Dignitaries, well wishers, history buffs and re-inactors came to Fincastle for the dedication of the NOAA Lewis and Clark marker in the yard of the courthouse on a sunny, but chilly Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2012. With pomp and circumstance, the dedication was flawless.
The Hon. Malfourd “Bo” Trumbo served as Master of Ceremonies. The VMI Bugle and Bagpipe Corps provided music and VMI cadets presented a color guard for the event. Trumbo used historic writings to describe Lewis and Clark’s expedition and subsequent visits to Fincastle. ” The beauty of Botetourt, the crossroads trail of southwestern Virginia and man’s need to go where no one has gone before,” said Trumbo were motivators for William Clark. All were all striking factors in the early 19th century when Lewis and Clark came through the area to see William Preston and where Clark met his future wife, Julia Hancock of Fincastle.
Botetourt area Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts lead the Pledge of Allegiance as well as ultimately unveiling the marker. Steve Clinton, chairman of the Botetourt Board of Supervisors introduced the speakers. He said of the day, ” Reflect, proclaim and celebrate.” Guest speakers included Jim Mallory of the Lewis and Clark Trust and Peyton C. ” Bud” Clark descendent of William Clark. Scott Lokken spoke on behalf of the NGS and Opus a on the NOAA marker placement.
Mallory spoke of the Lewis and Clark Eastern Legacy Trail as well as the importance of the recognition of Lewis and Clark in Botetourt as Clark married Julia Hancock from Fincastle after the expedition. Clark spoke of the women in his family. He has spent years studying William Clark and portrayed his ancestor many years later in the Discovery expedition that traveled across the Louisiana Purchase territory route of the original 1804 expedition in 2004-06, the two hundredth anniversary years. Fincastle was a Discovery site visit on the way back to Charlottesville “to see” President Thomas Jefferson. Several of the expedition re-inactors also made the trip to Fincastle for the occasion.
The proposed Lewis and Clark Eastern Legacy Trail likely will be before Congress in the near future. Pete Larkin from Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s office and Drew Densmore from Sen. Mark Warner’s office were on hand as was Del. Lacey Putney from the Virginia General Assembly. Supervisors Billy Martin, Terry Austin, Jack Leffel and Steve Clinton also attended. Kirk Spears from the National Park Service was on hand. Plenty of local and Botetourt County and Fincastle Town officials including County Administrator Kathleen Guzi and town manager Dave Tickner.
A reception held at Santillane in Fincastle later that evening also commended Kip Burton of Fincastle who helped organize the event and Peggy Crosson who has been a driving force behind the Lewis and Clark Eastern Legacy Trail in Botetourt County. The event was co sponsored by HFI and Botetourt Historical Society.