many of the sites he and his party passed are now underwater.
Chart #218 & 219 – Site of Ft. Legionville
William Clark reportedly received his military training at this fort established by Anthony Wayne. September 2, 1803. Lewis’ crew had to get out of the boat and pull it over Logtown Riffle. Lewis commented on the “rich land” they saw that day. He also described, “the hills on either side of the Ohio are from 3 to 400 feet which running parallel to each other keep the general course of the river, at the distance of about two miles while the river pursuing a serpentine course between them alternately washes their bases. – thus leaving fine bottom land between itself and the hills in large boddys, and frequently in the form of a simecicles or the larger segment of a circle or horseshoe form.” Lewis also notes the leaves are starting to turn to fall colors.
Chart #216, 217 & 217A
September 3, 1803. Thick fog delayed their travels. They passed by “Atkins’s” Riffle and the mouth of Beaver River (formed by the confluence of the Shenango and Mahoning Rivers and meeting the Ohio River in central Beaver County.) They anchored off the site of Ft. MacKintosh where Lewis discharged “one of my hands.”
Chart #216 – Beaver County, Pennsylvania Area
Lewis described the riffle about three miles below MacKintosh as the worst yet. They were “obliged to unload and drag over with horses.” Lewis and his men camped in this area on September 3, 1803; which side of the river is unknown.
Chart #213 – Georgetown Island
On September 4, 1803, fog delayed their departure. A boat sprung a leak and Captain Lewis bought a canoe (which also leaked) in the Georgetown Island area (near the state line). Lewis spent part of the day drying out his supplies and repairing the canoe.
Chart #212 & 213 – State Line
Lewis noted land cleared 60 feet wide to mark the state line. They camped about two miles below the state line of Virginia (West Virginia) and Pennsylvania near the mouth of Mill Creek opposite Little Beaver Creek. Lewis describes the water as so low and clear that they could see a great number of fish – sturgeon, bass, catfish, and pike.