In first election by Americans in the West, the Corps of Discovery votes to winter on the south side of the Columbia River on November 24, 1805.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 11/03/2005
  • Essay 7539
On November 24, 1805, the Corps of Discovery, led by Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, votes to spend the winter on the south bank of the Columbia River. All members of the expedition are allowed to participate. This is the first election by Americans in the West, and the first election to include a woman, a Native American, and an African slave.

The Corps arrived at the mouth of the Columbia on November 15 and built Station Camp on the north bank of the river. On the November 24, the captains put the issue of where to spend the winter to the entire company, an unusual step for an Army unit. Included in the vote are Sacagawea, the Shoshone wife of one of the expedition's hunters, and York, Captain Clark's African slave. The group decides to leave the wind-swept Station Camp and to find more sheltered quarters on the south side of the river.

Sources:, the online encyclopedia of Washington State History, "Lewis and Clark Expedition reaches the Pacific Ocean on November 15, 1805" (by Cassandra Tate), (accessed November 3, 2005).

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You