News Release

June 29, 2009

Media contacts

Howell Lewis Bowen

John Egan


Meriwether Lewis family plans July 8 news conference in D.C.

The Meriwether Lewis mystery is perhaps one of the nation’s oldest cold cases. In recent weeks, this case has generated coverage from the Sunday Telegraph of London, USA Today, The Tennessean and other media outlets.

Since 1996, dozens of collateral descendants of Meriwether Lewis, co-leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, have been seeking federal permission for his remains to be exhumed from a grave in Tennessee and have them scientifically studied. The goal: Determine, once and for all, whether the Virginia native committed suicide or was murdered. The obstacle: Meriwether Lewis is buried on federal parkland, and the National Park Service repeatedly has rejected the family’s exhumation requests.

With the 200th anniversary of Meriwether Lewis’ death coming this October, speakers at this news conference will discuss the latest developments in the “Solve the Mystery” exhumation campaign.

Date: Wednesday, July 8

Time: 10 a.m. EDT

Location: Murrow Room, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.


· Kirsten Nathanson, partner at Washington, D.C.-based law firm Crowell & Moring LLP. Crowell & Moring is among the nation’s leading environment and natural resources law firms and is advising on this case pro bono. 

· Thomas C. McSwain Jr. of Shepherdstown, W.Va., collateral descendant of Meriwether Lewis.

· Howell Lewis Bowen of Charlottesville, Va., collateral descendant of Meriwether Lewis.

· Dr. Hugh Berryman, principal investigator for the Meriwether Lewis scientific team. He is director of the Forensic Institute for Research and Education and a research professor at Middle Tennessee State University.


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