June 3, 2004 by

Martin Plamondon II


Categories: Writers/Editors

mplamondon.jpgIn 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out on a cross-country expedition of the Louisiana Territory. One hundred sixty-nine years later, cartographer Martin Plamondon II mapped their journey.
The Vancouver, Wash., native spent three decades researching and writing the historical atlas and travelogue of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Plamondon first became interested in their 7,400-mile trek in 1972 when he visited Fort Clatsop outside Astoria, Ore. He became interested in the promises Lewis and Clark made to American Indian tribes, and decided to chronicle the Corps of Discovery journey in a series of nonfiction books. Using old and new maps, Plamondon was able to follow the explorers’ adventures and chart their route.
The first two volumes of “Lewis and Clark Trail Maps — A Cartographic Reconstruction” featured selections from the explorers’ journals and 336 maps. Another 200 maps will be included in the third volume, scheduled for publication in July.
When he wasn’t writing, Plamondon worked as the chief mapmaker for Clark County, Wash. The former chairman of the Governor’s Washington Lewis and Clark Trail Committee, he also took a fictional look at the Lewis and Clark expedition. “Promises Given,” his novel based on their encounters with Native Americans, is being edited by his daughter, Monica.
Plamondon died on May 26. Cause of death was not released. He was 58.

3 Responses to Martin Plamondon II

  1. JP Brooks

    This man “felt” the L&C Corp of Discovery. Knew it better than any man. Knew Clark better than anyone. A fine man that is missed daily. He has bet his friends he never shook hands with in this life.
    JP Brooks

  2. RJ Greybeck, Jr.

    I regret that I never met Martin in person. His enthusiasm for maps and dedication to the Corp of Discovery research has provided a tool for me to encourage my students not only in class, but in their lives. Thank you for your dedication and your gift.

  3. Edward Shaffer Jr

    I met Mr. Plamondon in the early autumn of 2002, when I just happened to be living in Vancouver, WA. The Portland Oregonian had just run a story about Mr. Plamondon’s work. I had recently completed an academic program in cartography, and I was so interested in Mr. Plamondon’s work that I called Mr. Plamondon at his home and requested a personal visit. Mr. Plamondon graciously agreed, and I ended up spending about two hours visiting him at his home, learning about his work and methods. At the time, it was difficult for Mr. Plamondon to work; if my memory serves me correctly, he was suffering from a past, work-related injury. Even though Mr. Plamondon wasn’t feeling well, he took the time to visit with me; that was just his way. In addition to being a first-rate historian and mapmaker, Mr. Plamondon was a generous and humble man, always willing to share his knowledge. I’m sorry to learn of his death and I regret that, in moving on, I never saw him again.
    Edward Shaffer Jr.
    Green Valley, AZ

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