Lewis and Clark Camp Site (Jun 12, 1804)

"We set out eairley this morning. A fair morning. We passed plumb Creek on South Side of the River. The plumbs are plenty up sd. Creek. Near below Sd. Creek the land is high well Timbered & well Situated for a plantation."
Sergeant John Ordway, June 12, 1804


On June 12, 1804, the expedition made 9 miles. They met two rafts returning from the Sioux Nation and prevailed upon one of the voyagers to accompany the expedition upriver. The man, Pierre Dorion, had been with the Sious for 20 years and was thought to have great influence with them. The Captains hoped to convince some of the Sious Chiefs to return fro a visit with the President of the United States.

"2 Caussease [cajeux] Came Down from the Soux nation, we found in the party an old man who had been with the Soux 20 years and had great invluence with them, we provld. [prevailed] on this old man Mr. Duriaur [Pierre Dorion] to return with us, with a view to get Some of the Soux Chiefs to go to the U.S. purchased 300 lb. Of Voyagers Grece @ 5$ Hd. Made Some exchanges & purchuses of Mockersons & found it Late & concluded to incamp."
Captain William Clark, June 12, 1804


The expedition camped 5 miles south of present-day Dalton, at what is now known as Cut-Off Lake.

History of Dalton

More than sixty years after the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through the area - after the end of the Civil War - the town of Dalton was born when the railroad created a need for it. The town was named for the grandfather of Missouri's sitting governor. William Dalton had donated the forty acres and a railroad depot was built for the St. Louis & Pacific line.

Dalton is perhaps best known as the site of the Dalton Vocational School, also referred to as the "Tuskegee of the Midwest." It was founded in 1907 by Nathaniel Bruce, a student and disciple of Booker T. Washington. The first permanent building was erected in 1909 after flooding forced a move to higher ground. Eventually the campus would expand to 123 acres. Bruce shared Washington's view that a practical education for Negro youth was best. The emphasis was on vocational and agricultural training.

The demonstration farm and school came under the supervision of the University of Missouri College of Agriculture in 1924. Eventually Lincoln University, a then all-Negro college in Jefferson City, took control of the school. The Supreme Court's 1956 ruling that schools were to be integrated forced the closing of Dalton Vocational School. The campus has sat empty since that time and all but two of the buildings are gone.

As for the town of Dalton, the decline of the rural economy and the constant flooding have taken their toll. The 1993 flood reduced Dalton to a grain elevator, a post office, a community center and a few houses. But the small community still celebrates its heritage with the annual Dalton Days festival.



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All information checked for accuracy: July 2003