Morris, Larry E. 1951–

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Morris, Larry E. 1951–

PERSONAL:

Born October 26, 1951, in Idaho Falls, ID; married; wife's name Deborah; children: four. Education: Brigham Young University, B.A., M.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Salt Lake City, UT. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Brigham Young University, Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts, Salt Lake City, UT, writer and editor.

WRITINGS:

(With Jay A. Parry) The Mormon Book of Lists, Bookcraft (Salt Lake City, UT), 1987.

The Edge of the Reservoir (novel), Signature Books (Salt Lake City, UT), 1988.

(Editor) A Treasury of Latter-day Saint Letters, Eagle Gate (Salt Lake City, UT), 2001.

And Now You Know: The Rest of the Story from the Lives of Well-Known Latter-day Saints, Eagle Gate (Salt Lake City, UT), 2002.

Words to Live by: Life Strategies of the Latter-day Prophets, Deseret Book (Salt Lake City, UT), 2003.

The Fate of the Corps: What Became of the Lewis and Clark Explorers after the Expedition, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2004.

(Editor, with John W. Welch) Oliver Cowdery: Scribe, Elder, Witness; Essays from BYU Studies and FARMS, Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship (Provo, UT), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including BYU Studies, John Whitmer Historical Association Journal, and Honolulu magazine.

SIDELIGHTS:

Writer and editor Larry E. Morris is the author of The Fate of the Corps: What Became of the Lewis and Clark Explorers after the Expedition. It is fairly well known that Meriwether Lewis died in mysterious circumstances in 1809 while on his way to Washington to answer allegations of misconduct while he was working as governor of the Louisiana Territory—an office to which he was appointed after his return from the expedition. Historians have never decided if Lewis committed suicide, or if he was murdered for some unknown reason.

William Clark, for his part, served as brigadier general of the Louisiana Territory militia, led several campaigns against the British in the War of 1812, and ended his days as Superintendent of Indian Affairs. York, Clark's black servant, made famous in Clark's journal as the first black man ever seen by many of the Indians the expedition encountered, achieved fame after his death—although Margaret Atwater-Singer, writing in Library Journal, noted that Morris "refutes the belief that … [he] resided with the Crow nation, instead providing evidence that points to York's death in Tennessee in 1822." Even the fate of Sacagawea, the expedition's Shoshone translator, is considered and dealt with (she probably died of sickness at a trading post in what is now Nebraska in 1812).

The lives of other members of the expedition proved equally adventurous. "John Colter's epic race for his life against the Blackfeet provides the centerpiece of one chapter," John D.W. Guice wrote in the Oregon Historical Quarterly. Colter, who had been in trouble with the leaders of the expedition early in the trip, later made a complete turnaround, becoming one of the expedition's most valued hunters. He sought and received an honorable discharge from Lewis and Clark some three months before their arrival back in St. Louis. He spent the next six years in the wilderness, becoming perhaps the first white man to explore the area that is now the state of Wyoming. In 1809, he famously killed one of his Blackfeet captors while unarmed, having been stripped naked and then allowed to escape by them. Sergeant Patrick Gass, who served as the expedition's carpenter and who later published his own account of the expedition, outlived all the rest of his fellow corps members, dying in 1870 in his late nineties.

"One of the most ironic accounts is of George Drouillard's murder trial with his fellow explorer, George Shannon, sitting in the jury box," Guice continued. Drouillard was a civilian interpreter who accompanied the expedition throughout the entire trip. In 1809 he was apparently caught by hostile Indians, beheaded, and gutted by them. Shannon, the youngest member of the expedition, later lost a leg in combat and became a lawyer in Lexington, Kentucky. Shannon ended his days after a varied career that included a stint as U.S. Senator from Missouri. "Morris' exhaustively researched provision of this information," observed Gilbert Taylor in Booklist, "seemingly includes every foot-notable fact."

"Few readers will be familiar with all of the vignettes that Morris includes, such as the experiences of William Bratton and John Ordway with the horrendous New Madrid earthquakes" that shook the Midwest during the winter of 1811-1812. "In eleven chapters, the author covers events prior to the War of 1812, while postwar developments get rather less attention," declared Stephen S. Witte in the Historian. "Morris distinguishes clearly between fact and hypothesis, but his intellectual honesty leads to constant use of the qualifiers ‘perhaps,’ ‘may have,’ ‘likely,’ and ‘probably.’ Despite Morris's efforts, the available historical record for many of the former explorers is scant." "Myth and reality regarding the ultimate fates of John Colter, Sacagawea, and others," stated a reviewer writing in Bookwatch, "are revealed" in Morris's survey.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, June 1, 2004, Gilbert Taylor, review of The Fate of the Corps: What Became of the Lewis and Clark Explorers after the Expedition, p. 1688.

Bookwatch, March, 2005, review of The Fate of the Corps.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, February, 2005, C.L. Egan, review of The Fate of the Corps, p. 1082.

Historian, spring, 2006, Stephen S. Witte, review of The Fate of the Corps.

Journal of the West, summer, 2005, Jay H. Buckley, review of The Fate of the Corps.

Library Journal, August, 2004, Margaret Atwater-Singer, review of The Fate of the Corps, p. 95.

Oregon Historical Quarterly, winter, 2005, John D.W. Guice, review of The Fate of the Corps.

Pacific Historical Review, May, 2005, Albert Furtwangler, review of The Fate of the Corps, p. 279.

Western Historical Quarterly, winter, 2005, Laurie Winn Carlson, review of The Fate of the Corps.

Wild West, August, 2005, B.B. Swan, review of The Fate of the Corps, p. 57.

ONLINE

Deseret Book Web site,http://deseretbook.com/ (May 8, 2008), author profile and interview.