Historical Marker #1194 at the Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort commemorates William Bratton, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition who later served in the War of 1812.
Born in Virginia in 1778, Bratton moved to Kentucky with his family at age twelve. A trained blacksmith and gunsmith, Bratton joined the Lewis and Clark expedition and traveled across the continent with the explorers. In one episode, Bratton shot a bear but only wounded it; the enraged animal chased him for a half-mile before other members of the expedition killed the bear and rescued him. After the expedition, during which he was plagued with back problems, he returned to Kentucky.
During the War of 1812, Bratton served in Captain Paschal Hickman's company of the First Rifle Regiment of the Kentucky Volunteer Militia. At the Battle of the River Raisin, fought on January 22, 1813, he was captured and taken prisoner. He was released and discharged from the military in March 1813.
After the war Bratton lived in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. He died in 1841.