Historian tells about Lewis and Clark
A perfect spring break history lesson takes place Tuesday morning at the Prescott Valley Civic Center when Todd Weber, wearing leggings, moccasins, and either a buckskin jacket or a green hunting frock - all authentic knockoffs of traditional garb that explorers wore in the 1800s - presents "Journey to the Pacific" about the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Children and adults can hear all about the expedition of discovery from 10:30 a.m.-noon in the third floor community room.
Weber will discuss and demonstrate his own handmade tools, replicas of those used by members of the expedition. Two appearances Wednesday at the Chino Valley Library drew 100 people at both presentations.
Weber, a Prescott resident since 1971, became interested in early western history in high school when a teacher gave him a book about Ishi, the last surviving California Yaqui Indian.
"That and a new movie with Robert Redford called 'Jeremiah Johnson' happened within a few weeks of each other. It hit a sweet spot in me," Weber said, that triggered years of reading and research.
He makes presentations on several important times and events in American history - Minutemen Militia and the American Revolution through the Lewis and Clark Expedition and up to John Wesley Powell, the one-armed Civil War veteran who traveled down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.
During the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial celebration in 2004-2007, Weber worked aboard a 300-foot Mississippi-style paddle wheeler as an onboard living historian. Sailing 1,000 miles on each of his 66 trips down the Snake and Columbia rivers, he talked about Lewis and Clark, and also about the Oregon trail, Native American tribes, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, the Pacific Northwest logging and salmon industries, and the Norwegian and Finnish influence in Astoria.
Weber said he has read Lewis and Clark's account of the expedition and he laughed about the creative spelling they used.
"William Clark spelled 'mosquito' 28 different ways, which is tough to do because each one reads pretty well," he said.
In addition to tools and accoutrements of the time period, Weber also reconstructed the entire medical kit carried by the expedition members. One medicinal remedy of the time is called "Dr. Rush's Thunderbolts," he said.
"This instantaneously purged your body of fluids. From both ends."
Those interested in learning more about the Lewis and Clark Expedition will find Weber's presentation fun and lively. For more information on Todd Weber, visit his website at: www.ilivehistory.com.