“On June 28, 1805, the Lewis and Clark expedition was surveying a portion of the Louisiana Purchase territory that is now southwestern Montana. When the party came to a confluence of three rivers that flowed into the Missouri, Captain Meriwether Lewis was moved to honor his mentor, President Thomas Jefferson, by naming one of the rivers after him.
(He christened the other two after James Madison, Jefferson’s Secretary of State, and Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury.) A few weeks later, they encountered other tributaries flowing into the newly named Jefferson River. Lewis designated them Wisdom and Philanthropy—which he described as two of Jefferson’s “cardinal virtues.” The Philanthropy River later came to be called Stinking Water, but today bears the more salubrious name of Ruby River.
Source: The story of this remarkable journey of exploration and the naming of the rivers is told in Stephen E. Ambrose, Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West (New York: Touchstone, 1997).”
Excerpted from The Liberating Promise of Philanthropy.
Image via Mike Cline, Wikipedia Commons.