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Lewis and Clark’s hunter makes appearance at park

BONNE TERRE – The French Indian hunter who was hired by Lewis and Clark to hunt meat for the expedition will make an appearance at St. Francois State Park Saturday night.

Larry Michael, a veteran reenactor from Farmington, will dress as the hunter, George Drouillard, when he gives a talk at the park amphitheater at 8 p.m.

Drouillard was recruited by Captain Lewis in 1803. He had been recommended because he was an excellent hunter who had a good knowledge of the Indians’ character and sign language.

Drouillard often played a key role in establishing relations with the various Indian tribes that the Corps encountered on their voyage. For his duties, he was paid a $25 a month stipend.

Michael, who has been involved in historical reenactments for about 30 years, is a member of the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles.

Last year, the group, dressed in period costumes, began retracing Lewis and Clark’s 1803 to 1806 voyage, mile by mile, and day by day, using the Lewis and Clark journals. They are currently in Nebraska.

Michael spent two weeks with the group in the fall as they traveled the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. He also spent a week and a half with them as they traveled from St. Charles to Jefferson City. He rode horseback part of the way, seeking game for the expedition.

The Corps is made up of about 300 volunteers. Each take a leg of the journey – a week or two, as they are able to.

They have recreated the keelboat that was used in the journey and two canoes.

While they retrace the journey, they are also teaching the legacy of it. They promote education and the study of American history and heritage through discussions and living history demonstrations.

“A lot of people don’t know too much about Lewis and Clark and what a monumental task it was,” he said.

Michael, a psychologist at Southeast Missouri Treatment Center in Farmington, is interested in the fur trade period and also has joined Civil War reenactments across the country.

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