My Visit to Headwaters State Park
In July of 1805, Lewis & Clark came upon the confluence of the Missouri River with the Gallatin, Madison and Jefferson Rivers. It is just outside of present day Three Forks, Montana. The rivers did not have those names at the time and were thereafter shortly named by the Corp of Discovery (Lewis & Clark Expedition). The Jefferson after Thomas Jefferson, then the President of the United States. The Gallatin they named for Albert Gallatin, who in 1805 was the secretary of the treasury, and the Madison for James Madison, the secretary of state. The Missouri at that point already had its name and was thought to perhaps go all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Lewis & Clark were the ones to determine that was not the case.
Two hundred and eleven years later, I made my way to the same spot. Here's what Merriweather Lewis had to say in his journal about his visit to the area:
. . . both Capt. Clark and myself corrisponded in opinion with rispect to the impropriety of calling either of these streams the Missouri and accordingly agreed to name them after the President of the United States and the Secretaries of the Treasury and state having previously named one river in honour of the Secretaries of War and Navy. In pursuance of this resolution we called the S.W. fork, that which meant to ascend , Jefferson's River in honor of Thomas Jefferson. the Middle fork we called Madison's River in honor of James Madison and the S.E. Fork we called Gallitin's River in honor of Albert Gallitin. the first two are 90 yards wide and the last is 70 yards. all of them with great valocity and thow out large bodies of water." - Merriweather Lewis, July 28, 2015
If you haven't taken the time to visit Headwaters State Park you really should make a point of doing so this summer. There's camping, hiking trails, fishing, and all kinds of history to soak up. Here's some pics I took while we were out there.