Priscilla Grinder was the wife of John Grinder and a witness to the death of Meriwether Lewis.

Lewis arrived at the Grinders' inn, Grinder's Stand, on the evening of October 10, 1809. Grinder stated that after dinner, Lewis acted strangely, pacing while smoking his pipe and talking to himself "like a lawyer," and ranting about "enemies" all while fiddling with a leather pouch that hung around his neck.[1]

Grinder claimed that Lewis returned to a more even state of mind after dark, but refused a bed from her, instead sleeping on a pallet near his pistols.[1]

She slept in a nearby cabin with her children until she was awoken around 3:00 a.m. by sounds of a struggle culminating in two gunshots and Lewis crying out "Oh, Lord!" Too frightened to help Lewis, she watched him through cracks in the cabin wall as he staggered in the moonlight.[1]

At dawn, she woke Lewis' servants and found him still alive in a pool of his own blood, caused by two gunshot wounds and slashes to his throat and arms. According to Grinder, Lewis pleaded for his men to kill him with his rifle.[1]

Grinder recounted these events to Major James Neely, who reported the death as a suicide.[1]

Residents of a local Tennessee county accused Grinder, her husband, and "parties unknown" of murdering Lewis. Ultimately, the charges were dropped due to the jury's "fear of retribution."[1]

Shortly thereafter, Grinder and his wife left Tennessee after coming into "a substantial sum of money."[1]

Behind the scenesEdit

Priscilla Knight Griner (1771 – 1848) was the wife of Robert Griner, proprietor of Griner's Stand, where Meriwether Lewis died in 1809.

Appearances Edit

References Edit

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