Lucy Clark Croghan
I was born Lucy Clark, seventh child of John and Ann Rogers Clark, who reminded all of us children that we were fourth generation Americans, with a proud heritage to uphold. My brother George Rogers Clark was a family leader, even before he won the Old Northwest Territory for the new United States. He commanded respect, and he led by the example of grace and grit.
Billy, whom you may know as William Clark, idolized our older brother, and credited George Rogers Clark with much of the success of the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
As for me, I am one of the three redheads in the family. It is very unfashionable, but I don’t care. I am proud to share this Scottish trait with brother William and brother George. I think some of my contemporaries were a bit jealous of me. I had many beaus from all the famous men who came to consult my brothers. I just smiled and enjoyed the attention. I am an expert horsewoman and have enjoyed riding all across the vast area which was all Virginia when I was a girl.
During the War for Independence, eldest brother Jonathan served in the American army with Irish immigrant, Major William Croghan. We waited until long after the War, and both of us coming to the frontier, but the major and I were wed 14 July, 1789. As for the conditions at the time, the Chenoweth family were attacked just three days later. Shot in the back, scalped and left for dead, Peggy Chenoweth survived to a ripe old age.
The Major and I established our home at Locust Grove, six miles from the city of Louisville, founded by George Rogers Clark. We have six sons and two daughters. All the family fetch up on our doorstep to celebrate triumphs and joys, and to heal from physical and emotional pains. I always have herbs for brewing and soothing.
We had a lovely dinner on 8 November, 1806, celebrating the return of Billy and Captain Meriwether Lewis. It was wonderful to see him as a hero, even better to have my brother back. No one was prouder than George, his own accomplishments ignored, but people now secure from the mountains to the Mississippi River, and the nation carried all the way to the western ocean.
In June of 1819, we hosted President James Monroe, during his tour of the far west. His party included General Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans. Our neighbor, young Zachary Taylor and my own son, George Croghan now live on sugar plantations near New Orleans.
I am noted for the fine hams I cure, my touch with apple cider, and the fine fruit brandies from Locust Grove. Our table is as savory as it is bountiful.
I am used to housekeeping for men. Among my siblings and my own children are 21 men, and 12 women. All five of my older brothers served in the American army during the War for Independence. William co-lead the Voyage of Discovery. My oldest son is a medical doctor; the next is the hero of Fort Stephenson; Thomas Sidney Jessup, first Quartermaster General of the United States Army is my son-in-law.
George Rogers Clark spent the last nine years of life at Locust Grove. He helped make Kentucky safe for settlers, and in times of trouble, he was the only man turned to for leadership. Yet he was forgotten by the country he served so nobly. He was not forgotten by us. He was the first person buried at Locust Grove.
My home still stands and we still tell the story of this remarkable family.