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Sacajawea: Her final journeyIllustration: Her final journey

Photo: Letter Sacajawea, Charbonneau and Jean Baptiste spent about three years in the Mandan village after completing their journey to the Pacific and back. Charbonneau preferred the Indian lifestyle to living in a city, but an offer he couldn´t refuse took the family to St. Louis.

William Clark had taken a liking to Jean Baptiste during their travels together. He called him his "little dancing boy, Baptiste." Clark offered to adopt him and raise him as his own child. Sacajawea agreed to consider it, but told him she wanted to wait until he was older.
She and Charbonneau ultimately accepted the offer, knowing their son would be well cared for and receive a better education than they could give him. They took Jean Baptiste to St. Louis, where Clark was living, in 1809. Clark by then was a general and superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Louisiana Territory.
Sacajawea and Charbonneau stayed in St. Louis with Jean Baptiste for two years, then left him under Clark´s care and returned to the Mandan villages. Jean Baptiste was 6. Sacajawea, then in her early 20s, was pregnant.
Her second child was born in 1812. A daughter named Lizette, she is thought to have died in infancy.
But Sacajawea died before her daughter.
"This evening the Wife of Charbonau a Snake Squaw, died Of a putrid fever she was a good and the best Woman in the fort, aged about 25 years she left a fine infant girl."
The words are those of John Luttig, a clerk with the Missouri Fur Company. He recorded the death in his journal on Dec. 12, 1812, at Fort Manuel, S.D.


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