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History of Wyoming

Volume I

Charles Griffin Coutant



In the preparation of this work I have endeavored to trace the early explorers who came to Wyoming. It will be observed that, with a single exception, every account given is based upon authentic history; the exception being the chapter devoted to "Spanish Occupation." While it must be admitted that these traditions are reasonable and interesting, I have deemed it better to utilize only a small portion of the Spanish claims. It would have been possible to have gone back to 1591 and traced the expedition of Don Juan de Onate from Mexico through Colorado and the northwest. It is believed that he explored the South and North Platte and if he did he must have reached Wyoming. While interesting speculations might be indulged in regarding numerous Spanish expeditions to the north, I have refrained from this for the reason that these are tradition and not history. The more modern explorations and occupations are quite as interesting as those of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The searcher after facts will find many surprises in regard to the early occupation of this country by white men. When Robert Stuart passed down the Sweetwater and North Platte in 1812-13, he met Dornin and Roi, two white traders, not far below Grand Island on the Platte River. At that early date there were many white trappers in this part of the west. John B. Sarpey, his brother Peter A. Sarpey, Godfrey Gerry and Elbridge Gerry, two brothers, came during the twenties and remained permanently. The Gerrys were grandsons of Elbridge Gerry, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. I have every reason to believe that Manuel Lisa's trappers also visited eastern Wyoming as early as 1809. The Chouteau brothers of St. Louis sent their men into this part of the west at an early date, that is previous to 1815. Just what time they reached the upper waters of the Platte, it is impossible to say with any degree of certainty. Desiring to confine this work to matters of known record, I have carefully avoided entering the realm of tradition.

The fur trading period forms a distinct epoch in the history of Wyoming. The prosecution of this business, to a large extent, changed the conditions of the Indians, the white men and the country. Few of the great leaders in the fur trade cared to interest themselves in explorations. Previous to 1832 only General W. H. Ashley, of all the fur traders and trappers, took an interest in exploring the country. Following this renowned leader, came the first official explorer, Captain B. L. E. Bonneville. Much care has been taken to point out the official character of this, the first expedition to enter Wyoming under instructions of the government. Irving's charming story of Captain Bonneville, to some extent, was regarded as a romance at the time of its publication, but I hope I have succeeded in showing that the expedition was intended to accomplish a scientific and useful purpose. Because of the official character of Captain Bonneville, I have made copious extracts from his report and it must be admitted that his investigations in this country form a reliable part of our early history. Fremont came ten years later and the scientific nature of his work in this section, as well as its high official character and importance, has demanded at my hands no less space than is accorded it.

Great pains have been taken to search out all that relates to the Overland trail, including the depredations committed by Indians along this famous highway, the Oregon, Mormon and California emigration, the establishing of the mail line across the mountains, the starting of the Pony Express, the building of the telegraph line and all the incidents of a public nature which contribute to the history of the times. The Indian wars which followed are covered by official reports, which have been used and which form the basis of the history of all military operations connected with the protection of emigrants.

I make no claim that this history is entirely free from error, but I will assure the reader that every precaution has been taken in its preparation, and, as far as possible, dates, incidents and circumstances have been secured from official reports and from other reliable sources.

The illustrations in this volume, for the most part, have intrinsic value, and some of them have been secured with difficulty. The portrait of Captain B. L. E. Bonneville was kindly furnished me by the Hon. N. P. Langford. That of Father De Smet was secured through the kindness of Bishop Lenihan. T. Jeff Carr presented the portrait of General Connor. These are rare portraits and difficult to obtain at this late day. Most of the illustrations along the Overland trail are by the Wyoming artist, M. D. Houghton, who produced them after much study and investigation. They are not mere ideal drawings, but were made with the assistance of pioneers who took the trouble to visit, with the artist, the locality, and explain the forts, buildings, bridges, etc. These drawings have stood the test of critical examinations on the part of many old timers who were familiar with the appearance of everything along the Overland road in the old days.

This work will be completed in three volumes, each of which will have a table of contents, and the last book will contain a full index covering the subjects treated upon in the three volumes and these subjects will be subdivided and indexed for the convenience of those in search of information. The index will also give names, battles, incidents and all matter connected with the history of the State, so that the reader will be enabled to find, without delay, any subject, incident or name mentioned in the work.

I owe it to myself to say that the undertaking has grown on my hands and has become of greater magnitude than was contemplated. Other states have histories that simply relate to events which are a part only of their occupation and settlement; while Wyoming was the highway where converged all roads leading across the plains to the territories beyond. This made our State the theater of bloody wars from the time of the discovery of South Pass, for more than seventy years. Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado each have histories filled with thrilling tales of the border; while our State had to bear the concentrated warfare engendered in the territories named. Our mountain passes afforded opportunity for ambush suited to the character of the savage tribes who disputed the passage of white men through the country. This holds good from the earliest record of trappers and traders, down through the emigrant days, the building of the railroad, and only ended when the government succeeded in utterly crushing the red warriors. This volume covers many startling situations and yet the happenings of the territorial period, which are told in the second volume, are no less dramatic. This is now in preparation and will be completed in a few months. It opens with the history of the founding of Cheyenne, the organization of Laramie County, the founding of Laramie City, the organization of Albany and other counties, together with the commencement of the Territorial Government. These events were intended for the first volume, but a proper division of the matter, after it was prepared forced me to assign these subjects to the second volume. By this change a large number of illustrations, which go with the matter mentioned, are left out of this volume, but will appear in the next.




Having been one of the earliest pioneers in Wyoming, the oldest journalist in the State, being intimately acquainted with the author, having had free access to the advance sheets of this history during all its preparation; is my apology for accepting an invitation to write a brief introduction to this great work.

It is fortunate for the State that the task of writing its history has fallen into the hands of one so well qualified and equipped for the undertaking as C. G. Coutant. From his youth he has engaged in literary work, for many years connected with the Metropolitan Press of New York City, by which he was detailed to examine proposed railroad routes across the continent, and later he followed along the lines of the great trans-continental railways during the period of their construction. Since the year 1859 he has been familiar with all parts of the Rocky Mountain country and been personally acquainted with many of the noted pioneers. The events which make up the history of Wyoming, have to a greater or less extent been familiar to him from his boyhood. These circumstances and his literary experience have especially qualified him to write the story of Wyoming's past.

The public can never know or realize the vast amount of travel, research, experience and hard work which was necessary in going back into the misty past to gather from tradition, from early explorers, from official data contained in the War Department; as well as the investigation of personal adventures of individuals, all necessary in the production of a work of this character. It was truly a Herculean task. It has been pioneer work. No history of Wyoming had ever been written. The author has felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility of the task in writing a history which is to be a record, not only for this, but for coming generations. It must be accurate and in every way reliable and it is this that made the undertaking laborious and difficult. This experienced writer and searcher after facts has done his work with a most scrupulous and conscientious regard to accuracy in every particular. The conclusions drawn from the facts of history are given fairly and impartially, without flattery on the one hand or censoriousness on the other.

The work will be found to be, not only reliable history of our State, but more intensely and thrillingly interesting than any romance of the period. The hardships, privations and hair-breadth escapes of the pioneers, the adventures of the hunters and trappers of a century ago and the Indian wars of later times are all graphically and accurately written out. The work, when completed, will be of the greatest value and of the most absorbing interest, not only to the pioneers and citizens generally of the State, but to coming generations and to the whole country. Let us all hope and pray that Mr. Coutant may live to complete this lasting monument To his honorable and useful labors of a lifetime.




Grand Possibilities - Mineral Wealth - Backbone Of The Continent - Fountain Head Of Mighty Rivers - Boundary Of Wyoming - Names Of Rivers And Mountains.

With beauty as rare and scenery as grand as can be found in the known world; with a wealth of mineral resources which will equal, if not surpass, all other geographical divisions of the United States, Wyoming is found in the closing years of the 19th century possessing great possibilities in the way of future development. The vast storehouses filled with coal, oil, iron, copper, gold, silver and countless other minerals, await capital and enterprise to unlock the deposits and make them available for the use of man.

Side by side with the mineral wealth is to be found a soil to produce a food supply sufficient for the wants of more than two million of population. The inexhaustible quantity of water for irrigation insures the success of agriculture for all time to come, and hand in hand all these await the coming of those who are in search of opportunities to earn their bread in the manner set forth in the divine law governing the affairs of the children of men. As the story of Wyoming proceeds it will be seen that its people have laid a broad and solid foundation whereon to build a great and prosperous commonwealth.

Wyoming, is, so to speak, the backbone as well as the heart of the continent. From her almost inaccessible mountains flow the headwaters which form the mighty rivers of the West. Thus our State is the fountain head of the great streams that find their way into the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Gulf of 'California, insuring us water wherewith to fertilize our many valleys and broad plains. Here under the very shadow of awe inspiring mountain peaks, a vast population has ample opportunity to build homes and develop farms which shall never suffer from drought but will year after year give an abundant harvest to the husbandman. Where else on this or any other continent has nature bestowed so many rich blessings to be utilized by mankind? In many locations are to be found rich minerals which are in demand the world over, and as if to induce man to develop them, fuel is found in abundance for manufacturing purposes and within the same territory, rich farming lands abound. Added to all this is a climate of so equitable a temperature as to make it the desirable home of man.

In these pages I have grouped together the conditions of the wilderness at the time when white men first attempted to bring civilization into these solitudes. The story of the trapper and trader will be found full of interest and the reader will unconsciously become an admirer of the brave men who plied their vocation along our mountain streams. The more scientific man - the explorer - closely follows the trapper and trader and completes the conquest of the wilderness. The work of these two classes forms a story of pioneer days which for all time will thrill the heart of American youth and make the history of Wyoming compare in interest with that of any other State.

This was while the savage hordes lurked in the dark defiles of our mountains and before our pioneers had freed the land from dangers seen and unseen. Before our cities, churches and school houses were built. Before our civil institutions were founded and law and order had come to rule the State! Before the great battle of civilization had been fought and won!

The opening of that great highway, the Overland trail, across our State, is a story of all-absorbing interest, from the time (1812) when Robert Stuart and his little band lost themselves in the then nnknown and unnamed interior of what is now Wyoming and wandered aimlessly through the deep snows of winter, down to the banks of the Sweetwater and followed on, only hoping and believing that they had discovered a stream which would eventually empty its waters into the Missouri. The path marked out by these wanderers became, in a few years, a great highway over which passed a restless tide of humanity numbering hundreds of thousands, until every mile of the way was marked with the blood of innocent children, their loving mothers and brave defenders. The march of empire westward brought bands of steel to bind together the two shores of a continent.

Savage men and savage beasts no longer lurk at will in our mountains or roam through our valleys. That great law of nature, "the survival of the fittest," has been applied and has done its perfect work. It will be found that what comes after is even more wonderful. The building of the railroads,the introduction of the stock business,the founding of cities and counties were all interspersed with tragedies, Indian wars and thrilling personal adventures. All these things are the foundation upon which was builded a commonwealth having for its cornerstone equal rights for its sons and daughters. For the pioneers it was a glorious achievement, and as we look back at the record we cannot help saying that the past is safe, and when we turn to the future it is not without hope, for it naturally follows that the sons and daughters of such progenitors will hold sacred the institutions founded by their fathers. Those who pursue this story of the building up of a State will hardly fail to notice that the newspaper, the school house and the church played a conspicuous part in every community in pioneer days. These were the great engines of civilization and to their influence must be attributed results which have placed Wyoming in the highest rank of intelligence. But what of the future? Will the brave blood of the pioneer

when assisted by the pure air of these high altitudes result . in a race of men and women bordering on physical as well as intellectual giants? All we can answer is that the foundation has been laid for such a result. Time alone will answer the question.

The Wyoming of which I have written is bounded as follows: Commencing at the intersection of the twenty-seventh meridian of longitude west from Washington with the forty-fifth degree of north latitude, and running thence west to the thirty-fourth meridian of west longitude; thence south to the forty-first degree of north latitude; thence east to the twenty-seventh meridian of west longitude, and thence north to the place of the beginning.

While Wyoming is known and must forever be classed as a mountain State, it is in fact made up largely of broad plains, out of which rise mountain ranges of great beauty, and from these flow the headwaters of innumerable rivers. Commencing near the southeast corner of the State is the Laramie range which extends to the northwest, the highest point being Laramie Peak, located 84 miles in a direct line from the southern boundary of the State and 72 miles west of the eastern boundary. This range is made up of broken and detached mountain spurs which extend into vast plains on nearly all sides. West and south is the Snowy Range and further west are the Medicine Bow Mountains, a spur of the latter range; to the northwest of these is the Sweetwater Range, made up in part of Seminole and Green Mountains, and continuing northwest, is the Wind River Range, one of the main barriers of the Rocky Mountains, forming the Continental Divide. Beyond this are the Gros Ventre and Teton Ranges. To the south on the west border of the State is the Snake River Range, and south of this, the group of mountains known as the Salt River Range. Commencing again on the east line of the State and north of the Laramie range, are the Black Hills, which are properly a part of the latter, also the Powder River Range. North of the center of the State are the famous Big Horn Mountains, like the Wind River Range, a continuation of the main chain of the Rocky Mountains; west of this range are the Owl Creek Mountains and to the northwest of the latter are found the Shoshone Mountains. The mountains above mentioned are divided into numerous groups which for my purpose need not be explained here.

The water courses of Wyoming are very numerous. Commencing in the southeastern portion of the State they are, the North Platte with its branches, the Big and Little Laramie and Sweetwater. These drain the southeastern portion of the State. The North Platte rises in Colorado, flowing generally in a northwesterly direction as far as Sage Creek, from which point it continues due north until it reaches the mouth of the Sweetwater where it takes a north-easterly course around the end of Caspar Mountain, from which point it flows directly east for a distance of 50 miles and from thence takes a southeasterly course, receiving the waters of the Laramie River, and passes into the State of Nebraska. The Laramie River rises in the mountains of Colorado and after reaching Wyoming flows northeast for a distance of 25 miles and then north for 50 miles; it then takes a northeasterly course for a distance of 100 miles where it empties into the North Platte River. The Little Laramie rises in the Medicine Bow Mountains, flows northeast a distance of about 30 miles where it joins the Laramie River. The Sweetwater, rising as far west as the south end of the Wind River Range, flows east-wardly about 100 miles where it empties into the North Platte. Cheyenne River is located in the eastern portion of the State, about 100 miles from the northern boundary. It» tributaries are Beaver, Black Thunder, Bear, Walker, Twenty-mile and Hat Creeks, with a dozen other smaller streams. The Belle Fourche rises northeast of the central portion of the State and flows 100 miles to the northwest where it turns abruptly to the southeast for 20 miles and here enters South Dakota. Its principal tributaries are, Beaver, Miller, Inyan Kara, Wind, Buffalo, Horse, Donkey and Iron Creeks. The Little Missouri rises in the northeast part of the State and flows in a northeasterly direction and enters Montana. Its principal tributaries are. North Fork, Prairie and Thompson Creeks. The Little Powder River rises west of the Little Missouri and flows north into Mon. tana, where it joins Powder River Its principal tributaries are Horse, Wild Cat, Buffalo Hide and Cottonwood Creeks. Powder River rises east of the Big Horn Mountains, nearly opposite their southern end, flows north about 100 miles into Montana where it becomes a tributary of the Yellowstone. Its principal tributaries are, Clear, Crazy Woman, Nine Mile, Meadow, North Fork, Middle Fork and South Fork. The Big Horn River is one of the large streams of the State. It takes its rise in the Wind River Range and flows north over 150 miles. Its principal tributaries are the Stinking Water, Grey Bull, Wind, Little Wind and Popo Agie Rivers with numerous creeks, among which the largest are Shell, No Wood, No Water, Kirby, Poison, Beaver, Owl and others. Green River takes its rise on the west side of the Wind River Range and flows in a southerly direction and passes into Utah. It is a noble stream and has numerous important tributaries, among which are the following creeks: Bitter, Big Sandy, New Fork, Lead, Horse, Marsh, White Clay, Bitter Root, Piney, Le Barge, Fontenelle, State, Ham's Fork, Pacific and Black Fork. The Snake River rises in the Yellowstone National Park, flows south into Jackson's Lake and continuing its southerly course passes out of the State through the Grand Canon at the south end of the Snake River Range. Some of its branches are Lewis River, Buffalo Fork, Elk Horn, Gros Ventre, Hoback's River and John Day's River. The Yellowstone River rises on the west side of the Shoshone Mountains and flows northwest into Yellowstone Lake, from which point it takes a general northwesterly course and enters Montana, having passed entirely through the Yellowstone National Park. Its tributaries are too numerous to mention, but not one of these in the State of Wyoming is large.



The Claims Of The Spaniards Regarding The Northwest - What Different Writers Say - Where Did The White Blood Of The Mandans Come From? - Relics Op Iron Tools Found In Northern Wyoming And Montana - Evidences Of Mining And Agriculture Carried On Probably In The Seventeenth Century - The Subject Referred To Future Historians.

It has long been claimed and generally believed that during the latter part of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century, one of the numerous Spanish expeditions which left Mexico penetrated as far north as the Missouri River and reached the Yellowstone country. I can find no positive evidence of this, but the wild scramble for wealth by Spanish adventurers about that time and the over-running of the country from Santa Fe north and northwest into Kansas and Colorado would leave the impression that it is not at all unlikely that some of these expeditions came into Wyoming and went even farther north. The Franciscan Friars never tired of talking about cities of fabulous wealth which were located, they said, near the great mountains. These, they claimed, contained storehouses, filled with precious metals, in such quantities as were never known before. I can readily understand that these Franciscan Friars were anxious to spread their religious teachings among these strange people, who were reputed to be possessed of great wealth but destitute of religion. The sword of the Spanish conqueror and the Cross of Christ had for a century been carried into new provinces to the south of us and the people subjugated, duly robbed, often murdered and christianized, according to true Spanish civilization. These are the claims made by the nation which Columbus taught the art of discovering new worlds, and who rewarded his services by sending him home in chains when he was no longer needed. In support of the Spanish claims, of having sent expeditions • into the northwest as far as the headwaters of the Missouri and having taken back rich furs and gold, I will group together a few of the evidences of Spanish occupation of the country. When the American trappers came to the Rocky Mountains and reached the Seeds-Ke-dee River, they were told that the Spaniards had lived on this stream It was therefore promptly called by the trappers Spanish River (Green River). There is evidence that the Indian* had a knowledge of the Spanish people. Lewis and Clark, in passing through the country at the head of the Missouri, found Spanish saddles and bridles in use among the Indians. It is a fact known to all writers who have made investigation among the Indians that they acquired the horse from the same source. Washington Irving, in his Astoria, in speaking of the Indians of the Northwest, says on page 164 "The Spaniards changed the whole character and habits of the Indians when they brought the horse among them."

I have sometimes thought that it was not impossible that the Indians may have learned from the Spaniards the art of horse stealing. The student of history will, upon reflection, discover quite a number of Spanish peculiarities among some of our Rocky Mountain Indians. In some instances it is possible that the Spaniards are in no way responsible for the evidences of civilization among our Indian tribes and yet they lay claim to this distinction. Lewis and Clark describe the Mandans as the most civilized tribe they found in their travels. Their domestic habits were nearer those of white people, they lived in permanent villages, slept on bedsteads with buffalo robes for mattresses,, pillows and blankets, and cultivated the corn, squashes and pumpkins upon which they lived. Many of them were remarkable for the whiteness of their skin and the light color of their hair. Vaughn says that they always received the whites with graceful and dignified hospitality, and that a stranger in a Mandan village is first struck with the different shades of complexion, and various colors of hair, which he sees in the crowd about him, and is at once almost disposed to exclaim that "these are not Indians!" There are a great many people whose complexions appear as light as half breeds, and, among the women particularly, there are many whose skins are almost white, with the most pleasing symmetry and proportion of features, with hazel, gray, and blue eyes, mildness and sweetness of expression and remarkable modesty of demeanor, which render them exceedingly pleasing and beautiful.

Mr. Catlin, who visited this tribe about the year 1831 says that they are acquainted with the Mosaic account of the deluge and that they have an annual religious ceremony which is fixed at a date when the willow is in full leaf and that this ceremony refers to their traditional history of the flood, which they in some way or other have received and endeavor to perpetuate by vividly impressing it on the minds of the whole nation. He adds, that this is not surprising, as in the vicinity of almost every Indian tribe there is some high mountain where they insist upon it the "big canoe" landed; but that these people should hold annual celebrations of the event, and the season should be decided by such circumstances as the full leaf of the willow, is truly remarkable. Their tradition is that the twig that the bird brought home was a willow bough and had full grown leaves upon it, and the bird to which they allude is the turtle dove, which is not to be destroyed or harmed by anyone, and even their dogs are trained not to do it injury.

Edward Everett Hale, in a work published in 1854, called Kansas and Nebraska, in commenting on the annua) religious ceremony of the Mandans, says:

"It would seem from these traditions that these people must have had some proximity to some part of the civilized world; or that missionaries or others have been formerly among them inculcating the Christian religion and the Mosaic account of the flood, which is, in this and some other respects, decidedly different from the theory which most of the aborigines have regarding that event. This vague resemblance, however, to the Mosaic account of the deluge, seems to be the only token that has been observed of any knowledge of any of the Christian Scriptures. Now, Modoc and his colony were men trained in the Christianity of their day and took with them, doubtless, Christian ministers, and the symbols of the Christian faith."

I think that Lewis and Clark, Vaughn and Catlin have produced sufficient evidence to prove there was white blood in the Mandan tribe. If it did not come from the Spaniards, where did it come from? I admit that so far, I have been unable to show Spanish occupation of the upper Missouri and yet the evidence adduced bears on the subject. I know that it has been claimed that the Mandans were of Welsh origin, but that is a tradition more than a thousand years old. The story goes that Modoc sailed away with his Welsh colony from his native country with ten ships loaded with his people more than six hundred years before Columbus discovered America, and that they probably came to this country. When Lewis and Clark told their story of the Mandans Southey wrote his poem "Modoc," and in a note claimed that there was strong evidence that the Wales adventurers reached America and that their posterity dwelt on the Missouri. In another edition of his work, published in 1815, he adds another note in which he says:

"That country has now been fully explored, and, wherever Modoc may have settled, it is now certain that no Welsh Indians are to be found upon any branches of the Missouri."

The Spaniards in the south were the first to attempt expeditions from the east to the west. The French followed closely after them. It is said that La Hontan made a trip up the Long River, meaning of course the Missouri, in 1688 and made a deer skin map of the country, showing the mountains and a river beyond which flowed into a great salt lake. La Hontan certainly told a good story and some of it was true. The mountains and the great salt lake remain today as proof of the correctness of the deer skin map. He did not take with him friars or missionaries and, for that reason, church people discredited his discoveries. He speaks of having found a people near the mountains who resembled the Spaniards. They were clothed, and he said, had thick, bushy beards. Among the clergy who denounced La Hontan was a learned priest named Babe. La Hontan may have imagined all these things he told but in the light of what followed after, the world must say that he spoke the truth and that this over-zealous priest was ignorant beyond measure. If the mountains and lake were pointed out, and he spoke correctly about these, why may it not be true that he met these people whom he thought were Spaniards?

In Strayhorn's Handbook of Wyoming, published in 1877, are the following items of interest which bear upon the subject of Spanish occupation of the Northwest:

''Although the Genoese navigator had no idea of enriching himself by his perilous launch, in 1492, he at least hoped that the coffers of Ferdinand and his queen would be replenished by the wealth of new possessions. But most of his companions were adventurers in quest of gold and glory, reckless and oftentimes cruel to brutality. The missionaries who accompanied him were Franciscan friars, whose zeal for the conversion of the savages was only surpassed by the thirst of their companions in bucklers for gold. Thus a religious zeal, which teaches its votaries to despise riches on earth and lay up treasures elsewhere, and a most avaricious desire for wealth on the part of these adventurers, went hand in hand exploring the southern part of North America more than three centuries ago.

Four survivors of the ill-fated Spanish expedition to Florida, in 1528, bravely made their way westward across the Mississippi, traversed those sections now known as the commonwealths of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, and finally reached the Gulf of California. Reappearing to former friends after several years of absence, they occasioned no little astonishment. Their glowing accounts of the kingdoms, cities and towns they had passed through, and the barbaric wealth and splendor they had witnessed, excited and fascinated their listeners to such a degree that an Italian friar named Mark determined to visit the country. He induced one of these four men, a negro named Stephen, to return, and boldly penetrated the wilderness until he came within sight of the city of Cibola, a location not made plain by early chroniclers. Here the venturesome friar and his companion were attacked by natives, and in the fight, the negro was killed, leaving the isolated explorer only the alternative of swiftly retracing his steps.

Friar Mark did not abandon his project, however, and in 1540, he induced the chieftain Coronado to head an expedition to Cibola, stimulating the new adventurers by richly colored tales of the vast riches and entrancing beauty of the place. Other Franciscans accompanied the expedition. Finally Cibola was reached, but not so the reputed wealth, for the place proved a barren prize. The friar was overwhelmed with reproaches, and returning to the coast soon died.

But enchanting tradition whispered that there were other cities of untold wealth farther in the interior, and Coronado pushed on. He crossed the Rio Grande near the present town of Santa Fe and pushed northward to the Arkansas, but still failed to find the golden cities. True, he encountered numbers of small Indian villages, but fortune was no nearer than when he started from the sunny shores of the southwestern gulf. Growing thoroughly discouraged, after a two years' search, Coronado returned, leaving two zealous friars, however, at Indian villages along the Rio Grande.

The fame of the supposed rich cities had now reached the City of Mexico and Tampico, and an expedition in quest of them started from the latter place in 1542. During the march northward an Indian village on the east side of the Rio Grande was named Sante Fe (holy faith), and became the base of future explorations. The two missionaries left behind in this vicinity by Coronado had already suffered death at the hands of the Indians. From this time forward there were alternate successes upon the part of the Spaniards in establishing missions in New Mexico and of the savages destroying them. The rich cities to the northward -were yet undiscovered, although little doubt prevailed as to their existence.

During the progress of the Mexican war, in 1846, a highly educated Mexican padre, named Ortiz, was captured near El Paso in the act of bearing dispatches to his countrymen south of the Rio Grande. While a prisoner in the hands of General Stephen W. Kearney's followers, he volunteered the statement to different American army officers that the Spaniards had early in the seventeenth century obtained a footing in the mountainous region some seven or eight hundred miles north of Santa Fe, but still south of the great muddy river (the Missouri); that they had built stone houses and arastras, and for nearly a quarter of a century had sent trains to the south laden with gold and rich furs. About 1650, however, the savages of the region commenced a wholesale massacre of these pioneers, and all were swept away as far south as Santa Fe. Ortiz had in his possession an old Spanish book, written late in the seventeenth century, describing all of the country between the Rio Grande and the Missouri, and also containing statements verifying those volunteered by himself, to the effect that the ruins of these settlements existed in the northwest, and that great canals and other auxiliaries to mining had been there constructed.

At intervals of many years following, reckless adventurers risked their lives to reach the northern land of promise, but these never returned after crossing the Arkansas. As late as 1781, a small expedition, accompanied by Jesuit missionaries, left Santa Fe and penetrated the great northwestern plains, but there is no account of the return of any of the party.

These facts become especially interesting in connection with the developments of American explorers in our own time. Members of General Connor's Big Horn expedition of 1865, now residing in Cheyenne, vouch for the statement then made that ruins of stone houses, evidently more than a century old, were found near the shores of the beautiful Lake de Smet, at the eastern base of the Big Horn Mountains. In 1866, the remains of an old Spanish arastra - a quartz crushing implement - were found in the same region, at a point about fifty miles southwest of Fort Phil Kearney. Ruins of stone houses and fortifications were also discovered by Colonel Mills' expedition in the Big Horn country as late as the fall of 1874. Montana miners who were driven by the Indians from the Rosebud Mountains, east of Fort C. F. Smith, where they were prospecting in 1866, reported that there was evidence that mining had been extensively carried on, on some of the bars there, a long time previous to their visit. They found traces of iron tools which had been devoured by rust, the line of a former ditch to convey water upon the bars and some other indications which lead to the conclusion that the Spanish adventurers alluded to had not only obtained a footing in the region, but had perished there while in the realization of their wildest dreams.

It is stated as a fact, capable of verification, that there is now a map in the archives of Paris, prepared by Jesuits as early as 1792, which contains a correct topographical sketch of the Black Hills and Big Horn Mountains, and that both are marked as auriferous regions; but from whence the information was derived is more than can be definitely ascertained. Certain it is, however, that missionaries and gold seekers visited portions of the present States of Wyoming and Montana, in search of souls and the royal metals, during the last century."

In commenting on Mr. Strayhorn's last paragraph, Hubert Howe Bancroft, in Volume XXV of his history, says that there is nothing true in this statement; that the Spaniards had all they could do to hold their own in New Mexico, during the seventeenth century, without venturing 800 miles into the wilderness among the Indians. There were no such expeditions as represented, although in order to secure grants of land or patents of nobility Spanish adventurers related such stories to the king. Further on, he says: "Some coloring has been given to the story by the discovery, 1865, of what appeared to be the stone foundations of houses, and what might pass for an ancient arastra on the head waters of Powder River and about Smet Lake. But if we explore the past critically we shall find that at some period anterior to the history of the country, and perhaps contemporaneous with the Cliff-dwellers of Colorado, a people to whom the present tribes of redmen were as little known as the Caucasian was at a later period to these, had their habitations here. Of their presence the traces are distinct, their relics being found chiefly in the country about the head of the Yellowstone, and in the Big Horn and Wind River valleys. They consist of steatite vessels, bowl-shaped, and neatly finished, stone lance heads, knives and scrapers, and sinkers for fishing lines made of volcanic sandstone, or of green-veined marble. The workmanship of these articles is different from any found on the Pacific or Atlantic coasts, and unlike any in use among the present native tribes inhabiting Montana and Wyoming. Other remains point to a scarcity of timber in the past in that part of the mountains where timber is now plentiful, the driveways for game being constructed of stone instead of wood, and the occurrence of small, circular enclosures of stone seeming to indicate that, if not the foundations of houses, they were used for covers from which to shoot game. Heaps of bones, tools, ornaments, weapons, burial cairns, and raining shafts are among the proofs of their presence. At what period they disappeared and recent tribes took their place is among the silent secrets which the past refuses to disclose. The debris of ages covers the silent witnesses of their existence, which patient research is only now bringing to light, and to them I should refer the stone ruins accredited to Spanish occupation."

It will be noticed that Bancroft does not explain the traces of iron tools which had been devoured by rust. Many people in Wyoming even at this day have seen such ancient relics and no one can claim that a race contemporaneous with the Cliff-dwellers possessed iron implements. These belonged to white men and their presence must be accounted for, as they are too numerous to be brushed aside. The whole Wind River, Big Horn and Yellowstone districts are full of these relics, and a close examination of them will convince any ordinary man that they have been in the ground two or three hundred years. White men brought them into the country, without a doubt, but unfortunately for those who hold to former Spanish occupation there is no proof that these people were the owners of these iron implements. The most that can be said on this subject, from the evidence before us, is that the country of which we have spoken was inhabited by white men a long time ago; probably in the seventeenth century. They mined, they tilled the soil, and it necessarily follows that they built domiciles, which undoubtedly were of stone or had stone foundations.

I regret that I am obliged to leave this subject in an unsettled condition, but some future historian will undoubtedly solve the vexed question. I trust that enough has been shown in this chapter to induce further research. I must of necessity leave my readers to draw their own conclusions from the evidence which has been presented.



The De La Verendryes Lead An Expedition From Canada To The Headwaters Of The Mississippi Across To The Missouri Into The Yellowstone And Wind River Countries - Turned Back By The Shoshones Who Persuade The Explorers That They Will Be Killed By The Sioux At South Pass - Eleven Years Spent In The Wilderness - Return To Montreal - Second Expedition Is Prevented By The Death Of De La Verendrye - Unprincipled Politicians Rob The De La Verendrye Family And Get Their Hands In The Coffers Of The King - Fur Trade Under English Ownership Of Canada - American Revolution Leads To Great Changes In The Fur Trade.

The French Canadians discovered and developed the fur trade of North America. They trapped along the great rivers of Canada almost from the first occupation of the country by the French. They taught the Indians the commercial value of the skins of all fur-bearing animals, and they also instructed them as to the seasons when these animals were to be caught to insure the quality of the furs in the markets. These French Canadians were an easygoing, jovial set of fellows; were more inclined to trapping and trading than they were to other occupations. They made friends of the Indians, treating the children of the forest with great fairness and kindness, and the result was the French were allowed free navigation of the rivers as far to the north as they chose to go. The business of trapping and trading grew to be extensive and highly profitable, and thus encouraged a peculiar civilization spread itself along the great water-ways of the wilderness, around the Great Lakes, Erie, Huron, Ontario, Michigan, and as far north as the Great Slave Lake. Expeditions were sent out with canoes loaded with merchandise designed for the Indian trade. These on their return were laden with peltries which found a ready market in Montreal. After a time large capital was employed in the business, which was managed by men of ability. These sent out expeditions and gave employment to an armyof voyageurs, trappers, hunters and men-of-all-work. Establishments were founded in the interior, where Indians were invited to come and trade. The men who managed these trading posts were, we are told, "hail fellows well met"on all occasions,and the profits of the business enabled them to pursue a liberal policy and befriend the Indians. These establishments not only employed trappers on contract for a term of years, but bought furs of independent trappers as well as the Indians. The founding of these trading posts in the far-off wilderness weaned the trappers of the desire to return to their homes and many of them became permanent residents and founded families by marrying the daughters of Indian tribes.

Following the traders who organized the great expeditions about the Lakes and beyond, and established posts, was the Catholic missionary, who labored among the Indians. These religious enthusiasts endeavored to persuade the trappers to legally marry their Indian wives, but the good fathers were not always successful in inducing the reckless hunters to consider marriage a sacrament. They preferred to have the bonds of matrimony as little binding as possible, so they might, if occasion required, throw off the matrimonial yoke and marry into another tribe. The Canadian voyageurs, as well as most of the trappers, were devout Catholics and were willing to confess themselves to the priest at stated intervals, but they gave the good fathers to understand that they did not consider marriage with a squaw a legal or binding obligation. The Indians were much more interested in religious matters than were the white men. An Indian believes in what he calls the Great Spirit, and a hereafter, which he designates as the Happy Hunting Grounds. The good fathers thought they saw an opportunity to greatly benefit the redmen and for a time made some headway, but the introduction of spiritons liquors among the natives, to a large extent destroyed the influence of the priests, but it can be said for them that they made an honest effort to benefit the savages.

A quarter of a century more peopled the wilderness with a half-breed population, and these in turn became trappers and voyageurs. A singular result is related regarding the offspring of these marriages. For the most part the children were inferior in character to both the white and the red race. It seemed that they partook of all the vices of both the French and the Indians and retained none of the virtues. They were for the most part indolent, ignorant and superstitious, and yet they trapped and hunted and added to the business of the fur trader. The conditions I have related gave the French great influence over the savage tribes and resulted later in Indian depredations on the English settlements along the Canadian borders. The savages were easily persuaded to hostility and later became allies of the French in their wars against the English.

The French merchants of Montreal grew rich out of the trade in peltries. The successful methods adopted by the trappers and traders resulted after a time in the destruction of fur-bearing animals throughout Canada and the tributary streams of the Great Lakes to the west and soon everything pointed to the early collapse of the great industry. The demand for furs was at its highest point. London, Paris and all the great cities of Europe sent in large orders and the question of supply to meet this demand became an important one to the French merchants of Montreal. Far-seeing business men began to discuss measures which should ward off the evil threatened. These conditions stimulated a desire to penetrate the interior of the great West for the purpose of securing new fields for the trapper. Public attention, once turned in this direction, was followed after a time by practical action on the part of men who possessed a turn of mind for exploration, and these proposed an expedition into the interior of the continent. Finally a bolder class of merchants came to the front and offered capital to explore the unknown wilderness which lay between Canada and the Pacific Ocean and thus meet the demand for new trapping grounds and supply of the fur market. In every great emergency which demands a leader suited to the requirements of the occasion, the man for the place appears at the right time. The leader in this instance was an educated Frenchman of noble birth who had interested himself in the study of the exploring expeditions which had from time to time visited the Pacific coast. He had one hobby, and that was the planting of a colony at some suitable place on the west side of the continent and the building up there of a commercial city which should monopolize all the Indian trade of the territory west of the great mountains. His theory was that commercial relations could be entered into with native tribes and through the fur industry large wealth accumulated by the colonists. His plan included a great supply point at or near the west coast and trading posts in the interior. Practical business men at first were slow to comprehend the colossal scheme, but the conditions which I have related favored the plan. The man referred to was Sieur de la Verendrye, who was earnestly supported by his eldest son, Chevalier de la Verendrye; also his two younger sons. Associated with them was Tierre Gauthier de Varennes. After discussing the subject in all its phases it was finally decided to outfit an exploring party to traverse the Great Lakes northwest, crossing to the headwaters of the Mississippi, thence west again to the headwaters of the Missouri and search for a gateway through the "Stony Mountain."

Sieur de la Verendrye and Pierre Gauthier de Varennes were dealers in furs and skins and had been located on Lake Nepigon since 1728. Four years later the latter went to Quebec to consult the governor and other officials on the subject of explorations to the west. It was no new idea with him, as he had talked it over with many persons of education and had become, so to speak, wrapped up in the subject. He was an enthusiast, it is true, but he was given to deep thought, earnest study and withal was capable of concentration of effort and singleness of purpose. These qualifications enabled him to undertake great enterprises and to carry them through successfully. The governor of the province was the Marquis de Beauharnais. As soon as Verendrye spoke to him of the expedition and his plan for carrying it out, he without hesitation gave his indorsement. Montreal merchants were to furnish the funds to equip the party and goods to trade with the natives for furs. The expedition was to go west and find a river that flowed into the Pacific Ocean. In the year 1733, all things being in readiness, De la Verendrye received his instructions to take possesion, in the name of the King of France, of such countries as he should discover. His first point was Lake Superior for which place he embarked with a fleet of canoes, taking with him a missionary, Pierre Messager. He established forts as he proceeded from point to point, gradually working his way westward.

From each of these forts he sent out expeditions to examine the country. One of these, in charge of one of his younger sons, met with disaster. The entire party, including young Verendrye and twenty men, were killed by a war party of Sioux. The examination of the territory which he passed through required time, and it was not until 1738 that he reached the Mandan country, where he erected Fort La Reine on the Assiniboine, completing the work in October of that year. The following season an expedition was sent up the Missouri, but did not reach the Yellowstone until 1742. This expedition was in charge of De la Verendrye's eldest son, who found on this trip the great mountains through which he could find no practical route. I find in the first volume of the Montana Historical Society a communication written by Granville Stuart which throws some light on the trail of the explorers. He says that the expedition traveled from Fort La Reine, on the Assiniboine, up Mouse River and across to the Missouri, which he touched just below where since was built Fort Berthold, thence they, ascended the Missouri to the gates of the mountains near Helena, Montana. The first of January, 1743, found them on these mountains whence they passed up Deep or Smith! River, crossed to the head of the Mussel Shell, and then to the Yellowstone, which they crossed and ascended Pryor Foi'k and passed through Pryor Gap to the Stinking River, crossing which they continued south to Wind River, where the natives told them of Green River over the mountains, and of the armed bands of Sioux waiting at the pass to slay anyone who should come from the land of their hereditary foes, the Shoshones, Hence the explorers turned back and reached the mission in May, 1744.

I find nowhere any particulars in regard to this party which reached the Big Wind River. They went south from the Stinking Water and must have gone to the Wind River valley. Chevalier de la Verendrye says that the natives he met were of the Shoshone tribe. I think that Mr. Stuart makes a mistake in regard to the river the natives mentioned. The explorers were looking for a river flowing to the west. The only stream flowing in that direction was Snake River, and as the Shoshones were well acquainted with it, they must have mentioned it. Green River, the Indians well knew, flowed to the south. The Verendryes returned to Montreal in the fall of 1744, having been eleven years in the wilderness. The enterprise was a financial failure, but sound business men admitted that if it had gone forward and the Pacific coast reached it would have been a great success. Unfortunately De la Verendrye had spent his entire fortune in the enterprise, but friends came to his aid and offered additional capital, but at this point it was proposed to send out the next expedition at the expense of the government, but before anything was accomplished De la Verendrye was taken sick and on December 6, 1749, he died. His eldest son claimed the right to continue the discoveries, but an association was formed to carry out his father's plans and he was ignored. It was the old story— men who lacked the brains to originate plans for themselves stood ready to rob Verendrye's family, and they did it under sanction of the government. This is the fate of a pioneer. Columbus suffered in this way and thousands of other pioneers since his time, including not a few in Wyoming. It should be stated here that the king graciously recognized De la Verendrye's services by conferring upon him the empty honor of the Order of St. Lonis, and this was all he possessed at the time of his death. The new combination was entirely political, that is, made up of politicians —Jonquiere, the new governor; Breard, the comptroller of marine; Capt. Lamarque de Marian, Le Gardeur, De St. Pierre and others equally incompetent for a great undertaking. Here was a chance to get their hands in the public treasury and they helped themselves right royally. It is said of them that they divided large spoils among themselves, the governor receiving for his share 300,000 francs. They did attempt an expedition and reached the base of the Rocky Mountains, where they in 1752 built Fort Jonquiere; but this is all, the time being spent trading with the natives and making fortunes for themselves.

Chevalier de la Verendrye was the first white man to discover the YeJlowstone, unless we concede the occupation of the country by the Spaniards a century before. Educated French Canadians believe that he named it Roche Jaune, which in English means yellow rock, and this during this century has been written Yellowstone, but Capt. Chittenden in his scholarly work on the Yellowstone National Park holds a different view and says there is no doubt but that the name is of Indian origin and that it comes from the yellow rock which is conspicuous along the banks of this river. He sums up his investigations in this language: "Going back, then, to this obscure fountainhead, the original designation is found to have been Mi-tsi-a-da-zi, Rock Yellow River; and this in the French tongue, became Roche Jaune and Pierre Jaune; and in English, Yellow Rock and Yellow Stone. Established usage now writes it Yellowstone."

Had it not been for the unfortunate death of De la Verendrye the French in all probability would have been the first explorers to cross the Rocky Mountains and as it was they undoubtedly gave the idea to Capt. Jonathan Carver, who, as I explain elsewhere, projected a journey across the continent somewhere between the 43rd and 46th degrees north latitude to the Pacific Ocean. This was certainly the plan of Sieur de la Verendrye, which was attempted more than thirty years before Carver's time.

It is a great misfortune that the full records of the Sieur de la Verendrye's exploration party were not preserved, and I was in hopes of being able to secure additional facts regarding the De la Verendryes and their expedition from the private libraries of old French families in Montreal, but the effort resulted in procuring very little more than was known before. What is here given is reliable, and yet all reports are confined to the meagre facts. Of the expedition, it may be said that it was a grand undertaking and entirely feasible even at that day. Had the second expedition not been interfered with by the death of De la Verendrye there would have been no doubt of its success, for the reason that Chevalier de la Verendrye had already found the one easy pass through the Rocky Mountains. He was almost within sight of South Pass, the natural gateway to the Pacific. The government expeditions which reached the base of the Rocky Mountains in 1752, as I have heretofore explained, fell by the weight of boodlers who were hanging on and using it for their own selfish purposes. A scandal was finally raised and the king did the only thing he could do - withdrew government aid, and this brought the expedition to an end. The war between France and England soon followed and Canada became the theatre of military events, which resulted in the defeat of the French and the ceding of Canada to the English by the treaty of Paris in 1763.

Before closing this chapter I will relate what followed the British occupation of Canada as relates to the fur trade. In consequence of the acquisition, the fur trade received a severe check. English merchants located in Montreal and at once attempted to control all lines of trade, and the fur business with the others. They organized with large aggregations of capital and sent men out with a full complement of trappers, but it was found difficult to win the confidence of the Indians and for some years the business languished. Finally the trade fell into the hands of Scotch merchants, and these recruited their kinsmen. The descendants of feudal lords who had reigned over Scottish clans took kindly to the occupation and they built up at the trading posts a sort of imitation of the baronial halls of their ancestors. The French, the half-breeds and the Indians were at last induced to co-operate in the development of a traffic that was highly profitable to all concerned. The business was managed by securing government concessions and the organization of a system which gave promotion to faithful employes. Great fortunes were built np and the Northwestern Fur Company became one of the great corporations of the world. Hardy Scotchmen penetrated the wilds and with the assistance of the French Canadians traversed every stream north as far as the Arctic Circle. Under the protection of the British government this company became aggressive and insolent. Montreal was the great gathering point of rich peltries and London was the distributing center from which these goods were supplied to the world. At Montreal there grew up an aristocracy composed of personages connected with the fur trade. The Northwest Company from that center excercised lordly sway over a vast extent of country throughout which their operations were conducted. Their numerous posts were distributed far and wide, on interior lakes and rivers, and at great distances from each other, and employed from 2,000 to 2,500 men. An annual meeting was held at Fort William, on Lake Superior, the central trading post of the company. At this annual gathering appeared representatives from all the other trading posts and the occasion was the signal for banquets and jollity. The banqueting was conducted after the manner of those in Scotland in feudal times. The voyagenrs and Indians did not appear in the banquet hall, but were generously fed for a season at the expense of the company. Liquors of all kinds, including costly wines, were served at these banquets and many of these distinguished representatives were found under the table at the close of each of the daily festivities. This was at a period when hard drinking was the rule and when Bacchanalian songs were sung, toasts given and speeches made. Every man at the table drank until he convinced himself that he was indeed a British noble or a Scottish lord, or at least the chieftain of a Highland clan. These were the golden days of the fur trade. But all this show had its effect on other enterprising men with capital. As has been explained, the Northwest Company confined its operations largely to northern latitudes. A new British company was organized to operate further south and west. Accordingly the Mackinaw Company took possession of the territory around Green Bay, Fox River, Wisconsin River and some of the tributaries of the Mississippi, and an occasional party of trappers operated along a portion of the Missouri River. The government of the United States saw with anxiety the encroachments of these companies and an effort was made in 1796 to induce American merchants to enter the fur trade and, as it were, head off Great Britain in her invasion of the West, but nothing immediately came of it. About this time another powerful British fur company, the Hudson Bay, which had been organized in the year 1670, pushed its operations into American territory. These rival companies all secured business, but there was often great loss through competition, and sometimes personal encounters between the trappers of rival organizations.

The war between England and America was destined to bring about great changes in this lucrative trade. John Jacob Astor, who shortly after the revolution became a large shipper of furs, which he purchased in Montreal, saw an opportunity, which I explain in another chapter, of diverting this trade into American channels. The agitation of the subject by Mr. Astor induced a number of Americans to organize expeditions to enter the far west and claim the territory and the business within the American borders. This business was carried on and developed by fearless Americans, and St. Louis and New York became centers for the encouragement of the fur trade. The American trapper Avon renown by his fearless exploits in the great

West. Then came another era in the traffic which resulted in the developing of American leaders who won fortunes as well as fame by their exploits in the mountains. But all this is explained further on in the early history of Wyoming.



History Of The Western Course Of Empire - Thomas Jefferson Becomes The Leader And Finally Succeeds In His Cherished Scheme Of Sending An Expedition Up The Headwaters Of The Missouri To Search For A Gateway Through The Rocky Mountains - The Lewis And Clark Expedition - They Winter At The Mandan Village On The Upper Missouri In i804 - In i805 Spend The Winter At The Mouth of The Columbia - Return To St. Louis In i806.

The departure of Lewis and Clark in 1804 to explore the headwaters of the Missouri and mark out a highway across the Rocky Mountains, down the Columbia, begins a new era in the civilization of the great Northwest. There were plenty of enterprising Americans ready to undertake the trip but up to that time our government had felt too poor to pay the expense incident to such an expedition. Thomas Jefferson, in 1786, while minister to France, had become interested in the subject of exploring the West, and when he returned to America in 1789 his mind was filled to the utmost limit with the importance of pushing exploration up the Missouri and beyond. The dark continent lay to the west and northwest and its mountains were alike unknown to the geographer of that day. This subject became almost a hobby with this broad-minded American statesman. In 1792, the record shows that Mr. Jefferson urged the American Philosophical Society to find some competent person to ascend the Missouri, cross the great mountains, and follow the nearest river to the sea. As such an undertaking would be expensive, the future president suggested that a subscription be taken up among such people as might be interested in what he believed to be an important subject. This proposition was discussed at the time in the newspapers of the country and was talked over by the scientific men of that period. It was not a new idea, for in 1763 Capt. Jonathan Carver, who had been in the British provincial army, proposed a journey across the continent somewhere between the 43rd and 46th degrees of north latitude to the Pacific Ocean. His was a grand plan and he urged it with spirit and determination. He had studied the fur trade in all its bearings and in his mind he saw clearly that new scources of wealth would be opened up and that in the natural course of events a great city would spring up on the Pacific coast. He had in his mind a northwest passage between Hudson's Bay and the Pacific Ocean, also a more direct route to China and the English settlements in the East Indies. Capt. Carver was a man of ability and influence and notwithstanding the fact that his undertaking was one that required great capital he succeeded in inducing Richward Whitworth, a member of the British Parliament and a man of great wealth, to join him in the enterprise. Their plans were made on a most liberal scale and worked out in every detail. They were to go up the Missouri with sixty men, cross the backbone of the continent and discover some navigable stream that flowed to the west. Here they were to build boats and accomplish all and more than was done by Lewis and Clark, thirty years later. They were to build a fort at the mouth of the unknown river which they expected to find, and construct sailing vessels in which to make voyages of discovery along the Pacific coast. Capt. Carver having secured the necessary capital and the plan having the sanction of the British government and the promise of grants and franchises in the new country to be discovered, all things were in readiness for sending out the expedition when the war of the revolution interfered and put a stop to the undertaking. Thomas Jefferson was aware of this projected expedition, as he had talked it over with John Ledyard of Connecticut, who was a member of Capt. Cook's company when he made his celebrated voyage to the Pacific. Ledyard had a scheme of his own in which he tried to interest Jefferson in Paris in 1786. He had the reputation of being reckless and impecunious, but with a brilliant mind and winning manners. This man Ledyard was certainly a wonderful character, if we may believe his biography in Sparks and Bulfinch's "Oregon." Evidently Thomas Jefferson possessed some admiration for the man but at the same time he noted his hare-brained and impracticable schemes. Nevertheless Ledyard succeeded in firing him with enthusiasm and sending him home from France with his mind filled with the importance of discoveries to be made by penetrating the continent. Jefferson had also the experience of Sir Alexander McKenzie in his desire to explore the continent. McKenzie had made a successful trip from ocean to ocean in 1793, reaching the Pacific in latitude 52° 20' 48". This was several degrees north of the route Jefferson had in his mind. At this time numerous vessels were trading along the Pacific coast and not a few of them were American. The fur trade was at its height. The Russian government had acquired Alaska and England had secured a foothold on the Pacific coast. Capt. Cook had discovered vast quantities of sea otter and had found a remunerative market in China for the furs. Among the American ships trading on the Pacific coast was the Columbia of Boston. Her commander was Capt. Robert Gray, a navigator of experience and with a turn of mind to include discovery as well as profitable trade in his voyages. About the time Jefferson was urging the American Philosophical Society to find some one to follow the source of the Missouri, discover a gateway through the mountains and find a river flowing toward the Pacific, Capt. Gray on his voyage that same year discovered the mouth of a large river in latitude 46° 19" north. He entered the mouth of the river May 11, 1792, with some difficulty and came to anchor in a broad bay. Capt. Gray seeing a village on the shore sent off a boat, the crew of which visited the village; this turned out to be a tribe of Indians. The natives fled on approach, but were persuaded after a time to return. This was the first time that these untutored savages had beheld a white man or a ship. The latter they regarded as a floating island or some monster of the deep and they thought the white mem when they first came ashore were cannibals who would destroy the country and devour the inhabitants. On this same voyoge Capt. Gray fell in with Vancouver, the discoverer, and furnished him a chart of the bay and river he had discovered and urged him to ascend the stream and determine how far it was navigable. This Vancouver did and ascended the river more than a hundred miles and discovered a mountain covered with snow which he named Mt. Hood. When Capt. Gray returned to Boston and announced his discovery of a river that flowed to the west from mid-continent, it created much interest not only in scientific circles but among statesmen, and Thomas Jefferson became more enthusiastic than ever. The river was named after the ship Columbia and the inlet after Capt. Gray. It is not my purpose to write a history of the discoveries made on the Pacific coast , only in so far as they directly bear on the discoveries made a few years later by men interested in bridging the distance between the Columbia and the Missouri. The facts I have given are drawn from Carver's Travels, Irving's Astoria, Perkins' Annals of the West, Bulfinch's Oregon, Spark's Life of Ledyard, Bancroft's History of the Northwest, M. P. Langford's works and other writers.

The conditions that existed west of the Allegheny Mountains should here be mentioned. After the Revolution colonization set in beyond the mountains mentioned, around the Great Lakes, along the Ohio and down the Mississippi, and year by year this movement continued. These new settlers had made their homes beyond civilization and far from the reach of protection from the States or the government. Those along the Ohio and the Mississippi had but a single object in view, and that was the outlet for their produce down the great "Father of Waters" via New Orleans to the sea. They had not counted on the dangers from the savage tribes or the unfriendliness of the Spanish authorities. They were in the enjoyment of a dream of wealth from which they were to be rudely awakened. The savages came first to disturb their peace and tranquillity. The Indians ran off their stock, burned their homes and scalped the scattered settlers. The Mississippi River, which was to be such a great advantage to them, was worse than useless, for the Spaniards at New Orleans, in spite of treaties, refused to afford them shipping privileges or extend to them the common courtesies, simply because they were Americans. These pioneers were truly in a lamentable condition and they felt keenly their helplessness, and just here the Spaniards saw their opportunity to spread dissatisfaction among the settlers and not a few of them listened to the proposition that the country should become a part of the province of Louisiana, but as if to hold this movement in check, a party arose in favor of organizing an independent government, a new Republic free from the United States, which latter they said was too weak to protect them against Indians or to enforce its treaty with Spain for the navigation of the Mississippi. Others there were who desired the United States to declare war with Spain and seize New Orleans. The wisdom of our government at this time is clearly apparent. A formidable army was sent against the Indians, Gen. Anthony Wayne at its head. The savages were put to rout wherever encountered and were only saved from total annihilation by suing for peace. This successful war against the Indian tribes produced great rejoicing among the settlers of the then Far West. The president, who had not been unmindful of the conditions that prevailed among the western settlers, had wisely afforded this relief and the successful termination of the Indian war roused a spirit of loyalty. The settlers saw that the newly-formed Federal Union was not only a power to be respected but to be proud of. The new nation had gone beyond the borders of the thirteen original States and extended protection to a large territory by treating it as accretions, and thus Washington and his successors solved the problem of how the United States should acquire, protect and develop the great West. President Adams contemplated an expedition against New Orleans, the Spanish Intendant at that point having issued an order prohibiting New Orleans as a place of deposit by Americans. This order set the West in a blaze and the expedition was the all-absorbing topic among the people. President Adams put on a bold front and ordered three regiments of regulars to the Ohio River. The order also included the getting in readiness of a sufficient number of boats to transport the troops down the river. At the same time twelve new regiments were recruited and it looked very much as if war between the United States and Spain was inevitable, and would certainly have followed if the term of office of Mr. Adams had not been too near its close to admit of a termination of the proposed war during his administration. The following year Thomas Jefferson was elected president and the same year the Louisiana domain became the property of France.

Resuming the thread of events leading to the exploration of the West, it should be here mentioned that at the time the expedition up the Missouri was talked of Capt. Meriwether Lewis, of the United States army, made known his desire to command the proposed expedition, and after making his application to the American Philosophical Society and having it rejected, sought out Mr. Jefferson and the two men had long conferences and Jefferson unfolded his plan to Capt. Lewis. To those who live in Wyoming today and have a knowledge of the dangers and difficulties of such a journey, the plan of Thomas Jefferson looks like the weakest folly. He explained to Capt. Lewis that the man who should undertake the journey must have but a single companion in order not to alarm the natives to be encountered on the way. Fortunately this plan was not adopted, as it was pronounced impracticable by men who had experience in this line of work. Capt. Lewis did not take kindly to Mr. Jefferson's idea and in return submitted one of his own which included a force sufficient to command the respect of savage tribes and to be able to manage canoes, transport supplies, hunt game and construct cabins for the use of the party during a winter which must be spent on the Pacific coast. Mr. Jefferson listened attentively to this man of military experience and evidently was won over by the captain. An intimacy sprang up between the two men, and a friendship was cemented which lasted through life. In the year 1801, when Jefferson was inaugurated, Capt. Lewis became his private secretary. The president did not lose sight of the exploring expedition. The new Republic was fast making history. Robert Livingston, who was our minister to France, negotiated a treaty in 1803 with Napoleon for the purchase of the Louisiana domain, $15,000,000 being the price agreed on. This purchase was regarded at the time as a necessity by leading American statesmen of all parties. This same year President Jefferson, who had been watching the course of events, saw that the time was ripe to recommend his exploring expedition and he accordingly sent to Congress a special and confidential message and proposed an exploring party be sent up the Missouri in accordance with the plans long talked of. Congress acted promptly, giving the required authority and made the necessary appropriation. Capt. Lewis of course received the appointment and was to command the expedition. He asked for an assistant and the choice fell on Lieut. William Clark and he was accordingly appointed.

Never was expedition started under more favorable circumstances. The Louisiana purchase had been made public about the 1st of July, ten days after Capt. Lewis had received his instructions, and this purchase included a portion of the territory to be explored. The people of the whole country were anxious to know the character and extent of our western possessions. The journals of the day had discussed the subject of the expedition with an earnestness that betokened the interest the people felt. Capt. Lewis was regarded by President Jefferson as the ideal explorer and his opinion was taken up by the people and consequently everything that pertained to the expedition was discussed by the press until the undertaking assumed great national importance. How it came about that Capt. Lewis permitted the name of Clark to appear co-equal with his own has never been explained by him or anyone else. Lieut. Clark was made a captain for the purposes of this expedition and was in every way worthy of his associate. He was brave, untiring and cautious and he left throughout the West many friends among the savage tribes with whom he came in contact. Never were two men better fitted for a great undertaking, and the manner in which they carried out their instructions is creditable to them as explorers. On their return numerous volumes appeared giving an account of their travels. One was published in Pittsburg in 1808 and republished in London. Another was published in Philadelphia and two more is London in 1814-16.

Capt. Lewis felt the weight of responsibility placed upon his shoulders and he at once fitted himself for the high calling by such scientific studies as to enable him to take astronomical observations and to make a report of the geography of the route. Congressional action had been secured on January 18, 1803, and the instructions had been signed on the 20th of June following. Capt. Lewis left Washington July 5, for the West and arriving at Pittsburg, where his outfit for the expedition was presented him. Here also he received his instructions, which were of the most comprehensive character. These instructions were written by President Jefferson, and as they form the foundation upon which was builded the plan of all explorations in the West, I give them in full. It will be seen that they were intended for Capt. Lewis, whom he held responsible for the success or failure of the expedition.

"Your situation as secretary of the President of the United States has made you familiar with the objects of my confidential message of January 18,1803, to the Legislature; you have seen the act they passed, which, though expressed in general terms, was meant to sanction those objects, and you are appointed to carry them into execution. Instruments for ascertaining, by celestial observations, the geography of the country through which you will pass, have already been provided. Light articles for barter and trade among the Indians, arms for your attendants, say for from ten to twelve men, boats, tents and other traveling apparatus, with ammunition, medicines, surgical instruments and provisions, you will have prepared, with such aids as the Secretary of War can yield in his department, and from him also you will receive authority to engage among our troops, by volunteer agreement, the number of attendants above mentioned; over whom you, as their commanding officer, are invested with all the powers the laws give in such a case. The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri River, and such principal streams of it, as, by its course and communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean, whether the Columbia, Oregon, Colorado or any other river, may offer the most direct and practicable water communication across the continent, for the purposes of commerce. The intersecting points of the portage between the heads of the Missouri and of the water offering the best communication with the Pacific Ocean should also be fixed by observation; and the course of that water to the ocean, in the same manner as that of the Missouri. Your observations are to be taken with great pains and accuracy, to be entered distinctly and intelligently for others as well as yourself; to comprehend all the elements necessary, with the aid of the usual tables, to fix the latitude and longitude of the places at which they were taken; and are to be rendered to the war office, for the purpose of having the calculations made concurrently by proper persons within the United States. Several copies of these, as well as of your other notes, should be made at leisure times and put into the care of the most trustworthy of your attendants to guard, by multiplying them against the accidental losses to which they will be exposed. A further guard would be, that one of these copies be on the circular membranes of the paper birch, as less liable to injury from damp than common paper. The commerce which may be carried on with the people inhabiting the line you will pursue renders a knowledge of these people important. You will therefore endeavor to make yourself acquainted, so far as a diligent pursuit of your journey will admit, with the names of the nations and their numbers; the extent and limits of their possessions; their relations with other tribes or natives; their language, traditions, monuments; their ordinary occupations, in agriculture, fishing, hunting, war, arts and the implements for these; their food, clothing and domestic accommodations ; the diseases prevalent among them, and the remedies they use, moral and physical circumstances which distinguish them from tribes we know; peculiarities in their laws, customs and dispositions; and articles of commerce they may furnish, and to what extent. And considering the interest which every nation has in extending and strengthening the authority of reason and justice among the people around them, it will be useful to acquire what knowledge you can of the state of morality, religion, and information among them; as it may better enable those who may endeavor to civilize them to adopt their measures to the existing notions and practices of those on whom they are to operate. Other objects worthy of notice will be the soil and surface of the country, its growth and vegetable productions, especially those not of the United States; the animals of the country generally, and especially those not known in the United States; the remains and accounts of any which may be deemed rare or extinct; the mineral productions of every kind, but more particularly metals, limestone, pit coal and saltpetre; salines and mineral waters, noting the temperature of the last and such circumstances as may indicate their character; volcanic appearance, climate as characterized by the thermometer, by the proportion of rainy, cloudy and clear days; by lightning, hail, snow ice; by the access and recess of frost; by winds prevailing at different seasons; the dates at which particular plants put forth, or lose their flower or leaf; times of appearance of particular birds, reptiles or insects. Although your route will be along the channel of the Missouri, yet you will endeavor to inform youself, by inquiry, of the character and extent of the country watered by its branches, and especially on its southern side. The North River, or Rio Bravo, which runs into the Gulf of Mexico, and the North River, or Rio Colorado, which runs into the Gulf of California, are understood to be the principal streams heading opposite to the waters of the Missouri, and running southwardly. Whether the dividing lines between the Missouri and them are mountains or flat lands, what are their distance from the Missouri, the character of the intermediate country, and the people inhabiting it, are worthy of particular inquiry. The northern waters of the Missouri are less to be inquired after, because they have been ascertained to a considerable extent, and are still in the course of ascertainment by English traders and travelers; but if you can learn anything certain of the most northern source of the Mississippi, and of its position, relatively to the Lake of Woods, it will be interesting to us. Some accounts, too, of the Canadian traders from the Mississippi, at the mouth of the Onisconsine to where it strikes the Missouri, and of the soil and rivers in its course. In all your intercourse with the natives treat them in the most friendly and conciliatory manner which their own conduct will admit; allay all jealousies as to the object of your journey, satisfy them of its innocence; make them acquainted with the position, extent, character, peaceable and commercial disposition of the United States, of our wish to be neighborly and friendly and useful to them, and of our disposition to a commercial intercourse with them; confer with them on points most convenient as useful emporium, and the article* of most desirable interchange for them and us. If a few of their influential chiefs, within a practicable distance, wish to visit us, arrange such a visit with them and furnish them with authority to call on our officers on their entering the United States to have them conveyed to this place at the public expense. If any of them should wish to have some of their young people brought up with us, and taught snch arts as may be useful to them, we will receive, and take care of them. Such a mission, whether of influential chiefs or of young people, would give security to your own party.

"Carry with you some matter of the kine-pox; inform those of them with whom you may be, of its efficacy as a preservative from the small-pox, and instruct and encourage them in the use of it. This may be especially done wherever you may winter. As it is impossible for us to see in what manner you will be received by those people, whether with hospitality or hostility, so it is impossible to prescribe the exact degree of perseverance which you are to pursue your journey. We value too much the lives of citizens to offer them to probable destruction. Your number will be sufficient to secure you against the unauthorized opposition of individuals, or of small parties; but if a superior force, authorized, or not authorized, by a nation, should be arrayed against your further passage and inflexibly determine to arrest it, you must decline its further pursuit and return. In the loss of yourselves we should lose also the information you have acquired. By returning safely with that, you may enable us to renew the essay with better calculated means. To your discretion, therefore. must be left the degree of danger you may risk and the point at which you should decline, only saying we wish you to err on the side of your safety, and to bring back your party safe, even if it be with less information. As far up the Missouri, as far as the white settlements extend, an intercourse will probably be found to exist between them and the Spanish posts of St. Louis opposite Cahokia, or Saint Genevieve opposite Kaskaskia. From still further up the river the traders may furnish a conveyance for letters. Beyond that you may perhaps be able to engage Indians to bring letters for the government to Cahokia or Kaskaskia, on promising them that they shall receive such special compensation as you shall have stipulated with them. Avail yourself of these means to communicate to us, at seasonable intervals, a copy of your journal, notes and observations of every kind, putting into cipher whatever might do injury if betrayed. Should you reach the Pacific Ocean, inform yourself of the circumstances which may decide, whether the furs of those parts may not be collected advantageously at the head of the Missouri (convenient as is supposed to the waters of the Colorado and Oregon or Columbia) as at Nootka Sound, or any other point of that coast; and that trade be consequently conducted through the Missouri and United States more beneficially than by the circumnavigation now practiced. On your arrival on that coast, endeavor to learn if there be any port within your reach frequented by sea vessels of any nation, and to send two of your trusted people back by sea, in such way as shall appear practicable, with a copy of your notes; and should you be of opinion that the return of your party by the way they went will be eminently dangerous, then ship the whole and return by sea, either by the way of Cape Horn, or the Cape of Good Hope, as you shall be able. As you will be without money, clothes, or provisions, you must endeavor to use the credit of the United States to obtain them; for which purpose open letters of credit shall be furnished you authorizing you to draw on the executive of the United States, or any of its officers in any part of the world in which drafts can be disposed of, and to apply with our recommendations to the consuls, ascents, merchants, or citizens of any nation with which we have intercourse, assuring: them in our name that any aids they may furnish you shall be honorably paid and on demand. Our consuls Thomas Hewes. at Batavia in Java; William Buchanan in the isles of Prance and Bourbon, and John Elmslie at the Cape of Good Hope, will be able to supply your necessities, by drafts on us.

"Should you find it safe to return by the way you go, after sending two of your party around by sea, or with your whole party, if no conveyance by sea can be found, do so; making such observations on your return as may serve to supply, correct or confirm those made on your outward journey. On re-entering the United States and reaching a place of safety, discharge any of your attendants who may desire and deserve it, procuring for them immediate payment of all arrears of pay and clothing which may have accrued since their departure, and assure them that they shall be recommended to the liberality of the Legislature for the grant of a soldier's portion of land each as proposed in my message to Congress, and repair yourself with your papers to the seat of government. To provide on the accident of your death against anarchy, dispersion, and the consequent danger to your party and total failure of the enterprise you are hereby authorized, by any instrument signed or written in your own hand, to name the person among them who shall succeed to the command on your decease, and by like in instruments to change the nomination from time to time as further experience of the characters accompanying you shall point out superior fitness, and all the powers and authorities given to yourself are in the event of your death transferred to and vested in the successor so named, with further power to him and his successors in like manner to name each his successor, who, on the death of his predecessor, shall be invested with all the powers and authorities given to yourself. Given under my hand at the city of Washington, this twentieth day of Jane, 1803. Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States of America."

Leaving Pittsburg .the party proceeded down the Ohio and went into winter quarters at the mouth of Wood River late in the fall of 1803. Here they remained until May 14. 1804, and on the 16th they reached St. Charles, a town 21 miles up the Missouri. On June 1st they reached the Osage River, 133 miles from the mouth of the Missouri. On the 26th they reached the mouth of the Kansas, 340 miles form the Mississippi. They did not reach the River Platte until the 21st of July. Capt. Lewis and his party spent much time exploring rivers which they passed, and in visiting the various tribes of Indians encamped along the upper Missouri. On October 27th, they reached the village of the Mandans and after being royally entertained by these Indians for several days they proceeded to build winter quarters and erect a fort for the protection of the party, which they called Fort Mandan. The winter proved very severe and the party suffered greatly with the cold. They left the fort on April 7th and proceeded onward up the Missouri. At the same time seven soldiers, two Frenchmen and a fur trader named M. Gravelines, started with a boat down the Missouri, with dispatches for President Jefferson.

Capt. Meriwether Lewis, in his published travels (London, 1809), says: "While we were at Fort Mandan, the Sioux robbed several of our party and murdered several of the Mandan tribe in cold blood without provocation, while reposing on the bosom of friendship. On hearing of this massacre, Capt. Clark and the greater part of us volunteered to avenge the murder, but were deterred by not receiving succor from the Mandan warriors, who declined to avenge the outrage committed upon them. Soon after this massacre we received authentic intelligence that the Sioux had it in contemplation to murder us in the spring; but were prevented from making the attack by our threatening to spread the small-pox, with all its horrors, among them. The same hour which witnessed the departure of Graveline for St. Louis, also saw the main division leave Fort Mandan for the Pacific in two pirogues and six canoes. This division comprised thirty-three persons, the names of which are given in the following roster: Capt. Meriwether Lewis, U. S. A.; Capt. William Clark, U. S. A.; Sergeants John Ordway, Nathaniel Pryor and Patrick Gass; privates William Bratton, John Colter, John Collins, Peter Crusatte, Robert Frazier, Reuben Fields, Joseph Fields, George Gibson, Silas Goodrich, Hugh Hall, Thomas P. Howard, Jean Baptiste La Page, Francis Labiche, Hugh McNeal, John Potts, John Shields, George Shannon, John B. Thompson, William Werner, Alexander Willard, Richard Windsor, Joseph Whitehonse, Peter Wiser, the negro servant York, the two interpreters, George Drewyer and Toussaint Chaboneau, and the latter's wife, Sacajawea with her pappoose. The story of the journeyings of this party is thus graphically related by Major Walker, in his paper on early explorations published in 1879: Pursuing their journey, and reaching the summit of the Rocky Mountains beyond the Three Thousand Mile Island on the 12th of August, 1805, where, leaving the hidden sources of the Missouri which had never yet been seen by civilized man and following a descent of three-quarters of a mile to the westward they reached a handsome bold creek of cold, clear water, where they stopped to taste for the first time the waters of the Columbia, Pursuing their tedious way on foot, transporting their goods on Indian packhorses, at times so scarce of food as to be obliged to kill horses for subsistence and to purchase Indian dogs to eat, they reached the Columbia River on the 15th of September, and on the 7th of November they enjoyed for the first time the delightful prospect of the Pacific Ocean. Wintering some few miles south of the mouth of the Columbia River among the Clatsop Indians, they on the 23rd of March, 1806, began their return, and, recrossing the mountains on July 3rd, the party divided, Capt. Lewis going northward to strike the waters of the Marias, and Capt. Clark with fifteen men and fifty horses, set off to the southeast and down to the forks of the Jefferson where the boats and merchandise had been deposited the year before. Capt. Clark's party arriving by boats and on horseback at the Three Forks of the Missouri, this party again divided and Sergeant Ordway and men set out in six canoes to descend the Missouri while Capt. Clark and ten men, and the wife and child of Chaboneau proceeded by land, with fifty horses, to the Yellowstone River, the distance traveled by Capt. Clark from the Three Forks of the Missouri to the Yellowstone River being forty-eight miles. Capt. Lewis being joined by Sergeant Ordway's party in five canoes and the white pirogue on the 28th of Jnly, 1806, and turning loose all their horses, embarked on the river and proceeding down the Missouri formed a junction on the 12th day of August, thirty miles below the mouth of the Yellowstone with Capt. Clark and party, who had come down the river. The whole command being once more all together proceeded down the Missouri, arriving at St. Louis on the 23rd of September, 1806."

Before closing the Lewis and Clark narrative I desire to call attention to two men, comprising the party, John Colter and John Potts, as their names will appear again in the history of Wyoming. When Lewis and Clark, on their return trip, reached Fort Mandan, John Colter asked to be discharged at that point and his request was granted. John Potts kept with the party and was discharged in St. Louis. In 1807 he joined the Manuel Lisa trapping expedition which went up the Missouri. This party met Colter at the mouth of the Platte when he was on his return to St. Louis. Lisa urged him to return to the mountains with his party and thus it was that he and J ohn Potts again became associates in adventures in the Rocky Mountains. The name of Colter has become famous in western explorations and his deeds of daring are worthy of the early heroes of the Stony Mountains. The chapter I devote to him proves that he is the first American explorer to enter Wyoming.

After the expeditions of Lewis and Clark in 1804 and Capt. Zebulon Montgomery Pike in 1806, no further official explorations of the west were made until 1819. The United States Government at that time organized an expedition which was fitted out at great expense and provided with military officers and men of science. Major Stephen H. Long was placed in command, and the expedition started from Pittsburg, May 30, 1819. The party wintered at Council Bluffs and the following spring explored the Platte Valley; reaching the south fork of this river, they proceeded up this branch and pretty generally explored the country which is now Colorado. Long and his scientific associates proved themselves to be the most stupid explorers that had ever been in any country. They were not only stupid, but like most men of this class, were opinionated. They pronounced the whole country between the 39th and 49th parallels a worthless desert, extending for 500 miles east of the Rocky Mountains. The strange part of all this is that they found innumerable streams flowing from the mountains over these vast plains, and the water courses had sufficient fall cover a large extent of territory. Evidently these scientific gentlemen had never heard of irrigation, although it had been in vogue for thousands of years. The stupidity of Long made a blotch on the map of the United States. After he made his report to the government, all that portion of the country from the Rocky Mountains to a point near the Missouri river, was noted on the map as the Great American Desert and this misleading statement resulted in untold injury to the West and kept the development of the country back for half a century. Major Long's explorations were of some value, it is true, but his opinions proved him to be a man of superficial attainments. That country marked "Great American Desert" on the map, is still remembered by all persons over forty years old. The sandy, worthless desert now contains hundreds of thousands of the best cultivated farms in the United States. If our government sent out an explorer with a full staff of scientific assistants who reported the country as worthless, is it any wonder that conservative members of the United States senate and of the House of Representatives should argue that the Rocky Mountain country, including Oregon, beyond it, was not worth possessing? Fortunately, Major Long and his stupid assistants did not enter the Wyoming country, and I should not have referred to this expedition at all had it not been for the blighting effect of the official report.

I have mentioned the successful expeditions of Sir Alexander McKenzie in 1789-1793, but if I were asked if this intrepid explorer was the first to cross the mountains to the Pacific, I should be obliged in all fairness to answer "No." Poets, great military commanders, as well as explorers, are born with God-given powers in their particular line of work. Even among savage tribes, history shows that great leaders come to the front with full developed powers. They are not numerous, I will admit, but occasionally there is a born leader in these tribes who in intellect compares with the best developed white men of the times. They may be called warriors, but they are often statesmen. One of the most remarkable of these characters was an American Indian - a native of the Mississippi Valley belonging to the Yazoo tribe of Indians. He was called by the French L'Interprete, because he spoke many languages. He had for years, it is said, wondered from whence he came, and spent much time in trying to solve the problem of life. He visited neighboring tribes in search of knowledge. He found the shores of the Atlantic and then turned to the westward in 1745, and in due time crossed the mountains at or about the place Lewis and Clark followed more than sixty years later. He finally reached the sea, and when he beheld it his astonishment knew no bounds. In telling the story to M. Le Page du Pratz, a French savant, he said: "When I saw it I was so delighted that I could not speak. My eyes were too small for my soul's ease. The wind so disturbed the great water that I thought the blows it gave would beat the land in pieces." The waves of the ocean were his great puzzle, and when the tide rose and the water approached his camping place he believed that the world would be engulfed, but when the tide began to recede he stood for hours watching the water until his companions felt sure that he had lost his mind. He told his story, when he returned, of the long river beyond the mountains that flowed into the ocean.



The First American To Enter Wyoming - A Member Of The Lewis And Clark Expedition - Remains In The Vicinity Of The YelLowstone From i806 To i8i0 - He Traps Along The Big Horn, Big Wind River, And Crosses The Range To The Pacific Slope In i807 - Returns By Way Of The Yellowstone National Park, Of Which He Was The Discoverer - His Adventure With The Blackfeet - A Race For Life - Relates His Story To Capt. Clark, Bradbury And Others.

In the previous chapter 1 mentioned the name of John Colter and his discharge from the Lewis and Clark expedition at Fort Mandan. From that date this member of the exploring party has been identified with the country which in later years became Wyoming. Colter while with Lewis and Clark won the respect of the explorers and was often called upon to perform important service where bravery and cool-headedness were required. I regret that so little is known of his early history and that nothing is chronicled of his old age and death. No braver man ever entered the Rocky Mountain country. All that is known of his early life is that he was a hunter and woodsman and in his line had won renown before he joined Lewis and Clark. Nothing is to be learned of his education, but the chances are that like most hunters of his day, he was unlettered. It is with satisfaction that we read in the journal of the expedition, under date of August 14th and 15th, 1806, the following:

"In the evening we were applied to by one of our men, Colter, who was desirous of joining the two trappers who had accompanied us, and who now proposed an expedition up the river, in which they were to find traps and give him a share of the profits. The offer was a very advantageous one, and, as he had always performed his duty, and his services might be dispensed with, we agreed that he might go provided none of the rest would ask or expect a similar indulgence. To this they cheerfully answered that they wished Colter every success and would not apply for liberty to separate before we reached St. Louis. We therefore supplied him, as did his comrades also, with powder, lead and a variety of articles which might be useful to him, and he left us the next day."

This request on the part of Colter evidently produced a profound sensation at Fort Mandan; the incident was so remarkable that it was not passed over without further comment; the journal makes this additional reference to the subject:

"The example of this man shows us how easily men may be weaned from the habits of civilized life to the ruder but scarcely less fascinating manners of the woods. This hunter has now been absent for many years from the frontier, and might naturally be presumed to have some anxiety, or some curiosity at least, to return to his friends and his country; yet just at the moment when he is approaching the frontier, he is tempted by a hunting scheme to give up those delightful prospects, and go back without the least reluctance to the solitude of the woods."

The names of the two trappers with whom Colter went into partnership do not appear in the Lewis and Clark journal but I learn from other sources that they were Dixon and Hancock, whose homes were on the Illinois River. They were trappers, and in 1804 made a trip up the Missouri and trapped on the headwaters of that stream until 1806. It so happened that they met the Lewis and Clark expedition on its return that year and persuaded Colter to join them. The newly organized trapping outfit followed up the Missouri and trapped on the Yellowstone and its branches. Thus passed the balance of the season of 1806. The following spring he and his companions started down the Missouri river with the intention of going to St. Louis. When they arrived at the mouth of the Platte, they met Manuel Lisa, sometimes called de Lisa, and that enterprising trader persuaded Colter to return with him to the Yellowstone country, where he had reported an abundance of beaver. The fur expedition went up to the mouth of the Big Horn, where Lisa erected a fort. A small party was organized and with Colter at its head was sent out to trap and trade among the Crows. In this expedition he was evidently successful. His party trapped in all the tributaries of the Big Horn, including Stinking Water, where he discovered a boiling spring with a strong odor of sulphur and tar, which gives rise to the name Stinking Water. Colter is in no wise responsible for the name however, as it is of Indian origin, being thus interpreted by explorers. They trapped on the Grey Bull, Shell Creek, No Wood, Kirby Creek, Owl Creek, Little Wind River, Beaver Creek and all the forks of the Popo Agie. The party then went up Big Wind River to its source and crossed over one of the low passes to the Pacific slope. Capt. H. M. Chittenden in his work on the Yellowstone National Park, follows Colter closely in his meanderings on the west side of the Wind River Range. He says:

"From the summit of the mountains he descended to the westward; crossed the Snake River and Teton Pass to Pierre's Hole, and then turned north, recrossing the Teton Range by the Indian trail in the valley of what is now Conant Creek, just north of Jackson Lake. Thence he continued his course until he reached Yellowstone Lake, at some point along its southwestern shore. He passed around the west to the northernmost point of the Thumb, and then resumed his northerly course over the hills, arriving at the Yellowstone River in the valley of Alum Creek. He followed the left bank of the river to the ford just above Tower Palls, where the great Bannock trail used to cross, and then followed this trail to its junction with his outward route on Clark's Fork. From this point he recrossed the Stinking Water, possibly in order to revisit the strange phenomena there, but more probably to explore new trapping territory on his way back. He descended the Stinking Water until about south of Pryor's Gap. when he turned north and shortly after arrived at his starting point."

Capt. Chittenden, in his work, assumes that Colter, on this expedition, was alone or possibly with Indians. I think this an error. We must come to the conclusion that Colter did not make this trip as an explorer but as a trapper. There is evidence to show that he was engaged by Lisa when these two met at the mouth of the Platte to go back into the country from whence he had just come and there to trap for the benefit of Lisa. When we study the character of this fur trader we must naturally infer that his engagement with Colter was strictly a matter of business and that he fitted him out for a trapping expedition. Lisa was one of the most enterprising fur traders ever in the Rocky Mountain country. From first to last he pushed his trappers up all the principal streams and covered the territory thoroughly; he sought new fields of enterprise and by his superior diplomacy captured the Indian trade. Colter was simply the agent of this enterprising Spaniard. Two circumstances occurred in the life of Colter which resulted in handing his name down in a sort of half-hearted way to posterity. First, when on a trip to St. Louis he met one of his old commanders, Capt Clark, and told him of his explorations and that gentleman traced his route on a map which was soon to appear in connection with the Lewis and Clark expedition. Capt. Clark evidently received Colter's story with great allowance and he accordingly avoided saying anything about it in his publication. It is quite certain that Colter's story of hot springs, boiling lakes, geysers, etc., was regarded by his old commander as beyond belief; therefore he contented himself with tracing on his map what he denoted as the Colter route of 1807. At this day we feel thankful for even this slight recognition of the services of John Colter. Besides Capt. Clark, Colter told his story to John Bradbury, a scientific gentleman, who accompanied Wilson P. Hunt's expedition a part of the way up the Missouri in 1811. To this latter gentleman we are indebted for a story of surprising bravery and thrilling adventure that deserves a place in the history of pioneering by white men in the Rocky Mountains. This incident in Colter's life will be told further on.

While Colter had been on his expedition, Manuel Lisa had returned to St. Louis and organized, or re-organized, I am not certain which, the Missouri Fur Company. At any rate he had secured additional capital, with the idea of monopolizing the fur trade of the tributary waters of the Missouri River. This time he brought with him from St. Louis a large number of recruits for his trapping service and among others, John Potts, who has been mentioned in connection with the Lewis and Clark expedition. Potts was of course an experienced mountainman, knew the Indian character in detail, and was brave even to rashness. Colter and Potts being re-united naturally made their plans to trap together during the season of 1808. I take it that they were free trappers attaching themselves to Manuel Lisa's company. Colter evidently led the way and the two went up and trapped on the northern tributaries of the Missouri.

In Bradbury's "Sketches of the Northwest, (London, 1812), the writer claims that Colter came to St. Louis in May 1810, in a small canoe from the headwaters of the Missouri, a distance of three thousand miles which he traversed in thirty days. "I saw him on his arrival," says Bradbury, "and received from him an account of his adventures after he had separated from Lewis and Clark's party. One of these I shall relate. On the arrival of the party on the headwaters of the Missouri, Colter, observing that there appeared to be an abundance of beaver there, got permission to remain and hunt for some time, which he did in company with a man named Dixon, who had traversed alone the immense tract of country from St. Louis to the headwaters of the Missouri. Soon after, he separated from Dixon and trapped in company with a hunter named Potts; and, aware of the hostility of the Blackfeet Indians, one of whom had been killed by Capt. Lewis, they set their traps at night and took them up early in the morning, remaining concealed during the day. They were examining their traps early one morning on a creek about six miles from that branch of the Missouri called Jefferson's Fork, and were ascending in a canoe, when they suddenly heard a great noise resembling the tramping of animals, but they could not ascertain the fact, as the high perpendicular banks on each side of the river impeded their view. Colter immediately pronounced it to be occasioned by Indians, and advised an instant retreat, but was accused of cowardice by Potts who insisted that the noise was caused by buffaloes, and they proceeded on. In few moments their doubts were removed by a party of five or six hundred Indians presenting themselves, and beckoning them to come ashore. As retreat was now impossible, Colter turned the head of his canoe to the shore, and, at the moment of its touching, an Indian seized the rifle belonging to Potts, but Colter immediately retook it and handed it to Potts who remained in the canoe, and, on receiving it pushed off into the river. He had scarcely quitted the shore when an arrow was shot at him and he cried out, 'Colter, I am wounded!' Colter remonstrated with him on the folly of attempting to escape, and urged him to come ashore. Instead of complying, he instantly leveled his rifle at an Indian, and shot him dead on the spot. This conduct may appear to be an act of madness; but it was doubtless the effect of sudden and sound reasoning, for, if taken alive, he must have expected to be tortured to death, according to their custom. He was instantly pierced with arrows so numerous that, to use the language of Colter, 'he was made a riddle of.' They now seized Colter, stripped him entirely naked, and began to consult on the manner in which he should be put to death. They were first inclined to set him up as a mark to shoot at; but the chief interfered, and, seizing him by the shoulder, asked him if he could run fast. Colter, who had been some time among the Keekatsa or Crow Indians, had in a considerable degree acquired the Blackfeet language and was well acquainted with Indian customs. He knew that he now had to run for his life, with the dreadful odds of five hundred or six hundred against him - those armed Indians. Therefore he cunningly replied that he was a bad runner, although he was considered by the hunters as remarkably swift. The chief now commanded the party to remain stationary, and led Colter out upon the prairie three or four hundred yards and released him, bidding him to save himself if he could. At that instant the horrid war-whoop sounded in the ears of poor Colter, who, urged by hope, ran at a speed which surprised himself. He proceeded toward the Jefferson Fork, having to cross a plain over six miles in width abounding with the prickly pear, on which he was every instant treading with his naked feet. He ran nearly half way across the plain before he ventured to look over hie shoulder, when he perceived that the Indians were very much scattered and that he had gained ground to a considerable distance from the main body; but one Indian who carried a spear was much before all the rest, and not more than a hundred yards from him. A faint gleam of hope now cheered the heart of Colter. He derived confidence from the belief that escape was within the bounds of possibility; but that confidence was nearly proving fatal to him, for he exerted himself to such a degree that blood gushed from his nostrils and soon almost covered the fore part of his body. He had now arrived within a mile of the river, when he distinctly heard the appalling sound of footsteps behind him, and every instant expected to feel the spear of his pursuer. Again he turned his head and saw the savage not twenty yards from him. Determined, if possible, to avoid the expected blow, he suddenly stopped, turned round, and spread out his arms. The Indian, surprised at this sudden action, and perhaps at the bloody appearance of Colter, also attempted to stop; but, exhausted with running, he fell while endeavoring to throw his spear, which stuck in the ground and broke in his hand. Colter instantly snatched up the pointed part, with which he pinned him to the earth, and continued his flight. The foremost of the Indians, on arriving at the place, stopped till the others came up to join him, when they set up a hideous yell. Every moment of this time was improved by Colter, who, though fainting and exhausted, succeeded in gaining the skirting of the cottonwood trees on the borders of the Fork, through which he ran and plunged into the river. Fortunately for him, a little below this place was an island, against the upper point of which a raft of drift timber had lodged. He dived under the raft and after several efforts got his head above water among the trunks of the trees, covered over with smaller wood to the depth of several feet. Scarcely had he secured himself when the Indians arrived on the river, screeching and yelling, as Colter expressed it, 'like so many devils.' They were frequently on the raft during the day, and were seen through the chinks by Colter, who was congratulating himself upon his escape until the idea arose that they might set the raft on fire. In horrible suspense he remained until night, when, hearing no more of the Indians, he dived from under the raft, swam silently down the river a long distance, when he landed and traveled all night. Although happy in having escaped from the Indians, his situation was still dreadful. He was completely naked under a burning sun. The soles of his feet were entirely filled with the thorns of the prickly pears. He was hungry and had no means of killing game, although he saw abundance around him, and was at least seven days from Lisa's Fort on the Big Horn branch of the Roche Juan river. Those were circumstances under which any man but an American hunter would have despaired. He arrived at the Fort in seven days, having subsisted upon a root much esteemed by the Indians of the Missouri, now known by naturalists as the Psoralea esculeuta."

Irving, in "Astoria," also tells this story, yet makes no reference to Bradbury as the author, but as he wrote it many years before Irving published his Astoria, I prefer to place the credit where it belongs.

It is not necessary for my history to trace Colter's life further. I will only say that he remained another year in the mountains, but whether he trapped in Wyoming in 1809, or in some other locality, I do not know. Bradbury, it will be observed, says that he returned to St. Louis in May, 1810.

Washington Irving says that John Colter met the Astorians on their way up the Missouri in 1811 and kept with the party all one morning, and would have returned with them to the mountains had it not been for the fact that he had married since his return.

John Colter, from the most authentic accounts, was the first American to enter Wyoming, and is also the discoverer of the Yellowstone National Park. Other white men had been in Wyoming, but they were not Americans. Had Colter been employed by the government and provided with a scientific outfit so as to have made an official record of his travels and discoveries, his name would have rung down the ages along with those of Lewis and Clark, Zebulon Pike, John C. Fremont and others equally famous in the annals of history. Unfortunately, he had to deal with people who were too narrow-minded to comprehend the wonders of the headwaters of the Yellowstone. His associates for the most part were ignorant trappers who heard his stories with derisive laughter and referred to the locality of the Park as "Colter's Hell." Why Bradbury, with his great enterprise and love of adventure, did not investigate for himself the locality, it is hard to say; or that the celebrated English traveler, Mr. Nuttall, who heard Colter's story, should think it unworthy of investigation, is strange indeed. H. M. Brackenride, who knew Colter well and talked with him about his travels, seems to have imbibed the opinions of the ignorant trappers. He mentions Colter in his writings, and speaks of his discovery of a low pass through the mountains, but fails to give any account of our hero's discoveries at the head of the Yellowstone. Here were three men who went out in 1811 in convoy of fur traders, and each had an opportunity to make his name immortal by investigating Colter's discoveries, but they did not take advantage of the knowledge they possessed. Colter will, without their aid, be known and recognized as the discoverer of that wonderland which has been set apart by the American government for the use and benefit of the American people. Other men have done much in the way of exploring this worldrenowned Park and bringing it to the attention of the people, but John Colter is without doubt the first white man to behold the wonders of nature grouped together in that part of Wyoming. At some day a monument will be erected in the midst of this national pleasure ground, and on it will be inscribed the name of John Colter, the discoverer of the Yellowstone National Park, 1807.



They Follow Up The Yellowstone And Are Attacked By Blackfeet - Cross Over To The Big Horn And Go South - Reach The Sweetwater - Another Attack By Indians - Retreat South Across The Laramie Plains And Reach The Headwaters Of The South Platte - Comanches Attack The Party And Kill All But Three - Williams Returns To St. Louis And The Two Others Go To Southern California - The Leader Again Visits The Sweetwater In i809.

Captain Lewis, when ready to leave Fort Mandan on his return trip, invited the chief of the Mandan tribe, Big White, to accompany him to Washington. The chief promised to do so, and to take his wife and son with him, provided he was assured of an escort up the river on his return. He feared warlike tribes who lived lower down on the river. Captain Lewis readily promised that the government would send a sufficient escort to guarantee their safety past the dangerous tribes who infested the Missouri lower down the river. The president made good Captain Lewis' promises. Twenty hardy Missourians who had all seen service were selected to form the escort. The command of the expedition was given to Ezekiel Williams, a man of large frontier experience—a hunter of renown who had the reputation of being an excellent rifleman, cool, determined and brave. The party left St. Louis on April 25, 1807. They were outfitted for two years' stay in the mountains, it being understood that they were first to return the Mandan chief and his family to their native village, after which they were at liberty to trap as long as they saw fit. The party was not only well selected but well equipped, and they entered upon their journey with enthusiasm, feeling satisfied that they would bring home many thousand dollars' worth of rich peltries. It was their intention to trap for a time on the headwaters of the Missouri and then cross the mountains and try their luck on the other side. The party, after leaving St. Louis, passed up the Missouri river without incident until they reached the mouth of the Platte, when William Hamilton, one of their number, was taken violently ill with a fever. In his delirium, he raved about home and loved ones. His associates gave him the tenderest care and administered such remedies as a well-selected medicine chest contained, but all to no purpose. He died and was buried by his comrades on the west bank of the Missouri, just below the Platte. The party proceeded on up the river and by the good management of Williams successfully passed the warlike Sioux country and finally landed the chieftain at his village. The Mandan people were greatly rejoiced when they saw that their chief had been returned to them according to the promise of Captain Lewis. They were loud in their praises of Captain Lewis and the white people generally because they would not lie. They had pledged their word and had kept it. Williams and his party remained a week at the village, resting from their toilsome journey against the current of the Missouri. From here they went on up the river to the mouth of the Yellowstone, and turning up that stream, trapped in all its tributaries. The party was well organized and well armed. Williams was a good commander and possessed the confidence of his men. The whole party, however, seemed to have entered the Indian country with altogther a mistaken idea of the natives. They were trappers, and did not expect to fight their way through the country. They trapped successfully and finally reached a locality which they considered an ideal one for the trapper and hunter. All the streams were filled with beaver, and on the plains were thousands of buffalo. A camp was formed and the business of trapping was carried on without intermission. One day ten of the party went out buffalo hunting, some distance from the camp, and were attacked by a band of Indians whom they believed to be Blackfeet. The appearance of Indians was entirely unexpected, and the hunters being spread out over the prairie were unable to defend themselves. They killed one Indian, bnt five of the white men were slain, and the remaining five only saved themselves by fleeing to the camp. The Indians being in overwhelming numbers, Williams broke up his camp and made a rapid march to the south to escape from the country of the Blackfeet. They finally fell in with a band of Crows, and as these Indians treated them in a most friendly manner, they were loath to leave the Crow country. One of their number, Edward Rose, decided to remain with the tribe. This man was the first American to take up a permanent residence in the Big Horn country. He, in 1810, went to St. Louis to market furs, but returned to the Crow tribe in the spring of 1811 in company with Wilson P. Hunt and party, whom he served as interpreter until they reached the Crow nation. Rose, it has been claimed in St. Louis, was an outlaw before he joined the Williams party, but that explorer knew nothing of this part of his history previous to engaging him. I might as well say here that Rose remained with the tribe, which adopted him, until 1823. After that date he was guide to Thomas Fitzpatrick and William Sublette. Many harsh things have been said of him; he being called unprincipled, treacherous, and a brawler. He is mentioned by many writers as being of unsavory character, and in fact I have been unable to find but one person who speaks well of him, and that is Jim Beckwourth, and as his character is about the same as that of Rose, his testimony will hardly be taken.

After Rose left the Williams party, there remained but thirteen men, and these took a southerly course, presumably up the Big Horn River, and must have crossed the Wind River Valley, as they went to South Pass. On reaching what they called the headwaters of the North Platte (the Sweetwater), they encountered, as they supposed, another band of Crows. These freebooters first ran off all the horses belonging to the party, and in an unsuccessful attempt to recover them Williams lost five more of his men, but succeeded in killing twenty of the Indians. The trappers were now reduced to eight men - these on foot and consequently in a deplorable condition, as they were in a hostile country. They had a considerable amount of valuable furs which they cached, together with such other property which they could not carry, and moving rapidly south they in dne course of time reached the headwaters of the South Platte and were out of Wyoming. They must have passed over the Laramie Plains and made their way to the South Platte at a point near where Denver now stands. Fate seemed to follow them, for they were next attacked by Comanches and in a short time their number was reduced to three, these being Ezekiel Williams, James Workman and Samuel Spencer. The three lone wanderers now resolved to get out of the country and return to St. Louis, but another misfortune soon happened them. They quarreled and finally separated, Williams going down the Arkansas and after many adventures finally reaching St. Louis. He returned to the Sweetwater in 1809 with a party of trappers and recovered the furs cached in that locality. Workman and Spencer on leaving Williams also bent their steps toward the Arkansas, which they mistook for the Red River. They went up this stream, expecting to discover a practical route to Santa Fe, but they wandered many months in the mountains, and after a time joined a Mexican caravan bound for California. The following year they returned with the same caravan to Santa Fe, where they remained until 1824. I am indebted for these facts to a little volume published by David H. Cozner in 1847 under the title of "The Lost Trappers." From other sources I learn that Williams served as a volunteer in the war of 1812, but what fate finally befell him I do not know.



The Tonquin Sails For The Mouth Of The Columbia - Wilson P. Hunt Organizes A Land Expedition And Goes Up The Missouri - The Party Reaches The Country Which Is Now Wyoming - Numerous Attempts Made To Cross The Big Horn Mountains - Finally Ascend The Middle Fork Of The Powder River And Reach The No Wood - Journey Up The Big Horn And Big Wind Rivers - Cross Sheridan Pass To The Headwaters Of Green River - First View Of The Grand Tetons - Crossing The Green River Valley, They Reach The Headwaters Of The Columbia.

The expedition of Wilson P. Hunt was organized in 1810 by John Jacob Astor, native of Waldorf, Germany, who came to America in 1783 and on his arrival entered the fur trade. Mr. Astor was a clear-headed business man, and he early saw an opportunity to compete successfully with the Northwestern Fur Company for the profitable trade in furs in the Rocky Mountain country. Mr. Astor in 1809 procured from the New York Legislature a charter for a company to be known as "The American Fur Company," with a capital of $1,000,000, with the privilege of increasing it to two millions. This company had a board of directors, but these gentlemen were mere figure-heads. Mr. Astor furnished the money and conducted the business. His only object in using the name of a company was to place his operations on a par with the great Northwest Company, whose domain he was about to enter, and secure for himself at least a part of the profitable trade. This shrewd business man sought an interview with the representatives of the United States government and laid before them a plan whereby a large share of the fur trade within the boundaries of the United States should come into the hands of American citizens, and he offered, providing he could receive the protection of the government, to turn the whole of this lucrative business into American channels of trade. We are told that the President warmly approved of his plans, but he was informed that the government could not, directly, aid in the undertaking. Aster's plan was to send one expedition up the Missouri, across the mountains, and down the Columbia River to the mouth of that stream. Another was to go by sea, around Cape Horn, and thence by the Pacific to the mouth of the Columbia. He fitted out the ship Tonquin, a fine vessel of 290 tons burden. This vessel was loaded with merchandise suitable for trading with the natives, and also carried the ready-made parts of a schooner which was to be put together at the mouth of the Columbia and used in the coasting trade. Lieutenant Thorn of the United States navy, on leave of absence, was given command of the vessel. Previous to the departure of the Tonquin, "The Pacific Fur Company" was organized by Mr. Astor and Duncan McDougal, Alexander McKay and Donald McKenzie, three ambitious gentlemen who had long been connected with the Northwest Fur Company, and had become dissatisfied with that corporation, because they were not promoted to high salaried positions, became partners in the new company. Mr. McKay was a man of great experience in the far west, having accompanied Sir Alexander McKenzie on both of his expeditions to the Northwest coast in 1789 and 1793. Wilson Price Hunt of New Jersey also joined the company. David Stuart and his nephew, Robert Stuart, became members of the corporation. Of Mr. Hunt and Robert Stuart I shall have much to say hereafter, as they become conspicuous characters in the early history of Wyoming.

After the formation of the Pacific Fur Company, Wilson Price Hunt was given charge of the expedition which was to cross the Rocky Mountains, and his instructions were to note places where interior trading posts might be established. The partners had agreed that this gentleman should be placed in charge of the establishment at the mouth of the Columbia, when the two expeditions should form a junction at that point. From all accounts, Mr. Hunt was a man of upright character, fair in all his dealings, amiable in disposition, and a representative business man, though he had no experience with Indians or with Indian trade. For some years he had been engaged in business at St. Louis, which was at that time a border settlement, and by this means it must be that he had acquired considerable information regarding the mountain country and its inhabitants. In July, 1810, we find Mr. Hunt in Montreal, Canada, recruiting Canadian voyageurs for his expedition. Late in the same month he arrived in Mackinaw, at the confluence of Lakes Huron and Michigan. Here he was joined by Ramsey Crooks, a Scotchman, who had been engaged for some years with the Northwest Company, but later had been trading with the Indians on the upper Missouri on his own account, in company with a man named McLellan. These two men had been on the upper Missouri and had been robbed in detail, first by Sioux Indians and again by Blackfeet. Crooks, being out of employment, gladly joined the expedition. Mr. Hunt left Mackinaw on the 12th of August, having with him Crooks and his Canadian voyageurs. They went by the then popular route of Green Bay, Fox and Wisconsin rivers, to Prairie du Chien, and thence by the Mississippi, arriving in St. Louis on September 3rd. Joseph Miller, another independent fur trader, here joined the company. He was a Baltimorean by birth, well educated, and had been an officer in the United States army. Years before he had applied for a furlough, and being refused, took, as the saying is, French leave; that is, hastily resigned his commission, and then engaged in trapping and trading on the frontier. After securing a number of other additions to his party, Mr. Hunt started in three boats, one a Schenectady barge, down the Mississippi to the mouth of the Missouri, thence up that stream 450 miles to the mouth of the Nodowa River, where they arrived on the 16th of November. As winter was now coming on, the weather being cold, the party resolved to go into winter quarters. The place selected was an ideal winter camp. There was abundance of timber for log huts, and the country abounded in game. Under Mr. Hunt's practical management and with the able assistance of his partners, the party was soon well housed. At this place Robert McLellan, Ramsey Crooks' old partner, put in an appearance and was easily persuaded to join the expedition. He rather liked the opportunity of going back into the Indian country with a strong force. This man McLellan, Washington Irving in his Astoria describes as a remarkable character. That author says: "He had been a partisan under General Wayne in his Indian wars, where he had distinguished himself by his fiery spirit and reckless daring, and marvelous stories were told of his exploits. His appearance answered to his character. His frame was meagre, but muscular, showing strength, activity and iron firmness. His eyes were dark, deep-set and piercing. He was restless and fearless, but of impetuous and sometimes ungovernable temper. He had been invited by Mr. Hunt to enroll himself as a partner and gladly consented, being pleased with the thoughts of passing, with a powerful force, through the country of the Sioux and perhaps having an opportunity of revenging himself upon that lawless tribe for their past offenses."

At this same place another man joined the party who from his many remarkable qualities as hunter, explorer and all-around heroism is deserving of even more than a passing notice. This was John Day, an ideal hunter from Virginia, who had drifted over to the Missouri river and had been in the employ of Ramsey Crooks and other small traders. Day is described as being forty years old, six feet two inches in height, a handsome fellow, of manly bearing. He had made money in the wilderness to spend it royally in the town. He was one of nature's rangers in the mountain; never lost his bearings, his courage, or his presence of mind. Joined to his other qualities, he was bold, an unerring shot and an agreeable companion. Crooks knew him well, and it was because of his strong recommendation that Mr. Hunt was pleased to have him in the party. Mr. Hunt had numerous conferences with Messrs. Crooks, McLellan, Miller and John Day in regard to their journey through the wilderness, and these all advised him to employ more men for the expedition. He saw that the Canadian voyageurs, while they were well enough as boatmen, could not be depended upon in fighting their way through the wilderness if perchance the natives should choose to be hostile; so on the 1st of January, 1811, he set off on foot on his return to St. Louis with the avowed purpose of procuring a number of American hunters possessed of the game spirit of the west. After proceeding 150 miles on foot, he secured horses and made the balance of the journey on horseback. In due course of time he procured the necessary additions to his party and took his way back to his winter encampment.

Among the men engaged for the expedition was one Edward Rose, who claimed to have a knowledge of mountain life, and who looked like a man of experience. Mr. Hunt was prejudiced slightly against this individual on account of his dark looks, sour visage and general aspect, but he realized that the hardships he might have suffered in the mountains and the solitary life of a hunter which he had led, might have marked his nature, but he thought the chances were that the man might be possessed of good qualities which the wilderness would develop, and so he accordingly engaged him. Had he acted on his first impressions he would have saved himself many days of worriment.

His greatest difficulty had been to secure a Sioux interpreter. He finally procured the services of a half-breed named Pierre Dorion, who would consent to accept the position of interpreter and hunter provided Mr. Hunt would permit him to take his squaw and her two children along. To this Mr. Hunt agreed. Washington Irving thus capitally describes Mr. Hunt's Sioux interpreter: "Pierre was the son of Dorion, the French interpreter who accompanied Messrs. Lewis and Clark in their famous exploring expedition across the Rocky Mountains. Old Dorion was one of those French Creoles, descendants of the ancient Canadian stock who abound on the western frontier and amalgamate or cohabit with the savages. He had sojourned among various tribes, and perhaps left progeny among them all; but his regular or habitual wife was a Sioux squaw. By her he had a hopeful brood of half-breed sons, of whom Pierre was one. The domestic affairs of old Dorion were conducted on the true Indian plan. Father and son would occasionally get drunk together, and then the cabin was the scene of ruffianly brawl and fighting, in the course of which the old Frenchman was apt to get soundly belabored by his mongrel offspring. In a furious scuffle of the kind, one of the sons got the old man upon the ground, and was on the point of scalping him. 'Hold! my son,' cried the old fellow, in imploring accents, 'you are too brave, too honorable, to scalp your father!' This appeal touched the French side of the half-breed's heart, so he suffered the old man to wear his scalp unharmed."

On Mr. Hunt's journey back to the encampment, he mentions in his journal having met the renowned hunter, Daniel Boone, who was then in his eighty-fifth year. The old man listened with deep interest to the plans of Mr. Hunt's proposed journey through the wilderness to the shores of the Pacific, and his eye kindled with the fire of youth as he hearkened to the story which Mr. Hunt had to tell, and it was with a feeling of regret that he realized that he was too old to join the party. This same journal notes the meeting with another remarkable character the day after the encounter with Daniel Boone, and this was John Colter, of whose experiences in Wyoming I have related to my readers in a previous chapter. Colter remained with the party several hours, during which time he gave much valuable information to Mr. Hunt regarding the Blackfeet Indians, through whose country the expedition would be obliged to pass.

After Mr. Hunt's arrival at the winter encampment, preparations were made for the journey up the Missouri. There were now about sixty persons in the party, and of these, forty were Canadian voyageurs and a full complement of hunters. The expedition was composed of four boats fitted with oars and sails. The largest boat contained a swivel gun and four howitzers. On the 28th of April, 1811, they reached the mouth of the Platte River, where Omaha now stands. Could they have known the many hardships they would escape by following the Platte River west they certainly would have adopted this route, but as it was they were bent on following in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, which led them many hundreds of miles to the north, and consequently added greatly to their journey.

During the balance of the month of April and all of the month of May they worked their way up the Missouri, and on the 11th of June encamped on an island six miles below the Arickara village. The next day they went up to this village, where they remained until the 18th of July, trading with the Indians for a supply of horses. Mr. Hunt determined to leave the river at this point, so as to avoid hostile Indians. It should be here mentioned that the party had been joined lower down on the river by Benjamin Jones and Alexander Carson, two experienced trappers who had passed two years on the headwaters of the Missouri and were now on their way to St. Louis. They were easily persuaded to enter the employ of Mr. Hunt and go with him to the mouth of the Columbia. A few days after this acquisition three more all-around hunters and men of reputation in the mountains, as well as lower down the river, joined the party. These men were Edward Robinson, John Hoback and Jacob Rizner. The three had been in the employ of the Missouri Fur Company and had seen much service. Robinson was sixty years old and had been one of the first settlers in Kentucky. He had been in many Indian fights in the Blue Grass country, and in one of these battles had had the misfortune to be scalped. He wore a handkerchief tied on his head to take the place of the scalp lock.

The village of the Arickaras was located near where Pierre, S. D., now stands. On the 18th of July, Mr. Hunt and his party, composed of sixty men with a full pack train, took up their line of march to the northwest, but soon changed their course, keeping to the southwest, as they desired to avoid every possible chance of contact with the Blackfeet. On the 23rd they encamped on Big River (Big Cheyenne), where they remained until the 6th of August, going in a southwesterly direction. In due course of time they came to the Little Powder crossing, in what is now Crook County. They kept on across what is known today as Johnson County, intending to cross the Big Horn Mountains, and made their first attempt at a point a little southwest of where the City of Buffalo is now located. They had reached the country of the Crows, and the services of Edward Rose were to be called into requisition as interpreter, but instead of being of service to the party, it soon developed that this unpromising individual had a plan of his own. One night after they had gone into camp, Mr. Hunt was visited privately in his tent by one of the men, who disclosed to him that Rose had organized a party consisting of several of the men who were to leave the expedition and desert to the Crow tribe, taking with them a number of horses, together with a considerable portion of the merchandise. Rose had revealed to his conspirators that he was well acquainted with the leading chiefs of the Crow nation and that he could guarantee to them not only good treatment among the Indians, but each of them should have the daughter of a chief for a wife and become great men in the Crow nation, as the goods they carried with them would make them rich and respected. Mr. Hunt was also informed that this man Rose had formerly belonged to a gang of pirates who had infested the Mississippi. Mr. Hunt, realizing that he was surrounded with great danger, not only from the savage tribe in whose country he was, but from a conspiracy among his own followers, resolved to make no outward sign, and yet he would keep a vigilant watch on' Rose and those of the men who were considered to be in league with him. They soon met a band of the Crow tribe, when Mr. Hunt informed Rose that having engaged him principally as guide and interpreter among the Crows, he could dispense with his services after that duty was performed, and he accordingly paid him a half year's wages in consideration of his discharge, presented him with a horse, three beaver traps and a quantity of merchandise. This treatment had a wonderful effect on the outlaw, and his deportment underwent a radical change. His dark visage cleared up, he left off his sullen skulking habits and made no further attempts to tamper with the weak-minded individuals with whom he had been conspiring, and a few days afterwards Rose departed from the camp with a band of Crow friends. The party made an attempt to cross the Big Horn range in several places, but at each place they were met by insurmountable barriers; but keeping along to the south they finally found an opening through which they passed, and came out upon one of the tributaries of the Big Horn River running north, which must have been the No Wood. It is difficult to trace them from their first entrance into what is now Wyoming. Governor William A. Richards, who is thoroughly acquainted with the topography of the state, says that the expedition must have passed up the middle fork of the Powder and through the pass at the head of that river which leads to the No Wood, and it is his opinion that their first camp on this stream was within the confines of his own farm, now known as Red Bank. From this point they went up the Big Horn and finally reached Big Wind River.

It will be remembered that Mr. Hunt left Arickara on the Missouri on July 18, and fifty-eight days later we find that he has only reached the Big Wind River, up which stream he is told by his hunters and guides he will find a short cut to the headwaters of the Columbia. Following up the Big Wind River, he crossed numerous streams which flowed into the main river. After crossing and re-crossing this stream many times, they at last reached a point above Horse Creek, near the present location of Dubois, and finding a well-beaten Indian trail which led through what is now known as Sheridan Pass, they slowly made their way across the mountains. In the course of the day they report that they came to a height that commanded an almost boundless prospect. At this point one of the guides triumphantly pointed out three mountain peaks glistening with snow. These, he said, rose above a fork of the Columbia River. It is no wonder that the tired travelers shouted for joy as they beheld these lofty mountain peaks. It seemed to them that the shores of the Pacific were almost in sight, but yet there were hundreds of leagues between them and their destination. These glistening mountains, Mr. Hunt was told, were landmarks which denoted the source of the Columbia. He christened them Pilot Knobs. They were in reality the Grand Tetons, and are among the highest points of the Rocky Mountains, the loftiest one being 13,762 feet above the level of the sea. The party continued on through the pass, on the highest points of which they encountered patches of snow. At length they reached a stream flowing to the west, down which they followed with light hearts and eager footsteps, but it turned out to be one of the tributaries of the Spanish River, so called by hunters, as the Indians reported that the Spaniards lived down the river. This was in reality Green River, so named by General Ashley eleven years later. Mr. Hunt's party was greatly cheered by a sight of the grassy valleys found along this stream, and to their joy they discovered herds of buffalo quietly grazing in the rich meadows. The hunters sallied forth with much enthusiasm and with little difficulty soon captured an abundant supply of meat, an article they were very much in need of, as famine stared them in the face, and no game had been obtainable for more than a week. Mr. Hunt makes the record in his journal of that day "that he had discovered three different kinds of gooseberries, the yellow, the deep purple and the common purple; also three kinds of currants." His journal reads that they continued down the course of this river a distance of fifteen miles to the southwest, where they camped opposite the end of a mountain on the west, and the following morning they changed their course, going in a northwesterly direction a distance of eight miles and encamped on a tributary of Spanish River, which Mr. Hunt said ran through rich meadows which afforded pasture for numerous herds of buffalo. Here they remained several days, replenishing their stock of provisions with dried buffalo meat. In his opinion they had a sufficient supply to last them until they should reach the Columbia, from which stream they expected to procure fish enough for the support of the party. While the hunting of the buffalo and the preparing of the meat was going on their horses were getting a much needed rest. The animals were certainly in a jaded condition, having traveled for seventeen days and accomplished 260 miles with scanty feed by the way. What happened after this is told by Washington Irving, the facts being taken from Mr. Hunt's journal, to which Irving had access. I will remark here that the Mad River spoken of is Snake River, and the other river recognized by Hoback, the hunter and guide, is the present Hoback River, marked on the map of Wyoming.



Hunt And His Party Follow Down The Mad (snake) River - They Reach Henry's Fort - Build Canoes And Attempt The Further Journey By Water - Three Hundred And Forty Miles Below, Again Take To The Land - Great Sufferings Of The Party Through Hunger And Cold - At Last Reach The Falls Of The Columbia -Balance Of The Journey Made By Canoes - Arrival At Astoria.

From this on there is no difficulty in following Mr. Hunt on his journey to the mouth of the Columbia River. Washington Irving says:

"Five days were passed by Mr. Hunt and his companions in the fresh meadows watered by the bright little mountain stream. The hunters made great havoc among the buffaloes, and brought in quantities of meat; the voyageurs busied themselves about the fires, roasting or stewing for present purposes, or drying provisions for the journey; the pack horses, eased of their burdens, rolled on the grass or grazed at large about the ample pastures; those of the party who had no call upon their services indulged in the luxury of perfect relaxation, and the camp presented a picture of rude feasting and revelry, of mingled bustle and repose, characteristic of a halt in a real hunting country. In the course of one of their excursions some of the men came in sight of a small party of Indians, who instantly fled in apparent consternation. They immediately returned to the camp with the intelligence; upon which Mr. Hunt and four others flung themselves upon their horses and sallied forth to reconnoitre. After riding for about eight miles they came upon a wild mountain scene. A lovely green valley stretched before them, surrounded by rugged heights. A herd of buffalo were careering through it, with a troop of savage horsemen in full chase, plying them with their bows and arrows. The appearance of Mr. Hunt and his companions put an abrupt end to the hunt; the buffalo scuttled off in one direction, while the Indians plied their lashes and galloped off in another, as fast as their steeds could carry them. Mr. Hunt gave chase; there was a sharp scam* per, though of short continuance. Two young Indians, who were indifferently mounted, were soon overtaken. They were terribly frightened, and evidently gave themselves up for lost. By degrees their fears were allayed by kind treatment; but they continued to regard the strangers with a mixture of awe and wonder; for it was the first time in their lives they had seen a white man.

"They belonged to a party of Snakes who had come across the mountains on their autumnal hunting excursion to provide buffalo meat for the winter. Being persuaded of the peaceable intentions of Mr. Hunt and his companions, they willingly conducted them to their camp. It was pitched in a narrow valley on the margin of a stream. The tents were of dressed skins, some of them fantastically painted, with horses grazing about them. The approach of the party caused a transient alarm in the camp, for these poor Indians were ever on the lookout for cruel foes. No sooner, however, did they recognize the garb and complexion of their visitors than their apprehensions were changed into joy; for some of them had dealt with white men, and knew them to be friendly, and to abound with articles of singular value. They welcomed them, therefore, to their tents, set food before them and entertained them to the best of their power.

"They had been successful in their hunt, and the camp was full of jerked buffalo meat, all of the choicest kind and extremely fat. Mr. Hunt purchased enough of them, in addition to what had been killed and cured by his own hunters, to load all the horses excepting those reserved for the partners and the wife of Pierre Dorion. He found also a few beaver skins in their camp, for which he paid liberally, as an inducement for them to hunt for more, informing them that some of his party intended to live among the mountains and trade with the native hunters for their peltries. The poor Snakes soon comprehended the advantages thus held out to them, and promised to exert themselves to procure a quantity of beaver skins for future traffic.

"Being now well supplied with provisions, Mr. Hunt broke up his encampment on the 24th of September and continued on to the west. A march of fifteen miles, over a mountainous ridge, brought them to a stream about fifty feet in width, which Hoback, one of their guides, who had trapped about the neighborhood when in the service of Mr. Henry, recognized as one of the headwaters of the Columbia. The travelers hailed it with delight, as the first stream they had encountered tending toward their point of destination. They kept along it for two days, during which, from the contribution of many rills and brooks, it gradually swelled into a small river. As it meandered among rocks and precipices, they were frequently obliged to ford it, and such was its rapidity that the men were often in danger of being swept away. Sometimes the banks advanced so close upon the river that they were obliged to scramble up and down their rugged promontories, or to skirt along their bases where there was scarce a foothold. Their horses had dangerous falls in some of these passes. One of them rolled, with his load, nearly two hundred feet down hill into the river, but without receiving any injury. At length they emerged from the stupendous denies, and continued for several miles along the banks of Hoback's River, through one of the stern mountain valleys. Here it was joined by a river of greater magnitude and swifter current, and their united waters swept off through the valley in one impetuous stream, which from its rapidity and turbulence, had received the name of Mad River. At the confluence of these streams the travelers encamped. An important point in their arduous journey had been attained. A few miles from their camp rose the three vast snowy peaks called the Tetons, or the Pilot Knobs, the great landmarks of the Columbia, by which they had shaped their course through this mountain wilderness. By their feet flowed the rapid current of the Mad River, a stream ample enough to admit of the navigation of canoes, and down which they might possibly be able to steer their course to the main body of the Columbia. The Canadian voyageurs rejoiced at the idea of once more launching themselves upon their favorite element; of exchanging their horses for canoes, and of gliding down the bosoms of rivers instead of scrambling over the backs of mountains. Others of the party, also, inexperienced in this kind of traveling, considered their trials and troubles as drawing to a close. They had conquered the chief difficulties of this great rocky barrier, and now flattered themselves with the hope of an easy downward course for the rest of their journey. Little did they dream of the hardships and perils, by land and water, which were yet to be encountered in the frightful wilderness that intervened between them and the shores of the Pacific."

It was finally decided to construct canoes at this point and embark on the river, and thus make their way by water to the Columbia, and while the canoes were being constructed, Mr. Hunt detached a party of trappers to operate on the upper waters of Mad River and adjacent branches. The detail was made up of Alexander Carson, Louis St. Michael, Pierre Detaye and Pierre DeLauney. The party was fitted out with arms, ammunition and traps and instructed to remain in the country for several months and finally to report at the mouth of the Columbia. They were to pack their peltries on their horses until they reached an upper post on the Columbia, which Mr. Hunt expected to establish. Before trusting the expedition to the water, John Day, John Reed and Peter Dorion were sent down the river with instructions to proceed for several days and examine the course and character of the stream. After this party had departed on their mission, two Snake Indians came into camp and perceiving the canoes in course of construction shook their heads and by unmistakable signs indicated that the river was not navigable. In due course ot time the three men sent out to examine the river came back and reported that it was narrow, crooked and contained many rapids. The party then proceeded by land and finally arrived at Henry's post on an upper branch of the Columbia, which they reached on the 8th of October. Here another party was detached to hunt in the neighborhood. This was composed of Robinson, Hoback, Renzner and Cass, and they were also accompanied by Mr. Miller, one of the partners in the Pacific Fur Company. At Fort Henry, as it was called, they again constructed canoes and pushed on down the river. Two hundred and eighty miles below they encountered a thirty-foot rapid in the current. From that time on they had much difficulty in navigating the stream. The portages were long, and yet they disliked very much to give up their canoes. Finally, after passing 80 miles farther, that is to say, 340 miles down the river from Fort Henry, they reluctantly gave up the attempt to navigate the stream. Three parties were here detached and sent in different directions for relief. They were to try and discover friendly Indians, and if possible return to the main body with a supply of horses and provisions; but if they were unable to do this, they were to keep in view the mouth of the Columbia as their final destination. McLellan was in charge of one party, consisting of three men, and these kept down the river. Ramsey Crooks with five others started up the stream, intending, should they not find relief nearer at hand, to keep on until they reached Henry's Fort, where they hoped to find the horses left there and return with them to the main body. McKenzie took charge of the third detachment of five men, and proceeded northward across the desert in hopes of reaching the main stream of the Columbia. Mr. Hunt, with thirty-one remaining men, prepared caches, in which he deposited his merchandise and baggage that could not be carried by land. Before this necessary work was accomplished, Crooks and his party returned. They had become disheartened by their retrograde movement and had made up their minds that it would be impossible to reach Fort Henry and return that winter. Some days later two of the men under McLellan returned to camp and reported that there was no hope of the expedition going by canoes from any point down the river; that they had met no Indians, and the stream presented the same furious aspect, brawling and boiling between rocks and high walls; therefore the expedition moved forward on foot, and in their displeasure they named the camp which they were leaving "The Devil's Scuttle Hole." They were yet hundreds of miles from the mouth of the Columbia. A dreary waste lay before them, and for fear of perishing for the want of water they resolved to keep near the Snake River and push on. The party was again divided, with the idea of bettering their chances of subsistence. Mr. Hunt, with eighteen men, proceeded down the north side of the river, while Crooks with a like number kept along the south side. The day that the separation took place was the 9th of October. The two parties went on, and after suffering with cold and hunger, and being reduced to the point of starvation, often being without food three days at a time, they at last came among friendly Indians, who supplied their wants, but they subsisted principally upon horseflesh and dogmeat. On the 31st of January, 1812, they arrived at the falls of the Columbia. Here they procured canoes, and on February 15th arrived at Astoria.

This expedition of the Astorians was one of the most remarkable on record; it had pursued a route through a wilderness never trod by white men before, but they blazed the way across the continent which proved vastly beneficial to succeeding travelers. Yet we are not through with them as explorers, for they are to make another trip through Wyoming and discover a route by which hundreds of thousands of their countrymen later crossed the Rocky Mountains.

The colossal operations of John Jacob Astor, as we have seen, possess national importance. He it was who developed, in spite of disaster, the American fur trade, turning it into American channels, and thus encouraged Ashley. Bridger, the five Sublette brothers, Robert Campbell, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Pierre Chouteau, Bonneville and a host of other worthies to trap and trade in the Rocky Mountains.



Arrival Of The Tonquin - David Stuart's Expedition To Establish A New Trading Post - David Thompson Of The Northwest Company Comes Down The Columbia To Plant The British Flag At The Mouth Of That River, But Is Too Late - Disaster To The Tonquin And The Murder Of Her Crew By Indians - Mr. Lewis' Terrible Revenge - Indians At Astoria Held In Check By Threats Of Spreading The Smallpox Among Them - Arrival Of The Beaver From New York - Departure Of Hunt For New Archangel And The Sandwich Islands - Treachery Of Mcdougal - Abandonment Of Astoria.

As the building of the Fort, called Astoria, has a bearing on future events in Wyoming, let me pursue the history of Mr. Astor's operations in that quarter. I have already in a previous chapter mentioned the departure of the Tonquin from New York, bound for the mouth of the Columbia, with supplies for the trading post to be established there. Without going into details of the voyage, I will say that the vessel arrived in the waters of the Columbia on March 22nd, 1811, and after various adventures and the loss of several men they succeeded in making a landing and selecting a site for a trading post, which they built. After the landing of the stores, Mr. McDougal, who has been mentioned in a previous chapter, took charge until Mr. Hunt should arrive, and the Tonquin sailed north to trade on the coast at the different harbors and to touch at Astoria on her return voyage. On the first of June the ship sailed away, never to return. About this time word was brought to the fort at Astoria by an Indian from the upper part of the river that thirty white men belonging to the Northwest Fur Company had appeared on the banks of the Columbia, at the second rapids, and were actually building homes there. This news disturbed the Astorians, and to counteract the effect of this British establishment, David Stuart, with nine men under him, was dispatched to the Spokane River to establish a post and remain there, provided he found the situation advantageous and the natives friendly. Before the expedition was ready to leave for its destination, a canoe arrived, on board of which was David Thompson, a partner of the Northwest Company, who stated that he had started out the preceding year with a strong party and a supply of Indian goods to cross the Rocky Mountains, but that all except eight of his people had deserted him on the eastern side of the mountains and returned with the goods to the nearest Northwest post. They had wintered in the mountains, and in the spring had built the cedar canoe and proceeded down the Columbia. This in fact was an expedition sent out by the Northwest Company in the name of the British Government to take possession of the .valley of the Columbia. Mr. Thompson carried the British standard in his canoe, intending to plant it at the mouth of the Columbia, but much to his chagrin he found the stars and stripes floating from a flagstaff on the fort. Astor's expedition had effected a lodgement on the western coast, and to every appearance the fort had come to stay. Much to the annoyance of the other partners, McDougal invited Thompson to the headquarters and royally entertained him and his people, and he also furnished him with provisions for his return journey across the mountains. David Stuart, who was about to go up the river to establish a post, remonstrated with McDougal for this liberality toward the representative of the Northwest Company and the British Government by saying that he did not think the object of his visit entitled him to any favor, but McDougal having been associated in former years with that company felt a friendship for it, and subsequent events proved that his friendship was stronger than his loyalty to the company of which he was now a partner, and it will be shown later that he was a traitor in the camp of the brave Americans at the mouth of the Columbia.

On the 23rd of July, David Stuart and his nine companions started up the river to build their trading post, and Thompson and his associates followed him, being on their way to Montreal. The two expeditions kept together for three or four hundred miles. Stuart finally located a post at the mouth of the Oakanogan where it empties into the Columbia. After the sailing of the Tonquin and the departure of Stuart, there came a whisper that the Indian tribes of the locality had combined to make an attack on the post at Astoria. Learning of this, the small garrison fortified their position and mounted four guns on the two bastions of the fort. They qualified themselves for military duty by daily drills, and kept a guard posted day and night, in the hope of being able to hold out until Mr. Hunt and his party should arrive down the Columbia, or until Captain Thorn returned with the Tonquin; but a few days after, the party at the fort learned from Indian sources that disaster had overtaken the Tonquin. This report was not at first credited, but it was later confirmed. The Tonquin, it will be remembered, sailed from Astoria the first of June, but did not leave the mouth of that river until the fifth of the month. There were twenty-three persons on board the vessel, but in one of the outer bays they picked up another, an Indian named Lamazee, who had already made two voyages along the coast, and as he knew something of the various tribes and their languages, he was engaged for the voyage to act as interpreter. The vessel steered to the north, arriving in a few days at Vancouver's Island, and there visited the harbor of Neweetee, contrary to the advice of the Indian interpreter, who claimed that the natives of this part of the coast were of dangerous character and should be avoided. In spite of the advice, Captain Thorn anchored his vessel and numerous natives came off in canoes laden with skins of the sea otter, which they offered for sale. It being late in the afternoon, Captain Thorn refused to commence traffic that day, but asked the natives to return in the morning. Mr. McKay, the super-cargo, taking with him a number of men, went on shore to visit the village of Wicananish, the chief of the tribe in that territory. Captain Thorn had retained on board his vessel six of the natives as hostages for the safe return of the white men. The McKay party, as the story was afterwards told, was received in a friendly manner and entertained at the lodge of the chief, where they spent the night. What followed is told in graphic language by Washington Irving.

"In the morning, before Mr. McKay had returned to the ship, great numbers of the natives came off in their canoes to trade, headed by two sons of Wicananish. As they brought abundance of sea otter skins, and there was every appearance of a brisk trade, Captain Thorn did not wait for the return of Mr. McKay, but spread his wares upon deck, making a tempting display of blankets, cloths, knives, beads and fish hooks, expecting a prompt and profitable' sale. The Indians, however, were not so eager and simple as he had supposed, having learned the art of bargaining and the value of merchandise from the casual traders along the coast. They were guided, too, by a shrewd old chief named Nookamis, who had grown gray in the traffic with New England skippers and prided himself upon his acuteness. His opinion seemed to regulate the market. When Captain Thorn made what he considered a liberal offer for an otter skin, the wily old Indian treated it with scorn, and asked more than double. His comrades all took their cue from him, and not an otter skin was to be had at a reasonable rate. The old fellow, however, overshot his mark and mistook the character of the man with whom he was treating. Thorn was a plain, straightforward sailor, who never had two minds nor two prices in his dealings, was deficient in patience and pliancy, and totally wanting in the chicanery of traffic. He had a vast deal of stern but honest pride in his nature, and, moreover, held the savage race in sovereign contempt. Abandoning all further attempts, therefore, to bargain with his shuffling customers, he thrust his hands into his pockets and paced up and down the deck in sullen silence. The cunning old Indian followed him to and fro, holding out a sea otter skin to him at every turn, and pestering him to trade. Finding other means unavailing, he suddenly changed his tone, and began to jeer and banter him upon the mean prices he offered. This was too much for the patience of the captain, who was never remarkable for relishing a joke, especially when at his own expense. Turning suddenly upon his persecutor, he snatched the proffered otter skin from his hands, rubbed it in his face, and dismissed him over the side of the ship with no very complimentary application to accelerate his exit. He then kicked the peltries to right and left about the deck and broke up the market in the most ignominious manner. Old Nookamis made for the shore in a furious passion, in which he was joined by Shewish, one of the sons of Wicananish, who went off breathing vengeance, and the ship was soon abandoned by the natives.

"When Mr. McKay returned on board, the interpreter related what had passed, and begged him to prevail upon the captain to make sail, as from his knowledge of the temper and pride of the people of the place, he was sure they would resent the indignity offered to one of their chiefs. Mr. McKay, who himself possessed some experience of the Indian character, went to the captain, who was still pacing the deck in a moody humor, represented the danger to which his hasty act had exposed the vessel, and urged him to weigh anchor. The captain made light of his counsels, and pointed to his cannon and firearms as a sufficient safeguard against naked savages. Further remonstrances only provoked taunting replies and sharp altercations. The day passed away without any signs of hostility, and at night the captain retired as usual to his cabin, taking no more than usual precautions. On the following morning, at day-break, while the captain and Mr. McKay were yet asleep, a canoe came alongside, in which were twenty Indians, commanded by young Shewish. They were unarmed, their aspect and demeanor friendly, and they held up otter skins, and made signs indicative of a wish to trade. The caution enjoined by Mr. Astor, in respect to the admission of Indians on board of the ship, had been neglected for some time past, and the officer of the watch, perceiving those in the canoe to be without weapons, and having received no orders to the contrary, readily permitted them to mount the deck. Another crew soon succeeded, the crew of which was likewise admitted. In a little while other canoes came off, and Indians were soon clambering into the vessel on all sides.

"The officer of the watch now felt alarmed, and called to Captain Thorn and Mr. McKay. By the time they came on deck, it was thronged with Indians. The interpreter noticed to Mr. McKay that many of the natives wore short mantles of skin, and intimated a suspicion that they were secretly armed. Mr. McKay urged the captain to clear the ship and get under way. He again made light of the advice; but the augmented swarm of canoes about the ship, and the number still putting off from shore, at length awakened his distrust, and he ordered some of the men to weigh anchor, while some were sent aloft to make sail. The Indians now offered to trade with the captain on his own terms, prompted, apparently, by the approaching departure of the ship. Accordingly a hurried trade was commenced. The main articles sought by the savages in barter were knives. As fast as some were supplied they moved off and others succeeded. By degrees they were thus distributed about the deck, and all with weapons.

"The anchor was now nearly up, the sails were loose, and the captain in a loud and peremptory tone ordered the ship to be cleared. In an instant a signal yell was given; it was echoed on every side, knives and war clubs were brandished in every direction, and the savages rushed upon their marked victims. The first that fell was Mr. Lewis, the ship's clerk. He was leaning with folded arms over a bale of blankets, engaged in bargaining, when he received a deadly stab in the back, and fell down the companionway.

"Mr. McKay, who was seated on the taffrail, sprang on his feet, but was instantly knocked down with a war club and flung backward into the sea, where he was dispatched by the women in the canoes.

"In the meantime, Captain Thorn made a desperate fight against fearful odds. He was a powerful as well as a resolute man, but he had come upon deck without weapons. Shewish, the young chief, singled him out as his peculiar prey, and rushed upon him at the first outbreak. The captain had barely time to draw a clasp-knife, with one blow of which he laid the young savage dead at his feet. Several of the stoutest followers of Shewish now set upon him. He defended himself vigorously, dealing crippling blows to right and left, and strewing the quarter deck with the slain and wounded. His object was to fight his way to the cabin, where there were fire-arms; but he was hemmed in with foes, covered with wounds, and faint with loss of blood. For an instant he leaned upon the tiller wheel, when a blow from behind, with a war-club, felled him to the deck, where he was dispatched with knives and thrown overboard.

"While this was transacting upon the quarter deck, a chance-medley fight was going on throughout the ship. The crew fought desperately with knives, hand-spikes and whatever weapon they could seize upon in the moment of surprise. They were soon, however, overpowered by numbers and mercilessly butchered. As to the seven who had been sent aloft to make sail, they contemplated with horror the carnage that was going on below. Being destitute of weapons, they let themselves down by the running rigging, in hopes of getting between decks. One fell in the attempt and was instantly dispatched; another received a death blow in the back as he was descending; a third, Stephen Weeks, the armorer, was mortally wounded as he was getting down the hatchway.

"The remaining four made good their retreat into the cabin, where they found Mr. Lewis, still alive, though mortally wounded. Barricading the cabin door, they broke holes through the companionway, and, with the muskets and ammunition which were at hand, opened a brisk fire that soon cleared the deck.

"Thus far the Indian interpreter, from whom these particulars are derived, had been an eye-witness of the deadly conflict. He had taken no part in it, and had been spared by the natives as being of their race. In the confusion of the moment he took refuge with the rest, in the canoes. The survivors of the crew now sallied forth and discharged some of the deck guns, which did great execution among the canoes, and drove all the savages to shore.

"For the remainder of the day no one ventured to put off to the ship, deterred by the effects of the fire-arms. The night passed away without any further attempt on the part of the natives. When day dawned the Tonquin still lay at anchor in the bay, her sails all loose and flapping in the wind, and no one apparently on board of her. After a time some of the canoes ventured forth to reconnoitre, taking with them the interpreter. They paddled about her, keeping cautiously at a distance, but growing more and more emboldened at seeing her quiet and lifeless. One man at length made his appearance on deck and was recognized by the interpreter as Mr. Lewis. He made friendly signs, and invited them on board. It was long before they ventured to comply. Those who mounted the deck met with no opposition ; no one was to be seen on board, for Mr. Lewis, after inviting them, had disappeared. Other canoes now pressed forward to board the prize; the decks were soon crowded.and the sides were covered with clambering savages, all intent on plunder. In the midst of their eagerness and exultation the ship blew up with a tremendous explosion. Arms, legs and mutilated bodies were blown into the air, and a dreadful havoc was made in the surrounding canoes. The interpreter was in the main-chains at the time of the explosion, and was thrown unhurt into the water, where he succeeded in getting into one of the canoes. According to his statement, the bay presented an awful spectacle after the catastrophe. The ship had disappeared, but the bay was covered with fragments of the wreck, with shattered canoes, and Indians swimming for their lives, or struggling in the agonies of death, while those who had escaped the danger remained aghast and stupefied, or made with frantic panic for the shore. Upward of a hundred savages were destroyed by the explosion, many more were shockingly mutilated, and for days afterward the limbs and bodies of the slain were thrown upon the beach.

"The inhabitants of Neweetee were overwhelmed with consternation at this astounding calamity, which had burst upon them in the very moment of triumph. The warriors sat mute and mournful, while the women filled the air with loud lamentations. Their weeping and wailing, however, was suddenly changed into yells of fury at the sight of four unfortunate white men, brought captive into the village. They had been driven on shore in one of the ship's boats, and taken at some distance along the coast.

"The interpreter was permitted to converse with them. They proved to be the four brave fellows who had made such a desperate defense from the cabin. The interpreter gathered from them some of the particulars already related. They told him further, that, after they had beaten off the enemy and cleared the ship, Lewis advised that they should slip the cable and endeavor to get to sea. They declined to take his advice, alleging that the wind set too strongly into the bay, and would drive them on shore. They resolved as soon as it was dark to put off quietly in the ship's boat, which they would be able to do unperceived, and to coast along back to Astoria. They put their resolution into effect, but Lewis refused to accompany them, being disabled by his wound, hopeless of escape, and determined on a terrible revenge. On the voyage out he had repeatedly expressed a presentiment that he should die by his own hands, thinking it highly probable that he should be engaged in some contest with the natives, and being resolved, in case of extremity, to commit suicide rather than be made a prisoner. He now declared his intention to remain on board of the ship until daylight, to decoy as many of the savages on board as possible, then to set fire to the powder magazine, and terminate his life by a single act of vengeance. How well he succeeded has been shown. His companions bade him a melancholy adieu, and set off on their precarious expedition. They strove with might and main to get out of the bay, but found it impossible to weather a point of land, and were at length compelled to take shelter in a small cave, where they hoped to remain concealed until the wind should be more favorable. Exhausted by fatigue and watching, they fell into a sound sleep, and in that state were surprised by the savages. Better had it been for those unfortunate men had they remained with Lewis and shared his heroic death; as it was, they perished in a more painful and protracted manner, being sacrificed by the natives to the names of their friends with all the lingering tortures of savage cruelty. Some time after their death, the interpreter, who had remained a kind of prisoner at large, effected his escape, and brought the tragic tidings to Astoria."

This was the story which greeted the ears of the little band of Astorians. The natives throughout a vast range of country had heard the tidings and its effect on them could only be conjectured by the white people at the fort, and had it not been for McDougal, who possessed a thorough knowledge of Indian character, not a white man would have been saved. A short time before this the smallpox had appeared on the Pacific coast among the Indians and the death rate had been fearful. In some instances, we are told, it nearly swept off entire tribes. The superstitious natives were not certain as to its origin. Some attributed it to an evil the "Great Spirit" had inflicted; others thought it had been brought about by the white men. McDougal, taking advantage of the ignorant and superstitious nature of the savages, acted promptly and assembling a number of chiefs whom he believed to be in league to murder the Astorians, and assembling them in a room at the fort, he told them he had heard of the treachery of some of their northern brethren toward the Tonquin and its crew, and he was determined on vengeance. This the savages could understand. McDougal went on, "The white men among you are few in number, but they are mighty in medicine. See here," continued he, drawing forth a small bottle and holding it before their eyes, "in this bottle I hold the smallpox, safely corked np; I have but to draw the cork, and let loose the pestilence, to sweep every man, woman and child from the face of the earth." The stratagem was successful, for it acted like magic; the chiefs were horrified and greatly alarmed. They begged and implored him not to uncork the bottle, as they and their people were the firmest friends of the white man and proposed to remain so. They thought it unjust for him to punish his friends for what his enemies had done. He listened to their arguments and protestations of friendship and finally told them that as long as they remained friendly to the whites he would keep the bottle corked, but he assured them upon the least show of hostility, out would come the cork and they would be obliged to take the consequences, and thus was preserved the lives of the first Americans who planted a trading post at the mouth of the Columbia, and so matters passed at Astoria until the arrival of Mr. Hunt and his party on February 15, 1812.

It should be stated here that another ship, the Beaver, had been despatched to Astoria by Mr. Astor on October 10, 1811, which arrived at the mouth of the Columbia and anchored in Baker's Bay on May 9, 1812. After the arrival of this vessel expeditions were sent out in various directions. Mr. Hunt sailed in the Beaver and made a voyage along the coast and visited the Russian establishment at New Archangel, where the vessel landed a quantity of supplies for the commander of the Russian post and took in exchange a quantity of furs. The vessel then proceeded to the Sandwich Islands, where Mr. Hunt remained to await the annual ship to Astoria, while the Beaver proceeded to Canton to market the furs and reload with merchandise at that point. This voyage of Mr. Hunt's consumed considerable time, and before he returned to Astoria McDougal closed out over $100,000 worth of furs to the Northwest Company for $40,000; also a large amount of merchandise at this equally ruinous rate. As part of the deal, this unfaithful servant became a partner of the Northwest Company, and consequently has gone down in history as a traitor to the American fur trade, and his memory is justly despised by all American traders and trappers. This treachery on the part of McDougal resulted in the abandonment of Astoria.



Robert Stuart And His Little Band Of Six Pass Around The South End Of The Wind River Range During The Early Winter Of 1812 - Discovery Of The Sweetwater River And Passage Down That Stream - They Camp At Bessemer For The Winter - Leave Their Winter Camp For Fear Of Indians - Great Suffering Of The Party As They Journey Down The Platte - Discovery Of The Platte River Canon - Second Winter Encampment - Journey Down The River In The Spring Of 1813.

The journey of the couriers from Astoria east was an event of no ordinary importance from the fact that circumstances impelled these men to make a new route across the then dark continent. They were to become the discoverers of South Pass, the most important gateway through the Rocky Mountains. They were to make the pathway between the Missouri and the headwaters of the Columbia more direct and consequently much shorter than the route of Lewis and Clark or that of Wilson P. Hunt. They were to discover the Sweetwater, as well as the North Platte, and were to be the first as explorers to trace out a river flowing to the east directly from the mountains. The more northern streams flowed to the north, but these couriers, who were on their way eastward, were to add greatly to the knowledge of the geography of the mid-continent. It can be said of this band of explorers that they were brave, determined and withal possessed a conservative daring which enabled them to overcome the wildness and wild men of the desert and mountains. The history of their journey forms an important chapter in the annals of Wyoming. At times, it is true, they were lost and knew not in what direction to turn their footsteps, but fortunately on such occasions their brave leader argued with himself that it would never do to falter and so he led the way along streams which according to his judgment were to empty their waters finally into the Missouri river. In spite of the storms of winter, piercing cold and deep snows, there was but one determination ever present, and that was to push on and thereby save the lives of the men entrusted to his care. This battle with the elements and the wilderness has never been excelled in this or any other century. In telling the story for these pages, I have followed closely notes taken from the original journal first published by Washington Irving.

Again Wyoming is to be honored by the arrival of a body of Astorians. This time they remain in her borders several months. On the 29th of June, 1812, Robert Stuart, Ben Jones, Robert McLellan, John Day, Ramsey Crooks, Andri Vallar and Francis Le Clerc left Astoria to make the journey across the mountains, bearing dispatches to Mr. Astor at New York. Robert Stuart, the leader of the party, was one of the original partners of the Pacific Fur Company, which organization was chartered on the 23rd day of June, 1810. He was a young man of spirit and enterprise and was one of the four partners who embarked in the Tonquin on the 8th of September in the year above mentioned. The other three partners were Alexander McKay, Duncan McDougal and David Stuart, an uncle of Robert. To illustrate the sturdy character of this young man, it will not be out of place to relate an incident of the voyage. Captain Thorn of the Tonquin was a waspish individual, though thoroughly honest and devoted to the best interests of his employers. He was not a partner in the enterprise and consequently the four men who were, deemed it their right to assume authority on shipboard. This Captain Thorn did not concede, and each time when the partners would make their requests, the Captain would reply with much firmness that "It was contrary to orders." On the voyage the ship touched at various islands in the tropics and at each place the partners went on shore and in some instances kept the vessel awaiting their pleasure. This, of course, raised the ire of Captain Thorn, who, being a naval commander, was a strict disciplinarian. Finally, on the 4th of December, 1810, they landed at the Falkland Islands to obtain a supply of water. McDougal and McKay took this occasion to go on shore, but with the request from the Captain that they ''would not detain the ship." Once on shore, however, they were in no haste to obey his orders, but rambled about in search of curiosities. The anchorage proving unsafe and the water hard to get, the vessel stood off shore and repeated signals were made for the absent partners to return to the ship, but these gentlemen paid no attention to the signals and did not return until nine o'clock at night. The next day another attempt was made to procure water and the same partners again went on shore, but with emphatic requests from the Captain that they should return promptly, but the same thing occurred again and Captain Thorn now resolved to make sail without them, and the vessel moved away. When those on shore saw the ship actually under way they speedily took to their boats, and it was not until they had a hard pull of eight miles that they reached the ship. Two days afterwards they anchored at Fort Egmont, on the same island, where they remained four days making repairs, and this time McDougal and McKay were joined by David Stuart, and all went on shore to make the best of the time. They hunted, fished and enjoyed themselves to their hearts' content. When the vessel was ready to depart, McDougal and Stewart were in the south part of the island, oct of si^ht of the signals, consequently there was more delay. The Captain paced the deck in nervous agitation, stormed and raved. He declared that this sort of annoyance should cease. It was the third time his orders had been treated with contempt and the ship wantonly detained, and he vowed it should be the last. Accordingly, the order was given to hoist the anchor and make sail, and soon the ship was standing out to sea. Robert Stuart was the only remaining partner on board, and when he became convinced that the Captain really intended to leave the three partners on the island, he requested him to change his purpose, but that only made matters worse and the obstinate Commander declared that they should be left on the island. Robert Stuart's blood was now up, and feeling that the success of the enterprise was jeopardized by the folly of Captain Thorn, he seized a pistol and declared that he would blow out the brains of the Captain if he did not shorten sail. Fortunately, at this moment the wind changed and came ahead and the partners were enabled to reach the ship. The impression was created on board, however, that Robert Stuart would not have permitted the other three partners to be left on the island even had it reached the point of his killing the Captain. The circumstance revealed the resolute character of young Stuart which was of service to him in the wilds of Wyoming a little later.

Resuming the story of this expedition across the mountains, and the thrilling events of the journey, which took place within the borders of what is now Wyoming, we must go back to Astoria, the starting point of the expedition. They went up the Columbia in canoes and while going up this stream the veteran John Day showed symptoms of derangement of mind and shortly after attempted to commit suicide. Mr. Stuart, falling in with some friendly Indians on their way to Astoria to trade at the post, succeeded in making a bargain with them to carry Day safely back. The Indians performed the service, but poor Day never recovered and died within the year. Mr. Stuart had received instructions before leaving the fort to follow the trail of Mr. Hunt's party through the wilderness and thus reach the Missouri river. While passing up the Snake River, they by the merest accident encountered John Hoback, Joseph Miller, Jacob Rezner and Robinson, the scalped Kentuckian. These four men, it will be remembered, were detached from the main party the year previous, and had been trapping for beaver on Beaver River. They had collected a considerable quantity of these skins and were conveying them east, but had encountered an outlaw band of Arapahoes, who had robbed them of everything, including most of their clothing. Cass, another member of the party, they reported as having left them. At the time they were found by Stuart's party they were nearly famished. These wanderers were cared for and taken to the caches left by Mr. Hunt and there fitted out. The hunters, Robinson, Rezner and Hoback, took a new outfit and remained in the wilderness rather than return to civilization penniless. Miller preferred to keep on with Stuart's party and take the place of John Day. Thus the party was recruited to the original seven. They kept along the Snake River for some distance, then crossed over to Bear River. They had an encounter with a band of Crows and barely escaped being robbed, and as it was the savages followed them for 150 miles. On September 18th the little band again struck the Snake River, where they encamped, considering themselves at a safe distance from the marauding band of Indians. Their horses, which were much jaded, were turned out to graze. On the morning of the 19th the Indians swept down upon them and carried off all their horses. It was with mortification and despair that they resumed their journey on foot. After much suffering, on the 1st of October they reached the Grand Tetons and soon they came into what is now Wyoming. The snow was already lying deep on the ground and they were without food. Fortunately, Ben Jones succeeded in killing five elk and starvation was replaced by joyful feasting. To add to their distress. Crooks was taken sick and the party was obliged to wait several days for his recovery. They finally moved on, making slow progress through deep snows and being obliged to ford many streams. They suffered much with cold and hunger. Several days before this, McLellan left the party, preferring to travel alone. In their anxiety to struggle forward, they did not stop to hunt and it turned out there was no game in their path. There was plenty of antelope, but it was impossible to get near enough to shoot one. For three days the forlorn travelers had nothing to eat but a small duck and a few poor trout. After a time they succeeded in killing an antelope, and on this they lived for several days. The journal kept by Mr. Stuart says that on the 11th of October they encamped on a small stream near the foot of the Spanish River Mountain. Here they met with traces of McLellan, who appeared to be keeping in advance of the party. He had encamped the night before on this stream. At their next encampment, on one of the tributaries of the Spanish (Green) River they perceived a large smoke at some distance to the southwest. The sight was hailed with joy, as they thought it might be an Indian camp whence they could procure something to eat. Le Clerc was despatched to reconnoiter, and the travelers sat up late in the hopes that he would bring them good news, but he did not come and they went supperless to bed. Le Clerc returned in the morning to tell them that the smoke arose from the camp-fire of McLellan. He had found that eccentric individual in a worse condition than they were themselves. He had been ill, he reported, yet had kept pushing forward; but now his strength was exhausted and he could go no farther. The party went to him and found the poor fellow wasted to a perfect skeleton and so feeble that he could scarcely raise his head. The presence of his comrades seemed to revive him, but they had no food to offer, for they were starving themselves. They urged him to rise and accompany them, but he shook his head. It was all in vain, he said; there was no prospect of their getting speedy relief, and without it he should perish by the way; he might as well, therefore, stay and die where he was. At length, after much persuasion, they got him upon his legs; his rifle and other effects were shared among them, and he was cheered and aided forward. In this way they proceeded for seventeen miles, over a level plain of sand, until, seeing a few antelope in the distance, they encamped on the margin of a small stream. All that were now capable of exertion turned out to hunt for a meal. Their efforts were fruitless, and after dark they returned to their camp, famished almost to desperation.

As they were preparing for the third time to lay down to sleep without a mouthful to eat, Le Clerc, one of the Canadians, gaunt and wild with hunger, approached Mr. Stuart, with his gun in his hand. "It was all in vain," he said, "to attempt to proceed farther without food. They had a barren plain before them, three or four days' journey in extent, on which nothing was to be procured. They must all perish before they could get to the end of it. It was better, therefore, that one should die to save the rest." He proposed, therefore, that they should cast lots; adding as an inducement for Mr. Stuart to assent to the proposition, that he, as leader of the party, should be exempted. This incident shows to what extremity these wanderers in the desert had arrived. Even the strong nature of Robert Stuart was shocked almost beyond measure by the horrible proposition. He eonld suffer and if need be die in the desert, but he could not consent to prolong life in the way proposed. He tried to reason with the man, but it was useless. He used argument and spoke cheering words, but this had no effect; finally, he snatched up his rifle and threatened to shoot the man on the spot if he persisted in his inhuman argument. The famished wretch dropped on his knees, begged pardon in the most abject terms and solemnly promised never again to offend by such a suggestion. Again the tired and hungry wanderers went supperless to bed. At dawn of day they were on their way, as they realized that to linger was to perish. Nine miles farther on they ascended a range of hills, and two miles distant they came upon a run-down buffalo bull. The party stretched out along the plain in order to encompass the animal, as their lives depended on their success in killing him. A fortunate shot brought the monster down. The meat was at once cut up, but the poor wretches were unable to wait until a fire was built and the food prepared. Each seized a piece of the flesh and commenced to eat. After a while the remainder was carried to a small brook, where a fire was built and a broth made by Mr. Stuart, which he offered his companions, fearing they would eat to excess on the solid meat. Each took a portion of this broth and then waited until an ample supper was cooked. That night they adopted the Indian style of cooking and cramming, which was continued a greater part of the night, and next morning the feasting was resumed. They journeyed on, and on October 17th they passed two tributary streams of the Spanish (Green) River, close under the Wind River Mountains, which ranged along to the east. That day they saw buffalo and antelope but did not succeed in killing any. On the 18th, after crossing a mountain ridge and traversing a plain, they waded one of the branches of the Spanish River, and on ascending its bank met with about a hundred and thirty Snake Indians. They were friendly in their demeanor and conducted them to their encampment, which was about three miles distant. It consisted of about forty wigwams, constructed principally of pine branches. The Snakes, like most of their nation, were very poor; the meandering Crows, in their late excursion through the country, had picked this unlucky band to the very bone, carrying off their horses, several of their squaws and most of their effects. In spite of their poverty, they were hospitable in the extreme and made the hungry strangers welcome to their cabins. A few trinkets procured from them a supply of buffalo meat and of leather for moccasins, of which the party were greatly in need. The most valuable prize obtained from them, however, was a horse; it was a sorry old animal, in truth, after a fell swoop of the Crows, yet this they were prevailed upon to part with to their guests for a pistol, an ax, a knife, and a few other trifling articles.

On October 19th the party loaded their old horse with five days' provisions, consisting of buffalo meat. They proceeded along a branch of the Spanish (Green) River and soon striking a large Indian trail they kept on it to the southeast. This trail was well-beaten and ran in a proper direction, and they therefore determined to travel it as far as safety would permit. This highway led through valleys and high ridges, keeping a general direction to the southeast. That afternoon the two Canadians killed a young buffalo which was in good condition and afforded them a plentiful supply of fresh beef. The next morning they crossed the continental divide. Here they left the Indian trail, which changed its course, bearing to the northeast; they therefore left the trail, keeping on their course for eighteen miles, through a beautiful undulating country. In the evening they encamped on the banks of a small stream in the open prairie. The next day (October 21st) they set forward, keeping to the northeast, toward the lofty summit of a mountain which it was necessary for them to cross, and having traveled fifteen miles, they camped at the base of the mountain and the next day crossed it. Mr. Stuart's journal says that when they arrived at the opposite side of the mountain they found a rill of water oozing out of the earth, and resembling in look and taste the water of the Missouri. The next day they came upon a stream running to the east between two hills of bluish earth, strongly impregnated with copperas. Mr. Stewart was of the opinion that this stream was one of the tributaries of the Missouri and he determined to follow it, which he did for twenty-six miles, when he reached the top of a high hill, from which he could see the vast plain beyond, through which wandered the same stream, in a southeast direction, and he finally made up his mind that it could not be one of the sources of the Missouri; he therefore took an easterly direction toward a high mountain sixty miles away. For two days they kept on toward this mountain.

On the 26th of October they steered east, northeast, for a wooded ravine in a mountain, at a small distance from the base of which, to their great joy, they discovered an abundant stream running between willow banks. Here they halted for the night, and Ben Jones luckily trapped a beaver, and killed two buffalo bulls. They remained in camp all the next day, feasting and reposing and allowing their jaded horse to rest. This stream was the Sweetwater, but it had not yet been named. The journal of Mr. Stuart says: "Pursuing the course of this stream for about twenty miles, they came to where it forced a passage through a range of high hills covered with cedars, into an extensive low country, affording an excellent pasture to numerous herds of buffalo." Here they killed three cows, which were the first they had been able to get, having hitherto had to content themselves with bull beef, which at this season of the year is very poor. The hump meat afforded them a repast fit for an epicure. It will be discovered that the travelers had made a wide circuit to the south and crossed the continental divide many miles south of the headwaters of the Sweetwater. Had they kept the Indian trail to the Sweetwater they would have saved themselves many wearisome miles.

"Late on the afternoon of the 30th they came to where the stream, now to a considerable size, poured along in a ravine between precipices of red stone, two hundred feet in height. For a distance it dashed along, over huge masses of rock, with foaming violence, as if exasperated by being compressed in so narrow a channel, and at length leaped down a chasm that looked dark and frightful in the gathering twilight."

They had now reached the North Platte, but having crossed the point of land on the north side of the Sweetwater, were not aware that they had come upon another stream. The crossing from the Sweetwater to the Platte is now considerably north of the place where Stuart and his party came over. The northern road is comparatively smooth, there being no steep hills to climb.

"For a part of the next day the wild river, in its capricious wanderings, led them through a variety of striking scenes. At one time they were upon high plains, like platforms among the mountains, with herds of buffaloes roaming about them; at another, among rude, rocky defiles, broken into cliffs and precipices, where the black-tailed deer bounded off among the crags, and the big-horn basked on the sunny brow of the precipice.

"In the after part of the day they came to .another scene, surpassing in savage grandeur those already described. They had been traveling for some distance through a pass of the mountains, keeping parallel with the river as it roared along, out of sight, through a deep ravine. Sometimes their devious path approached the margin of cliffs below which the river foamed and boiled and whirled among the masses of rock that had fallen into its channel. As they crept cautiously on, leading their solitary pack-horse along these giddy heights, they all at once came to where the river thundered down a succession of precipices, throwing up clouds of spray, and making a prodigious din and uproar. The travelers remained for a time, gazing with mingled awe and delight at this furious cataract, to which Mr. Stuart gave, from the color of the impending rocks, the name of The Fiery Narrows."

Their camp was made on the banks of the river below the cataract and the next morning they started on down the river, and as they went along they discussed their situation and their whereabouts. What stream they were on, they did not know. Some thought that it might be the Cheyenne, as it inclined somewhat to the north of east. They were certain that it was a tributary of the Missouri and that if they kept on they would reach home and friends. They talked over the probabilities of encountering the piratical Sioux, Crows and Cheyennes; then they weighed their chances of being able to continue their journey through the deep snows when they reached the open prairie country, which they surely would farther down the river, where fuel for camp fires would be out of the question. It was finally agreed that the best thing to do was to select winter quarters and go into camp as soon as possible. Robert Stuart says that they were brought the more promptly and unanimously to this decision by coming upon an excellent wintering place that promised everything requisite for their comfort. It was on a fine bend of the river, just below where it issued from among a ridge of mountains and bent toward the northeast. Here was a beautiful low point of land, covered by cottonwood and surrounded by a thick growth of willow, so as to yield both shelter and fuel, as well as materials for building. The river swept away in a strong current, about a hundred and fifty yards wide. To the southeast were mountains of moderate height, the nearest about two miles off, but the whole chain ranging to the east, south and west, as far as the eye could reach. Their summits were covered with extensive tracts of pitch pine, checkered with small patches of the quivering aspen. Lower down were thick forests of firs and red cedars, growing out in many places from the very fissures of the rocks. The mountains were broken and precipitous, with huge bluffs protruding from among the forests. Their rocky recesses and beetling cliffs afforded retreats for innumerable flocks of the big-horn, while their woody summits and ravines abounded with bears and black-tailed deer. These, with the numerous herds of buffalo on the lower grounds along the river, provided the travelers abundant cheer in their winter quarters.

Those who are familiar with the country along the North Platte below the Sweetwater will recognize this winter camp of Robert Stuart's party. The bend of the river spoken of is where Bessemer is now located. The mountain across the river is Caspar Mountain, and the little brook, where Ben Jones and his party collected their meat, is the lower Poison Spider Creek.

"On the 2nd of November, therefore, they pitched their camp for the winter on the woody point, and their first thought was to obtain a supply of provisions. Ben Jones and the two Canadians accordingly sallied forth, accompanied by two others of the party, leaving but one to watch the camp. Their hunting was uncommonly successful. In the course of two days they killed thirty-two buffaloes and collected their meat, on the margin of a small brook, about a mile distant. Fortunately, a severe frost froze the river, so that the meat was easily transported to the encampment. On a succeeding day, a herd of buffalo came tramping through the woody bottom on the river banks, and fifteen more were killed. It was soon discovered, however, that there was game of a more dangerous nature in the neighborhood. On one occasion Mr. Crooks had wandered about a mile from the camp and had ascended a small hill commanding a view of the river. He was without his rifle, a rare circumstance, for in these wild regions, where one may put up a wild animal or a wild Indian at any turn, it is customary never to stir from the campflre unarmed. The hill where he stood overlooked the place where the massacre of the buffalo had taken place. As he was looking round on the prospect, his eye was caught by an object below, moving directly toward him. To his dismay, he discovered it to be a grizzly bear with two cubs. There was no tree at hand into which he could climb; to run would only be to provoke pursuit, and he would soon be overtaken. He threw himself on the ground, therefore, and lay motionless, watching the movements of the animal with intense anxiety. It continued to advance until at the foot of the hill, when it turned and made into the woods, having probably gorged itself with buffalo flesh. Mr. Crooks made all haste back to the camp, rejoicing at his escape and determining never to stir out again without his rifle. A few days after this circumstance a grizzly bear was shot in the neighborhood by Mr. Miller.

"As the slaughter of so many buffaloes had provided the party with beef for the winter, in case they met with no further supply, they now set to work, heart and hand, to build a comfortable wigwam. In a little while the woody promontory rang with the unwonted sound of the ax. Some of its lofty trees were laid low, and by the second evening the cabin was complete. It was eight feet wide and eighteen feet long. The walls were six feet high and the whole was covered with buffalo skins. The fire-place was in the center and the smoke found its way out through a hole in the roof.

"The hunters were next sent out to procure deer-skins for garments, moccasins and other purposes. They made the mountains echo with their rifles, and in the course of two days' hunting killed twenty-eight big-horns and blacktailed deer.

"The party now reveled in abundance. After all that they had suffered from hunger, cold, fatigue and watchfulness; after all their perils from treacherous and savage men, they exulted in the snugness and security of their isolated cabin, hidden, as they thought, even from the prying eyes of Indian scouts, and stored with creature comforts; and they looked forward to a winter of peace and quietness; of roasting, and boiling, and broiling, and feasting upon venison, and mountain mutton, and bear's meat, and marrow bones, and buffalo humps, and other hunters' dainties, and of dozing and reposing around their fire and gossiping over past dangers and adventures, and telling long hunting stories, until spring should return, when they would make canoes of buffalo skins and float themselves down the river.

"From such halcyon dreams they were startled one morning at daybreak by a savage yell. They started up and seized their rifles. The yell was repeated by two or three voices. Cautiously peeping out they beheld, to their dismay, several Indian warriors among the trees, all armed and painted in warlike style, being evidently bent on some hostile purpose.

"Miller changed countenance as he regarded them. 'We are in trouble,' said he. 'These are some of the rascally Arapahoes that robbed me last year.' Not a word was uttered by the rest of the party, but they silently slung their powder horns and ball pouches and perpared for battle. McLellan, who had taken his gun to pieces the evening before, put it together in all haste. He proposed that they should break out the clay from between the logs, so as to be able to fire upon the enemy. 'Not yet,' replied Stuart; 'it will not do to show fear or distrust. We must first hold a parley. Someone must go out and meet them as a friend.'

"Who was to undertake the task? It was full of peril, as the envoy might be shot down at the threshold.

" 'The leader of a party,' said Miller, 'always takes the advance.'

" 'Good!' replied Stuart. 'I am ready.' He immediately went forth, one of the Canadians following him. The rest of the party remained in the garrison to keep the savages in check.

"Stuart advanced, holding his rifle in one hand and extending the other to the savage that appeared to be the chief. The latter stepped forward and took it; his men followed his example and all shook hands with Stuart in token of friendship. They now explained their errand. They were a war party of Arapahoe braves; their village lay on the stream several days' journey to the eastward. It had been attacked and ravaged during their absence by a band of Crows, who had carried off several of their women and most of their horses. For sixteen days they had been tracking the Crows about the mountains, but had not yet come upon them. In the meantime they had met with scarcely any game and were half famished. About two days previously they had heard the report of firearms among the mountains, and on searching in the direction of the sound had come to a place where a deer had been killed. They had immediately put themselves upon the track of the hunters, and by following it up had arrived at the cabin."

Making a virtue of necessity, the chief and sub-chief were politely invited to enter the cabin, but Mr. Stuart and his associates by motions indicated to the chief that the balance of his party must remain on the outside. Upon reaching the inside of the hut, the chief glanced with satisfaction at the rafters, which were laden with the choicest cuts of buffalo, elk and deer meat. The two savages were invited to partake of the hospitality of the wayfarers and large quantities of meat were also passed out to the twenty-three savages who were awaiting their chief. Then commenced a scene of gormandizing so well known to all who are ac quainted with the Indian character. They ate all day with slight intermissions and continued their feast way into the night. Mr. Stuart intended to feed them to stupefaction, and in this he succeeded admirably. The two chiefs gorged themselves, not unlike anacondas, became stupid and unable to do the travelers harm even had they so desired. The chief, under the good treatment, became exceedingly friendly and boasted of the scalps they would take from the Crows when they should overtake them, and asked Mr. Stuart for a small supply of powder, promising to pay munificently out of the spoils of victory, saying that they were poor now and on foot, but when they returned in two weeks they would be riding horses and would provide the white men each with a horse to prevent them from being tired on their journey. The reply to this proposition was that when they brought the horses they should have the ammunition, but not before. The Indian is a good judge of human nature and understands the signs indicated by the tone and expression of the face, and seeing Mr. Stuart's attitude realized that it would be useless to continue further negotiations and dismissed the subject with a good-humored laugh. The unwelcome visitors remained until 10 o'clock of the next day and went away laden with the winter stores of the Astorians, sufficient to last them a week.

As soon as the vagabond band was out of sight the little party held a council and determined to move, and thus take no chances of the savages returning.

It was the 13th of December when they left their comfortable winter camp where they had enjoyed the sweetest repose for five short weeks. They passed down the north side of the Platte and within twenty miles came opposite to where Casper now stands. The snow was deep and a crust had formed on the surface, but they hurried along and by the time they reached the locality where the city of Douglas now cheers the traveler, their feet had become sore by coming in contact with the hard crust which had formed on the snow and through which they broke at every step. Soon the whole party became dispirited and the opinion was held by the majority that they might better have ,remained in their comfortable camp and run the risk of being killed by Indians than to drag on thus painfully with a probability of perishing by the way. Their poor old horse was loaded down with meat, but they had nothing wherewith to feed him except willow twigs and cottonwood bark. The leade^ of the party cheered them on, assuring them that they were constantly shortening the distance to that point on the river where it would be navigable for canoes. They passed cottonwood groves and at last reached a place where the river ran between rocky hills and promontories covered with cedar and pitch pines, and peopled as they said with big-horn sheep and deer. This was the Platte River Canon. They kept on and finally passed the point where twenty-two years later Captain William Sublette and Robert Campbell built their trading post, which was to become the historic Fort Laramie.

If Robert Stuart could have looked forward and realized that he was blazing the way for a new road across the continent,and that thirty-one years later Marcus Whitman was to pass over it with a train of a thousand people, it would have cheered him in his lonely wanderings. But notwithstanding his lack of knowledge of the future, he will ever be known as the pioneer explorer of the Overland Trail. This journey across the continent surpassed all others In adventure, in heroism and in results. He it was who discovered a practical route across the mountains which possessed great advantages over every other.

After this digression, let us again proceed on the toilsome journey with these weary travelers. They pushed on, the weather became colder, and the swift current of the river was frozen over. The snow was now fifteen inches deep, and yet they pressed forward and soon came to where the face of the country was level and the timber had disappeared. They looked out over the great plain, where nothing but desolation met their eyes, and here they came to a halt, sensible of the fact that they could not safely pursue their journey farther east until the snow and rigors of winter were past, nor could they remain, where they were. It will be recognized that they were now in Nebraska. They retraced their steps seventy-seven miles and again went into winter quarters in a Cottonwood grove on the margin of the river, where the trees were large enough for canoes. Here again they erected a house, but before it was completed New Year's Day of 1813 came, and they ceased from their labors, resolved to make it a holiday. It was indeed a happy new year to them, for they saw that it was now simply a question of waiting until spring arrived. On the second day of January they went manfully to work again on their new house and in a few days completed it. Buffalo and other game was plentiful in the neighborhood and they soon had an abundance of provisions, and here they remained for the balance of the winter. During the time spent at this encampment they built canoes, intending to launch them early in the spring. By this time they were pretty well convinced that they were on the Platte River. The location of this camp was on the border of Wyoming, where the State of Nebraska joins. Some claim that the identical spot is Gering, and if so it would be just over the line in Nebraska.

In their second encampment they were not troubled with Indian visitors, and nothing occurred to mar their happiness. They built two canoes, and on the 8th of March placed them on the turbulent waters and departed from their encampment. Soon they encountered innumerable sand-bars and snags, and after vainly attempting to go forward with the canoes they were obliged to give them up and make their way on foot. They finally reached Grand Island and three days later met an Otto Indian. This friendly savage conducted them to his village, which was near, and there they met two Indian traders, white men, Dornin and Koi, who were direct from St. Louis. These men informed them of the war which was then going on between the United States and England. Mr. Dornin furnished them with a boat made of elkskin stretched over a pole frame. With this boat they entered on their journey down the Platte and soon reached the Missouri, and on the 30th of April they arrived at St. Louis and brought the first intelligence of Mr. Hunt's party, which had left St. Louis more than a year and a half before. Thus terminated one of the most remarkable expeditions that ever crossed the Rocky Mountains.*

To sum up the character of Robert Stuart, it can be said of him that he was resolute, absolutely void of fear, and yet withal endowed with great caution. He led his followers through a wilderness during the most inclement season of the year and in spite of fate or fortune preserved their lives and afterward safely delivered his dispatches to Mr. Astor, the promoter of the great enterprise of which he, himself, was a partner. Citizens of our state, as they study the map of Wyoming and follow his route, must not forget that his party were the first Americans to traverse the valley of the Sweetwater. It is a great oversight that this stream does not bear the name of Stuart. The members of this party were also the first explorers of the North Platte. The wanderings, sufferings and explorations of these men fsrever associates their names with the early history of our state.

The Stuart party were not the last Astorians to cross Wyoming. On the 4th of April, 1813, David Stuart, Donald McKenzie, Mr. Clark and such other Americans who had not entered into the service of the Northwest Fur Company left Astoria on their way across the Rocky Mountains. John

*Many people have tried to discover the trail of the Stuart party across Wyoming. Governor William A. Richards, who from his profession as a surveyor has become familiar with the topography of the country, says that the Stuart party entered Wyoming through the Teton Pass, crossed Snake River somewhere near the mouth of the Hoback, proceeded up that stream to its head and went down Lead Creek to Green River; continued down Green River a short distance, then took a southeasterly course, crossing two branches of New Fork and some other minor streams, then the Big Sandy and some of its tributaries : crossed the Continental Divide in the vicinity of the South Pass, then crossed the streams forming the headwaters of the Sweetwater, traveling in a northeasterly direction. They left the valley of the Sweetwater, thinking it ran south, and continuing northeast ascended the Beaver Divide. From this elevation, seeing the western end of the Rattlesnake Range, they shaped their course toward it, going nearly east, passing across the Muskrat country, where the party suffered greatly for want of water. Reaching the Rattlesnake Range, they went down a small stream to the Sweetwater, which they followed east. They failed to notice its junction with the North Platte, but continued down that stream through the canon and made their first winter camp just below where the river emerges from the canon, probably two or three miles below Bessemer and near where Fort Caspar was subsequently located. Leaving this camp through fear of Indians, they proceeded down the North Platte, making their second winter camp in Nebraska.

Hoback, Pierre Dorion, Pierre Delaunay, the veteran Kentuckians, Robinson and Rezner, all perished in the wilderness. Those who returned reached civilization at different periods and told their stories of the fate of the great expeditions that went by sea and land to establish a trading post at the mouth of the Columbia.



Trapping On The Yellowstone, Big Horn, Big Wind And Other Sources Of The Missouri - Names The Sweetwater And Changes The Name Spanish River To Green River - Employs Over 300 Trappers - His Expedition To Salt Lake - Marvelous Success As A Fur Trader - Makes A Fortune And Sells Out To Sublette, Campbell, Bridger And Others - His Speech To The Mountain Men - Changes The Character Of The Trapper By Mounting Him On Horseback - A Life-long Personal Friend Of Every Trapper Who Shared With Him The Dangers Of The Mountains - Author's Tribute To The American Trapper.

After the expedition of Lewis and Clark, the fur trade was greatly stimulated among Americans. Not only did rich men, like John Jacob Astor, send out expeditions, but men with small capital made excursions up the Missouri, entered the mountain country and pursued the perilous task of fur trapping. St. Louis at that time was a frontier town and it became the outfitting point of the fur trade. There was a motley population of French and Indian half-breeds, and Spaniards with Indian blood, and other mixed races. Manuel Lisa was the pioneer fur trader, and it was to his enterprise that St. Louis was indebted for turning the trade in that channel. Lisa was born in Spain but came to this -country at an early age and on his arrival at St. Louis from New Orleans, he early became known as a bold partisan and at the same time as a man possessed of good business qualifications. He had made money in merchandising and was reputed wealthy. There had grown up Spanish and French establishments in New Orleans, and these had established branches from time to time in the new city of St. Louis. The Frenchmen and Spaniards had worked together, consequently when Lisa determined to organize a fur company he readily got the assistance of both the Spanish and French merchants. He induced eleven of the leading business men of St. Louis to join him in fur trapping and trading with a view of controlling the Indian trade and fur business on the upper branches of the Missouri. Among these were Pierre Chouteau, Sr., William Clark, Sylvester Labadie, Pierre Menard and Auguste P. Chouteau. These gentlemen organized the Missouri Fur Company, with a paid-up capital of $40,000. Lisa was the leading partner in the company and had charge of all the expeditions sent into the widerness. He recruited trappers and voyageurs, the former of Kentucky and Tennessee and the latter half-breed French and Spanish who had been boatmen along the Ohio and Mississippi. The Kentucky and Tennessee hunters readily took to trapping. They were unerring shots with the rifle and therefore had little fear of the wild Indians. The Missouri Fur Company sent its first expedition up the Missouri about the time Lewis and Clark returned from the Columbia, and by the time the season of 1808 arrived they had two hundred and fifty men in their employ and several trading posfs in successful operation in the mountain country. Lisa's principal lieutenant was an Alexander Henry, who built several of these posts and in 1810 established a post on Henry's Fork of the Snake River, called Post Henry. This latter was found to be too far in the wilderness and was abandoned a year after it was established. It will be remembered that Mr. Hunt and his party visited Post Henry on October 8,1811 and found it deserted.

I will here mention that Alexander Henry, on leaving the employ of the Missouri Fur Company in 1812, engaged with the Northwest Company and some years later was on the Columbia River. The Missouri Fur Company was very successful for a few years, having enjoyed a fair share of the fur trade on the headwaters of the Missouri. It would have been more profitable had not the Northwest Fur Company, with their usual enterprise and English audacity, pushed their operations into American territory. Lisa had one great advantage, and that was his ability to keep on friendly terms with the Indians. Come what would, he was always equal to the emergency. He seldom had difficulty with the natives, unless it was the Blackfeet. These were beyond the control of even the most sagacious trader since the unfortunate affair of Captain Lewis, who was obliged to kill one of that tribe.

From 1807 up to and including the period covered by the war of 1812 between England and the United States, a large number of trappers from the upper lake country transferred their enterprise to the headwaters of the Missouri. These formed minor associations, but the enterprise and capital of Lisa enabled him to overcome this opposition by engaging them to trap for the Missouri Fur Company. After the return of Ramsey Crooks in 1813, he became an active partisan in the service of Mr. Astor and assisted in the conduct of the affairs of the American Fur Company. With abundant capital, this great corporation occupied the territory from the great lakes west to the Rocky Mountains. Numerous posts were established in the country drained by the headwaters of the Mississippi, Missouri, Yellowstone and at other western points. This corporation a few years later had steamboats in its employ, and these carried merchandise to remote regions and brought away the furs. The Indian trade now included the skins of the beaver, otter, lynx, fox, raccoon; also the skins of the buffalo, Rocky Mountain sheep, deer and antelope. The steamboats of this company created no little wonder among the natives in the west and it is said that its passage up the rivers caused the inhabitants to rush in a fright from their villages and take refuge in the interior. The competition of the Northwest Fur Company and the American Fur Company was so ruinous to Mr. Lisa as to reduce his profits as well as the volume of his business. The Hudson Bay Company and the Northwest Company from 1815 to 1821 waged a ruinous war on each other, and the result was that both of these British corporations greatly reduced their gains. In the year last mentioned the two companies consolidated under the name of the Hudson Bay Company and this amalgamated corporation assumed to monopolize the business on the west side of the Rocky Mountains, and thus matters stood in 1822 when General William H. Ashley of St. Louis, a man of large business capacity, thought he saw an opportunity to successfully enter the fur trade. His plan was to make friends among the Indians and employ them to trap in his service. Early in the spring of 1822 he started with a select company of able men for the mountains. He went up the Missouri, established a trading post on the Yellowstone, and from that base of operations covered the country to a considerable distance to the south with his trappers, going up the Big Horn and its tributaries as far as the Wind River Valley; trapping on Big and Little Wind Rivers, Big Popo Agie, Little Popo Agie, North Fork and Beaver Creek. He returned to St. Louis late in the fall. The following^spring (1823) he started again for the mountains by way of the Platte River route, and on reaching the forks of that stream he detached a small party to go up the South Fork and proceeded himself with the main body up the North Fork and thence up the Sweetwater. This stream had not yet been named. The trappers found the water superior for drinking purposes and claimed that it left a pleasant taste in the mouth. General Ashley consequently named it Sweetwater, which name it bears today.*

In this party were several men who afterwards became famous in the Rocky Mountain country and whose names

*I have heard other traditions as to the name of this river. One is that a party of trappers m early times were going up its banks, having with them a mule loaded with sugar. The animal fell into the stream and his load dissolved in the water; hence the name Sweetwater. I have been told by old pioneers who lived with the Indians in early days that the red men claim the name Sweetwater is the English for the Indian appellation. My own opinion is that Ashley discovered the excellent quality of the water and gave the river its name, and my reasons for thinking so are that his men suffered greatly from drinking the alkali waters between the place of crossing and the Sweetwater. After they started up the Sweetwater they came to other streams that were unfit for drinking purposes. All these facts were noted by General Ashley. It must be admitted that he was an explorer as well as a fur trader.

are today closely associated with its early history. These were Robert Campbell, Jim Bridger, William Sublette, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Jim Beckwourth and Moses Harris. Ashley, Sublette and Campbell laid the foundation in the next few years for great fortunes. Ashley was of a cool, daring disposition and under his leadership his men became bold trappers and successful partisans. His company brought out in 1823 consisted of about forty men, and with these he attempted to cover a large territory. His plan of unification of the Indian tribes for the purpose of trade was only partially successful and he early sent back to St. Louis for more trappers. With his little band he pushed forward to Spanish River, the name of which he promptly changed to Green River, after one of his St. Louis partners. It has been claimed by several historians that the name of this river comes from the color of its waters; be that as it may, General Ashley named it.* Arriving on the banks of this river, he detached a party under the leadership of a man named Clements to go up Green River to its headwaters and trap on the main stream and its branches. There were seven men in the party, and among them Jim Beckwourth, a man named LeBrache and another named Baptiste. They were very successful in capturing beaver. These animals

*State Auditor W. O. Owen, when asked by the author what he thought was the origin of the name, said : "My own opinion is that the name was given to this stream from the intense and beautiful color of its water, and not, as many writers have claimed, from its verdant banks which afford such lively contrast with the desert country through which it runs for many miles. Now, while it is generally known that nearly all bodies of water, under certain conditions, will give forth a greenish hue, it must be understood that these conditions are not at all essential when viewing this particular stream; for the water of Green Kiver is intrinsically green. No matter under what conditions it may be viewed the water of this stream, at least as far as that portion of it above the Green River Lakes is concerned, will be found to possess this color. The water in the upper portion of the two forks is as intensely green as a June meadow and is by far the most conspicuous feature in the landscape of that locality. Its color is so deep and striking that i was led, two years ago while executing surveys for Government, to make a careful ana thorough examination of the matter, to ascertain if possible whence this brilliant green might come. My research resulted in a complete and certain solution of the problem. In various localities along the forks we found the banks of the streams composed ot" a mineral substance resembling soaps tone, and of a bright green color. Examination showed it to be extremely soft, wearing readily under slightest friction. I have seen banks of this material upwards of a hundred yards long, and the water, tearing along, possesses a grinding power sufficient to impregnate the entire stream with the coloring matter referred to, A peculiar feature of this coloring process lies in the fact that an excess of color may be imparted to the water without in the slightest degree affecting its limpidity. This would seem to indicate a transparency of the coloring matter itself when reduced to particles of infinite smallness. The large lake at the head of the northern fork of the river is said to be without a rival in point of color, and it is of an intense, bright green. Not merely green when viewed under certain illumination, but literally and actually green of its own nature. And near this lake the soapstone referred to above is to be found in abundance. I have colored a bucket of water by simply adding a small quantity of this material finely pulverized; and in the face of these experiments, and the facts above mentioned, which any one who cares to may verify, it is difficult indeed to refer the christening of this river to any other source than that of the transparent green of its water.**

were numerous on the headwaters of this river at that time, as they had never been trapped. The traps were set and every one secured a beaver, and besides those caught in this way they shot a great many with their rifles. As they proceeded up the river they came to a branch on the west side of the main stream, up which they saw a number of wild horses pasturing in the beautiful green meadows, and they promptly called it Horse Creek, a name which it still bears. I am aware that another origin is given for the name of this creek, which is to the effect that Edward Rose, in 1824, while acting as interpreter and guide for a large party of trappers under Jedediah Smith and Thomas Fitzpatrick, instigated the Crows to steal the horses of the party, and that this branch of Green River took its name from that incident.

On another branch of Green River, farther up, they were attacked by a party of sixteen Blackfeet and one of their number, LeBrache, was killed. The trappers then retreated down the river and two days later were met by another detachment from the post on the Yellowstone. The rendezvous was to be at the place which later became the ford on Green River, and this detachment of trappers from the north was on the way to that point. It was fortunate for Clements' party that they met with this reinforcement, as the Blackfeet were still following them.

At the rendezvous that season there was great rejoicing, as all the brigades had been uniformly successful and consequently a large number of beaver packs were sent to the market. The army of trappers was increased the next spring to over three hundred, and most of these reached the country- by way of the Platte River. General Ashley that year (1824) went with a party under his own immediate command down the Green River with a view to exploring new trapping ground to the south and west. The expedition proved to be one of great advantage financially, but its members underwent great privation, as they had a very dangerous passage down the river and suffered extremely, having taken little provisions with them, as they did not expect the canon to be of such length. They lost three guns and two boats when they passed over the rapids and were obliged to let their boats down with ropes when they came to the most dangerous places. Soon their provisions gave out and the beaver grew scarce until there was none to be seen. As it was impossible either to retrace their steps or to ascend the high cliffs on each side of them, their only choice was to go ahead. They passed six days without tasting food and the men were weak and disheartened. General Ashley listened to all their murmurings and heart-rending complaints. They often spoke of home and friends, declaring they would never see them more. Some spoke of wives and children whom they dearly loved and who must become widows and orphans. They had toiled, they said, through every difficulty; had risked their lives among wild beasts and hostile Indians in the wilderness. This they were willing to undergo, but they could not bear up against actual starvation.

The general encouraged them to the best of his power, telling them that he bore an equal part in all their sufferings; that he was toiling for those he loved and whom he yet expected to see again. He said they should endeavor to keep up their courage and not add despondency to the rest of their misfortunes.

One more night was passed amid the barren rocks and the next morning some of the party proposed that the company cast lots to see which one should be sacrificed to afford food for the others, without which they would inevitably perish. General Ashley was horrified and begged them to wait at least one more day and in the meantime go as far as they could. By doing so, he said, they must come to a break in the canon through which they could escape. They consented and moved down the river as fast as the current would carry them, and to their joy found a break and in it a camp of trappers. They all rejoiced now that they had not carried their fearful proposition into effect. They had fallen in good hands and slowly recruited themselves with the party, which was in charge of one Provo, with whom General Ashley was well acquainted. By his advice, they left the river and proceeded in a northwesterly direction, Provo accompanying them, supplying them with horses and provisions. They remained with his party until they reached the Great Salt Lake. Here they fell in with a large company of trappers, composed of Canadians and Iroquois Indians, under the command of Peter Ogden, who was in the service of the Northwest Fur Company. With this party Ashley made a good bargain, purchasing all their peltries at reasonable prices. The furs were to be paid for at the rendezvous at Green River and the contract was that Ogden was to take in exchange merchandise of which General Ashley had an abundance. During this same season Fitzpatrick and Bridger, with a detachment of thirty trappers, went up the Snake Biver and trapped in all the tributary streams of that locality. Bridger, with a small party, followed the Snake river to its very source and wandered around for some time in what is now known as the Yellowstone National Park, and he evidently became fascinated with the wonders of that country. He talked with many persons about it, but as in Colter's case, his stories were laughed at by the trappers. The next year he happened to be at the trading post of the American Fur Company on the Yellowstone and there met a young Kentuckian, Robert Meldrum, who came out to be employed as blacksmith at that post. He was a good workman, but he soon imbibed the love of adventure and went out as a trapper. During Bridgets visit to'the post he told Meldrum what he had seen the year before, and that young man was fired with an ambition to go into that country. He soon after joined the Crows, and it was while living with these people that he found an opportunity to investigate the wonders around Yellowstone Lake. In later years he often talked with army officers and others about the geysers, and for a wonder his stories were believed.

General Ashley sold out his interests in the mountains to Captain William Sublette, Robert Campbell, James Bridger and others and retired from business, as he had accumulated a fortune. Sublette was at the head of the new company. Fitzpatrick was retained by the Captain and his operations for the next few years covered a large part of the northern Rocky Mountain country.

After the sale of his interest, General Ashley visited his trappers in the mountains for the last time and while at the rendezvous the Blackfeet attacked a village of Snake Indians, near the camp. The trappers, headed by Captain Sublette, went to the assistance of the Snakes and with right good will lent their aid to their Indian allies. Over 300 trappers mounted their horses, wheeled into line and swept down upon the Indians, and 173 of the Blackfeet were slain. The trappers had in this engagement eight men wounded, but none were killed.

General Ashley returned to St. Louis with two hundred packs of beaver, worth at that time about $1,000 a pack. Mountain men for many years talked about General Ashley's farewell speech to his trappers, and the following is reported to be what he said:

"Mountaineers and friends: When I first came to the mountains, I came a poor man. You, by your indefatigable exertions, toils and privations, have procured me an independent fortune. With ordinary prudence in the management of what I have accumulated, I shall never want for anything. For this, my friends, I feel myself under great obligations to you. Many of you have served me personally, and I shall always be proud to testify to the fidelity with which you have stood by me through all danger, and the friendly and brotherly feeling which you have ever, one and all, evinced toward me. For these faithful and devoted services I wish you to accept my thanks. The gratitude that I express to you springs from my heart, and will ever retain a lively hold on my feelings. My friends, I am now about to leave you, to take up my abode in St. Louis. Whenever any of yon return thither, your first duty must be to call at my house, to talk over the scenes of peril we have encountered, and partake of the best cheer my table can afford yon. I now wash my hands of the toils of the Rocky Mountains. Farewell, mountaineers and friends! Mav God bless vou all."

General Ashley, by his strong personality, completely revolutionized the methods of trapping. From the infancy of the business in the Canadas and the rivers and lakes in the Northwest, the trapper had journeyed in canoes. Ashley mounted his men on horseback and he employed none but expert riders and those who could handle a rille with deadly effect. Every man was expected to defend himself against Indians while he looked after his traps. This placing of the trapper on horseback completely changed the white man as it had done the Indian before him. These trappers soon became as expert in horsemanship as the redman, and being better armed, the Indian was no match for him, yet in spite of his advantage over the red man, the latter soon found means to wage a war almost to extermination on the trappers. The savages learned to know the routes as well as the resorts of the white men on horseback, and they made war by waylaying them on their journey. They hovered about their camps and made life with them a perpetual warfare. This in time resulted in greatly decimating the ranks of the trappers. It is reported that three-fifths of all the men who served under Ashley, Sublette, Campbell, Bridger and Fitzpatrick were killed by Indians and the most of them were cut off while examining their traps, and yet the fascination of a mountain life kept the ranks recruited and the businss of fur trapping up to the full standard until the streams were depleted of fur-bearing animals.

To tell the story of General Ashley and his men while in the mountains would require numerous Volumes. I have simply sketched some of the leading events in the life of this wonderful man, whose favorite trapping and trading grounds in the west were in Wyoming.

The American trappers and traders of Ashley and his followers had much to do with the early history of Wyoming. These intrepid men laid the foundation upon which was built in after years a magnificent civilization. I regret exceedingly that so many of the brave men who followed these renowned leaders are unknown today. The names of a few of the many I have been able to rescue from oblivion, but the great army, the advance guard of civilization, the heroes who risked and often lost their lives in the mountains—even their names are forgotten. In these pages I shall present and give an account of various trapping and trading expeditions within the borders of what is now Wyoming, which I have been enabled to gather from many sources. They are all a part of our history and the story of their achievements and their sufferings rightfully belongs in these pages side by side with other heroes who completed the work of planting civilization in these mountains and on these plains. It might be claimed, and perhaps truly, that it was the "accursed thirst for gold" that induced these men to brave the dangers of a rigorous climate, the wild men of the mountains, hunger and thirst, but after all it was the beginning of all that came after. In all ages of the world gold has been the ambition of the race, and to secure it men have been willing to suffer every hardship, endure every privation and encounter every danger. The American trapper followed an occupation fraught with great peril, and hundreds of these brave men met death along the many streams throughout our borders. Death stared them in the face every hour in the day and often at night, and yet they went forward with a splendid courage worthy of their citizenship. They crossed every mountain, traversed every valley, and it was largely through the reports of those trappers that our rich valleys and grand resources were made known. If these men fell by the wayside, their bones were left to bleach where they died. Few of them were even honored by having their names given to either mountain or stream, but in spite of neglect they were heroes, every one.

General William H. Ashley was born in Virginia and moved to Missouri while it was still called Upper Louisiana. When the state was organized he was elected Lieutenant Governor and was made Brigadier-General of militia. He lived to a good old age and at his residence in St. Louis he always made his mountain associates welcome.



Capt. William Sublette Succeeds Gen. Ashley - He Organizes The Rocky Mountain Fur Company With Jedediah S. Smith, David E. Jackson And Others As Partners - Brilliant Campaigns Planned And Carried Out - Names Jackson's Hole And Lake - Introduces Wagons Into The Service In Wyoming - Capt. Nathaniel J. Wyeth - Battle Of Pierre's Hole - Death Of Vanderburg -Bridger's Affair With The Chief Of The Blackfeet - Success Attends The Fur Trade.

It has been explained that General Ashley sold out his interests in the Rocky Mountain trapping and trading enterprise in the year 1826. His was not an incorporated company, and yet he had a number of partners, wealthy men of St. Louis, among which were Warndorf, Tracy, Campbell, Green, Biddle and some three or four others. General Ashley on his last trip to the rendezvous at Green River brought out from St. Louis with him a large amount of supplies, which were turned over to Captain Sublette and made a part of the deal. Jedediah S. Smith was the real promoter of the new company, for he it was who had talked the matter of the purchase over with not only Sublette but with General Ashley, and yet at the time the deal was consummated he was off on a trapping expedition and had not been heard from for nearly a year, but Sublette did not hesitate to act for his absent partner. The Rocky Mountain Fur Company had been organized during the previous winter, in anticipation of the purchase of the Ashley interest. The three men who held a majority of the stock in the new company were David E. Jackson, Captain William Sublette and Jedediah S. Smith. There were other partners holding small interests, the largest of which was Robert Campbell's.

Captain Sublette, finding himself at the head of a powerful organization and in a position suited to his tastes, did not hesitate to act promptly. With his great dash, executive ability and fearless daring, he entered upon a campaign which was to be more extensive than any which had preceded it. He organized his force into thirty brigades and appointed the next rendezvous to be on Wind River near the mouth of the Popo Agie. Robert Campbell was one of his ablest leaders, and Thomas Fitzpatrick was next trusty lieutenant; then came Moses Harris, Jim Bridger and Jim Beckwourth. The latter was regarded as a brave young man, but reckless. He took great pleasure in scalping an Indian and would often neglect the trapping part of the service to indulge in this sort of luxury. This season they trapped in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and far north into Montana. Upon the whole the campaign was a very successful one. The Snakes, Crows, Flatheads, Sioux and several other tribes brought in a large number of peltries which added to the general stock and made the shipment of furs that year very large.

The year 1827 was marked with still more activity. Sublette that season had under his command 400 trappers. He brought into the country a large amount of merchandise which he managed to dispose of at remunerative prices by operating on a grand scale in a large territory. A number of outside Indian tribes, for the sake of getting goods, showed a disposition to be friendly. These brought in furs and exchanged them for commodities of which they were in need. The Indians seemed to awake to a consciousness of the power of merchandise. They realized that furs would procure for their use many luxuries as well as necessities. The rendezvous this season was at Horse Creek, on Green River, and here assembled the largest gathering of Indians that had so far been known in the history of the fur trade. After the goods had been distributed, Sublette went to St. Louis to organize the campaign for 1828, but his able lieutenants, in his absence, pushed both trapping and trading. They penetrated far into the recesses of the mountains and made a good showing in peltries for the year.

In the springs of 1828 Captain Sublette made a rapid movement toward the mountains, bringing with him the usual amount of merchandise. After the rendezvous, he accompanied Bridger up Snake River and for the first time beheld the beautiful valley and lake over which the Grand Tetons stand as sentinels. He named both the valley and the lake after his partner, David E. Jackson, and thus we have on the map of Wyoming Jackson's Hole and Jackson's Lake.

The following season the rendezvous was at the mouth of the Popo Agie and the gathering was a large one. Captain Sublette brought out that year fourteen wagons loaded with merchandise. The wagons were drawn by mules and the load for each vehicle was 1,800 pounds. This mode of hauling goods into the mountains produced a decided sensation among the trappers, and the Indians looked upon the long train as something quite beyond their comprehension.

Here we have the first wagons brought into Wyoming. They followed the North Platte and the Sweetwater but did not cross the continental divide; yet they proved that vehicles could go as far west as the Wind River Valley. These were loaded with peltries and returned to St. Louis, making a successful trip. There were stormy times that season with the Blackfeet. These marauders that autumn managed to cut off a number of small parties of trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. Robert Campbell, with thirty-one men, had a desperate fight with the Blackfeet at the junction of Guy's Fork and Salt River and succeeded in killing a large number of them without sustaining any great injury. Jim Bridger, during this same season, at the head of about two hundred trappers, attacked a large force forty miles west of the Green River crossing, and after a pitched battle the Indians were defeated. Fitzpatrick that same year had a number of Indian difficulties and lost some of his men. The Indian situation had become, upon the whole, very annoying and while at the rendezvous that year Captain Sublette gave it as his opinion that the time had come to declare a war of extermination against all troublesome Indians, and for the purpose of waging such a war successfully, he went to St. Louis to recruit for his service one hundred Kentucky riflemen. These were brought the next year and they had abundant opportunity during 1830 to display their marksmanship. The trapping brigades were increased in size and strict watch was kept upon the movements of all suspicious Indians. The Blackfeet, Sioux, Cheyennes and some of the more western tribes were placed upon the list as Indians who were not to be trusted. That year the Crows, while they did not make open war, gave more or less trouble. They would watch Campbell's men set their traps along Powder River and its tributaries and then go and steal them. At last two trappers were killed, and this brought the climax. The Crows had been in the habit of visiting Campbell's camp, and when they were told of the trap stealing that was going on they charged it to the Cheyennes, who they said were in the country north of the Powder River. When the trappers were killed they charged these murders to the same tribe. Jim Bridger, who was present, gave it as his opinion that the Crows were not only the thieves but the murderers, and he was in favor of bringing swift retribution to that tribe. Campbell was evidently of the same opinion as Bridger, but he did not care to act hastily, as the Crows were numerous. He preferred not to bring on an open war, so he sent for a number of the chiefs and told them that some of his men felt certain that the Crow Indians were responsible for all the troubles and that while he was not altogether satisfied he feared that his men would kill every Indian they saw prowling around, no matter whether they were Crows or Cheyennes. This he said would be very bad, for the long guns of the trappers would shoot a great distance. He hoped that the chiefs would assist him in keeping the peace, which could only be done by preventing the stealing of traps and the killing of trappers.

The chiefs said they were absolutely certain that the Crows had not done the mischief, and they were equally certain that the Cheyennes were the guilty parties. They proposed to protect the trappers against these bad Indians and to this end they would send out scouting parties, locate the Cheyennes and then with sufficient force drive them from the country. After that Campbell's trappers suffered no more from Indian depredations. The incidents of that summer are too numerous to even mention. Every band of trappers had their story of adventure to relate at the rendezvous. The American Fur Company, of which Mr. Astor was the head, had established a post on the Yellowstone and had distributed many trappers up the various streams, reaching even the southern borders of Wyoming. With these Sublette made common cause against the Indians and for a time held the marauding bands in check, and thus the fall of 1830 passed.

The two companies were represented in the mountains by what were called resident partners. Fitzpatrick and Bridger were the partners of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and in consequence of their position remained in the mountains the year round, and Vanderburgh and Dripps were the resident partners of the American Fur Company. Fontenelle was also a leader of this company.

The rendezvous in 1831 was at Pierre's Hole* for both the American Fur Company and the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. The Indians were not disposed to be entirely peaceable, but the year passed by without any serious encounter. To the practiced eye of William Sublette, and also Robert Campbell, there was trouble ahead; but as they were prepared to meet it, were content to await results. Sublette and Campbell spent the winter of 1831-32 in St. Louis and returned to the mountains in the early spring.

The year 1832 was one of great activity in Wyoming among the fur traders and trappers. Several hundred men were engaged in this calling along our various streams. Captain Bonneville came that season with his 110 men. The American Fur Company gave employment to fully as many more within our borders. The Rocky Mountain Fur Company

*The name "Pierre's Hole" is derived from an incident that occurred in the early part of the century. A party of Iroquois hunters in the employ of the Hudson Bay Company wandered into that locality and were there attacked by a fierce band of Blackfeet. Many were trilled on both sides and the chief of the Iroquois, Pierre, was among the slain. He was a noted man among the Indian tribes and a firm friend to the whites. In consequence of the death of this chieftain in this valley his name was given to the locality. It is now called Teton Basin.

kept about 150 men within the territory that ia now Wyoming, and in addition to these there were a dozen bands of free trappers numbering from fifteen to thirty men each. The competition was great, but when there were savages to fight they acted as brothers in one common cause. The various tribes who followed trapping added to the sum total of the men engaged in exterminating the fur-bearing animals.

The caravan of Captain Sublette and Robert Campbell started that year from Independence, Missouri. There were sixty men in the outfit, nearly all of them being recruits. As they were about ready to leave, a company from Boston, commanded by Nathaniel J. Wyeth, arrived, bound for the Columbia river. Captain Sublette's men were much amused at the sight of these "down-easters." They had heard of them before. The newspapers of St. Louis had given an account of the plans and purposes of the Wyeth expedition. They had started out of New England with twenty-two persons and with a vehicle that was only half vehicle; that is, it ran on wheels on the land, and when water was reached it was intended to be turned upside down and the top form a boat; but this half land and half water combination had been abandoned at St. Louis. Not one of Captain Wyeth's company had ever been west or had seen a wild Indian, and being city-bred were unaccustomed to the use of fire-arms, nor had they any experience in horsemanship. They were men of theory, not practice, but many of them were college graduates. Two of Mr. Wyeth's brothers, John and Jacob, were members of his company. I am particular to mention these New Englanders, as they are to be heard from in a few short weeks in Wyoming. Mr. Wyeth furnished the capital to fit out the expedition, and his purpose was to establish a post on the Columbia river and trade for salmon and furs. He made up in enterprise for what he lacked in experience, and like most educated New England men, soon "caught on" and found no difficulty in being of use to himself and others in the west. He possessed ability of a high order and his courage was soon to be tested in the wilds of Green River and Pierre's Hole. Captain Sublette evidently had great respect for this man from Boston and he invited him to go in convoy of his train, which was ready to depart for the annual rendezvous in Pierre's Hole. The combined party started out and pursued the now well worn route up the Platte. On the way west Captain Wyeth and his men picked up many ideas regarding conditions in the Rocky Mountains and they learned something of horsemanship and how to shoot buffalo and other wild animals, and what is equally important, they learned of the treacherous character of the wild tribes who infested the mountains.

Robert Campbell in 1835 gave Washington Irving an account of this trip and what befell the party when they reached the mountains, so I will use this story of Campbell, taking up the narrative after the cavalcade had come to the eastern border of Wyoming.

"In the course of their march, Mr. Fitzpatrick, the partner of the company who was resident at that time beyond the mountains, came down from the rendezvous at Pierre's Hole to meet them and hurry them forward. He traveled in company with them until they reached the Sweetwater; then taking a couple of horses, one for the saddle and the other as a pack-horse, he started off express for Pierre's Hole to make arrangements against their arrival, that he might commence his hunting campaign before the rival company. Fitzpatrick was a hardy and experienced mountaineer, and knew all the passes and defiles. As he was pursuing his lonely course up the Green River Valley, he descried several horsemen at a distance and came to a halt to reconnoitre. He supposed them to be some detachment from the rendezvous, or a party of friendly Indians. They perceived him, and setting up the war whoop dashed forward at full speed. He saw at once his mistake and his peril - they were Blackfeet. Springing on his fleetest horse and abandoning the other to the enemy, he made for the mountains and succeeded in escaping up one of the most dangerous defiles. Here he concealed himself until he thought the Indians had gone off, when he returned into the valley. He was again pursued, lost his remaining horse, and only escaped by scrambling up among the cliffs. For several days he remained lurking among rocks and precipices and almost famished, having but one remaining charge in his rifle, which he kept for self-defense.

"In the meantime, Sublette and Campbell, with their fellow-traveler, Wyeth, had pursued their march unmolested and arrived in the Green River Valley, totally unconscious that there was any lurking enemy on hand. They had encamped one night on the banks of a small stream which came down from the Wind River Mountains, when about midnight a band of Indians burst upon their camp, with horrible yells and whoops, and a discharge of guns and arrows. Happily no other harm was done than wounding one mule, and causing several horses to break loose from their pickets. The camp was instantly in arms; but the Indians retreated with yells of exultation, carrying off several of the horses under cover of the the night.

"This was somewhat of a disagreeable foretaste of mountain life to some of Wyeth's band, accustomed only to the regular and peaceful life of New England; nor was it altogether to the taste of Captain Sublette's men, who were chiefly Creoles and townsmen of St. Louis. They continued their march the next morning, keeping scouts ahead and upon their flanks, and arrived without further molestation at Pierre's Hole.

"The first inquiry of Captain Sublette on reaching the rendezvous was for Fitzpatrick. He had not arrived, nor had any intelligence been received respecting him. Great uneasiness was now entertained lest he should have fallen into the hands of the Blackfeet who had made the midnight attack upon the camp. It was a matter of general joy, therefore, when he made his appearance conducted by two Iroquois half-breed hunters. He had lurked for several days among the mountains until almost starved; at length he escaped the vigilance of his enemies in the night, and was so fortunate as to meet the two Iroquois hunters, who, being on horseback, conveyed him without difficulty to the rendezvous. He arrived there so emaciated that he could scarcely be recognized.

"The valley called Pierre's Hole is about thirty miles in length and fifteen in width, bounded to the west and south by low and broken ridges, and overlooked to the east by three lofty mountains called the three Tetons, which domineer as landmarks over a vast extent of country.

"A fine stream, fed by rivulets and mountain springs, pours through the valley towards the north, dividing it into nearly equal parts. The meadows on its borders are broad and extensive, covered with willow and cottonwood trees, so closely interlocked and matted together as to be nearly impassable.

"In this valley was collected the motley populace connected with the fur trade. Here the two rival companies had their encampments, with their retainers of all kinds; traders, trappers, hunters and half-breeds assembled from all quarters, awaiting their yearly supplies and their orders to start off in new directions. Here also the savage tribes connected with the trade, the Nez Perces or Chopunnish Indians, and Flatheads, had pitched their lodges beside the streams, and with their squaws awaited the distribution of goods and finery. There was, moreover, a band of fifteen free trappers, commanded by a gallant leader from Arkansas named Sinclare, who held their encampment a little apart from the rest. Such was the wild and heterogeneous assemblage, amounting to several hundred men, civilized and savage, distributed in tents and lodges in the several camps.

"The arrival of Captain Sublette with supplies put the Rocky Mountain Fur Company in full activity. The wares and merchandise were quickly opened and as quickly disposed of to Indians and trappers; the usual excitement and revelry took place, after which all hands began to disperse to their several destinations.

"On the 17th of July a small brigade of fourteen trappers, led by Milton Sublette, brother of the Captain, set out with the intention of proceeding to the southwest. They were accompanied by Sinclare and his fifteen free trappers; Wyeth, also, and his New England band of beaver hunters and salmon fishers, now dwindled down to eleven, took this opportunity to prosecute their cruise in the wilderness, accompanied with such experienced pilots. On the first day they proceeded about eight miles to the southeast and encamped for the night, still in the valley of Pierre's Hole. On the following morning, just as they were raising their camp, they observed a long line of people pouring down a defile of the mountains. They at first supposed they were Fontenelle and his party, whose arrival had been daily expected. Wyeth, however, reconnoitered them with a spy-glass and soon perceived they were Indians. They were divided into two parties, forming in the whole about one hundred and fifty persons, men, women and children. Some were on horseback, fantastically painted and arrayed, with scarlet blankets fluttering in the wind. The greater part, however, were on foot. They had perceived the trappers before they were themselves discovered, and came down yelling and whooping into the plain. On nearer approach they were ascertained to be Blackfeet. One of the trappers of Sublette's brigade, a half-breed named Antoine Godin, now mounted his horse and rode forth as if to hold a conference. He was the son of an Iroquois hunter who had been cruelly murdered by the Blackfeet at a small stream below the mountains, which still bears his name. In company with Antoine rode forth a Flathead Indian, whose once powerful tribe had been completely broken down in their wars with the Blackfeet. Both of them, therefore, cherished the most vengeful hostility against these marauders of the mountains. The Blackfeet came to a halt. One of the chiefs advanced singly and unarmed, bearing the pipe of peace. This overture was certainly pacific; but Antoine and the Flathead were predisposed to hostility, and pretended to consider it a treacherous movement.

" 'Is your piece charged?' said Antoine to his red companion.

" 'It is.'

" 'Then cock it and follow me.'

"They met the Blackfoot chief half way, who extended his hand in friendship. Antoine grasped it.

" 'Fire!' cried he.

"The Flathead leveled his piece and brought the Blackfoot to the ground. Antoine snatched off his scarlet blanket, which was richly ornamented, and galloped off with it as a trophy to the camp, the bullets of the enemy whistling after him. The Indians immediately threw themselves into the edge of a swamp, among willows and cottonwood trees, interwoven with vines. Here they began to fortify themselves; the women digging a trench and throwing up a breastwork of logs and branches, deep hid in the bosom of the wood, while the warriors skirmished at the edge to keep the trappers at bay.

"The latter took their position in a ravine in front, whence they kept up a scattering fire. As to Wyeth and his little band of 'down-easters,' they were perfectly astounded by this second specimen of life in the wilderness; the men being especially unused to bush-fighting and the use of rifles were at a loss how to proceed. Wyeth, however, acted as a skillful commander. He got all his horses into camp and secured them; then making a breastwork of his packs of goods, he charged his men to remain in garrison and not to stir out of their fort. For himself, he mingled with the other leaders, determined to take his share in the conflict. In the meantime an express had been sent off to the rendezvous for reinforcements. Captain Sublette and his associate, Campbell, were at their camp when the express came galloping across the plain, waving his cap and giving the alarm, 'Blackfeet! Blackfeet! a fight in the upper part of the valley! to arms! to arms!'

"The alarm was passed from camp to camp. It was a common cause. Every one turned out with horse and rifle. The Nez Perces and Flatheads joined. As fast as horseman could arm and mount he galloped off; the valley was soon alive with white men and red men at full speed.

"Sublette ordered his men to keep to the camp, being recruits from St. Louis and unused to Indian warfare. He and his friend Campbell prepared for action. Throwing off their coats, rolling up their sleeves and arming themselves with pistols and rifles, they mounted their horses and dashed forward among the first. As they rode along, they made their wills, in soldier-like style; each stating how his effects should be disposed of in case of his death, and appointing the other his executor.

"The Blackfeet warriors had supposed the brigade of Milton Sublette all the foes they had to deal with, and were astonished to behold the whole valley suddenly swarming with horsemen galloping to the field of action. They withdrew into their fort, which was completely hid from sight in the dark and tangled woods. Most of their women and children had retreated to the mountains. The trappers now sallied forth and approached the swamp, firing into the thickets at random; the Blackfeet had a better sight at their adversaries, who were in the open field, and a half-breed was wounded in the shoulder.

"When Captain Sublette arrived he urged to penetrate the swamp and storm the fort, but all hung back in awe of the dismal horrors of the place and the dangers of attacking such desperadoes in their savage den. The very Indian allies, though accustomed to bush-fighting, regarded it as' almost impenetrable and full of frightful danger. Sublette was not to be turned from Mb purpose, and offered to lead the way into the swamp. Campbell stepped forward to accompany him. Before entering the perilous wood, Sublette took his brothers aside and told them in case he fell, Campbell, who knew his will, was to be his executor. This done he grasped his rifle and pushed into the thicket, followed by Campbell. Sinclair, the partisan from Arkansas, was at the edge of the wood with his brother and a few of his men. Excited by the gallant example of the two friends, he pressed forward to share their dangers.

"The swamp was produced by the labors of the beaver, which by damming up a stream had inundated a portion of the valley. The place was all overgrown with woods and thickets, so closely matted and entangled that it was impossible to see ten paces ahead, and the three associates in peril had to crawl along one after another, making their way by putting the branches and vines aside, but doing it with caution, lest they should attract the eye of some lurking marksman. They took the lead by turns, each advancing about twenty yards at a time, and now and then hallooing to their men to follow. Some of the latter gradually entered the swamp and followed a little distance in their rear.

"They had now reached a more open part of the wood and caught glimpses of the rude fortress from between the trees. It was a mere breastwork, as we have said, of logs and branches, with blankets, buffalo robes and the leathern covers of lodges extended round the top as a screen. The movements of their leaders, as they groped their way, had been descried by the sharp-sighted enemy. As Sinclare, who was in the advance, was putting some branches aside, he was shot through the body. He fell on the spot. 'Take me to my brother,' he said to Campbell. The latter gave him in charge of some of the men, who conveyed him out of the swamp. Sublette now took the advance. As he was reconnoitering the fort he perceived an Indian peeping through an aperture. In an instant his rifle was leveled and discharged and the ball struck the savage in the eye. While he was reloading he called to Campbell and pointed out to him the hole. 'Watch that place,' said he, 'and you will soon have a fair chance for a shot.' Scarce had he uttered the words when a ball struck him in the shoulder and almost wheeled him around. His first thought was to take hold of his arm with his other hand and move it up and down. He ascertained, to his satisfaction, that the bone was not broken. The next moment he was so faint that he could not stand. Campbell took him in his arms and carried him out of the thicket. The same shot that struck Sublette wounded another man in the head.

"A brisk fire was now opened by the mountaineers from the wood, answered occasionally from the fort. Unluckily the trappers and their allies, in searching for the fort, had got scattered so that Wyeth and a number of Nez Perces approached the fort on the northwest side, while others did the same on the opposite quarter. A crossfire thus took place which occasionally did mischief to friends as well as foes. An Indian was snot down close to Wyeth by a ball which, he was convinced, had been sped from the rifle of a trapper on the other side of the fort.

"The number of whites and their Indian allies had by this time so increased by arrivals from the rendezvous that the Blackfeet were completely overmatched. They kept doggedly in their fort, however, making no otter of surrender. An occasional firing into the breastwork was kept up during the day. Now and then one of the Indian allies, in bravado, would rush up to the fort, fire over the ramparts, tear off a buffalo robe or a scarlet blanket, and return with it in triumph to his comrades. Most of the savage garrison that fell, however, were killed in the first part of the attack. At one time it was resolved to set fire to the fort, and the squaws belonging to the allies were employed to collect combustibles. This, however, was abandoned, the Nez Perces being unwilling to destroy the robes and blankets and other spoils of the enemy, which they felt sure would fall into their hands.

"The Indians when fighting are prone to taunt and revile each other. During one of the pauses of the battle the voice of the Blackfeet chief was heard.

"So long,' said he, 'as we had powder and ball we fought you in the open field; when those were spent, we retreated here to die with our women and children. You may burn us in our fort; but stay by our ashes and you who are so hungry for fighting will soon have enough. There are four hundred lodges of our brethren at hand. They will soon be here - their arms are strong - their hearts are big - they will avenge us!'

"This speech was translated two or three times by Nez Perces and Creole interpreters. By the time it was rendered into English, the chief was made to say that four hundred lodges of his tribe were attacking the encampment at the other end of the valley. Everyone now was for hurrying to the defense of the rendezvous. A party was left to keep watch upon the fort; the rest galloped off to the camp. As night came on the trappers drew out of the swamp and remained about the skirt of the wood. By morning their companions returned from the rendezvous with the report that all was safe. As the day opened, they ventured within the swamp and approached the fort. All was silent. They advanced up to it without opposition. They entered; it had been abandoned in the night, and the Blackfeet had effected their retreat, carrying off their wounded on litters made of branches, leaving bloody traces on the herbage. The bodies of ten Indians were found within the fort; among them the one shot in the eye by Sublette. The Blackfeet afterwards reported that they had lost twenty-six warriors in this battle. Thirty-two horses were likewise found killed; among them were some of those recently carried off from Sublette's party in the night, which showed that these were the very savages that had attacked him. They proved to be an advance party of the main body of Blackfeet which had been upon the trail of Sublette's party. Five white men and one half-breed were killed, and several wounded. Seven of the Nez Perces were also killed, and six wounded. They had an old chief who was reputed as invulnerable. In the course of the action he was hit by a spent ball, and threw up blood; but his skin was unbroken. His people were now fully convinced that he was proof against powder and ball.

"A striking circumstance is related as having occurred the morning after the battle. As some of the trappers and their Indian allies were approaching the fort, through the woods they beheld an Indian woman, of noble form and features, leaning against a tree. Their surprise at her lingering here alone, to fall into the hands of her enemies, was dispelled when they saw the corpse of a warrior at her feet. Either she was so lost in grief as not to perceive their approach, or a proud spirit kept her silent and motionless. The Indians set up a yell on discovering her, and before the trappers could interfere her mangled body fell upon the corpse which she had refused to abandon. We have heard this anecdote discredited by one of the leaders who had been in the battle; but the fact may have taken place without his seeing it, and been concealed from him. It is an instance of female devotion, even to the death, which we are well disposed to believe and record.

"After the battle, the brigade of Milton Sublette, together with the free trappers and Wyeth's New England band, remained some days at the rendezvous to see if the main body of Blackfeet intended to make an attack; nothing of the kind occurring, they once more put themselves in motion and proceeded on their route toward the southwest.

Captain Sublette having distributed his supplies, had intended to set off on his return to St. Louis, taking with him the peltries collected from the trappers and Indians. His wound, however, obliged him to postpone his departure. Several who were to have accompanied him became impatient at this delay. Among these was a young Bostonian, Mr. Joseph More, one of the followers of Mr. Wyeth, who had seen enough of mountain life and savage warfare, and was eager to return to the abodes of civilization. He and six others, among whom were a Mr. Foy of Mississippi, Mr. Alfred K. Stephens of St. Louis and two grandsons of the celebrated Daniel Boone, set out together, in advance of Sublette's party, thinking they would make their own way through the mountains.

"It was just five days after the battle of the swamp that these seven companions were making their way through Jackson's Hole, a valley not far from the three Tetons, when, as they were descending a hill, a party of Blackfeet that lay in ambush started up with terrific yells. The horse of the young Bostonian, who was in front, wheeled round with affright and threw his unskillful rider. The young man scrambled up the side of the hill, but, unaccustomed to such wild scenes, lost his presence of mind and stood as if paralyzed on the edge of a bank until the Blackfeet came up and slew him on the spot. His comrades had fled on the first alarm; but two of them, Foy and Stephens, seeing his danger, paused when they got half way up the hill, turned back, dismounted, and hastened to his assistance. Foy was instantly killed. Stephens was severely wounded but escaped to die five days afterwards. The survivors returned to the camp of Captain Sublette, bringing tidings of this new disaster. That hardy leader, as soon as he could bear the journey, set out on his return to St. Louis, accompanied by Campbell. As they had a number of pack horses richly laden with peltries to convoy, they chose a different route through the mountains, out of the way, as they hoped, of the lurking bands of Blackfeet. They succeeded in making the frontier in safety."

I have seen a number of accounts of this fight, and all of them charge the white men with being the aggressors. Rev. Samuel Parker, who passed over the battlefield in 1835, says that the battle was not much to the honor of civilized Americans. Other writers speak in the same vein; but all these seem to lose sight of the fact that the various bands that were included under the name Blackfeet never lost an opportunity to cowardly murder a white man when they came upon him in a defenseless condition. The trappers had suffered so often and so severely at the hands of these marauders and murderers it is no wonder that they learned not to trust them even when they came presenting the pipe of peace. Their intentions may have been good at this particular time, but it was only because the trappers were well armed and in sufficient numbers to protect themselves. Western men who know anything of pioneering will hardly condemn the killing of these Indians, no matter what the circumstances. Captain Lewis killed one of the Blackfeet in 1806 after the Indian had stolen his horse and was running off with it. The thief was ordered to stop, but he defiantly rode on. The only way the Captain could regain his horse and save himself from walking many miles was to kill the Indian, which he did, and all the world applauded him for the act, but Indian logic would not permit them to view the matter in the same light as civilization did. They visited their vengeance on the next white man who came along. John Potts was their first victim; Colter would have been the second had he not by almost superhuman effort saved his life; Ezekiel Williams next lost five men at the hands of these bloody monsters, and so their work of killing went on until their tribe was utterly crushed by the government. It is estimated that the Blackfeet killed first and last 3,000 white people, many of them women and children, and all this because Captain Lewis killed a horse thief whom he caught in the act.

It is just possible that the magic pen and power of Irving has to some extent exaggerated this engagement with the Blackfeet, but as he drew his facts from a source entirely reliable, we must conclude that the narrative is correct.

Fitzpatrick and Bridger, a few days after the fight, started north, intending to trap on the headwaters of the Missouri. Before leaving camp, they proposed to Vanderburgh and Dripps, who represented the American Fur Company, to divide the territory with them, so as not to interfere with each other. This proposition was rejected, and much to the annoyance of Fitzpatrick and Bridger, they followed on and kept with them for several days. Vanderburgh and Dripps were strangers in that part of the country, and it may have been this fact that induced them to keep near Fitzpatrick and Bridger. The latter did not appreciate their company and resolved to get rid of them, so they turned abruptly west into the country of the Blackfeet and not many days afterwards Vanderburgh and Dripps divided their force and started out to trap regardless of their adversaries. With about fifty men each they went in different directions. Some time later Vanderburgh's party was attacked by Blackfeet and the leader was killed; but it was not an easy victory for the Indians, as the trappers fought with great bravery and succeeded in killing a number of the savage foe. The death of Henry Vanderburgh was deeply regretted by the American Fur Company, as he was one of their bravest leaders. The Blackfeet now turned their attention to the party under Fitzpatrick and Bridger, and after following them many days the white men and Indians met face to face on an open plain but near some rocks and cliffs. The Blackfeet made friendly signs while yet some distance away and the white men replied in the same manner, but both kept at a distance; finally the chief of the Blackfeet came forward, bearing the pipe of peace, and the whites went to meet him. The pipe was smoked and all the ceremonies of such an occasion duly observed. While this was going on Bridger left the main body of the trappers and rode toward the place where the conference was being held. As this renowned leader came up the Indian chief, seeing him, stepped forward to shake hands. From some cause, which Bridger could never afterwards explain, he felt a feeling of distrust and cocked his rifle. The quick ear of the chief caught the click of the lock and in an instant he grasped the barrel and forced the muzzle downward just as the gun went off. His next move was to wrench the rifle from Bridger's hands and fell him with it to the earth. Already Bridger had received two arrows in his back. The chief now vaulted into the saddle of the fallen leader and galloped off to his band; then there was a rush by both parties to gain positions behind rocks and trees, and soon a fusillade was opened on both sides and kept up until night closed in, when the contestants withdrew from the field. This affair greatly humiliated Bridger, but it undoubtedly served to make him the careful leader which he afterwards became. At that time he had been ten years in the service and had been uniformly successful in his fights with the Indians. The wounds he received in his back were not danger* . ous, but the arrow points remained in the flesh and were cut out by Dr. Whitman at Green River in 1835.

In spite of the Indian troubles, the fur trappers of the year 1832 were richly rewarded, and the shipment of furs amounted in round numbers to something like $175,000. This was the product gathered by the Sublette trappers, which included the bands of Fitzpatrick, Campbell, Bridger, Harris, Clements, Milton Sublette and a dozen or more partisans of less prominence. During this same year Captain B. L. E. Bonneville, at the head of 110 men, entered Wyoming, but of this rather distinguished character I will tell in a separate chapter.



Leaves Fort Osage With Twenty Wagons And One Hundred And Ten Men - Reaches The Platte River Below Grand Island - Scott's Bluff And Origin Of The Name - Follows The North Fork Of The Platte - Crosses Over To The Sweetwater - Experience Of Tom Cain - Rejoicings After Crossing The Continental Divide - Fontenelle Overtakes The Bonneville Party - Arrival At Green River - Fortifies His Camp - Free Trappers Visited By Blackfeet.

Among the most noted fur traders and trappers ever in Wyoming was Captain B. L. E. Bonneville of the Seventh United States Infantry, who secured leave of absence in 1831 and on the 1st of May, 1832, started west from Fort Osage on the Missouri River with 110 men and a train of twenty wagons drawn by four mules, four horses or four oxen each. These wagons were loaded with ammunition, provisions and merchandise. The expedition was well organized and conducted with military precision. Captain Bonneville selected two subordinate officers to assist him in the command; the first being J. R. Walker, who was a native of Tennessee but who had lived for many years on the Missouri frontier and had led a life of adventure, being one of the first to penetrate the southwest as far as Santa Fe. On this expedition he trapped for beaver and was finally taken prisoner by the Spaniards. After being liberated, he remained in that country for a time, engaged with the Spaniards in a war against the Pawnee Indians. On his return to Missouri he was elected sheriff of his county, in which position he won distinction as a brave and faithful civil officer. After leaving the sheriff's office he engaged in fur trapping and trading and it was while thus employed that he met Captain Bonneville and enlisted in his service. The second assistant was M. S. Cerre, whose experience and adventures were not unlike those of Walker. He is spoken of as an experienced Indian trader. These two men were in every way worthy to serve under their great leader, Captain Bonneville. This expedition had been carefully planned and the wagons were introduced for the reason that this practical military commander wished to avoid packing every morning and unpacking every night. The labor thus saved, Captain Bonneville argued, would more than make up for transporting the wagons over deep rivers and across the gulches which" might lie in his way. The latter would also require fewer horses than the packing service, and from a military point of view vehicles would serve as a sort of fortification in ease of an attack by hostile Indians. The expedition started out with the wagons in two columns, close order in the center of the party, which marched with an advance and rear guard.

Captain Bonneville had been careful to inform himself as to the plans of the American Fur Company, and also of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company for that year. He had learned that the rendezvous of the two companies for the season would be in Pierre's Hole at no great distance apart, and the Captain resolved to make for the same destination. He took a westerly course from Fort Osage across what is now the state of Kansas, and on the 12th of May reached the Kansas River at a point near the Agency of the Kansas tribe of Indians. This agency was at the time in charge of General Clark, a brother of Captain Clark who accompanied Captain Lewis on his expedition down the Columbia in 1804. Captain Bonneville found General Clark living like a patriarch and surrounded by all the comforts then possible to secure in the far west. Without loss of time Bonneville1 pushed forward and on June 2nd reached the Platte River, twenty-five miles below Grand Island. On the 11th they reached the forks of the Platte, and taking the north tributary of that stream, they on the 21st reached Scott's Bluffs.*

*Captain Bonneville makes this explanation as to the origin of the name " Scott's Bluffs ": " A number of years since a party were descending the upper part of the river in canoes, when their frail barks were overturned and all their powder spoiled. Their rifles being thus rendered useless, they were unable to procure food by hunting and had to depend upon roots and wild fruits for subsistence. After suffering extremely from hunger, they arrived at Laramie's Fork, a small tributary of the north branch of the Nebraska, about sixty miles above the cliffs just mentioned. Here one of the party, by the name of Scott, was taken ill, and his companions came to a halt, until he should recover health and strength sufficient to proceed. While they were searching round in quest of edible roots they discovered a fresh trail of white men, who had evidently but recently preceded them. What was to be done? By a forced march they might be able to overtake this party and thus be able to reach the settlements in safety. Should they linger they might all perish of famine and exhaustion. Scott, however, was incapable of moving ; they were too feeble to aid him forward, and dreaded that such a clog would prevent their coming up with the advance party. They determined, therefore, to abandon him to his fate. Accordingly, under pretense of seeking food and such simples as might be efficacious in his malady, they deserted him and hastened forward upon the trail. They succeeded in overtaking the party of which they were in quest, but concealed their faithless desertion of Scott, alleging that he had Hied of disease. On the ensuing summer these very individuals, visiting in these parts in company with others, came suddenly upon the bleached bones and grinning skull of a human skeleton which by certain signs they recognized as the remains of Scott. This was sixty long miles from the place where they had abandoned him; and it appeared that the wretched man had crawled that immense distance before death had put an end to his miseries. The wild and picturesque bluffs in the neighborhood of his lonely grave have ever since borne his name."

On these bluffs Captain Bonneville saw for the first time the mountain or bighorn sheep. He describes them as "bounding like goats from crag to crag, often trooping along the lofty shelves of the mountains, under the guidance of some venerable patriarch, with horns twisted lower than his" muzzle, and sometimes peering over the edge of a precipice, so high that they appear scarcely bigger than crows; indeed, it seems a pleasure to them to seek the most rugged and frightful situations, doubtless from a feeling of security."

On the 24th, while the caravan was moving up the North Platte, the party encountered a band of Crow warriors and the gallant Captain on the first alarm ordered his men to prepare for action. Each man sprang to the position assigned him and the little army remained drawn up ready to do battle. Soon the Crows, to the number of some sixty warriors, came dashing up in a body as if to make a furious charge, then suddenly opened to the right and left, riding in a circle around the travelers, yelling in the meantime in savage style, after which the chief approached Captain Bonneville, extending the hand of friendship. The pipe of peace was smoked and good fellowship prevailed. The Crow warriors exhibited great friendship for Captain Bonneville and his men and that night the warriors camped beside the white men. The evening was spent in eating and smoking and the Captain was enabled to get acquainted with the representatives of a tribe with which he in the next three years was to have much to do. His first impressions of this tribe were evidently correct. He admired their horsemanship and appreciated their friendliness, but he leaves upon record the fact that they were great thieves, as they managed to steal, while in his camp, articles from the pockets of his men and even the buttons from their coats. Fortunately the Crow warriors departed early the next morning.

On May 26th the trappers encamped at Laramie's Fork. This was two years before the trading post was established at that point. From that place on west the Captain had great difficulty with his wagons. Ravines had to be filled up and in many places a road made before the cavalcade could pass on. On the 12th of July the party left the banks of the North Platte and three days later reached the Sweetwater. Up this stream they now shaped their course with more or less difficulty. The men complained of sore mouths, chapped lips, violent headaches and in some cases severe colic. To add to the difficulty, the woodwork of the wagons shrunk so that the tires and spokes became loose and the wagons almost refused to stand up. At this point they came upon immense herds of buffaloes, of which the hunters connected with the expedition secured large numbers. Here happened an amusing incident, which is admirably told in Washington living's "Adventures of Captain Bonneville."

"Among the motley retainers of the camp was Tom Cain, a raw Irishman, who officiated as cook, whose various blunders and expedients in his novel situation, and in the wild scenes and wild life into which he had been suddenly thrown, had made him a kind of a butt or droll of the camp. Tom, however, began to discover an ambition superior to his station, and the conversation of the hunters and their stories of their exploits inspired him with a desire to elevate himself to the dignity of their order. The buffalo in such droves presented a tempting opportunity for making his first essay. He rode, in the line of march, all prepared for action; his powder flask and shot pouch knowingly slung at the pommel of his saddle, to be at hand; his rifle balanced on his shoulder. While in this plight a troop of buffalo came trotting by in great alarm. In an instant Tom sprang from his horse and gave chase on foot. Finding they were leaving him behind, he leveled his rifle and pulled the trigger. His shot produced no other effect than to increase the speed of the buffalo and to frighten his own horse, who took to his heels and scampered off with all the ammunition. Tom scampered after him, hallooing with might and main, and the wild horse and wild Irishman soon disappeared among the ravines of the prairie. Captain Bonneville, who was at the head of the line and had seen the transaction at a distance, detached a party in search of Tom. After a long interval they returned, leading the frightened horse; but though they scoured the country and looked out and shouted from every height, they had seen nothing of his rider. As Captain Bonneville knew Tom's utter awkwardness and inexperience, and the dangers of a bewildered Irishman in the midst of a prairie, he halted and encamped at an early hour, that there might be a regular hunt for him in the morning. At early dawn on the following day scouts were sent off in every direction, while the main body, after breakfast, proceeded slowly on its course. It was not until the middle of the afternoon that the hunters returned, with honest Tom mounted behind one of them. They had found him in a complete state of perplexity and amazement. His appearance caused shouts of merriment in the camp; but Tom for once could not join in the mirth raised at his expense; he was completely chapfallen, and apparently cured of the hunting mania for the rest of his life."

On the 20th of July they came in sight of the Wind River range, and to the Captain this mountain was an inspiration, for soon he would reach the goal of his ambition, the trapping country in which he intended to operate. The rugged peaks stood out bold and gloomy in their awful grandeur. The veteran hunters and trappers of the part? told many a story of adventure among the savage tribes which haunted the dark recesses of this grand old mountain. Four days later the caravan left the banks of the Sweetwater, taking a westerly course, and passed over a rocky ridge and after several hours' travel reached a small river running south. Here they encamped, discovering that there were fish in the stream. A shout of joy went up, as they had been told that the streams on the opposite side of the continental divide contained fish, while those on the easterly side were barren of this great luxury. Fish-hooks and lines were procured and a dozen of the men soon caught trout for a dinner for the party. Captain Bonneville felt great exultation that he had been able to take the first wagon train over the crest of the Rocky Mountains. Feed was fairly good at this point and the Captain would have gladly given his stock a rest, but he was anxious to reach the banks of Green River, and so the next morning he pushed on. On the 26th he was overtaken by sixty mounted trappers belonging to the American Fur Company with Mr. Fontenelle in charge. After pleasant greetings the newcomers took the lead, hoping, as Mr. Fontenelle said, to reach Green River by night, but he told the Captain that he would not be able to get through with his wagons before the day following. Captain Bonneville made all the haste that circumstances and the jaded condition of his horses would permit and arrived at Green River the following day at noon. Here the animals were turned out to graze and rest, as they were in a lametable condition. As he was obliged to remain for some time in that locality to recruit the strength of both his men and animals, he proceeded to fortify his camp by the erection of log breastworks, a precaution that proved his military training. The Green River country at that time was infested with' roving bands of Blackfeet Indians, and it was necessary to use great caution to insure the safety of the party. Captain Bonneville, being an educated soldier, was very careful not only in camp but while on the march to prevent a surprise. He likewise used great diplomacy, thus avoiding trouble with the Indians.

Captain Bonneville, during his stay in his fortified camp at Green River, undertook the study of the practical part of trading and trapping. He realized that there was much to learn about the business, and so he applied himself to the task of gathering up all the details. He had not been many days in his camp before Fontenelle taught him some of the strategy of a trader. He had procured at the Osage mission a number of Delaware Indians, most excellent hunters, who he thought would be of great service to him. These the rival leader had won over to his service by the promise of increased pay. The captain was astonished at this breach of courtesy and he resolved to retaliate on the first opportunity, and learning that Fontenelle intended to remain in his present camp until the arrival of a certain band of free trappers who were to meet him there, he sent out two scouts to bring these to his own camp, and they in due time arrived. Captain Bonneville exerted himself to entertain them. A keg of fresh liquor was brought out and the health of everybody was pledged in many a royal round. Then the trappers were invited to a feast which was washed down by again tapping the keg. By this time the guests were in a condition to relate stories of successful trapping as well as wonderful feats of daring in connection with Indian fights. These heroes of the wilderness voted their entertainer a royal good fellow and were completely won to his service - that is, as many as he cared to engage. During their stay in the camp they were a center of attraction, yet these were a part and parcel of the great fur trade as it was then carried on in this locality. Captain Bonneville has left a capital description of these worthies and of the manner in which they entered his camp. He calls them rangers of the wilderness. They came dashing forward, he says, at full speed, firing their fusees and yelling in Indian style. Their dark, sunburned faces and long, flowing hair, their leggings, flags, moccasins and richly dyed blankets, and their painted horses gaudily caparisoned, gave them so much the air and appearance of Indians that it was difficult to persuade oneself that they were white men and had been brought up in civilized life. The free trapper deserves more than a mere mention, and I therefore insert Captain Bonneville's description.* They come and go, says he, when and where they please; provide their own horses, arms and other equipments; trap

*I desire to here remark that I have in some instances used Washington Irving's account of Captain Bonneville's hunting experience, but only such portions as relate to the mountains, plains and streams of Wyoming. Mr. Irving tells us the adventures of Bonneville are substantially the narrative of the worthy Captain and that many pages are but little varied from his own language. The work was originally prepared by Captain Bonneville for publication, but becoming disgusted with his task he turned the manuscript over to Mr. Irving, who interwove in it the stories of other trappers and thus was enabled to bring out a volume of more than usual interest which has been a popular book for all classes for more than fifty years. Bonneville was one of those interesting characters almost from his birth, and i have often regretted that Washington Irving's book did not contain the early history of this remarkable hero. This, I am glad to say, i have been able to gather from reliable sources, and the subsequent history of Irving's hero, down to the close of his life. My friend, Hon. M. P. Langford. was kind enough to contribute the portrait of Captain Bonneville which is given in this volume, and thus I am enabled to give for the first time the complete story of the man whose life and adventures will always form a part of the history of Wyoming.

and trade on their own account, and dispose of their skins and peltries to the highest bidder. Sometimes, in a dangerous hunting ground, they attach themselves to the camp of some trader for protection. Here they come under some restrictions; they have to conform to the ordinary rules for trapping and to submit to such restraints and to take part in such general duties as are established for the good order and safety of the camp. In return for this protection, and for their camp keeping, they are bound to dispose of all the beaver they take to the trader who commands the camp, at a certain rate per skin; or should they prefer seeking a market elsewhere, they are to make him an allowance of from thirty to forty dollars for the whole hunt.

The wandering whites who mingle for any length of time with the savages have invariably a proneness to adopt savage habitudes; but none more so than the free trappers. It is a matter of vanity and ambition with them to discard everything that may bear the stamp of civilized life, and to adopt the manners, dress, habits, gesture and even walk of the Indian. You cannot pay a free trapper a greater compliment than to persuade him you have mistaken him for an Indian brave; and in truth the counterfeit is complete. His hair, suffered to attain a great length, is carefully combed out, and either left to fall carelessly over his shoulders, or plaited neatly and tied up in otter skins of parti-colored ribbons. A hunting-shirt of ruffled calico of bright dyes, or of ornamented leather, falls to his knees, below which curiously fashioned leggings, ornamented with strings, fringes and a profusion of hawks' bells, reach to a costly pair of moccasins of the finest Indian fabric, richly embroidered with beads. A blanket of scarlet or some other bright color hangs from his shoulders, and is girt round his waist with a red sash, in which he bestows his pistols, knife, and the stem of his Indian pipe; preparations either for peace or war. His gun is lavishly decorated with brass tacks and Vermillion, and provided with a fringed cover, occasionally of buckskin, ornamented with a feather. His horse, the noble minister to the pride, pleasure and profit of the mountaineer, is selected for his speed and spirit and prancing gait, and holds a place in his estimation second only to himself. He shares largely of his bounty, and of his pride and pomp of trapping. He is caparisoned in the most dashing and fantastic style; the bridles and crupper are weightily embossed with beads and cockades; and head, mane and tail are interwoven with abundance of eagles' plumes which flutter in the wind. To complete this grotesque eqipment, the proud animal is bestreaked and bespotted with vermilion, or with white clay, whichever presents the most glaring contrast to his real color.

While the two camps were occupying positions near each other on Green River, there arrived a large band of Blackfeet warriors at the camp of Fontenelle. These warriors had just suffered defeat in Pierre's Hole in an engagement with the bands of trappers under William Sublette and his brother Milton, Robert Campbell and Nathaniel J. Wyeth, which has been told in a previous chapter. Fontenelle did not know of the fight, and it was fortunate that his camp was a strong one. The Blackfeet had evidently intended to attack him, but on approaching they discovered that his position was a strong one and so a talk took place. Fontenelle treated them kindly, though his long experience with Blackfeet had convinced him of their dangerous character. On the first opportunity he informed them of the presence of Captain Bonneville's band in the neighborhood, at the same time assuring them that the Captain was a great war chief and that his followers were brave and well-armed warriors. At the request of the Indians, Fontenelle sent one of his Delaware Indians to conduct fifteen of them to Fort Bonneville. On arriving there, the Captain entertained them in a friendly manner. There were two Crow visitors in the camp at the time and as they were the implacable enemies of the Blackfeet they looked with horror as well as surprise on the friendly reception given the dangerous war party. They took the first occasion possible to inform Captain Bonneville that the Blackfeet were bad Indians; that the best thing he could do was to put them to death on the

spot. The soldier trapper saw no reason for extreme uneasiness and they were therefore allowed to remain in the camp some little time. They were evidently satisfied that it would be useless for them to attack a fortified position the defense of which was provided for in true military style. They went back to their warriors and must have reported that the trappers were dangerous enemies to attack, as they left the country and nothing more was heard of them.



Various Detachments In The Field - Main Party Pass Through Jackson's Hole And Pierre's Hole On The Way To Solomon River - Meets The Nez Perces - His Opinion Of This Tribe - Experiences During The Winter - Rendezvous On Green River In 1833 - Stories Of His Several Leaders - Scenes At The Rendezvous - A Digression By The Author, In Which He Tells Of The Relations Between Captain Bonneville And Washington Irving - Valuable Services Rendered The Government.

Captain Bonneville learned from the free trappers many important things regarding the methods and the proper season to visit certain localities. He was informed that the Green River Valley was undesirable as a winter camp, as snow to the depth of several feet sometimes fell there and that winter came on very early. He therefore decided to cache his goods and supplies, also his wagons. This he accomplished by the aid of a few confidential men. The balance of his goods were placed in packs ready to be loaded on pack animals, and on the 21st of August his party headed for the upper waters of Solomon River, intending to trap on the way. His broken-down horses were given in charge of a reliable trapper named Matthieu. He was to take with him a brigade of trappers and to proceed west to Bear River, where there was good feed for the horses and opportunities to secure beaver. It was expected he would meet a village of Shoshones on the way, and with them he was to trade for a time while his party was engaged with their traps and the horses were renewing their strength on the rich grasses that abound on Bear River, after which he was to join the Captain on the headwaters of the Solomon, where Bonneville intended to make his winter camp. The Captain's own command proceeded up the Green River Valley to near its headwaters. He crossed over into Pierre's Hole and came upon the battlefield where William Sublette and his friends had had the sanguinary encounter with the Blackfeet. They also passed on their way through the dark defile leading to Jackson's Hole, where More and Foy had been killed by the Blackfeet on the 23rd of July. Their remains were found among the rocks and the Bonneville party decently interred them. Arriving in Pierre's Hole, a camp was made on the celebrated battleground near the abandoned fortress of the Blackfeet.

The next two weeks were occupied in the march from Pierre's Hole to the upper waters of the Solomon River, and on the 20th of September they met a large body of Nez Perces Indians. Captain Bonneville says that the savages sent forward a single warrior, who made signals of peace and offers of friendship. The Captain, knowing that this tribe was friendly to white people, halted and went into camp and invited the savages to visit him. The warriors lingered long enough to put on their war paint and plumes. They placed themselves in martial array under their chiefs, and advanced shouting, singing, firing off their fusees and clashing their shields. The Bonneville party at this time were sadly in need of provisions, and it turned out that the Indians were nearly so, having only a small supply of dried salmon; this they offered to share with the white men. The Indians were on a hunting expedition and they expected to be able to secure a large amount of buffalo meat. Captain Bonneville sent with the party Mr. Cerre, accompanied by a few men with instructions to trade with the Indians for a winter's supply of meat. After the hunting party had passed, Captain Bonneville steered his course down the river a few miles and camping on the bank proceeded to erect winter quarters. Here he found abundance of feed for his horses and all the necessary surroundings for the construction of his winter cantonment. Temporary fortifications were constructed and huts for the use of men and merchandise, and an inclosure was also built in which the horses could be driven at night. This done, three brigades were organized and sent oft* in different directions to hunt and trap, with orders to subsist themselves by hunting the buffalo. Twenty men remained with Captain Bonneville at the winter quarters and an attempt was made to supply the camp with wild meat, but it was soon discovered that the Indians had driven the game from that section and the hunters found themselve unable to supply sufficient food for the party and starvation stared them in the face. On the 8th of October five families of Nez Perces arrived and these visitors were in even a worse condition than themselves, and while they could not relieve the wants of the white men they taught them the edible qualities of certain roots and rosebuds, which for the time being kept off starvation. After this Captain Bonneville dispatched a party to Horse Prairie, some distance north of his winter quarters, to procure a supply of buffalo meat, and he invited some of the Nez Perces to accompany his men, but this was declined, the excuse being given that it was a sacred day with them, and if they devoted it to hunting the great spirit would be angry. From this on he employed much time in studying the character of this tribe of Indians. He found them possessed of moral and religious qualities which in spite of their savage state and forlorn condition stamped them as superior to any tribe of Indians he met with while on his expedition. From his narrative it would seem that he explained to these people the Christian faith.

"Many a time," says he, "was my little lodge thronged or rather piled, with hearers, for they lay on the ground, one leaning over the other, until there was no further room, alT listening with greedy ears to the wonders which the Great Spirit had revealed to the white man. No other subject gave them half the satisfaction, or commanded half the attention, and but few scenes in my life remain so freshly on my memory, or are so pleasurably recalled to my contemplation, as these hours of intercourse with a distant and benighted race in the midst of the desert."

The Captain calls these Indians exemplary people and says the only excesses they were guilty of were gambling and horse racing. In this respect they are no worse than white men, and I cannot close this part of the story without making another quotation regarding what Captain Bonneville has to say about the gambling propensities of these Indians:

"Knots of gamblers will assemble before one of their lodge fires, early in the evening, and remain absorbed in the chances and changes of the game until long after dawn of the following day. As night advances, they wax warmer and warmer. Bets increase in amount; one loss only serves to lead to a greater, until in the course of a single night's gambling the richest chief may become the poorest varlet in camp."

It is not my purpose to follow Captain Bonneville in detail beyond the borders of our state. One of the parties sent out came in contact with the Blackfeet. This party was under the charge of Mr. Walker, and at the time the Indians came up the guard stationed over the camp had become interested in a game of cards and in the midst of the fascinating pastime the Blackfeet stole upon them unperceived, and springing upon the backs of the horses of the party would have carried them off had it not been for the stubbornness of several mules which were in among the horses. These when the Indians had mounted them bareback and commenced yelling and discharging their firearms, became so confused that they imitated the bucking bronco and threw their riders to the ground. Those who had mounted the horses came to the rescue of their dismounted brethren in the face of a perfect fusillade from the camp. The Indians were glad to steal away without taking any of the animals, seeking shelter in a thicket, from which position they sent forth a shower of arrows and bullets, thus preventing Mr. Walker's men from following them. The party of hunters sent out, after six weeks' absence returned in safety with plenty of meat for the winter. The Captain appears to have enjoyed this winter encampment and a hunter's life and the society of the Nez Perces, Flatheads and Hanging-Ears tribes. During the winter he conceived the idea of acting as a peace commissioner between the Nez Perces and Flatheads and Blackfeet, as he thought by such peace he would be placed upon a better business basis with the Blackfeet tribe. He submitted the proposition to the chief of the Nez Perces and Flatheads and these wise warriors took the matter under consideration and held a council for two days, at the end of which time they reported to Captain Bonneville the result of their deliberations. One of the chiefs rendered the decision thus: "War," said he, "is a bloody business and full of evil; but it keeps the eyes of the chiefs always open, and makes the limbs of the young men strong and supple. In war everyone is on the alert. If we see a trail we know it must be an enemy; if the Blackfeet come to us, we know it is for war, and we are ready. Peace, on the other hand, sounds no alarm; the eyes of the chiefs are closed in sleep, and the young men are sleek and lazy. The horses stray into the mountains; the women and their little babes go about alone. But the heart of a Blackfoot is a lie, and his tongue is a trap. If he says peace, it is to deceive. He comes to us as a brother; he smokes his pipe with us; but when he sees us weak and off our guard, he will slay and steal. We will have no such peace; let there be war."

This ended the Captain's attempt to play the role of a peacemaker, but he was afterwards much vexed with these same Indians for allowing the Blackfeet to steal their horses with impunity, and he finally told them that unless they roused themselves from their apathy and properly resented the intrusion of the Blackfeet in their camp they would not be worthy to be considered warriors, and he further told them that his property was unsafe while he remained with them, for the reason that the Blackfeet having got away with the horses of his Indian associates, his turn would probably come next. He assured them unless they should speedily do something to put an end to the continual plundering of their camp by the Blackfeet he would be obliged to leave them. Spurred up by this severe language, the Indians organized a war party and went out in search of their enemies. The next day the warriors returned without having encountered the Blackfeet marauders and then things went on as bad as before.

On the 19th of December Captain Bonneville changed his camp to a good hunting ground up the North Fork of the Solomon. He was accompanied by his Indian friends. The balance of the winter was spent in hunting the large game of the neighborhood. Becoming uneasy as to the fate of Matthieu, who, it will be remembered, had been placed in charge of the broken-down stock on the Captain's departure from his fortified camp on Green River, he placed himself at the head of thirteen resolute hunters and started out in search of the lost party, and after much suffering he at last succeeded in finding the men he was in search of. The Matthieu party had encountered deep snows and bands of hostile Indians, and three of his men, Leroy, Ross and Jennings, had been killed. The party had been so severely handled by coming in contact with the savages that they gave up hunting trips and remained in their camp, now and then killing an old or disabled horse for food. About the middle of March, Captain Bonneville, having been joined by all his detached parties, commenced making preparations to open the spring campaign, and selected Malade River as the neighborhood in which to begin operations. During the summer he penetrated the western country beyond what is now Wyoming, but had fixed a rendezvous in the upper part of the Green River Valley for the latter part of July; but when about to return to that country the free trappers declined to make the weary journey. They pointed out to Captain Bonneville that the distance was great and that danger lurked on every side, as the Blackfeet were known to be in great strength in the country through which it was proposed to go. Their business, they said, was hunting, and they did not propose to fight Indians unless they were obliged to . They preferred to trap on the headwaters of the Solomon. Captain Bonneville found it necessary to accede to their wishes, and he accordingly fitted them out for the season and placed Hodgkiss at their head with instructions where the party was to meet him the ensuing winter. The brigade consisted of twenty-one free trappers, Mr. Hodgkiss and five hired men who went along as camp keepers. Captain Bonneville with the balance of his men started for the Green Kiver rendezvous. Great precautions were taken to prevent a surprise. Scouting parties were thrown out in advance and encampments were selected with care, with a view to strength of position. The march was conducted in military style, everything being done to insure the safety of the party. On the 13th of July Captain Bonneville reached Green River and went up that stream, where he was met by the different parties he had detached the previous year. Each had a story of success or failure to tell. The party which had been sent into the Crow country and the tributary streams of the Yellowstone had suffered total annihilation and the leader alone came into the rendezvous. His story was soon told. He had fallen in with a band of Crows. These had induced most of his men to desert. With the balance of his band, he sought the neighborhood of Tullock's Port on the Yellowstone, under the protection of which he went into winter quarters. Here the temptation of whisky proved too much for the trappers and his stock of furs was purloined by the men and used for the purchase of alcoholic drinks. The leader finding that being near the fort was even worse than being in the vicinity of the Crows, resolved to make another move and induced a number of strange free trappers to join him. He, with these and the balance of his own men who had remained faithful, started in the spring for the Powder River country. On the way he had rugged hills and a steep mountain to cross. This so jaded his horses that they soon became unfit for service and he was induced to turn them out to graze at night. What happened we will let Captain Bonneville tell in his own way.

"The place was lonely; the path was rugged; there was not a sign of an Indian in the neighborhood; not a blade of grass that had been turned by a footstep. But who can calculate on security in the midst of an Indian country, where the foe lurks in silence and secrecy, and seems to come and go on the wings of the wind? The horses had scarce been turned loose when a couple of Arickara (or Rickaree) warriors entered the camp. They affected a frank and friendly demeanor; but their movements and appearance awakened the suspicions of some of the veteran trappers, well versed in Indian wiles. Convinced that they were spies sent on some sinister errand, they took them in custody and took to work to drive in the horses. It was too late—the horses were already gone. In fact, a war party of Arickaras had been hovering on their trail for several days, watching with the patience and perseverance of Indians for some moment of negligence and fancied security to make a successful swoop. The two spies had evidently been sent into camp to create a diversion, while their confederates carried off the spoil.

"The unlucky partisan thus robbed of his horses, turned furiously on his prisoners, ordered them to be bound hand and foot, and swore to put them to death unless his property was restored. The robbers, who soon found that their spies were in captivity, now made their appearance on horseback and held a parley. The sight of them mounted on the very horses they had stolen set the blood of the mountaineers in a ferment; but it was useless to attack them, as they would have but to turn their steeds and scamper out of the reach of pedestrians. A negotiation was now attempted. The Arickaras offered what they considered fair terms: to barter one horse or even two horses for a prisoner. The mountaineers spurned at their offer and declared that, unless all the horses were relinquished the prisoners should be burned to death. To give force to their threat, a pyre of logs and fagots was heaped up and kindled into a blaze.

"The parley continued. The Arickaras released one horse and then another in earnest of their proposition; finding, however, that nothing short of the relinquishment of all their spoils would purchase the lives of the captives, they abandoned them to their fate, moving off with many parting words and Iametable howlings. The prisoners seeing them depart and knowing the horrible fate that awaited them, made a desperate effort to escape. They partially succeeded but were severely wounded and retaken; then dragged to the blazing pyre and burnt to death in the sight of their retreating comrades.

"The loss of his horses completed the ruin of the unlucky partisan. It was out of his power to prosecute his hunting or to maintain his party; the only thought now was how to get back to civilized life. At the first water-course his men built canoes and committed themselves to the stream. Some engaged themselves at various trading establishments at which they touched, others got back to the settlements. As to the partisan, he found an opportunity to make his way to the rendezvous at Green River Valley."

The Green River Valley that year was the rendezvous of the American Fur Company, and also the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, as well as that of Captain Bonneville. Competition had been carried on to the very utmost limits during the season and Captain Bonneville expected that men who had for a whole season been trying to outdo each other would certainly hold aloof when they reached the rendezvous; but imagine his surprise when he saw these men mingle in each other's camps on the most friendly terms. The past was buried and everybody seemed bent upon having a good time. It was the trappers' holiday and they were determined to make the most of it, and seeing the leaders of the other companies disposed to enjoy good fellowship the Captain joined in the interchange of visits. There was feasting and carousals all around from the leaders down to the humblest employes of the camp. Here the free trapper outshines all rivals and is ready at all times to sing, drink or dance. Such stories of adventures and achievements as were told would make the most marvelous tales of fiction stale in comparison. The rough trappers would amuse themselves making violent love to Shoshone beauties, whose tribe was encamped hard by. Strings of gay beads, papers of vermilion and bright red blankets were at a premium, as these articles were found to be just what was needed to win the smiles of the fair ones. It would take many pages to tell the scenes and incidents which happened1 at the rendezvous that season; but I must confine my story to the history of Captain Bonneville's adventures during his three years' residence in the west, most of the time in the territory which is now embraced in our state.

By the terms of his leave of absence, the Captain was required to investigate the condition of the Indian tribes of the mountains and make a full report to the war department.* This he did. Lewis and Clark had received the same instructions, but as these gentlemen had passed rapidly through the country, on their way to and from the mouth of the Columbia, it was not to be expected that they should be able to supply the government with a carefully prepared report of the condition of the various wild tribes occupying the interior. The Captain undertook to secure this information. He made a careful study of all the tribes with whom he came in contact, and his report made on his return is entitled to be considered not only reliable, but valuable. This report of the condition of the Indians of this part of the Rocky Mountains, their methods of warfare, their numerical strength, the alliances of the tribes, was the first reliable information the government had received regarding these Indians. Considering that Captain Bonneville was doing this work without pay and performing other im. portant services, such as mapping the country and showing the location of different tribes, and searching for desirable passes through the mountains, where wagon roads might be built, the War Department certainly took advantage of his good nature by imposing upon him a task which was richly worth many thousands of dollars to the government.


Headquarters Of The Army, I

Washington, August 3, 183i. (

Sir : The leave of absence which you have asked, for the purpose of enabling you to carry into execution your design of exploring the country to the Rocky Mountains and beyond, with a view of ascertaining the nature and character of the several tribes of Indians inhabiting those regions ; the trade which might be profitably carried on with them ; the quality of the soil, the productions, the minerals, the natural history, the climate, the geography and topography, as well as geology, of the various parts of the country within the limits of the territories belonging to the United States, between our frontier and the Pacific - has been duly considered and submitted to the War Department for approval, and has been sanctioned. You are, therefore, authorized to be absent from the army until October, 1833. It is understood that the government is to be at no expense in reference to your proposed expedition, it having originated with yourself; and all that you required was the permission from the proper authority to undertake the enterprise. You will, naturally, in preparing yourself for the expedition, provide suitable instruments, and especially the best maps of the interior to be found.

It is desirable, besides what is enumerated as the object of your enterprise, that you note particularly the number of warriors that may be in each tribe or nation that you may meet with : their alliances with other tribes, and their relative position as to a state of peace or wax, and whether their friendly or warlike dispositions toward each other are recent or of long standing. You will gratify us by describing their manner of making war; of the mode of subsisting themselves during a state of war, and a state of peace; their arms, and the effect of them ; whether they act on Toot or on horseback ; detailing the discipline and maneuvers of the war parties; the power of their horses, size, and general description; in short, every information which you may conceive would be useful to the government.

You will avail yourself of every opportunity of informing us of your position and progress, and, at the expiration of your leave of absence, will join your proper station.

I have the honor to be sir,

Your obediant servant,

Alexander Macomb, Capt. B. L. E. Bonneville. Major General, commanding the Army.

7th Reg't of Infantry, New York.

Captain Bonneville's place in history is that of an explorer as well as fur trader. While in this country he bore credentials signed by the commander of the army proving his high and honorable position. His education and natural qualifications enabled him to discharge faithfully the duties to which he had been assigned. Well might President Jackson say to him that he had performed a great service for his country and deserved promotion. It is to be regretted that a considerable portion of his report, especially that containing scientific and geological information and valuable maps was not published by the government. We are not obliged to search far to find a reason why this valuable information was not given to the public. This soldier, it is generally understood, was on leave of absence and had overstayed his time, and for this reason he was dropped from the rolls. The facts are, he was on detached service, performing arduous and responsible duties in the wilderness. Under such circumstances, the haste with which he was dropped from the rolls of the army reflects but little credit on those concerned, when it is understood that he was displaced to make room for other officers anxious for promotion. His reinstatement by the President regardless of the protest of Major General Macomb and other officers, resulted in his services being under-rated in official quarters.

Captain Bonneville felt these slights put upon him and resolved to set himself right with the people, and therefore enlarged his report and had it nearly ready for the printer when he met Washington Irving for the second time and turned over to him his manuscript for publication. It has been stated by some newspaper writer within the last few years that Mr. Irving on receiving this manuscript made a trip to the west for the purpose of going over the ground of Bonneville's exploits, and thus it was that he was enabled to produce a work containing so much reliable information concerning the Indians and the country. This story is not only not true, but it is silly in the extreme. The incidents, the descriptions and in fact all the details are from the pen of Captain Bonneville. By reference to Irving's introductory notice in his volume, "Captain Bonneville," this will be conclusively proven.* Mr. Irving did visit the west, but it was three years previous to his meeting with Captain Bonneville. He had been made a member of a commission, connected with government service, and this took him to a number of posts on the border, but it must

*It was in the autumn of 1835, at the country seat of Mr. John Jacob Astor, at Hellgate, that I first met with Captain Bonneville. He was then just returned from a residence of upward of three years among the mountains, and was on his way to report himself at headquarters, in the hopes of being reinstated in the service. From all that I could learn, his wanderings in the wilderness, though they had gratified his curiosity and his love of adventure, had not much benefited his fortunes. Like Corporal Trim in his campaigns, he had "satisfied the sentiment," and that was all. In fact, he was too much of the frank, freehearted soldier, and had inherited too much of his father's temperament, to make a scheming trapper or a thrifty bargainer. There was something in the whole appearance of the Captain that prepossessed me in his favor. He was of the middle size, well made and well set; and a military frock of foreign cut, that had seen service, gave him a look of compactness. His countenance was frank, open and engaging; well browned by the sun, and had something of a French expression. He had a pleasant black eye, a high forehead, and, while he kept his hat on, the look of a man in the jocund prime of his days; but the moment his head was uncovered, a bald crown gained him credit for a few more years than he was really entitled to.

Being extremely curious, at the time, about everything connected with the Far West, I addressed numerous questions to him. They drew from him a number of extremely striking details, which were given with mingled modesty and frankness ; and in a gentleness of manner, and a soft tone of voice, contrasting singularly with the wild and often startling nature of his themes. It was difficult to conceive the mild, quiet-looking personage before you, the actual hero of the stirring scenes related.

In the course of three or four months, happening to be at the city of Washington, I again came upon the captain, who was attending the slow adjustment of his affairs with the War Department. I found him quartered with a worthy brother in arms, a major in the army. Here he was writing at a table, covered with maps and papers, in the center of a large barrack room fancifully decorated with Indian arms, and trophies, and war dresses, and the skins of various wild animals, and hung round with pictures of Indian games and ceremonies, and scenes of war and hunting. In a word, the captain was beguiling the tediousness of attendance at court by an attempt at authorship, and was rewriting and extending his traveling notes, and making maps of the regions he had explored. As he sat at the table, in this curious apartment, with his high bald head of somewhat foreign cast, he reminded me of some of those antique pictures of authors that I have seen in old Spanish volumes.

The result of his labors was a mass of manuscript, which he subsequently put at my disposal, to fit it for publication and bring it before the world. I found it full of many interesting details of life among the mountains, and of the singular castes and races, both white and red men, among whom he had sojourned. It bore, too, throughout, the impress of his character, his bonhomie, his kindliness of spirit, and his susceptibility to the grand and beautiful.

That manuscript has formed the staple of the following work. I have occasionally interwoven facts and details, gathered from various sources, especially from the conversations and journals of some of the captain's contemporaries, who were actors in the scenes he describes. I have also given it a tone and coloring drawn from my own observation during an excursion into the Indian country beyond the bounds of civilization ; as I before observed, however, the work is substantially the narrative of the worthy captain, and many •f its most graphic passages are but little varied from his own language.

be remembered that the border at that time was the Missouri River. While performing this service he went with a distinguished party on a grand hunting trip to the Red Fork of the Canadian River, then went westerly to the great forest known as "Cross Timbers," and from there took a southerly route home. He mentions meeting Captain William Sublette and Robert Campbell in the western part of Missouri in the fall of 1832 on their return trip from Pierre's Hole. Washington Irving never saw the Rocky Mountains. It is true it would have been possible for him to have visited this country, but such a trip was not easy to make until he was too old to undertake the journey. He was born in 1783 and died in 1859. It was my good fortune to have known Mr. Irving in my childhood days. I remember him very distinctly and pleasantly. His polished manners and kindly greetings would and did captivate every one with whom he came in contact. In the year 1859 it had been decided that I should make a trip to California overland. Mr. Irving hearing of it, took occasion to give me some sound advice and instructions regarding the journey. Such a trip he thought was a great opportunity for a young man to see the world. I remember he expressed the idea that no man should go abroad until he had become acquainted with every part of his own country. He said that he hoped to see and talk with me of my travels and adventures, on my return. This was in the early spring of 1859. On my arrival home in 1860, from California, I was shocked to learn that he had been dead for more than six months.

Washington Irving has been unkindly criticised by some western writers because he could not foresee that the Rocky Mountain country was to become peopled with a race of men and women of the highest type of civilization. Here is the offending paragraph:

"An immense belt of rocky mountains and volcanic plains, several hundred miles in width, must ever remain an irreclaimable wilderness, intervening between the abodes of civilization, and affording a last refuge to the Indian. Here roving tribes of hunters, living in tents or lodges, and following the migrations of the game, may lead a life of savage independence, while there is nothing to tempt the cupidity of the white man. The amalgamation of various tribes and of white men of every nation will in time produce hybrid races like the mountain Tartars of the Caucasus. Possessed as they are of immense droves of horses, should they continue their present predatory and warlike habits, they may in time become a scourge to the civilized frontiers on either side of the mountains, as they are at present a terror to the traveler and trader."

That paragraph was written more than sixty-five years ago and from what was known of the Rocky Mountains at that time, it was a fair conclusion to be arrived at. The wonders in the way of civilization which have taken place in this part of the country in the last forty years have astonished us, but it was the magic influence of gold which did it all. Had it not been for this, Washington Irving's prophecy would have been fulfilled. At the time Mr. Irving wrote Bonneville it had never even been whispered that gold existed in these mountains. That was yet to be discovered, and when it was all things were changed. Mr. Irving only saw value in the fur trade, and the well-watered lands on either side of the great mountains. The development which came with the opening of the gold mines and the digging of our irrigation canals has been the wonder of the Nineteenth century, and no peoples have been more surprised than we who have participated in and have been a part of the great transformation scene. Irving, by the magic of his pen attracted attention to the west. One of the purposes he had in view when he brought out his "Astoria" was to build up this country, and he did more than any other man of his time to educate the people of the east in the great values that were contained in the western half of the continent. I am glad that he lived long enough to see the wild western country, of which he wrote so charmingly, become the great center of enterprise. He saw the rush to California in forty-nine and through the early fifties, and again in 1859 the reports from Pike's Peak reached him as if to cheer the closing year of his life.



Firs Collected, Convoyed To The Big Horn And Shipped By Bull Boats - Interesting Incidents Of The Journey North - Discovery Of The Great Tar Spring - Dangers And Difficulties Of The Return Trip - Discovery Of Big Hot Spring Near Present Site Of Fort Washakie - Captain Bonneville Attempts To Work His Way Through The Wind River Range - Ascent Of Mount Bonneville - Toilsome Journey - Discovers A Community Of Beavers - Returns To His Caches On Green River By Way Of South Pass - Crosses The Wind River Range At The Head Of Green River - Many Incidents Of His Second Journey To The Columbia - Last Winter In The Mountains - Rendezvous In The Wind River Valley - Returns To Civilization.

We left Captain Bonneville at the rendezvous on Green River, it being his second season at that point. He had collected a considerable number of furs which he determined to send to St. Louis in charge of Mr. Cerre. He concluded that the trip should be made by water down the Big Horn, Yellowstone, and thence by the way of the Missouri River. Before leaving his camp he detached Mr. Walker on a tour of exploration to Great Salt Lake, which was then little known and not at all understood. He determined to have the lake properly explored, and he instructed Mr. Walker to keep along the shores of it until he had traversed the whole distance to the place of beginning. He was to have his men trap in all the streams on his route, keep a journal and minutely record the events of his journey and note everything curious or interesting. He was also to make maps of the country through which he passed and on these he was to lay down the trail of his party from the time of leaving until hia return. Forty men were to accompany Mr. Walker, and the party was outfitted with provisions for a year. Mr. Walker was instructed to meet Captain Bonneville on Bear River twelve months from that time. After the departure of the Walker party, the Captain with sixty men took up the line of march and started for the Crow country. He followed round the southern end of the Wind River Range, then turned north until he reached the Popo Agie, down which stream he made his way. On reaching this point he was reminded by some of his trappers that he was in the vicinity of the "great tar spring." This spring was known among trappers and the tar was supposed to contain great medicinal properties. This is the well known Murphy oil wells of today, and Irving's account was undoubtedly the first ever published. This reads:

"After a toilsome search, he found it at the foot of a sand bluff, a little to the east of the Wind River Mountains, where it exuded in a small stream of the color and consistency of tar. The men immediately hastened to collect a quantity of it, to use as an ointment for the galled backs of their horses and as a balsam for their own pains and aches. From the description given of it, it is evidently the bituminous oil, called petroleum or naphtha, which forms a principal ingredient in the potent medicine called British Oil. It is found in various parts of Europe and Asia, in several of the West India Islands and in some places of the United States. In the state of New York it is called Seneca Oil, from being found near the Seneca lake."

It will be discovered that Captain Bonneville made the mistake of supposing he was on the Popo Agie, whereas he had only reached the south branch of that stream, known at this day as the Little Popo Agie. The name Popo Agie, he says, like most Indian names, is characteristic, Popo, in the Crow language, signifying head, and Agie, river.

After leaving the tar springs, he proceeded down the left bank of the Little Popo Agie and finally reached Big Wind River, where he encamped on account of the river being swollen by recent rains. During the course of the afternoon he beheld a long line of horsemen descending the slope of the hills on the opposite side of the Popo Agie. They were first thought to be Indians, but after a time Captain Bonneville became satisfied that they were white men. They proved to be the convoy of Robert Campbell, who was on his way to St. Louis with a large stock of furs. Fitzpatrick and a hardy band of trappers were the convoy; also Nathaniel J. Wyeth on his way to Boston. The two parties came together some days afterward on the Big Horn River and camped and traveled in company until they reached a point below the Grand Canon of the Big Horn, at which place they arrived about the middle of August, where they constructed bull boats of buffalo hides stretched over wooden frames. It took three of these boats to convey the peltries, and they were manned by Mr. Cerre and thirtysix men. On the way to the place of embarkation on the Big Horn, Captain Bonneville had detached two parties to trap in the Crow country, and after the departure of Mr. Cerre and the boats, this brave leader found himself with only four men and forty-six horses. With these he retraced his steps across the Big Horn Mountains, intending to join his two bands which he had left on the road going north. On the mountain the Captain discovered traces of the terrible Blackfeet and he felt no little solicitude about the two small parties of trappers which he had detached, lest the Indians should have come upon them. He felt still more keenly the situation of his own little band. He resolved to use the greatest caution and thus elude the savages. No guns were discharged or flres lighted for some days, and it was not until the last day of their march to the rendezvous, where they expected to meet the two bands, that they discharged a gun. Hunger overcame their caution, so they fired at a buffalo bull and brought him down. The best pieces of meat were cut from the carcass, but they now hesitated to build a fire and cook it, as all along their route there had been indications of the presence of savages. They therefore conveyed the meat to their place of rendezvous, at which they arrived that evening, celebrating their arrival by a hearty supper. The two detachments had not yet come up, therefore the next morning they constructed a log fortress for their own defense and a strong pen in which to confine the horses. On the 29th the two detachments so anxiously looked for arrived. They had experienced many adventures with Indians, and in consequence had been unable to secure any great amount of furs. They had been attacked by both Blackfeet and Crows, and while they had lost some horses and camp equipage, none of the men had been killed. The combined party after this moved south. This was on the 1st of September. The men were given an opportunity to trap as they passed slowly through the country. After reaching Wind River they turned westward up that stream. Many traps had been lost on the journey and Captain Bonneville discovered that it would be necessary to visit the caches on Green River for a fresh supply; also to procure a few other much needed articles. He determined to take three men with him and make the journey, giving instructions to the main body to proceed up the Wind River, trapping on the way in the small tributaries of the stream. It was understood he would join the party on the headwaters of this stream as soon as he could make the trip to Green River and return over one of the low passes in the mountains which have an outlet at the head of Wind River. Captain Bonneville and his party of three crossed Wind River and followed up the Little Wind River. On the way he discovered smoke arising, which on closer investigation proved to be steam, from an hot spring that was about twenty-five yards in diameter and so deep that the water was of a bright green color. My readers will recognize this as the great hot spring located near Fort Washakie. They were now advancing in the direction of the Wind River Mountain, but the Captain saw that to reach the goods he had cached on Green River by a detour around the south end of the mountain made a distance nearly three times as great as it would be if there were some practical route through the Wind River Range. He therefore determined to try and find such an opening. The party first went up1 the North Fork Canon, but after several hours spent in climbing precipices they reached a point where they seemed surrounded by stupendous crags which barred further progress. There was nothing to do but again return to the plains. Following south, they soon came to the main Popo Agie and here again they attempted to force their way through the mountain. During the first day they had little difficulty. They passed up the slope half a mile north of the Popo Agie, thinking to find an elevated plain a few miles farther up, but instead they found deep ravines and a second slope similar to the one they had just ascended, and so they kept on, toiling forward and upward, until night overtook them as they had just reached a wild dell, where they made their camp for the night. The next morning they poshed on again, and the difficulties increased as they proceeded. They at last reached a point where they had to climb down into a rocky ravine in order to ascend the next mountain. In attempting to get their horses down this place, some of them lost their footing and rolled to the bottom. They crossed many bright streams that went tumbling down to the valley below. On the third day they came upon two lakes of dazzling beauty surrounded by green meadows. Here they left their horses in charge of one man and Captain Bonneville with the other two climbed the neighboring height, expecting to find a way out of the labyrinth of mountains. He gained the summit after much toil, only to find himself at the foot of another lofty peak. To the right and left were other tall mountains, the summits of which were covered with snow. Selecting the loftiest peak, they turned their footsteps in that direction and finally reached its base and commenced the ascent, and found it the most difficult task of their lives; but onward they pushed and, climbing at times on their hands and knees, and frequently they became so exhausted with their exertions that they gladly dropped down in the snow and rested from their laborious efforts and slaked their thirst with handfuls of snow. At times it seemed impossible to go any farther, but the Captain's pride would not permit him to turn back, so he still led the way onward and upward. At last the three men threw off their coats and hung them on some stunted bushes in a position in which they could be easily seen on the return journey. Thus lightly clad, they nerved themselves for another effort, and on they went again, climbing as it seemed to them to the very clouds, and at last reached the highest point of this stupendous mountain peak. The scene that here burst on the Captain's view fairly overwhelmed him with its grandeur. No matter which way he turned his eyes he was confounded by the vastness and variety of its objects. Beneath him, the Rocky Mountains seemed to open all their secret recesses; deep solemn valleys; treasured lakes; dreary passes; rugged defiles and foaming torrents; while beyond their savage precincts the eye was lost in an almost immeasurable landscape, stretching on every side into dim and hazy distance, like the expanse of a summer's sea. Whichever way he looked, he beheld vast plains glimmering with reflected sunshine; mighty streams wandering on their shining course toward either ocean, and snowy mountains, chain beyond chain, and peak beyond peak, until they melted like clouds into the horizon. The peak on which Captain Bonneville had climbed is thirty-six miles on a direct line west from Lander, and will be found on a map of the state marked Mt. Bonneville. The Captain earned the distinction of having his name given to one of the grandest peaks of the Wind River range, not only by ascending it, but by being the pioneer mountain climber in Wyoming. He was nine years ahead of Fremont and underwent this hardship as a volunteer in the ranks of explorers.

I am well aware that it has been claimed that the Mt. Bonneville marked on the map is not the mountain peak climbed by Captain Bonneville. Later explorations by the United States government resulted in the selection of this peak as the one Bonneville ascended, and as this is official it serves my purpose. It is easy to split hairs, but it is useless, when there is no proof, to get into an argument.

The party, after satisfying their curiosity by glancing at the headwaters of the Columbia, Green River, the Big Horn and numerous other streams that circle away in all directions, and looking across at the Grand Tetons, Anally left the mountain peak and retraced their footsteps to the valley below, regaining their coats in their downward passage. They at length reached the camp where the horses were pasturing and on the second day came to the narrow valley of the Popo Agie, some distance above the place now occupied by the farm of J. S. Meyer. They soon came upon numerous communities of beaver. Captain Bonneville gives an interesting description of the beaver at work, which he chanced to discover during a noonday halt. He came to a beaver pond and caught a glimpse of one of the painstaking inhabitants busily at work upon the dam. The curiosity of the Captain was aroused to behold the mode of operating of this far-famed architect; he moved forward, therefore, with the utmost caution, parting the branches of the water-willows without making any noise, until having attained a position commanding a view of the whole pond, he stretched himself flat on the ground and watched the solitary workman. In a little while three others appeared at the head of the dam, bringing sticks and bushes. With these they proceeded directly to the barrier, which Captain Bonneville perceived was in need of repair. Having deposited their loads upon the broken part, they dived into the water and shortly reappeared at the surface. Each now brought a quantity of mud, with which he would plaster the sticks and bushes just deposited. This kind of masonry was continued for some time, repeated supplies of wood and mud being brought and treated in the same manner. This done, the industrious animals indulged in a little recreation, chasing each other about the pond, dodging and whisking about on the surface or diving to the bottom, and in their frolic often slapping their tails on the water with a loud clacking sound. While they were thus amusing themselves another of the fraternity made his appearance and looked gravely on these sports for some time without offering to join them. He then climbed the banks close to where the Captain was concealed, and, rearing himself on his hind quarters, in a sitting position, put his fore paws against a pine tree, and began to cut the bark with his teeth. At times he would tear off a small piece and holding it between his paws, and retaining his sedentary position, would feed himself with it after the fashion of a monkey. The object of the beaver, however, was evidently to cut down the tree, and he was proceeding with his work when he was alarmed by the approach of Captain Bonneville's men, who, feeling anxious at the protracted absence of their leader, were coming in search of him. At the sound of their voices, all the beavers, busy as well as idle, dived beneath the surface and were no more to be seen.

The day following the beaver incident, Captain Bonneville shaped his course to the south, going round the end of Wind River Range, and soon arrived at the place on Green River, where his goods were cached. Taking the articles and supplies he needed, he set out on the 18th of September to join his party at the head of Wind River. This time he followed up a branch of the Green River and finally reached what is now known as Sheridan Pass, by which he crossed the mountain after various escapes from a band of Indians who had dogged his footsteps through the valley. Arriving on Wind River, he, after much searching, came upon a trail made by his party, and in two days more succeeded in finding them. They now remained in camp for three days to rest their horses, but some of the trappers, however, pursued their vocations about the neighboring streams. While one of them was setting his traps he heard the tramp of horses and looking lip beheld a party of Crow braves moving along at no great distance with a considerable cavalcade. The trapper hastened to conceal himself but was discerned by the quick eye of the savages. With whoops and yells they dragged him from his hiding place, flourished over his head their tomahawks and scalping knives, and for a time the poor trapper gave himself up for lost. Fortunately the Crows were in a jocose rather than a sanguinary mood. They amused themselves heartily for a while at the expense of his terrors, and after having played off divers Crow pranks and pleasantries suffered him to depart unharmed. It is true they stripped him completely, one taking his horse, another his gun, a third his traps, a fourth his blanket, and so on through all his accoutrements, and even his clothing, until he was stark naked; but then they generously made him a present of an old battered buffalo robe, and dismissed him with many complimentary speeches and much laughter. When the trapper returned to camp in such a sorry plight he was greeted with peals of laughter from his comrades, and seemed more mortified by the style in which he had been dismissed than rejoiced at escaping with his life. A circumstance which he related to Captain Bonneville gave some insight into the cause of the extreme jocularity on the part of the Crows. They had evidently had a run of luck, and, like winning gamblers, were in high good humor. Among twenty-six fine horses and some mules which composed their cavalcade, the trapper recognized a number which had belonged to Fitzpatrick's brigade, when they parted company on the Big Horn. It was supposed, therefore, that these vagabonds had been on his trail, and robbed him of part of his cavalry.

The Crows were decidedly troublesome that season and Captain Bonneville felt fortunate to escape from the country without suffering further loss. He went south to the Sweetwater and fortunately a heavy fall of snow obliterated his track. From the Sweetwater he turned west to Green River and arrived once more at his caches on the 14th of October. From that point he went down the Green River, barely escaping a war party of three hundred Crows. Continuing on, he reached Ham's Fork on the 26th of October. A day of two after he fell in with Fitzpatrick's party and learned of that leader's experience on the banks of the Big Horn with the thieving Crows, the incident I relate in the sketch of Jim Beckwourth.

Bonneville now proceeded toward Bear River and going down this stream encamped on the 6th of November at the outlet of what is now known as Utah Lake. On the 11th he with three men set out in search of Mr. Hodgkiss, who had been sent with a party to trap on the headwaters of the Solomon, but before starting appointed a rendezvous on Snake River. On the way he met with a number of Bannocks and was invited by them to participate in a buffalo hunt, which invitation the Captain accepted. The hunt was a success and was of course followed by a feast, which was enjoyed to the full by all hands. Of this feast the Captain gives an amusing account. Loads of meat were brought in and choice pieces roasted before large fires. Everybody, including the Bonneville party, fell to and performed their parts with a relish. The warriors in proportion to the extent they had crammed themselves with buffalo meat, grew brave, and after supper they began to chant war songs, setting forth their mighty deeds done in battle, and the victories they had gained over the Blackfeet. Warming with the theme, and inflating themselves with their own eulogies, these magnanimous heroes of the trencher would start up, advance a short distance beyond the light of the fires, and apostrophize most vehemently their Blackfeet enemies, as though they had been within hearing. Ruffling and swelling and snorting, and slapping their breasts, and brandishing their arms, they would vociferate all their exploits; reminding the Blackfeet how they drenched their towns in tears and blood; enumerate the blows they had inflicted, the warriors they had slain, the scalps they had brought off in triumph. Then, having said everything that could stir a man's spleen or pique his valor, they would dare their imaginary hearers, now that the Bannocks were few in number, to come and take their revenge. Receiving no reply to this valorous bravado, they would conclude by all kinds of sneers and insults, deriding the Blackfeet for dastards and poltroons that dared not accept their challenge. "Such is the kind of swaggering," says Bonneville, "in which the red men are prone to indulge in their vainglorious moments; for with all their vaunted taciturnity, they are vehemently prone at all times to become eloquent about their exploits and to sound their own trumpet."

Captain Bonneville now shaped his course towards Snake River and on the 19th of November fell upon traces of the party of which he was in search and on the following day reached the encampment of Hodgkiss and his free trappers. This was the band that refused to accompany the Captain to Green River, preferring to trap on the upper waters of the Solomon, but fate had been against them. They had become entangled in the mountains and had lost much time in extricating themselves, and they had also been so unfortunate as to encounter unfriendly Indians and -were obliged to again take shelter in the mountains, so altogether their season's work amounted to little. Captain Bonneville, at the head of the united party, set out to join the band he had recently left, and succeeded in finding them on December 4th and proceeded at once to establish a winter camp on the Portneuf. After the camp had been put in order for the winter, the Captain organized an expedition to penetrate as far west as the Columbia, with a view to establishing a fort on its lower waters. Taking with him three men and five horses, he set out on his journey on Christmas morning, promising to return to the Portneuf camp during the early part of March. They journeyed down Snake River, following the identical path over which Mr. Hunt and his party had traveled twenty-two years before. It was a wild winter's journey and they suffered much with cold and hunger. They encountered many Indian villages, but they were so poverty stricken that they had nothing in the way of provisions to sell, and the party found themselves reduced to the necessity of living on small rations of dried flesh secured by killing a mule which was about to give out, and when that was gone they subsisted on roots. At last they came to a camp of the Nez Perces, and were thus saved from perishing from fatigue, hunger and cold. Purchasing fresh horses of these friendly Indians, they pushed on and on March 4, 1834, reached Fort Walla Walla, on the CoIumbia, a trading post of the Hudson Bay Company. The Captain and his men received every kindness at the hands of the company's agent at that point, but when he made application to purchase provisions for his return journey, he was politely but firmly refused, as it was against the policy of the Hudson Bay Company to assist those who proposed to become rivals in trade. Two days later Captain Bonneville and his three companions started on their return, and after many adventures reached Portneuf River on May 12, near

the place he had left his people encamped on the Christmas previous. The party left at the winter camp had suffered much during the absence of its leader and he did not find them until the 1st of June. After this, the course of the party was up Bear River and on the 13th of June they reached Utah Lake, and after spending four days in examining the shores and outlets, pushed on and soon came upon the detachment sent out the year before to explore the shores of the Great Salt Lake. It will be remembered that this party left Green River Valley July 24, 1833, charged with an important mission. They had entirely lost sight of the instructions and had wandered over sandy deserts and mountains, trapping on various streams, and finally encountered a band of Root-Digger Indians. These were seemingly an inoffensive people, but the trappers complained that some one was stealing their traps. It was believed that these Indians were the guilty parties. A trapper with an ungovernable temper discovering the loss of his traps one morning, vowed he would kill the first Indian he met, whether he be innocent or guilty. Soon after this man came upon two Indians who were seated upon the bank of a river fishing. One of these he shot and threw the body into the stream. The other escaped and it was presumed gave the alarm to his tribe. Shortly after this the trappers concluded it was best to leave the neighborhood, as they saw signs which induced them to believe the Indians contemplated vengeance. Proceeding west, they arrived at a crossing of Ogden's River, where they noticed a large party of Indians gathered upon the opposite side of the stream, intending, as they supposed, to oppose their passage. The trappers fired upon the natives and killed twenty-five. The balance fled in terror for a short distance, when they stopped and set up fearful cries of distress. The trappers now pursued the remainder of the tribe and drove them far from their path. The victors proceeded down Ogden's River and crossed the mountain, when they turned south and entered the Spanish village Monterey. Here they spent a season in gay life, attending bull and bear fights, used up the supplies provided by Captain Bonneville, and even sold the furs taken on the journey to furnish means to keep up their feasting and mad revelry. When Captain Bonneville received these reports, his indignation knew no bounds; the worse than failure of the expedition pricked him to the quick, as it had cost him a large amount of money which he could ill afford. The great Salt Lake still remained unexplored. The expedition he had led into the wilderness was not turning out to be a money-making venture. At this juncture Mr. Cerre arrived at the rendezvous with supplies for the season direct from the east, and after these had been distributed detachments were sent out on another trapping campaign. Montero, with his band, proceeded to the Crow country to trap; he was then to go through the Black Hills and follow south to the Arkansas, where he was to winter. Cerre and Walker started with a number of men to convey the furs they had taken the past season to St. Louis. The Captain started for the Columbia country, where he expected to winter, then recross the mountains and join Montero the following July on the Arkansas, where the rendezvous was fixed for the next season. Accordingly, the various companies separated on July 3rd for their different destinations. Captain Bonneville's trappers worked all the streams on the way to the Columbia. He had hoped to do a thriving trade with the natives on this river, but on arriving there he discovered that the Indians had been influenced by the Hudson Bay Company not to trade or hold any communication with him. The farther he proceeded the more marked became this disposition on the part of the natives to obey their masters, the agents of the rival company. He was unable to buy even the necessary provisions for his party and consequently he retraced his steps to the headwaters of the Portneuf, where they found abundant game and good pasturage for their horses. Arriving there about November 1st, they remained until the 17th, when, having received two messengers from Montero's party who had been sent after supplies, the Captain broke up his camp and started for his caches on Bear River to procure the articles called for. By these messengers he countermanded the order previously given to the Montero party to rendezvous on the Arkansas, changing the place to the Wind River Valley on the forks of the Popo Agie. After the departure of the messengers, Bonneville remained in camp several days to trade with a band of Shoshones in the neighborhood. He then moved up Bear River to the place selected for his winter encampment, where his brigade enjoyed peace and plenty during the cold weather. On the 1st of April, 1835, he broke up his camp. Passing down Ham's Fork to Green River, he trapped along that stream until June 22, when he set out with his party for the rendezvous in the Wind River Valley. Montero arrived in good time and reported a successful trapping expedition in the Crow country. He had had one encounter with the Blackfeet and lost some of his horses. The united parties celebrated the 4th of July at the rendezvous in true patriotic style. Captain Bonneville had erected three cabins for the use of his men and in which to store his goods. These cabins were long a landmark in the lower valley and are known to this day as the "Three Cabins." Major Noyes Baldwin, when he received his permit in 1866 to trade with the Shoshones, moved his family and goods into these cabins, and it was on this spot that he first set up business in that country. Montero, having drawn his supplies, placed himself at the head of his brigade of trappers and again started on another campaign, while Bonneville, with the residue of his command, turned south and reaching the Sweetwater followed the course of that stream to the North Platte, and so on to civilization.

This renowned trader, trapper and explorer is worthy of a biographical sketch in these pages, which is herewith appended.


Captain Benjamin Louis Eulalie Bonneville was born in France, 1796. His father was a man of superior education and the owner of a printing establishment in Paris at the time Bonneville was born. He was a Republican and belonged to a Paris club organized by Tom Paine. During our Revolutionary War with England there were many pamphlets published at the Bonneville printing establishment which were in the interest of the Americans, and these publications contributed not a little to the building up of a sentiment favorable to the struggling colonies. When Napoleon came into power he took measures to control the press of Paris and tracing some offensive pamphlets to the Bonneville press, he ordered the proprietor imprisoned in the "Temple." After a time he was released and he expressed a desire to go to America with his family, but Napoleon ordered him kept under surveillance by the police and that he be not allowed to leave France. Tom Paine, who had been in Paris for some time, was informed by friends that he was in danger of arrest; he therefore secretly left France, taking with him, by desire of her husband, Madame Bonneville and her son Benjamin, then a small boy. On arriving in New York, Mrs. Bonneville and her son were sent to the country residence of Tom Paine, New Rochelle. The elder Bonneville after a time escaped from Paris and joined his wife and son in New York City, where she had opened a school for young ladies. When young Benjamin was old enough, Tom Paine secured his appointment to West Point, from which institution he graduated in 1819. When General Lafayette visited America in 1824 he looked up the Bonneville family and evinced a deep interest in them. This becoming known to the War Department, young Bonneville, out of compliment to General Lafayette, was appointed an aide on the staff of the distinguished and much beloved visitor, and the young man accompanied the General on his tour through the United States. When Lafayette returned to his home, he asked that young Bonneville be allowed to return with him to France as his guest. How long he remained abroad I do not know, but on his return to America he was appointed a Lieutenant and went into service on the frontier, and it was here he acquired a desire to penetrate the wilderness. In course of time he was promoted to a Captaincy. From time to time he met trappers and traders from the Rocky Mountains, and it soon became the ambition of his life to lead an expedition across the continent with the object of studying the character of Indian tribes, the discovering of a road for the use of emigrants and the making of a correct map of the country through which he passed. He believed that such an expedition could be made self-sustaining by trading with Indians and by trapping, provided he could secure the capital necessary for the outfitting and the purchase of goods to be used in trading with Indians. The Captain fortunately had wealthy friends who were willing to advance the money needed. He applied to General Macomb for leave of absence, giving in detail his plans. His request was promptly granted.

Three years and four months from the time of his departure from Fort Osage, on the Missouri, Captain Bonneville reported to General Macomb at Washington and asked permission to file his report of the expedition he had conducted into the interior of the continent. He was informed that the war office had eagerly looked for his return for a long time, but had finally come to the conclusion that he and his. companions had met death in the wilderness, and he had therefore been dropped from the rolls of the army. The Captain was dumfounded when informed that he had been deposed, but he promptly demanded reinstatement. He was told that this was irregular, and as it concerned a large number of officers who were anxious for promotion, his request was denied. His return created a profound sensation in army circles, but there was not an officer who would espouse his cause. He was told that he had been engaged in a private enterprise for his own profit and emolument and that he could not expect to be restored to his rank after having overstayed his leave of absence nearly two years. Bonneville now went to the President, General Jackson and laid the case before him. The old hero and statesman heard him with kindness and attention, and knocking the ashes from his cob-pipe said: "You were absent from duty for specific objects, such as information in regard to the wild tribes, the mountain routes and passes and maps of the country. Have you these maps to prove this service?" "I have, sir." "Let me examine them." Jackson put on his spectacles and was absorbed in them some time. "By the eternal, sir," he said, "I'll see that you are reinstated to your command. For this valuable service you deserve a high promotion." Bonneville was restored. Soon after his restoration he was given command of Fort Gibson, and later was ordered to Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, and while there met Miss Annie Lewis, a daughter of Judge Lewis of that place. The gallant soldier was an ardent admirer of this young lady and in due course of time he married her, and soon after was ordered to Jefferson Barracks. By this union they had one child, a girl. This daughter's name was Mary, and she is spoken of as a beautiful and accomplished young lady, but at the age of eighteen she died. A few days after the death of Mary her grief-stricken mother died also, and the two occupied graves side by side in a St. Louis cemetery. At the breaking out of the Seminole war Captain Bonneville played a conspicuous part and was promoted to Major of the Sixth Infantry, for meritorious service. He went with his command to Mexico and again distinguished himself and was promoted Lieutenant Colonel of the Fourth Infantry and in 1852 was ordered to the Pacific coast. February 3, 1855, he was promoted Colonel of the Third Infantry. He was retired from active service September 9, 1861. At the breaking out of the war he volunteered his services to the government and was ordered to Jefferson Barracks and made mustering officer, which position he held until the close of the war. On March 13th, 1865, he was brevetted Brigadier-General. He was married a second time late in life and at the close of the war went to live on his farm, located at Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he died on June 12, 1878. The photograph which appears on another page was taken in the year 1873.

The Indians of the Rocky Mountains called Bonneville the "Bald Headed Chief," as he was in fact very bald. In the latter years of his life he wore a wig, as will be noticed in his published portrait. His widow is still living at Fort Smith.



Trappers First Permanent Settlers In Wyoming - Personal Mention Jim Beckwourth - Nathaniel J. Wyeth - James Bridger - Kit Carson - Jedediah S. Smith - Joshua Pilcher - George W. Ebberts - Robert Newell - Captain William Sublette - Thomas Fitzpatrick - Fr App – Jervaise - Fontenelle - Jennings - Leroy - Ross - Sinclair Brothers – Dripps – Vasques – Uoodale – Pappen - Tulleck.

It will be clearly established in the minds of those who read the early history of Wyoming that to the trappers belong the credit of having first made permanent homes in this country. Many of the men who came out with Ashley, Sublette, Bonneville and other renowned heroes, conceived the idea of making the mountains their abiding place. They paid dearly for their temerity, and the estimate is that three-fifths of this number met violent deaths at the hands of the savages. A majority took Indian wives, but this only protected them from the particular tribes to which their wives belonged. The hereditary enemies of such tribes scalped these white men whenever the opportunity offered. When Fremont came into the country he found numerous white men who had married among Indians, and he especially mentions the fact that as a result of such marriages there was an abundance of half-breed children. I can imagine that some of my readers will be inclined to the opinion that these white men had become by association little better than the natives; but this by no means follows; nor was it the case. Those who settled down to make homes in the wilderness, far from civilization, were the bravest of the brave; they lived for the most part honorably with their native wives and provided abundantly for their offspring. Their surroundings did not permit them to give to their children the advantages of education and civilization, and yet it is only fair to say that their homes were the abodes of love and tenderness. In those days education was not the privilege of all, even in the states. The most of the trappers were men without education and their lot was no worse in the mountains than it would have been at home, except for the dangers incident to their calling. It must be admitted that even savage women have their charms, under certain circumstances. The fair daughters of the mountain chieftains of Wyoming were no less charming than those of Powhatan, who wed Pocahontas to a white man, and polite society approved. The daughter of the "Virginia chieftain, it is true, saved Captain John Smith from the murderous war club of her savage father. Are there any to claim that the princesses of the mountains were less powerful to protect white men? Humanity is alike to some extent in all countries and all ages, and the white men who came to Wyoming in the first half of the century were no exception to the rule. To live with a squaw was the custom of the country, and besides, the unlettered trappers were not the only white men who indulged their fancy in this particular. Men highly educated did the same thing. "The Free Trapper's Bride" is pictured in elegant prose by Washington Irving in his story of Captain Bonneville, and Bancroft, who loses no opportunity to stab Irving's hero, says in his "Adventures of Nathaniel J. Wyeth," in 1834: "They also reached Powder River the 28th and on the 31st arrived at Grand Ronde, where they found Bonneville and his company. This amateur forester, with a troop of Nez Perces and Cayuses at his heels, visited Wyeth's camp, and by his broad, genial good humor, which then happily possessed him, and his French manners, created a favorable impression. Meanwhile, flitting in the distance, astride a sleek bay horse, gayly caparisoned, the mane and tail tied full of scarlet and blue ribbons, was a beautiful damsel, glittering in finery, loaded with bells, beads, and rings fastened to bands of scarlet cloth, and who managed her horse as being part of it, but held aloof as the property of one who brooked no familiarity in the matter of mistresses."

I have no desire to apologize for the personal conduct of the early trappers. They came into the country and took their chances, braved the dangers, and a majority of them, as has been said, lost their lives. Their social relations with the Indian tribes have no bearing on the subjects discussed in this volume. Their alliances with the daughters of the mountains are mere incidents in the history of these men.

The introduction of spiritous liquors was an evil farreaching, not only among the trappers but also to the Indian tribes. Of course this traffic added to the profits of the trader, and yet the injury it inflicted on the whites, halfbreeds and natives was beyond calculation. Whole tribes were demoralized, white men brutalized, and all because of the greed of those who came to the mountains to build up fortunes. It was the one great blot on the character of the heroes who established commerce in the wilderness. Future generations, when they come to sum up the moral worth of the trader and trapper, will see no great difference between the men who sold skins for whisky and those who bartered whisky for skins.

In this chapter I desire to group together many of the trappers and traders and tell their experiences while in Wyoming. I shall be obliged in most instances to barely mention names. The task has been a difficult one. My purpose from the first was to give the names of these men in connection with incidents relating to the fur trade, and this has been done wherever possible. It should be understood that the fur trade, first and last, employed in this state several thousand people, and only a very small percentage of these have left any record, and that record very imperfect. Full names are the exception, as I find them mentioned in publications relating to the fur trade.

Jim Beckwourth, who came to the mountains under Ashley and was known among the trappers and traders as one of the bravest of the brave, led a life of adventure such as few men of his day could boast. He served at first under Ashley and then under Sublette. While serving the latter he joined the Crow nation and by his bravery became a powerful chief. After joining the Crows he was charged by trappers with instigating that tribe to steal furs and horses from the trappers of the Rocky Mountain and American Fur Companies. This he has denied many times. He never contradicted, however, the many marriages charged to his account. Being sent to trade with the Blackfeet tribe on one occasion by Fitzpatrick, he prepared the way by marrying the daughter of the chief, after which he opened up and did a thriving business. While he was with the Crows he had fully a dozen wives. Fremont in 1842 met at Chabonard's ranch on the Platte a young Spanish woman who he said was the wife of Jim Beckwourth. It has been charged that he on one occasion infected some goods with the germs of smallpox and then sent them to a camp of Blackfeet, and the result was that a large number of the savages took the disease and many died. I have carefully examined many of the charges made against Beckwourth, and have come to the conclusion that he was one of those characters who delight in telling monstrous stories about themselves, but they are really not as bad as they make out. He was constantly boasting about the number of Indians he had killed on various occasions, and he tried to make people be~ lieve that, like David, he had slain his tens of thousands. The real facts are, he had killed a number of Indians, it is true, but he was fond of exaggeration. He had some good traits; this cannot be denied. After living with the Crows a number of years he went into the service of the American Fur Company on the Yellowstone, but later withdrew and went to California. At one time he kept a hotel, but falling under suspicion of being connected with a band of horse thieves, he was obliged to leave California; returning to Wyoming. When Denver was first settled he went to that place and opened a store but did not continue long in business. W. N. Byers informs me that at the time he came to Denver, in 1859, he took up a ranch in what is now a populous part of the city, and his next neighbor was Jim Beckwourth. He had located on a quarter section of land and lived on it in a cabin. Beckwourth afterward built a good house and while living there married a daughter of a colored washerwoman in town. The Crow Indians sent him many pressing invitations to come and see them, as they were in need of his advice. This tribe claimed that he was their "good medicine." Finally Beckwourth resolved to pay his old friends a farewell visit. Mr. Byers thinks that this was about the year 1867, but he does not feel certain as to the date. The tribe at this time was in Montana and received Beckwourth with open arms. The Crows before this period had met with great misfortunes. Between war and disease the tribe was greatly decimated, and they attributed their bad luck of late years to the absence of Beckwourth. He was feasted in all their villages and his visit was one grand ovation. Finally he announced his intention of returning to Denver and the head men of the tribe made this the occasion of a grand farewell feast. There was boiled puppy and all the choice dishes of the Indian' epicure and Beckwourth was seated in the center of the feast while good cheer went the rounds. The memories of happy days when the Crows were a numerous and powerful nation, were revived, and stories told of battles fought and victories won while Beckwourth was their chief. At last the feast drew to a close, when one more choice dish, prepared for the honored and loved former chieftain, was pressed upon him. Of this he ate and dropped dead! He had been poisoned. They explained afterwards that in spite of all their entreaties Beckwourth was determined to return to Denver. He had always been "good medicine" to the tribe, and if they could not have him alive they resolved to have him dead, that his bones might be kept with them. Thus perished one of the most remarkable characters ever in the Rocky Mountains. He was born April 26, 1798, at Fredricksburg, Virginia, his mother being a slave woman and his father a white man. Beckwourth took great pride in the fact that his father was a major in the War of the Revolution. The following interesting story is told of Beckwourth's services to white men who suffered capture among the Indians:

"During 1834, Captain Stuart, an English army officer, who had served under the Duke of Wellington, Dr. Benjamin Harrison, a son of the first President Harrison, Colonel Charles A. Wharfleld, a Mr. Brotherton and several other gentlemen who were in search of adventure, were with Thomas Fitzpatrick's trappers. They had appeared at the rendezvous on Green River that year and followed Fitzpatrick through the Wind River Valley, down the Big Wind River, and had finally reached the Big Horn Basin, where they were all captured by a band of Crows. Jim Beckwourth, who was then working for the American Fur Company, happened to be with the Crow party who made the capture. Fitzpatrick appealed to Beckwourth to get himself and friends out of the scrape. Beckwourth called upon his relatives, Indians related to him by marriage, for each warrior to mount a horse and take a prisoner behind him, while he gathered up the horses and goods belonging to the white men. Captives according to the laws of war among Indians are safe while being conducted to or from the camp, and a captive mounted behind a warrior, that warrior is directly responsible for his safe keeping. While the white captives were being mounted, Captain Stuart declared he would not get on behind a murdering, thieving, red rascal. Col. Wharfleld and Dr. Harrison told the English blusterer that he was using very unbecoming language and that he was endangering the lives of the whole party as well as his own. Thus persuaded, Captain Stuart meekly mounted behind an Indian. After much difficulty, Beckwourth secured all the property belonging to the white men, returned it to the owners, and sent an escort with them several miles. The party once out of the Indian village remounted their own horses and went on their way. These pleasure-seekers during that same season visited Captain Bonneville in his camp near Solomon River."

I have explained the presence of Nathaniel J. Wyeth in Wyoming during the spring of 1832, and his disappearance beyond our borders. His twenty-two men had dwindled down to eleven, yet he persisted in going forward to fulfill the dream of his ambition; that is, to build trading posts and ship to Boston, by way of the Columbia, furs and salmon. Previous to his leaving Boston, he had sent a ship around Cape Horn, calculating that the vessel would meet him on the lower Columbia about the time his expedition by land should reach there. Concerning the trials and tribulations of Mr. Wyeth on the Pacific coast, my history has nothing to do. He remained there during the fall and winter of 1832 and then bent his steps back across the mountains and appeared at Green River, having failed in his enterprise, but like the true New Englander, he was more enthusiastic than ever. From Green River he went in convoy of Robert Campbell and Captain Bonneville, through the Wind River Valley, down the Big Horn River to the Yellowstone, and after constructing a bull-boat floated down the Yellowstone to the Missouri - thence back to St. Louis and on to Boston by the usual modes of conveyance. He had failed, but that did not prevent his Boston friends furnishing all the money he needed for a second expedition. Another ship was fitted out, well loaded with merchandise and dispatched to the Columbia. He raised 200 men and started by land to make his second journey up the Platte, through South Pass, boldly pushing forward to Snake River, down which stream he took his course. Seventy-five miles below Henry's Fort he stopped to build his first post in the interior. This post was a log structure with ample accommodations for the business for which it was intended. The logs were squared with a broad-ax, and consequently his buildings when completed presented a creditable appearance. He named the place Fort Hall and it became famous as the years went byr first as a fur-trading establishment, then as an important station on the old overland emigrant and stage route, and still later as a military post; though our government finally moved Fort Hall a few miles up the river. Wyeth built other posts and pushed his business with true Yankee spirit and persistence, but it was too late in the history of the fur trade for it to be a success. The fur-bearing animals were fast disappearing from the streams, and besides he had to encounter a well organized competition of the powerful Hudson Bay Company. He shipped salmon and furs, but his vessels were only half loaded and consequently there was no margin for profits, and after pursuing the unprofitable business several years, he finally sold to the Pacific Fur Company all his posts, merchandise, vessels, and other property, and went to Boston and engaged in the wholesale ice business, in which calling he succeeded in amassing a fortune. Had Wyeth come west a few years earlier and remained in the mountains he would have fought his way to the front and made fortune and reputation, but the trouble was, when he arrived the fur business was already on the wane. The beaver, otter and mink were growing scarce in the mountain streams, and there was no room for a new leader in the fur trade.

James Bridger has been called the Daniel Boone of the Rockies, but this does not do him justice. Boone was simply a courageous Indian fighter, a hunter of renown in a comparatively level country. True, though there were dense forests and numerous lurking foes, the difficulties in no way compared with those Bridger had to encounter. He and his band of trappers were daily exposed in open ground. The Indians knew their whereabouts at all times because the valleys in the Rocky Mountains were devoid of timber, and through these the streams flowed where the beaver were to be found. These same streams came out of rocky recesses in the mountains, covered on either side with a dense growth of cedar, pine and other timber, where the savages lurked in ambush, because they knew the hunters, once on a stream, would follow it to its source. Narrow passes led from one valley to another, and here again the wild men of the mountains watched to hurl a shower of arrows at the lonely trappers, and if they escaped these pitfalls along their path, their camp at night was surrounded by a savage horde awaiting an opportunity to deal death and destruction to the tired sleepers. Trapping grounds lay wide apart and to go from one to another required long marches, every mile of the way exposed to dangers seen and unseen. The country was subject to seasons of intense cold, and this was even more dangerous than the encounters with the savages. In short, Bridger's life was one of constant peril, and he met all with a courage sublime; therefore, I say, Daniel Boone, who lives in hundreds of tales of the border, and who has been made many times a hero by the pen which tells the story of border life in border days so eloquently, never was called upon to suffer the privations or to meet the dangers which fell to the lot of the hero of the Rockies, James Bridger.

Born in Richmond, Virginia, March, 1804, he early came to St. Louis and enlisted in one of General Ashley's brigades of fur trappers. From a boy he was an expert shot with the rifle and soon learned woodcraft and the art of defending himself against savage beasts and at times equally savage men. Some writers claim that he came to the mountains in 1820. That would make him but sixteen years old. I am unable to trace him back of 1822, when he came to Wyoming with Ashley's trappers on their first trip to the Yellowstone and Wind River country. General Ashley soon noted his courage and fidelity, and Thomas Fitzpatrick, who was many years his senior, clung to him as to a younger brother. He was skillful as a trapper, and the Indians soon learned to respect his unerring aim and kept themselves at a safe distance or met him as a friend. Of all the white men who came to the mountains, none learned the geography of the country so well as he. Every mountain defile, every principal stream and all its tributaries were engraved upon the tablet of his memory, which enabled him to lead his men by the shortest route through any desired locality. In later years he became a guide to the army and often astonished military commanders by the accuracy of his knowledge of the country through which they desired to pass. It has been said of him by Generals in the army that he could either name any stream he came to or tell in an instant of what it was a tributary. Not only was he familiar with Wyoming, but possessed a topographical knowledge of all parts of the Rocky Mountains. Possessing little education drawn from books, he graduated in the school of the mountains. His knowledge of human nature was beyond that acquired by the majority of mankind, and he read the human face of the white man or the savage at a glance. I have no occasion to write his life, for the reason that his name occurs in connection with many events which are detailed in these pages. Fort Bridger, which he built, and Bridger Pass, which he discovered, are his monuments. His explorations in the Yellowstone National Park and his life services in Wyoming are all related in their proper place.

After a service of thirty-four years, he went east in 1856 and purchased a valuable and improved farm at Westport, now a suburb of Kansas City, on which he intended to reside the remainder of his days, but after the stirring scenes in the wild west through which he had passed, the humdrum of farm life was unendurable, and he returned to the mountains, locating at Fort Laramie, and engaged permanently with the government as a guide to the army, which occupation he followed until his advanced years compelled him to retire to his farm, where he died July 17, 1881. Jim Bridger, as he was familiarly called, will remain for all time to come a part of the history of Wyoming. He lived to see it develop from utter darkness to the noonday of civilization. In appearance, Bridger was a typical hunter, tall, slim, with a face bronzed by exposure, wearing a slouch hat and ever accompanied by his trusty rifle.

The name of Kit Carson will forever be associated with the early events in Wyoming, where he trapped during his young manhood. He was born in Kentucky, December 24, 1809. In 1826, when a mere boy, he went to Santa Fe, New Mexico. From there he drifted into Old Mexico and finally to California. From this place he came to Wyoming and located on Green River, trapping and hunting. He early made a reputation for bravery and of being an expert shot with the rifle. These qualities naturally made him a leader. In 1830 he completed a tour of Wyoming, trapping in nearly all the streams. He fought Indians and trapped with Jim Bridger, Jim Baker, O. P. Wiggins, Thomas Fitzpatrick and numerous other noted mountain men. The Rocky Mountain passes were familiar to him from one end to the other. Rev. Samuel Parker, who crossed the continent in 1835, the incidents of whose journey have already been given, speaks of meeting Jim Bridger at the Green River rendezvous in the month of August, and also mentions Carson. He says:

"I will relate an occurrence which took place near evening, as a specimen of mountain life. A hunter who goes technically by the name of the great bully of the mountains, mounted his horse with a loaded rifle and challenged any Frenchman, American, Spaniard, or Dutchman to fight him in single combat. Kit Carson, an American, told him if he wished to die he would accept the challenge. Shunar defied him. Carson mounted his horse, and with a loaded pistol rushed into close contact, and both almost at the same instant fired. Carson's ball entered Shunar's hand, came out at the wrist, and passed through the arm above the elbow. Shunar's ball passed over the head of Carson, and while he went for another pistol Shunar begged that his life might be spared."

Carson's home was at Taos, New Mexico, for many years, where he married in 1843. In 1842 he accompanied Fremont on his first tour of exploration to the Rocky Mountains and the two from that time forward were warm personal friends. In nearly all of Fremont's explorations Carson was his guide. During the lifetime of this noted mountain man he held many positions of trust and was ever on the move in the varied callings in which he was engaged. He fought Indians in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and other territories. In 1864 he was in command of Fort Union, New Mexico, and in 1865 and 1866 commanded Fort Garland, Colorado. In 1867 he moved from Taos, New Mexico, to Bent County, Colorado. He died May 24, 1868. Frank Hall, the author of the history of Colorado, was personally acquainted with Carson, and says of him: "This man was a rare combination of dauntless courage, keen penetration, true nobility of mind and generous impulse, tempered with discretion and sound sense." Of his personal appearance, this author says: "In physical mould and stature he was not unlike the great Napoleon, but in voice and action in ordinary life the personification of amiability and retiring modesty. But when roused by great events portending danger to himself or others who for the time being were-under his protection, he became a whirlwind of vengeance, tempered and restrained from rashness by the keenest sagacity and most marvelous generalship."

Jedediah S. Smith, after trapping in Wyoming in the spring of 1824, led his party west down the Snake River among the Flatheads. They wintered at the Hudson Bay Company's post and in the spring pushed their way westward to California. He trapped in that country and was very successful, and in 1828 started north for the Oregon country with nineteen men. He had with him a long train of pack mules on which he carried |20,000 worth of furs. The natives along the route home seemed friendly, but when he reached TJmpqua, Oregon, his party was attacked and all were killed except Smith, Turner and a man named Black, and the furs stolen. Smith made his way to the Hudson Bay Company post at Fort Vancouver, where he informed Superintendent McLoughlin of his misfortune. The feeling at that time against the Hudson Bay Company and its officers was very bitter among Americans, and yet this leader of the company sent out an expedition to recover Smith's furs; and they were successfully brought into the post. When Smith returned to Green River that fall and told Captain Sublette of the generous treatment he had received at the hands of McLoughlin, they agreed between themselves that they would withdraw their men from the territory of the Hudson Bay Company, which they immediately proceeded to do. Smith was a man of great courage, able in business matters and generally successful. He trapped in 1829 in the streams on both sides of the Wind River Range. In September he headed a party to descend the Green and Colorado rivers, and while he was successful in securing a large number of furs, he unfortunately lost them while attempting to cross the Colorado River. In 1830 he withdrew from the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and entered into operations further south. He established a trading post at Santa Fe and started in to do a large business. By agreement with the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, they were not to enter his territory, and he on his part agreed not to enter theirs. He did not long enjoy the business in this new field, as he was killed in 1831 by a band of savages who attacked his train at some point on the the Cimarron River. He was one of the best men ever engaged in the business and his death was deplored by all who knew him.

Godin, a Canadian trapper who came to Wyoming in 1829, was for some years with Wyatt's band, and while under that chieftain participated in the great battle with the Blackfeet at Pierre's Hole. Old trappers tell the story of the fight of Godin with a chief of the Blackfeet at the opening of the battle. The Indians advanced to the number of 400 to attack the trappers. Suddenly a tall, well-built chief, splendidly mounted and arrayed in all his savage finery, came forward, intimating by his action that he desired to fight any or all the trappers single-handed. It was a feat of reckless daring such as chiefs who desire to distinguish themselves not infrequently resort to. Godin saw the movement, and being well mounted and armed with a short rifle, rode forward to meet the chief. They approached to within a few yards of each other when Godin raised his rifle and fired at his adversary. The chief was instantly killed and Godin rushed forward and springing to the ground stripped a scarlet coat from the dead chieftain, remounted and rode back to his companions under a heavy fire from the savages. This was regarded among the trappers as a feat showing great bravery, and won for Godin a reputation among mountain men. This trapper was a familiar figure in the Rocky Mountains for many years. Washington Irving tells this incident in quite another way, as will be discovered in the account of the fight at Pierre's Hole. The story as above related is told by old trappers of Wyoming who were there and saw the encounter between Godin and the Indian chief, and this is substantially the account given by Bancroft.

One of the trappers who worked under Ashley and afterwards under Sublette was Thomas L. Smith. In a year or two after reaching the mountains he had the misfortune to break one of his legs. Jim Cockrell, another trapper, was with him at the time, and Smith not being able to travel, the two went into camp together. The leg was not only broken but badly crushed, the bones protruding through the flesh. Smith was axious to have Cockrell amputate his leg, and the latter, seeing that the situation was desperate, agreed to undertake the surgical operation. They chanced to have with them an old-fashioned three-cornered file, and with this Cockrell made a saw out of a butcher knife. He cut the flesh down to the bone with a hunting knife, then with the saw cut off the bone. The arteries were tied and the flow of blood stopped. The operation was a success and before many weeks Smith was able to ride horse-back and Cockrell took him to one of the trading posts of the company. This trapper Cockerell was an uncle of the present Senator Cockerel of Missouri. Smith did not leave the mountains, but soon after established a road ranch along what became a few years later the Overland Trail. He went east as soon as he was able and procured a wooden leg and became known after this as "Pegleg Smith." He was one of the characters during the days of the Overland. He was kind-hearted and generous to a fault, but somewhat addicted to drink. In 1866 he went to California, and while there died.

Bill Williams, or "Parson Williams," as he was sometimes called, enjoyed the reputation of being a well-posted mountain man, and was considered by Kit Carson one of the bravest men in the mountains. In the fall of 1848 he was engaged by Fremont as guide to his fourth expedition across the Rocky Mountains. The command started from Bent's Fort with thirty-three men and one hundred and twenty-three mules with forage for the same. They went up the Arkansas and attempted to go across the San Juan Mountains, which had always been known to be inaccessible even in summer. They plunged about in the snow, nearly all the mules were lost, eleven of the men either starved or were frozen to death, and the balance barely escaped with their lives. Williams has always been held responsible for the disaster. The next season, with a small party, he went back over the trail of the unfortunate explorers to pick up the pack saddles, clothing and arms strewn along the route. While on this service Williams and all his companions were killed by Indians. During the thirties and forties this guide was often in Wyoming. I have met many persons intimately acquainted with him, and have been told that he was called "Parson Williams" for the reason that in his young manhood he was a Methodist preacher.

Descoteaux was a trapper in Wyoming in the thirties and was regarded as a man of great personal courage. In 1842 he joined Fremont's expedition at Fort Laramie and accompanied the explorer to the Wind River Mountains and was one of the men selected to ascend Fremont's Peak. He remained in the country for many years, trapping and trading, and often visited St. Louis to dispose of his furs. On one of these trips he met a lad in that city who appeared to be friendless and alone, and he at once told the boy that if he would go with him he would be taken care of. The lad accepted the kind offer of the big-hearted trapper and from that day the two became inseparable. Visiting Wyoming shortly after this, the boy came along and thus became one of the pioneer settlers in this state. This lad was Tom Sun, now the proprietor of a large ranch at Devil's Gate, on the Sweetwater. His name will appear in a number of places in this history in connection with important events and enterprises.

Joseph L. Meek was a Virginian by birth, came to St. Louis and enlisted under Captain Sublette in 1828. Robert Newell, who was born in Ohio in 1810, also enlisted with Sublette, and both during the same year came to Wyoming and served many years as trappers. They were both reliable men and served under Captain Sublette and his brother Milton; also Bridger, Frapp, Fitzpatrick and Jervais. In 1840 these trappers went to Oregon and helped organize that commonwealth. They now settled down as staid members of society and became useful citizens with no desire to return to their former mountain life.

Peter Gauthier and Paul Ojet were Canadian trappers who came to Wyoming in the early thirties and worked for the American Fur Company on the Big Horn and Big Wind Rivers for a number of years. After the American Fur Company purchased Fort Laramie, these two trappers came to the North Platte and trapped on the tributaries of that stream for nearly eight years. The two were great friends and were always found together. When beaver grew scarce, they determined to go to Oregon, take land, become farmers, and settle down. In 1843 they joined a party of emigrants and became Oregon settlers, married in the new country and raised families.

In 1827 a company of forty-five men with a hundred horses came into Wyoming by the Platte and Sweetwater route, crossed the mountains at South Pass and proceeded to Green River. This company was under the command of Joshua Pilcher of the revived Missouri Fur Company. Pilcher employed his men trapping on the upper waters of Green River and on the east side of the Wind River Range. He wintered high up on Green River and remained in that neighborhood until 1829, when he crossed the Snake River and went over into the Oregon country, where he lost all the furs he had gathered and had all but two of his men killed by Indians.

Jervais, who was associated in 1830 with Milton Sublette, Fitzpatrick and Frapp in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, was one of the remarkable characters in the fur trade. He was one of the Astorians and endured much suffering while with that expedition in 1811-12. After serving may years, first as trapper, then as trader, in the Rocky Mountains, he finally settled on Willamette River, in Oregon, and had for his neighbors Luciere and Deslard, two other trappers. Luciere was one of the Canadian voyageurs who came out with Mr. Hunt in 1811.

Peter Skeens Ogden, better known as Peter Ogden, was a Hudson Bay Company superintendent and a popular man among the early trappers. This leader was in Wyoming a number of times in the twenties and thirties. He was a friend of General Ashley and also of Captain William Sublette. Ogden City and Ogden River, Utah, are named after this pioneer fur trader.

William Small, who went out with Captain Bonneville in 1832, was a trapper who had been in the mountains before and was known as a man of character and determination. He was selected to go with Walker on his expedition to Salt Lake and California in 1833. He was killed on September 9th of that year by Shoshone Indians, while setting his traps.

Fontenelle, who served many years in Wyoming as a representative of the American Fur Company and was conspicuous as a leader, committed suicide in 1837. Of the circumstances under which this occurred I am not informed. Fontenelle Creek, a tributary of Green River, was named after this pioneer fur trader and trapper of Wyoming.

Alexander Godey is spoken of by Fremont as a peerless hunter and guide and is called by the explorer a formidable rival of Kit Carson in courage and professional skill. He was well known in Wyoming and many old timers even to this day speak of him as a mighty hunter, and as a man who was "never lost in the mountains.

William Sinclair was a leader of free trappers who trapped in Wyoming for many years and were often in the employ of Captain William Sublette. Sinclair had a brother, who was a member of his band, to whom he was greatly attached. They were both brave Indian fighters and successful trappers.

George W. Ebberts became prominent as a trapper in Wyoming in 1829, through his service with the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. He was a Kentuckian by birth, born in 1810. Ebberts trapped in Wyoming eight years, then went to Oregon. His life was full of adventure and stirring incidents.

Tim Goodale was a noted mountain guide and a personal friend of Kit Carson. The two spent much time trapping and trading in Wyoming. Goodale was well known at 'Fort Laramie during the fifties.

Dripps, a partner in the American Fur Company, spent many years trading and trapping in Wyoming, and is spoken of by all trappers as a successful trader and a brave Indian fighter. He is mentioned in connection with many trapping and trading events in this volume.

George Nidever, a leader of a band of trappers, who in 1831 crossed from the North Platte to Green River, where he and his party wintered. In the spring of 1832 he participated in the battle of Pierre's Hole and later that season trapped southwest of Salt Lake.

Louis Vasques established a trading post on Clear Creek, in Colorado, and from that point sent numerous expeditions into Wyoming for the purpose of trading with Indians as well as trapping. He is sometimes confounded with Auguste Vasquez.

Matthieu was a partisan under Captain Bonneville and possessed the confidence of his great leader. He returned to the states with Captain Bonneville but soon after found his way back to the mountains, where he remained for a number of years.

Tulleck was an experienced fur trader connected with different fur companies, but more particularly with the American. During the thirties he commanded a post of that company on the Yellowstone.

Joseph Pappen was a well known trapper, who for many years was on the North Platte. Later he was engaged in trade along the Overland Trail.

Jennings, LeRoy and Ross, three of Captain Bonneville's trappers, were killed by Bannock Indians in the winter of 1832-33.

The rendezvous had a broad meaning with the early trappers; not only was it the place to which they carried their furs and exchanged them for all sorts of commodities, such as clothing, saddles, bridles, tobacco, whisky, bright dyes for coloring the trappings for their horses, vermilion powders, extensively used for winning the smiles of the fair ones, but it was a place to meet traders who might wish to engage their services for the coming year. They also met here brother trappers from the various sections of the mountains, likewise men from the east who brought news of what was going on in the states and the world. They had here also an opportunity to drink the health of big-hearted leaders whom they admired. They renewed old friendships and made new ones, participated in the frivolities of the rendezvous, mingled with savage tribes, learned the language of the Indians, chose a sweetheart from among the native beauties, who came to the rendezvous to find some one to deck them in finery suited to their peculiar taste. It was indeed a place noted for business, pleasure, mirth, gambling and brawls, and the motley collection was not without interest even to the early missionaries, who have written of the things they saw and heard at this great annual gathering. Along about 1835, religious teachers became a regular feature at the rendezvous. These good men, in their trips across the continent, remained over for a week or two to rest and incidentally do a little missionary work. Rev. Samuel Parker made a number of religious talks to white men and Indians at Green River in 1835, and after that all missionaries who went out made it a point to preach to the trappers. Father De Smet made a number of his winning and pleasant talks in 1840 at this same place. I hardly think, however, it can be said that the influence of the missionaries amounted to much with the trappers. They gave a respectful hearing to all such, but their business at the rendezvous was for everything else than to listen to religion or even morality, and yet they respected that class of men who were devoting their lives to the cause of Christ.



The Missionaries, Parker And Whitman, Pass Up The Platte, Sweetwater, And Reach Green River - Dr. Whitman Returns To The States - A Romantic Wedding Tour - First Two White Women In Wyoming - Remarkable Fourth Of July Celebration At South Pass - Grand Reception . Given The Pioneer Women At Green River - Arrival In Oregon - Perilous Ride Of Dr. Whitmans Passes Through Wyoming With A Thousand Settlers - The Indian Massacre - The Hero Of Western Civilization.

We have been passing through the days of the fur trappers and traders, and I have shown in the preceding pages the experiences of these men. There has been little in the story to remind us of the better side of civilization. God and humanity have hardly entered into the conditions which prevailed in a territory that afterwards became Wyoming, but in the year 1835, Reverend Samuel Parker and Dr. Marcus Whitman passed up the Platte River in company with Fontenelle, of the American Fur Company. The train was a large one and it was taking out goods for the Indian trade and recruits for trapping service in Wyoming. This party proceeded up the North Platte, which stream they reached about the middle of July. On the 22nd they passed Chimney Rock, and the following day Scott's Bluffs, and on the 26th they reached the mouth of Laramie River and camped at the fort, where Fontenelle remained, Thomas Fitzpatrick taking his place in charge of the train. On the 5th of August they reached the Sweetwater, and on the 7th Independence Rock, and pushed on up the river and camped one night above the Sweetwater Canon, somewhere near the spot where Lewiston now stands. The next day they continued their journey westward through the South Pass and reached the Newfork. These preachers were certainly observing men, as they noticed the geology of the region through which they passed. They commented on the soda deposits, and Rev. Parker gives a description of the Johnstown soda lake, which he calls crystallized Epsom salts. On the 12th they reached Green River, the rendezvous of the fur traders that season. They found there about 200 white men, mostly trappers, and about 2,000 Indians. These Godly men were making observations as to the possibility of benefiting the Indians by religious teachings. They made up their minds that the field was a promising one and determined that Dr. Whitman should return to the states and procure additional missionaries to come west and spread the gospel among the red men of the mountains. Accordingly, the Doctor returned East in convoy of a fur train and laid before the board of foreign missions the necessity for religious teachers in the new field. Rev. Parker pursued his journey to the west and was escorted for eight days by James Bridger, who was going in that direction with a party of trappers. Mr. Parker, after leaving Bridger, was taken in charge by a band of Indians and safely conveyed down the Snake River, and finally reached Walla Walla, Dr. Whitman, on his return trip, brought with him two young Indians of the Nez Perces tribe. The following year, in company with Rev. H. H. Spalding and W. H. Gray and two young women and the two Indian boys, Dr. Whitman retraced his steps to the west. This man Marcus Whitman was a remarkable character and he played a conspicuous part in the history of Oregon. He was born in Russville, New York, September 4, 1802. Receiving a good education, he studied medicine and early became interested in religious matters. He was appointed a medical missionary to go to Oregon. Before starting out on his second trip westward, he married Miss Narcissa Prentis, the daughter of Judge Prentis of Angelica, New York. Rev. Spalding was married about the same time, and the two young men resolved to take their brides with them across the Rocky Mountains, thus making it a wedding tour. They went by the way of Council Bluffs, and there were joined by Mr. Gray, who afterwards became the historian of Oregon. The young brides are spoken of as women of great force of character. They both believed that they would be of great service to their husbands and they willingly and even joyfully undertook the journey through the wilderness and across the mountains where never a white woman had crossed before. Mrs. Whitman had enjoyed the reputation in her native village of being a sweet singer and the journey to the west was enlivened by the rich melody of her voice. Dr. Whitman had placed the two Nez Perces boys at school in New York during the winter of 1835-36, where they had learned to speak English and had seen the advantages of civilization. These lads were taken back with the party. At Council Bluffs Dr. Whitman and his friends joined a caravan belonging to the American Fur Company, and thus the journey westward along the Platte River, the North Platte and up the Sweetwater was made. They reached the South Pass on the night of July 3rd, 1836. The following morning, the Fourth of July, the fur traders pulled out, but Dr. Whitman and his wife, Mr. Spalding and wife, Mr. Gray and the two Nez Perces boys remained behind for a few hours to properly celebrate the great national holiday. Their patriotism would not permit them to pass over in silence the anniversary of American independence. They hardly knew how to proceed with the celebration, but finally Dr. Whitman took from their wagon a national flag and a Bible. Spreading a blanket on the ground, he placed the Bible upon it and taking the flagstaff in his hand he said, "Let us pray." The two women and the two white men kneeled while he with uplifted voice prayed for his country and for the cause of Christ in Oregon, and he then and there took possession of the territory which afterwards became Wyoming, and the country beyond, in the name of God and the United States. Mrs. Whitman led in a patriotic hymn, in which the company joined her. After the service was over the little party mounted their wagon, which was drawn by four strong horses, and followed the fur traders' caravan. Was there ever before or since such a Fourth of July celebration? It is true the fireworks were absent, the booming of cannon did not disturb the silence which at that time prevailed at South Pass, but the spirit of 1776 was present in that patriotic little company. As I in after years passed over that divide which separates the waters which flow to the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Gulf of California, I thought how fortunate it would be if the ground whereon that celebration was held could have been marked. I am sure if the good women of our state knew the spot, they would erect upon it a monument to Mrs. Whitman and Mrs. Spalding, the first white women to cross the State of Wyoming and the Rocky Mountains.

At Green River Dr. Whitman's party rested for ten days. More than 200 white men had gathered there for the annual rendezvous, besides several thousand Indians. The scene was not different to the one Dr. Whitman and the Rev. Parker had witnessed the year before, but the arrival of the wedding party was an additional incentive to the rugged trappers to enjoy themselves. The sight of two white women was indeed a welcome one to men who had for years lived in the mountains. They extended every courtesy and kindness to these brave young wives, who had come to them bearing civilization in their hands, as well as sweet womanly ways, to the mountains and plains. The Indians, not to be outdone by the white men, searched the country round for delicacies for the white squaws. They brought to their tents the mountain trout, as well as venison and elk meat, and not content with this, the warriors put on their war paint and to the number of 600 mounted their, horses and riding several hundred yards off on the prairie, wheeled into line and with war-whoops and yells rode down upon the tents occupied by Mrs. Whitman and Mrs. Spalding. It looked very much as if the tents and their occupants were to be trampled to the earth by the oncoming squadron, but fortunately when the warriors reached a point a few yards from the tents they gracefully wheeled to the right and left and passed over to the prairie beyond. These were gallant warriors and magnificent riders, and their display of horsemanship was intended as the highest compliment they could pay to the first white women they had ever beheld. It cannot be said that the two ladies fnlly appreciated the wild charge of the six hundred; they felt the earth tremble under the heavy tread of the horses, and when they saw them bear down upon their tents, for the time being, at least, they were panic stricken, and it was not until the clatter of hoofs had died away in the distance that they were restored to perfect peace of mind. The Indians got up war dances to please the ladies, and while they were conducted in the most lavish manner, I fear that these fair women, who had been nurtured in Christian and cultured homes, were not well pleased with the entertainments provided by the savages.

From Green River they pushed forward. After encountering many dangers and overcoming many difficulties, they at last reached their destination, Fort Walla Walla. It will be understood by the reader that this was no ordinary journey. The distance traveled was 3,500 miles, and a greater part of the way, two-thirds of the distance, was through an unsettled country and much of it inhabited by savage tribes. They forded rivers, climbed steep mountains, and were obliged to live on the wild meat they secured by the way. There was no sentiment connected with the journey; stern duty called them to the work to which they had devoted their lives, and they bore the hardships without a murmur. The fur trapper had introduced into the country a bravery that was never daunted, but the Whitman party brought to the west, patriotism as well as Christianity, and these were to bear fruit and result in great good to the millions who have since that day conquered a province and founded states on the western slope. I am glad that I am able to show that Marcus and Narcissa Whitman had a share in bringing civilization to our state. It will be seen before this chapter is finished that Dr. Whitman's little party was the entering wedge that broke savage rule and made Wyoming the highway on which was borne a high type of civilization. The West has produced many characters who deserve a conspicuous place in history, but none of them are more worthy of praise than Dr. Marcus Whitman. His is a character which stands out in bold relief on the western horizon. Though nominally only a missionary, doctor, he developed statesmanship of the first order. He makes us feel that there is high honor to be gained in pioneer work. At this time Oregon included all of what is now Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and a part of southwestern Wyoming; therefore whatever befell the old geographical division known as Oregon is of interest in an accurate history of our state. The conditions, at that time, of the country beyond the mountains, in part, at least, apply to Wyo< ming.

That we may fully understand Dr. Whitman's third appearance in Wyoming, I will relate in a brief manner what happened after the arrival of these missionaries on the Pacific border. Oliver W. Nixon, in his book, "How Marcus Whitman Saved Oregon," tells in a charming way the story of the new home of the Whitmans. He says:

"Picture that little missionary band as they stood together in Fort Walla Walla in September,1836,and consulted about the great problems to solve.. It was all new. There were no precedents to guide them. They easily, understood that the first thing to do was to consult the ruling powers of Oregon—the Hudson Bay Company officials at Fort Vancouver. This would require another journey of 300 miles, but as it could be made in boats and the Indians were capital oarsmen, they resolved to take their wives with them, and thus complete the wedding journey. The gallant Dr. McLoughlin, Chief Factor of the Hudson Bay Company, was a keen judge of human nature, and read men and women as scholars read books, and he was captivated with the open, manly ways of Dr. Whitman and the womanly accomplishments of his fair young wife, who had braved the perils of an overland journey with wholly unselfish purposes. Whitman soon developed to Dr. McLoughlin all his plans and his hopes. Perhaps there was a professional freemasonry between the men that brought them closer together, but by nature they were both men endowed richly with the best manly characters. Dr. McLoughlin resolved to do the best thing possible for them, while he still protected the interests of his great monopoly. Dr. Whitman's idea was to build one mission at the Dalles, so as to be convenient to shipping; McLoughlin at once saw it would not do. He had already pushed the Methodist mission far up the Willamette, out of the way of the fort and its work, and argued with Whitman that it would be best for him to go to the Walla Walla country, three hundred miles away, and Spalding one hundred and twenty-five miles farther on.

"He argued that the river Indians were far less hopeful subjects to deal with, and that the bunch-grass Indians, the Cayuse and Nez Perces, had expressed a great anxiety for the teachers. This arrangement had been partially agreed to by Mr. Parker the year before. After a full canvass of the entire subject, Dr. McLoughlin promised all the aid in his power to give them a comfortable start.

"At his earnest petition, Mrs. Whitman and Mrs. Spalding remained at Vancouver while their husbands went back to erect houses that would shelter them from the coming winter. To make Mrs. Whitman feel at ease, and that she was not taxing the generosity of her new friends, Dr. McLoughlin placed his daughter under her instruction, both in her class work and music. Every effort was made to interest and entertain the guests; the afternoons were given to excursions on the water or on horseback, or in rambles through the great fir forests, still as wild as nature made them.

"There is a grandeur in the great forest beyond the stony mountains unequaled elsewhere. In our northern latitudes the undergrowth is so thick as to make comfortable traveling impossible, but in the fir woods, and in the pine and redwood forests of Oregon, there are comparatively few of such obstructions. The great giants ten or twelve feet in diameter, two hundred and seventy feet high, and one hundred feet without a limb, hide the sun, and upon a summer day make jaunts through the forest delightful to a lover of nature.

"It was a grand rest and a pleasing finale to the hardships of the wedding journey for these heroic women, and Mrs. Whitman, in her diary, never a day neglects to remember her kind benefactors. They rested here for about one and a half months, when Mr. Spalding came after them and reported the houses so far advanced as to give them shelter."

I must not linger to tell the whole story of Dr. Whitman's life in far-off Oregon. Suffice it to say that Mrs. Whitman reached her new abode on December 26, 1836. They remained there working to better the condition of the savages; Mrs. Whitman teaching the Indian school, and the doctor looking after the sick, not only among the Indians, but among the white people connected with the trading posts and missions, and thus matters drifted on.

In 1838, two years after the Whitman party passed through Wyoming, another band of missionaries went over the same trail. There were nine persons in all, some of them being wives of the missionaries, and these were followed by others in 1839, but none had wagons. In 1840 some missionary ladies, Mrs. Littlejohn, Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Smith, followed the North Platte and Sweetwater west. These ladies were accompanied by their husbands, and also by Mr. and Mrs. Walker. The latter were not missionaries, but settlers intending to locate in Oregon. In the year 1841 several more under the direction of General Palmer passed over the road on their way to Oregon. These people were well outfitted and employed wagons. In 1842, a party made up of twenty-one protestant ministers, three Roman Catholic priests, thirty-four white women, thirty-two white children and thirty-five American settlers, in charge of Elijah White, used this highway and reached their destination, Oregon, safely. By this time the road up the North Platte, the Sweetwater, and across the meadows of the Green River Valley had become well marked by wagons, but the past was nothing when compared with what was to come.

Elijah White was a man of considerable ability and force of character, all of which he needed to insure the safety of so large a party. At Independence Rock, on the Sweetwater, he was met by a large number of Sioux Indians and ordered back, and the information was given him that the Indians would no longer permit their country to be invaded by white men. Mr. White was a diplomat of the first water, and he proceeded to deal with the situation that confronted him in a manner worthy of a great leader. He drew from the painted savages their grievance against white men and the reason for thus prohibiting his journey further west. He was informed that the trappers, who were then numerous in the country, had killed a number of Indians and in consequence of this there had been a meeting of several tribes and the edict had gone forth not only that no more white men would be allowed to come into the country, but those already there would be pursued, driven out, or killed. Mr. White told them that his party were not trappers or traders, but were farmers on their way to their homes on the Columbia, and that they did not propose to return. The party, he said, were friendly to the Indians and recognized the fact that they had the right to prohibit them from passing through their country, but he hoped the Indians would allow them to pursue their journey, that they might reach the Columbia before winter set in. He then distributed among them such merchandise as he could spare, after which he was told to go his way in peace but to never again invade their country. Fremont says that Fitzpatrick saved the party. With White's company was General Amos L. Lovejoy, a man of character and ability. When General Lovejoy and Dr. Whitman met, of course it was natural that they should talk over the conditions prevailing east, and national affairs. Lovejoy showed himself thoroughly posted, and Dr. Whitman learned from him that the Ashburton treaty would come before Congress during the winter, and in all probability this treaty would receive final action before the adjournment of Congress, March 4, 1843. Oregon, under the treaty with England in 1818 and again in 1828, was left open to the free use of either party, the words of the treaty being:

"It is agreed that any country that may be claimed by either party on the northwest coast of America, westward of the Stony Mountains, shall, together with its harbors, bays, creeks, and navigation of all rivers within the same, be free and open for ten years from the date of the signature of the present convention, to the vessels, citizens and subjects of the two powers; it being well understood that the agreement is not to be construed to the prejudice of any claim which either of the two high contracting parties may have to any part of said country; the only object of the high contracting parties in that respect being to prevent disputes and differences among themselves."

This was simply a joint occupancy to be settled by those who should in after years become occupants of the territory. As the case stood, the English had the best of it, as the Hudson Bay Company assumed the control of Oregon and all its affairs. The American fur traders invaded the territory, but they were rudely treated by representatives of the great British monopoly. Year by year it was understood that every Englishman in the country was working to induce people of his own nationality to come to the territory. American missionaries who were on the spot saw clearly the trend of affairs and realized that the Hudson Bay Company was working in the interest of England. Dr. Whitman had talked the matter over with Dr. Eells, Rev. Spalding, Jason Lee and General Lovejoy, and all of them had agreed that the one practical thing to be done was to lead into the country a large number of American settlers.

Our government had for many years neglected Oregon. It was a part of the Louisiana purchase, but as England made the claim that the Spanish title had become extinct by the Nootka treaty of 1790, the English claim being that Captain Vancouver, the commander of a British vessel, had discovered the Columbia, and yet notwitstanding this fact it was in evidence that Captain Gray had discovered the mouth of the river and had given the information of its whereabouts to Captain Vancouver. The whole of the matter is that the United States cared little about Oregon, as it was supposed to be a barren waste. As late as 1842 a proposition had been made to trade Oregon for the mackerel and cod fisheries of Newfoundland, and this report reaching Whitman, he made up his mind to at once cross the Rocky Mountains to see President Tyler and Secretary of State Webster. Winter had fairly commenced; snow was many feet deep in the mountains. It was all that any ordinary man could do to cross the wilderness and plains In the summer season, but Dr. Whitman was no ordinary man. He talked the proposed journey over with Mrs. Whitman and explained to her the necessity of his arriving in Washington before the adjournment of Congress. He said that Oregon must be saved to the United States, and that he believed it was his duty to make this journey, in fact to undergo any hardship, that his countrymen might be benefited. Mrs. Whitman was not only the wife of a missionary, but a loyal American woman. She was not ignorant of the danger of crossing the mountains in the winter, but she felt that her country required the sacrifice and that God would protect her husband on his mission of humanity. Under the rules of the missionary board, the members of the local mission had to be consulted and their consent obtained before a missionary could leave his post. Runners were sent out at once to the different stations with a demand for their immediate presence. They came, and without a dissenting voice all agreed that the subject was of great importance, but they doubted the wisdom of undertaking such a journey across the mountains at that season of the year. Dr. Whitman assured them that it was not only possible to do it, but that he was ready and willing to undertake the great journey regardless of what might happen him. Just here a new difficulty was encountered. Not only must the local missionaries approve of the application for leave of absence, but the Home Mission in Boston must give its consent. This was out of the question, as there was no time for such necessary delay. Dr. Whitman said his service in the missionary cause did not prevent him from serving his country, and that he would go even though the missionary board dismissed him for being absent from his post. When it was finally settled that he should start, his associates said that some one must be found to accompany him. It was important that this person should be a man of great courage and endurance. General Lovejoy, who had been taken into the conference, was asked if he would go, and he promptly replied, "I will accompany Dr. Whitman." Two days later they were ready for the journey. They reached Fort Hall without delay or accident, but there the snows on the route were reported twenty feet deep, and so they veered to the south and added a thousand miles to the journey, passing near what is now Salt Lake and finally coming out at Santa Fe, New Mexico. From there they took the Santa Fe trail and finally reached St. Louis. Such a journey was perhaps never before undertaken and successfully accomplished. As late as 1876 General Lovejoy told the story of this remarkable trip. He says:

"I was the doctor's traveling companion in that arduous and trying journey, but it would take volumes to describe the many thrilling scenes and dangerous hair-breadth escapes we passed through, traveling, as we did, almost the entire route through a hostile Indian country, and enduring much suffering from the intense cold and snow we had to encounter in passing over the Rocky Mountains in midwinter. I crossed the plains in company with Dr. White and others, arriving at WaiiJatpui the last of September, 1842. My party encamped some two miles below Dr. Whitman's place. The day after our arrival he called at our camp and asked me to accompany him to his house, as he wished me to draw up a memorial to Congress to prohibit the sale of ardent spirits in this country. The doctor was alive to the interests of this coast, and manifested a very warm desire to have it properly represented at Washington, and after numerous conversations with the doctor touching the future prosperity of Oregon, he asked me one day in a very anxious manner if I thought it would be possible for him to cross the mountains at that time of the year. I told him I thought he could. He next asked, 'Will you accompany me?' After a little reflection I said I would. His arrangements were rapidly made. Through the kindness of Mr. McKinley, then stationed at Walla Walla, Mrs. Whitman was provided with suitable escorts to the Willamette Valley, where she was to remain with her missionary friends until the doctor's return. We left Waiilatpui October 3, 1842, traveled rapidly, reached Fort Hall in eleven days, remained two days to recruit and make a few purchases. The doctor engaged a guide and we left for Fort Uintah. We changed the direct route to one more southern, through the Spanish country via Salt Lake, Taos and Santa Fe. On our way from Fort Hall to Fort Uintah we had terribly severe weather. The snows retarded our progress and blinded the trail, so we lost much time. After arriving at Fort Uintah and making some purchases for our trip, we took a new guide and started for Fort Uncompahgra, situated on the waters of Grand River, in the Spanish country. Here our stay was very short.

"We took a new guide and started for Taos. After being out some four or five days we encountered a terrible snow storm, which forced us to seek shelter in a deep ravine, where we remained snowed in four days, at which time the storm had somewhat abated, and we attemped to make our way out upon the high lands, but the snow was so deep and the winds so piercing and cold we were compelled to return to camp and wait a few days for a change of weather.

"Our next effort to reach the high lands was more successful; but after spending several days wandering around in the snow without making much headway, our <(uide told us that the deep snow had so changed the face of the country that he was completely lost and could take us no farther. This was a terrible blow to the doctor, but he was determined not to give it up without another effort. We at once agreed that he should take the guide and return to Fort Uncompahgra and get a new guide, and I remain in camp with the animals until he could return; which he did in seven days with our new guide, and we were now on our route again. Nothing of much importance occurred but hard and slow traveling through deep snow until we reached Grand River, which was frozen on either side about one-third across. Although so intensely cold, the current was so very rapid, about one-third of the river in the center was not frozen. Our guide thought it would be dangerous to attempt to cross the river in its present condition, but the doctor, nothing daunted, was the first to take the water. He mounted his horse and the guide and myself shoved the doctor and his animal off the ice into the foaming stream. Away he went, completely under water, horse and all, but directly came up and after buffeting the rapid, foaming current, he reached the ice on the opposite shore, a long way down the stream. He leaped from his horse upon the ice and soon had his noble animal by his side. The guide and myself forced in the pack animals and followed the doctor's example and were soon on the opposite shore drying our frozen clothes by a comfortable fire. We reached Taos in about thirty days, suffering greatly from cold and scarcity of provisions. We were compelled to use mule meat, dogs and such other animals as came in our reach. We remained at Taos a few days only and started for Bent's and Savery's Fort on the headwaters of the Arkansas River. When we had been out some fifteen or twenty days we met George Bent, a brother of Governor Bent, on his way to Taos. He told us that a party of mountain men would leave Bent's Fort in a few days for St. Louis, but said we would not reach the fort with our pack animals in time to join the party. The doctor, being very anxious to join the party so he could push on as rapidly as possible to Washington, concluded to leave myself and guide with the animals, and he himself, taking the best animal with some bedding and a small allowance of provisions, started alone, hoping by rapid travel to reach the fort in time to join the St. Louis party, but to do so he would have to travel on the Sabbath, something we had not done before. Myself and guide traveled on slowly and reached the fort in four days, but imagine our astonishment when on making inquiry about the doctor, we were told that he had not arrived, nor had he been heard of.

"I learned that the party for St. Louis was camped at the Big Cottonwood, forty miles from the fort, and at my request, Mr. Savery sent an express telling the party not to proceed any farther until we learned something of Dr. Whitman's whereabouts, as he wished to accompany them to St. Louis. Being furnished by the gentlemen of the fort with a suitable guide, I started in search of the doctor and traveled up the river about one hundred miles. I learned from the Indians that a man had been there who was lost and was trying to find Bent's Fort. They said they had directed him to go down the river, and how to find the fort. I knew from their description it was the doctor. I returned to the fort as rapidly as possible, but the doctor had not arrived. We had all become very anxious about him.

"Late in the afternoon he came in, very much fatigued and desponding; said he knew that God had bewildered him to punish him for traveling on the Sabbath. During the whole trip he was very regular in his morning and even, ing devotions, and that was the only time I ever knew him to travel on the Sabbath. The doctor remained all night at the fort, starting early on the following morning to join the St. Louis party. Here we parted. Dr. Whitman proceeded to Washington. I remained at Bent's Fort until spring and joined the doctor the following July, near Fort Laramie, on his way to Oregon in company with a train of emigrants. He often expressed himself to me about the remainder of his journey and the manner in which he was received at Washington and by the Board of Foreign Missions at Boston. He had several interviews with President Tyler, Secretary Webster and a good many members of Congress, -which was in session at that time. He urged the immediate termination of the treaty with Great Britain relative to this country, and begged them to extend the laws of the United States over Oregon, and asked for liberal inducements to emigrants to come to this coast. He was very cordially and kindly received by the President and members of Congress, and without doubt all these interviews resulted greatly to the benefit of Oregon and to this coast. But his reception at the Board of Foreign Missions was not so cordial. The board was inclined to censure him for leaving his post. The doctor came to the frontier settlement, urging the citizens to emigrate to the Pacific. He left Independence, Missouri, in the month of May, 1843, with an emigrant train of about one thousand souls for Oregon. With his energy and knowledge of the country, he rendered them great assistance in fording the many dangerous and rapid streams they had to cross, and in finding a wagon road through many of the narrow, rugged passes of the mountains. He arrived at Waiilatpui about one year from the time he left, to find his home sadly dilapidated, his flouring mill burned. The Indians were very hostile to the doctor for leaving them, and without doubt, owing to his absence, the seeds of assassination were sown by these haughty Cayuse Indians which resulted in his and Mrs. Whitman's death, with many others, although it did not take place until four years later."

General Lovejoy leaves little to tell except in regard to the journey of Dr. Whitman and one thousand men, women and children making their way over the trail which had now become familiar to him. This was the first great train to wend its way westward and leave behind a broad highway over which Oregon, Utah and California were to be populated. The Sublettes had penetrated to the mouth of the Popo Agie with wagons in 1829, and Captain Bonneville reached the Green River with his wagons in 1832, and Fremont had taken his wagon trains as far as the South Pass in 1842, but Dr. Marcus Whitman outstripped them all on his wedding journey in 1836, when he carried his bride in a wagon across the continent. That historic wagon should have been preserved for all time, for its track across the mountains marked the road which Elijah White and his one hundred and twenty followers took in 1842, and this road was made a grand highway in 1843 when Whitman and his followers, one thousand strong, went out with the avowed purpose of saving Oregon to the Union. The east had been unmindful of the wealth that lay beyond the mountains and it was not until Dr. Marcus Whitman stood before President John Tyler and Secretary of State Daniel Webster, in his coarse fur garments and his frozen feet, and pleaded with them for Oregon and for the privilege of leading to his chosen land a band of patriotic Americans who should in effect settle the vexed Oregon question. Daniel Webster said in after years that the ride of Marcus Whitman through the awful defiles of the Rocky Mountains in mid-winter saved Oregon to the United States. Such heroism, when we consider that there was not a single selfish motive, is the grandest in the world's history. I will not take space to tell the story in detail, but let me quote what Dr. H. H. Spalding says of that memorable journey up the Platte River, across Wyoming and down the Columbia during the summer of 1843: "And through that whole summer Dr. Whitman was everywhere present; the ministering angel to the sick, helping the weary, encouraging the wavering, cheering the tired mothers, setting broken bones and mending wagons. He was in front, in the center, and in the rear. He was in the river hunting out fords through the quicksand; in the desert places looking for water and grass; among the mountains looking for passes never before trodden by white men; at noontide and at midnight he was on the alert as if the whole line was his own family, and as if all the flocks and herds were his own. For all this he neither asked nor expected a dollar from any source, and especially did he feel repaid at the end, when, standing at his mission home, hundreds of his fellow pilgrims took him by the hand and thanked him with tears in their eyes for all that he had done."

Dr. Whitman, after leading his colony into Oregon, went to his mission and commenced the old routine of building, sowing, planting and teaching until on the 29th of November, 1847, when he and his wife were killed by praying Indians; that is, the class who had been converted by the missionaries. There had been much sickness that season among the Indians and the converted savages regarded the missionaries as responsible for it. Another cause of complaint was, Dr. Whitman had been trying to induce the Indians to cultivate the ground and raise crops. The noble red man has always been opposed to work, leaving this to be done by his squaw. It is a matter of principle with him to be above work. No amount of religion will induce him to neglect an opportunity to take scalps or steal horses. In Dr. Whitman's case, he had fed hundreds of them for years, and while pretending the greatest love for him, as well as the Savior, suddenly, without warning, one of the Indians drove a tomahawk, into his brain, while others shot Mrs. Whitman with a rifle and killed twelve more people about the mission. Forty women and children were taken captives at the same time. Among those captured were three young women who were forced to become the wives of the murderers of their parents.

Thus died the man who heads the list of western heroes, but before closing the story of Dr. Whitman, I must refer to a letter written by him on June 22, 1844, addressed to Hon. James M. Porter, Secretary of War. Dr. Whitman had, on his visit to Washington during the winter of 1843, been asked to make suggestions as to the necessary aid the government could give to those going to Oregon. In response to this, he suggested the establishing of posts along the route to protect mountain travelers, these posts to be supplied with provisions for sale. Among other places, he urged that a settlement be made on Horse Shoe Creek, in what is now Wyoming, also at Laramie's Fork, another on the North Platte west of this point, on the Sweetwater, and on Green River. In his letter he says that at these places there is good land for cultivation and irrigation. It may be said to the credit of the government that it did, in part, a few years later, carry out the plans of Dr. Whitman by the purchase of the trading posts known as Fort Laramie and Fort Bridger. On October 14, 1847, Dr. Whitman wrote another letter to the Secretary of War. This communication is filled with important suggestions, and among others, a mail route across the continent. I quote the letter in full, as it contains the advanced thought of the time on the subjects discussed. The letter was written only about a month before Dr. Whitman was killed.

"Waiilatpui, October 16th, 1847.

"To the Honorable Secretary of War, to the Committee on Indian Affairs and Oregon in the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, the following suggestions are respectfully submitted:

"1st. That all stations of the United States for troops be kept upon the borders of some state or territory, when designed for the protection and regulation of Indian territory.

"2nd. That a line of posts be established along the traveled route to Oregon, at a distance, so far as practicable, of not more than fifty miles. That these posts be located so as to afford the best opportunity for agriculture and grazing, to facilitate the production of provisions, and the care of horses and cattle, for the use and support of said posts and to furnish supplies to all passers through Indian territory, especially to mail carriers and troops. These posts should be placed wherever a bridge or ferry would be required to facilitate the transport of the mail, and travel of troops or immigrants through the country.

"In all fertile places these posts would support themselves and give facilities for the several objects just named in transit. The other posts, situated where the soil would not admit of cultivation, would still be useful, as they afford the means of taking care of horses and other facilities for transporting the mails.

"These posts could be supplied with provisions from others in the vicinity. A few large posts in the more fertile regions could supply those more in the mountains.

"On the other hand, military posts can only be well supplied when near the settlements. In this way all transports for the supply of interior military posts would be superseded.

"The number of men at these posts might vary from five to twenty-five.

"In the interior the buildings may be built with adobes, that is, large nnburnt bricks; and in form and size should much resemble the common Indian trading posts, with outer walls and bastions.

"They would thus afford the same protection in any part of the territory as the common trading posts.

"If provided with a small amount of goods, such goods could be bartered with the Indians for necessary supplies, as well as, on proper occasions, given to chiefs as a reward for punishing those who disturb or offend against the peace of the territory.

"By these means the Indians would become the protectors of those stations.

"At the same time, by being under one general superintendent, subject to the inspection of the government, the Indians may be concentrated under one general influence.

"By such a superintendence the Indians would be prevented from fleeing from one place to another to secrete themselves from justice. By this simple arrangement, all the need of the troops in the interior would be obviated, unless in some instance when the Indians fail to co-operate with the superintendent of the post or posts for the promotion of peace.

"When the troops shall be called for, to visit the interior, the farming posts will be able to furnish them with supplies in passing so as to make their movements speedy and efficient.

"A code of laws for the Indian territory might constitute as civil magistrates the first or second in command of these posts.

"The same arrangement would be equally well adapted for the respective routes to California and New Mexico. Many reasons may be urged for the establishment of these posts, among which are the following:

"1st. By means of such posts all acts of the Indians would be under a full and complete inspection. All cases of murder, theft or other outrage would be brought to light and the proper punishment inflicted.

"2nd. In most cases this may be done by giving the chiefs a small fee, that they may either punish the offenders themselves or deliver them up to the commander of the post. In such cases it should be held that their peers have adjudged them guilty before punishment is inflicted.

"3rd. By means of these posts it will become safe and easy for the smallest number to pass and repass from Oregon to the states; and with a civil magistrate at each station, all idle wandering white men without passports can be sent out of the territory.

"4th. In this way all banditti for robbing the mails or travelers would be prevented, as well as all vagabonds removed from among the Indians.

"5th. Immigrants now lose horses and other stock by the Indians, commencing from the border of the states to the Willamette. It is much to the praise of our countrymen that they bear so long with the Indians when our government has done so little to enable them to pass in safety. For one man to lose five or six horses is not a rare occurrence, which loss is felt heavily, when most of the family are compelled to walk to favor a reduced and failing team.

"6th. The Indians along the line take courage from the forbearance of the immigrants. The timid Indians on the Columbia have this year in open day attacked several parties of wagons, numbering from two to seven, and robbed them, being armed with guns, bows and arrows, knives and axes. Mr. Glenday, from St. Charles, Missouri, the bearer of this communication to the states, with Mr. Bear, his companion, rescued seven wagons from being plundered, and the people from gross insults, rescuing one woman when the Indians were in the act of taking all the clothes from her person. The men were mostly stripped of their shirts and pantaloons at the time.

"7th. The occasional supplies to passing immigrants, as well as the aid which may be afforded to the sick and needy, are not the least of the important results to follow from these establishments. A profitable exchange to the posts and immigrants, as also to others journeying through the country, can be made by exchanging worn-out horses and cattle for fresh ones.

"8th. It scarcely need be mentioned what advantage the government will derive by a similar exchange for the transport of the mail, as also for the use of troops passing through.

"9th. To suppress the use of ardent spirits amoug the Indians, it will be requisite to regard the giving or furnishing of it in any manner as a breach of the laws and peace of the territory. All superintendents of posts, traders and responsible persons, should be charged on oath that they will not sell, give or furnish in any manner, ardent spirits to the Indians.

"10th. Traders should be regarded, by reason of the license they have to trade in the territory, as receiving a privilege, and therefore should be required to give and maintain good credentials of character. For this reason they may be required to send in the testimony of all their clerks and assistants of all ranks, to show under the solemnity of an oath that the laws in this respect have not been violated or evaded. If at any time it becomes apparent to the superintendent of any post that the laws have been violated, he might be required to make full inquiry of all in any way connected with or assisting in the trade to ascertain whether the laws were broken or their breach connived at. This will avail for the regular licensed trader.

"11th. For illicit traders and smugglers, it will suffice to instruct commanders of posts to offer a reward to the Indians for the safe delivery of any and all such persons us bring liquors among them, together with the liquors thus brought. It is only on the borders of the respective states and territories that any interruption will be found in the operation of these principles.

"12th. Here also a modification of the same principle enacted by the several states and territories might produce equally happy results.

"13th. The mail may, with a change of horses every fifty miles, be carried at the rate of one hundred to one hundred and fifty miles in twenty-four hours.

"14th. The leading reason in favor of adopting the aforesaid regulations would be, that by this means the Indians would become our faithful allies. In fact, they will be the best possible police for such a territory. This police can safely be relied upon when under a good supervision. Troops will only be required to correct their faults in case of extreme misconduct.

"15th. In closing, I would remark that I have conversed with many of the principal fur traders of the American and Hudson Bay Companies, all of whom agree that the several regulations suggested in this communication will accomplish the object proposed, were suitable men appointed for its management and execution.

"Respectfully yours,


The story of Dr. Marcus Whitman has been told, but the influence of the man on western civilization can never be estimated by the historian. His deeds performed and suggestions made had their influence in the formation and settlement of these western states. Wherever we behold him - let it be at South Pass reverently taking possession of the country in the name of God and the United States; teaching the Indians at the Waiilatpui Mission; crossing the Rocky Mountains at the dead of winter; pursuing his way across Grand River, in spite of ice and deep water; pleading before President Tyler and Daniel Webster; leading his caravan across the mountains and desert, or giving advice to the leading statesmen of the land - he is the same earnest, patriotic, God-fearing man of deeds, and the world is better for his example. Great leaders have been the salvation of armies, states and nations, and great minds have in all ages benefited their fellow men. Though at the time of his death he was only forty-five years old, he had done more for his country than most great men accomplish in a life of three-score and ten.



His Arrival In Wyoming And Passage Up The North Platte And Sweetwater - The Flatheads Meet Him At Green River - Wonderful Interest Shown Bv The Indians In This Priest - He Tells Of His Experiences And Future Labors - Many Visits To Wyoming - Incident Among The Crows - Supposed Knowledge Of Gold In The Big Horn Mountains - His Death At St. Louis - What Is Thought Of Father De Smet In Wyoming.

In the regular order of progress of the missionaries through Wyoming came Father Peter De Smet. He arrived six years later than Lee and five years later than Parker and Whitman, but he was no less worthy of the cause of religion. I am glad that I have been fortunate enough to procure a portrait of this remarkable man. A study of the lines of character to be found in his face will to some extent reveal his strength and courage. See portrait in this volume. With the contentions of the Protestants and Catholics regarding the call by the Flathead Indians I have nothing to do. I will simply tell the story of the arrival of Father De Smet and his labors in what is now the State of Wyoming. This good priest was born in Termoude, Belgium, on January 31, 1801. At an early age he entered the Society of Jesus and in due time was sent to America to work in the missionary field. He served in Missouri and Kansas for some time, but his health giving way he returned to his native land. In the year 1837 he again came to this country and on April 5, 1840, left St. Louis for the west, joining at Westport the annual expedition of the American Fur Company when it was ready to depart for the Rocky Mountains. In this expedition were thirty trappers and an Iroquois Indian named Ignace. Father De Smet was in the special care of this Indian, who had promised to conduct him to the Flathead tribe. Peter, another Iroquois, had departed for the west some months before and had carried the news to the Flatheads that the "Black Robe" would be at Green River in the spring, accompanied by Ignace. The Flatheads were camped that season on Eight Mile Creek, Bitter Root Valley. The chief, when the time came for the arrival of the train from Westport, detailed ten of his trusted warriors to meet the man of God and bring him to camp, and at the same time announced that he with the whole tribe would follow on.

On June 30th the caravan with which Father De Smet was traveling reached Green River, and here the meeting between the Flathead warriors and "Black Robe" took place. This was on Tuesday, and Father De Smet spent the balance of the week visiting among the Indian traders and trappers, of which there were great numbers at the rendezvous that season.

Here, on the following Sunday, July 5, Father De Smet celebrated mass before a motley, yet most respectful, crowd of Indians, whites, fur traders, hunters and trappers. The altar was erected on a little elevation on the prairie and was decorated with boughs and garlands of wild flowers. The temple was the most magnificent of God's own making, having for its vault the azure sky and for space and floor the vast, boundless expanse of wilderness. The spot was afterward known and pointed out by the Indians as "The Prairie of the Mass."

On the following day Father De Smet bade adieu to his traveling companions of the plains, and with his Indian escort started northward towards the headwaters of the Snake River. Some eight days' journey through the mountain defiles brought them to the main body of the Flatheads. They were encamped in the Pierre Hole Valley, on the line that separates east Idaho from Wyoming, south of Pleasant Valley, having come that far, a distance of some 800 miles, to meet the priest. Their number had been increased from the start, and on the road by detached bands of other tribes - Nez Perces, Pend d'Oreilles and Kalispels, numbering, all told, some 1,600 souls. His entrance into the camp was a real triumph, in which all, men, women and children, took part.

In the volume, "Indians and Whites of the Northwest," I find the following items regarding the journey of this remarkable missionary:

" 'Immediately the whole village was in commotion,' wrote Father De Smet to his friend, Father Barbelin, 'men, women and children all came to meet me and shake hands, and I was conducted in triumph to the lodge of the great chief, who had the appearance of a patriarch.'

"Surrounded by the principal men of the two tribes and their warriors, the great chief, whose name was The Big Face, thus addressed Father De Smet:

" 'This day the Great Spirit has accomplish'd our wishes and our hearts are swelled with joy. Our desire to be instructed was so great that three times had we deputed our people to the Great Black Robe in St. Louis to obtain priests. Now, Father, speak, and we will comply with all that you will tell us. Show us the way we have to go to the home of the Great Spirit.' 'Then,' says Father De Smet, lie resigned his authority to me, but I replied that he mistook the object of my coming among them; that I had no other object in view but the salvation of their souls and that they were to remain as they were until circumstances should allow them to settle in a permanent spot.'

"After arranging on the hours proper for prayers and instructions, one of the chiefs brought Father De Smet a little bell, with which he might give the sign and call them together. 'The same evening,' continues Father De Smet, 'about 2,000 persons were assembled before my lodge to recite night prayers in common. The prayers having been said, a solemn canticle of praise, of their own composition, was sung by these children of the mountains to the Author of their being. It would be impossible for me,' he adds 'to describe the emotions I felt at this moment. I wept for and admired the wonderful ways of that kind Providence, which, in His infinite mercy, had deigned to depute me to these poor people, to announce to them the glad tidings of salvation.'

"Soon after the whole camp was on the move up Henry's Fork of the Snake River to Henry's Lake, its source. Here Father De Smet, July 23rd, ascended one of the peaks on top of the main range and engraved on a soft stone the following inscription: 'Sanctus Ignatius Patronus Montium, die 23 Julii, 1840.' And here also, his soul brimful of emotion at the inspiring solemnity and grandeur of the scene before him, broke forth in the following rhyme, which is transcribed from his diary:

" 'Ye Rockies hail! majestic mounts!

Of future bliss the favored shrine!

For you God's Heart of gifts Divine

Opens this day its precious founts.'

"Moving thence a short distance, they crossed what is now the Idaho line and camped in Montana, first at the headwaters of Beaverhead River, not far from Red Rock Lake; then along the banks of the same river and in the Big Hole Basin; finally on Jefferson Island, at the lower end of the Boulder Valley, near the three forks of the Missouri. Thus, the bank of the Beaverhead-Jefferson River is the spot where Christianity was first preached in Montana.

"Father De Smet's missionary labors began with the day of his arrival, and never were there more docile pupils than these poor children of the forest. In the comparatively short time he was with them, he prepared several hundred of them for baptism and instructed about 1,000 others.

"The following is a copy of a letter addressed by Father De Smet from his field of missionary labors to the Very Rev. F. N. Blanchet, V. G., (afterwards the first Archbishop of Portland, Oregon) who had crossed the Rocky Mountains two years previous and was at this time evangelizing the French Canadians and Indians in Oregon, near the coast: " 'Fork of Jefferson River, August 10, 1840.

" 'Very Reverend Sir: Your Reverence will be glad to learn that Mgr. Rosati, Bishop of St. Louis, in concert with my provincial superior of the Society of Jesus in Missouri, and in compliance with the desires often repeated of the Flatheads, Pend d'Oreilles and a great number of Nez Perces, has sent me to the Rocky Mountains to visit these missions. I have found the two first in the most desirable disposition, well resolved to stand by the true children of Jesus Christ. The few weeks I had the happiness to pass among them have been the happiest of my life and give me the firm hope, with the grace of God, to see soon in this country, so long forsaken, the fervor of the first Christians. Since I am among them I have three, four and five instructions daily. They cannot be tired; all come to my lodge at the first ringing of the bell. They are anxious to lose none of my words relating to these instructions on these heavenly subjects, and if I had the strength to speak to them, they would willingly listen to me whole days and nights. I have baptized about 200 of their little children and I expect to baptize in a short time 150 adults.'

"This letter was sent through Indians and Hudson Bay Company men to Colville, and thence brought to St. Paul, Oregon, and handed to the Very Rev. F. N. Blanchet by his missionary companion, Rev. Modest Demers.

"After two months of constant missionary work, Father De Smet bade farewell to his newly converted children of the mountains, with the promise to return in the spring with other black robes.

"From the Gallatin Valley, where he parted with the main body of the tribe August 27th, he now crossed over to the Yellowstone country, being escorted for a considerable distance by a number of Flathead warriors. His course lay through the land of the Crows, Blackfeet, Gros Ventres, Assiniboines and the Sioux, all hostile to the Flatheads and their friends.

"Passing an Assiniboine party in safety, he and his companions were surrounded by a fierce war party of Blackfeet. The long black gown of the missionary, the crucifix which glittered on his bosom whenever he traveled through the Indian country, arrested the eyes of the Blackfeet chief. 'Who art thou?' asked he. 'He is a Black Robe,'said Father De Smet's companion, 'the man who speaks to the Great Spirit.' In a moment all was changed. Invited to eat with the missionary, the chief showed still greater respect when he saw him address the Great Spirit before the frugal meal. This ended, twelve Indians stretched a buffalo robe before the Father, with motions indicating their wish that he should be seated upon it. Supposing it was intended for a mat, he did so; but they raised it aloft, and so bore him in triumph to their village. There, too, he was received and treated with every honor. 'It is the happiest day of my life,' said the chief. 'It is the first time that we see among us the Black Robe, the man who speaks to the Great Spirit. These are the braves of my tribe. I have brought thee here that the memory of thy presence may be forever engraved on their memories.'

"Father De Smet arrived in St. Louis on the eve of the new year, and his safe return sent a thrill of joy through the souls of his brethren. On hearing from him of the good dispositions of the Flatheads, of the large and ripe field that was waiting for laborers, all burned with a desire to go and help him gather in the harvest,"

Father De Smet returned to the mountains again in the early spring of 1841, following once more the North Platte, the Sweetwater, and was met at the south point of the Wind River Range (South Pass) by ten lodges of the Flathead Indians. He was conducted through Wyoming by a noted trapper and guide named John Gray, who will be remembered by many of our pioneers even to this day. His interpreter was another well known character, Gabriel Prudhomme, a half-breed, also two brothers, Charles and Francis Ignace. The priest spent some little time in southwestern Wyoming and then went on to Fort Hall and finally to old Fort Owen in Montana. His services among the Flatheads to all appearances were productive of great good. Lieutenant John Mullan of the United States army, who accompanied Isaac J. Stephens on an expedition into Montana thirteen years afterwards, thus writes of the condition of these Indians at that time, a condition brought about by the labors of Father De Smet.

"When I arrived at the camp, with my guide, three or four men came to meet me and we were invited to enter the lodge of the great chief. With much eagerness they took care of our horses and unsaddled them and led them to drink. As soon as all the camp had been informed of the arrival of the white man among them, the principal men of the tribe collected at the lodge of the chief. All being assembled, at a signal given by the chief they prayed aloud. I was struck with astonishment, for I had not the least expectation of such conduct on their part. The whole assembly knelt in the most solemn manner and with the greatest reverence they adored the Lord. I asked myself, 'Am I among Indians? Am I among people whom all the world call savages?' I could scarcely believe my eyes. The thought that these men were penetrated with religious sentiment so profound and beautiful overwhelmed me with amazement."

Father De Smet was in and out of Wyoming for many years. He paid a number of visits to the Crows and passed over all that country lying north of Big Wind River on both sides of the Big Horn River. He visited the Powder River country and many times passed over the ground where Buffalo now stands. Ten miles north of Buffalo is a beautiful lake which is named after him. The Crows at first received him as the other Indians had done, with courtesy and kindness, but after a time the awe and veneration inspired by his black gown and large gold cross, which hung on his breast, wore off and they became slightly sceptical in regard to his being a direct representative of the Great Spirit. One day a prominent chief of the tribe showed his scepticism to the good father, in a marked manner, by saying to him that if he would go out on the prairie where an old buffalo bull was grazing and put his hands on the animal's head, it would be proof to the tribe that he was the Great Spirit, but if the buffalo should kill him they would know that he was not protected by supernatural power. The priest saw that he must run the risk of attempting to perform what Beemed very near a miracle. He boldly advanced toward the old bull, who as he approached continued to graze. Nearer and nearer to the animal he advanced, and finally when only a few yards distant the huge creature raised his head and gazed intently at the black gown and flashing cross, and finally the priest placed his hand on the bull's head, the animal the while seeming to be transfixed to the spot. Having accomplished his mission, Father De Smet turned and walked back to the group of Indians, who were awaiting the test. The savages received him as they would one possessing Divine power. They verily believed from that moment that he was under the protection of the Great Spirit, and quickly the incident spread through the entire Crow nation and even to adjoining tribes. Many Indians in the northwest, I am told, still relate this story in proof of the God-given power of Father De Smet.

Many old residents of Wyoming today remember this good priest and are ever anxious to testify to his worthy deeds. During his travels in this state he investigated and became acquainted with the geological formation of the country. He visited extensively in Montana, Idaho, and even to the mouth of the Columbia, but he seemed to find much more in Wyoming to interest him than in any other place. His name is inseparably connected with the Big Horn country. Reverend Father Meaphlie, a chaplain in the United States army, is authority for a story which has often been related, in which the Father told of the Indians showing him handfuls of nuggets which they proposed manufacturing into bullets for an old pistol which the Father had given to a prominent chief. De Smet was really taken to the spot from whence the nuggets were obtained, and found it to be immensely rich. But he taught the savages the value of it, told them their beautiful country would soon be desecrated by white miners if the facts became known, and in return was compelled to promise never to reveal the secret of its location. To the question once asked him by the Bishop of his church at Omaha, "Are those mines on the Pacific coast the ones you have told about?" the Father answered in the negative, and then sorrowfully added, "but I fear it will not be many years until they are discovered, and then what will become of my poor Indians?" To army officers and others he has often admitted his knowledge of those mines in the northwest, when closely pressed to do so, and many persons are now living who have tried in various ways to extract more definite knowledge from him. Most of these believe that a careful prospecting of the Big Horn and Wind River regions will certainly reveal the terra incognito, because it is understood that the old Montana mines were not meant, and that no spot yet discovered in the Black Hills answers to his glowing description.

Says Strayhorn in his "Handbook of Wyoming": "On Father De Smet's return from one of his long trips, just as the discovery of gold in California was made known, he heard some acquaintances expressing doubt as to the wonderful stories from the west. Turing to them, he said: 'I do not doubt it. I am sure there is gold in California;' and after a moment's pause he quietly added: 'I know where gold exists in the Rocky Mountains in such abundance that, if made known, it would astonish the world. It is even richer than California!' Among those who knew him best his statements were taken for literal truth, and when asked to corroborate the assertion quoted he would make no explanation, merely adhering to it and saying that he had promised the Indians never to describe the location of this wealth."

In 1868 Father De Smet visited Cheyenne and remained for some days, and while there gave an interesting account of northern Wyoming. Said he: "There are many lovely valleys in that section, capable of sustaining a large population. The mountain scenery is truly grand, and the vast forests of timber wonderful and invaluable. Often have I seen evidences of mineral wealth in this wonderful country at different places. The whole range of the Rocky Mountains, from New Mexico to British America, is mineral bearing. In many places the streams are stocked with trout, and game was abundant wherever I went. The climate is delightful, often reminding me of the climate of the south of France, near the Pyrenees. I have ridden through some of these rich valleys where the grass was so rank and tall that my head was not visible above its top when seated on horseback."

Father Peter De Smet died at St. Louis, May 23, 1873, in which city his remains were interred. This pious priest possessed many qualities which go to make up the man, and his memory will long be cherished not only in Wyoming but in the adjoining state of Montana and along the full length of the Columbia River. Let no one have the idea that Father De Smet was not fond of telling of his experiences among the Indians and of describing the country through which he traveled. He rode on horseback thousands of miles, and the whole territory of Wyoming.Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington was clearly mapped out in his mind. He wrote many letters which were published in Belgium. In 1843 these letters were re-edited and appeared in book form under the title of "Letters and Sketches." In 1847 another volume appeared under the title "Oregon Missions." He published at least two volumes in America which are said to contain much valuable information. I

have met many people who were intimately acquainted with this remarkable man, and they one and all speak of him as possessing generous and genial qualities. Some regret that he gave himself up to the missionary cause, claiming that in other walks of life he would have become a giant among men.



The First Military Expedition To Visit Our State - The Main Detachment Follows The North Platte To Fort Laramie - Fremont With A Small Party Visits Fort St. Vrain And Passes North To Fort Laramie - Description Of The Fort As It Appeared In 1842 - Indians Invite Them To Partake Of A Dog Feast - Indian Chiefs Warn The Party That If They Go Further West, Will Be Killed - Fremont's Speech Of Defiance - Expedition Goes Forward - Observations Regarding Formations, Soil, Climate, Etc.

The exploring expedition of Lieutenant John C. Fremont into Wyoming in 1842 was an important event in our early history. The commander of the expedition, though only twenty-nine years old, was a ripe scholar, a keen observer, and withal possessed the genius of an explorer. He left throughout Wyoming and the Rocky Mountains indelible footprints and gave to the world a comprehensive knowledge of things as they were in our country at that time. Not only did he bring to his task full and complete preparation for the great work which was to make his name imperishable and give him a place on the brightest pages of the western half of the Republic, but with his superior ability charmed the masses by his written reports published by the government in 1845. The cloud of mystery which had covered mountain and plain in Wyoming was cleared away by this intrepid explorer, and the locality was given its proper place on the map of the west.

John Charles Fremont was born January 21, 1813, at Savannah, Georgia, while his mother was on a visit to that city, the residence of the family being at Charleston, South Carolina. He was a graduate of the Charleston College and excelled in Greek, Latin and Mathematics. An act of Congress passed April 30, 1824, authorized the President of the United States "to employ two or more skillful civil engineers, and such officers of the corps of engineers, or who may be detailed to do duty with that corps, as he may think proper, to cause the necessary surveys, plans and estimates to be made of the routes of such roads and canals as he may deem of national importance, in a commercial or military point of view, or for the transportation of the public mail." Under this act, Fremont received his first appointment in that branch of the public service. He was selected by President Jackson as an associate engineer to serve with Captain Williams of the Topographical Corps, and he served in this capacity in a survey of the Cherokee country in the winter of 1837 and 1838. Under the act passed July 5, 1838, to increase the military establishment, the fourth section of that act required that the corps of topographical engineers should be organized and increased, by regular promotion in the same, so that the said corps should consist of one colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, four majors, ten captains, ten first lieutenants and ten second lieutenants; and the fifth section ordained that the vacancies created by said organization, over and above those which could be filled by the corps itself, should be taken from the army, and from such as it may be deemed advisable of the civil engineers employed under the act of April 30th, 1824.

This latter clause let in Mr. Fremont. It was probably designed to do so, as his friend and patron, Mr. Poinsett, was then Secretary of War. He was accordingly commissioned two days afterwards, on the 7th of July, 1838, as a second lieutenant of the topographical engineers. About this time he had been transferred to the theater of his fame, the field where his great work in life was to be done. The same year that Fremont was appointed, the work of surveying the northwest and west was commenced and Lieutenant Fremont, under Mr. Nicholet, a learned and distinguished astronomer and a man of science, entered the field and the whole country was explored up to the British line. In the course of these surveys there were seventy thousand meteorological observations, and the topography was minutely determined by the proper calculations at innumerable points. The map thus constructed has been the source from which all subsequent ones relating to that region have been derived. On October 19, 1841, Lieutenant Fremont was married to Jessie Benton, the daughter of Thomas H. Benton, a United States Senator from the State of Missouri. The young lady's parents raised a storm of objections and the newspapers of the time were full of the affair, but Miss Benton was the daughter of her father and it was not strange that she should have a will of her own. It was a happy marriage and Senator Benton early was reconciled to his daughter's choice, and that distinguished statesman in after years became very proud of his son-in-law.

On May 2, 1842, Lieutenant Fremont left Washington with his instructions to explore the country lying between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains and along the lines of the Kansas and Platte Rivers. He reached St. .Louis May 22nd and there outfitted the expedition and proceeded by steamboat to the mouth of the Kansas River and made his final preparations at the trading post of Cyprian Chouteau, which was located twelve miles up the stream last mentioned. He brought with him twenty-one men recruited at St. Louis. These men were required to enter the service of the United States for the purposes of the expedition. He also engaged Charles Preuss as assistant topographical engineer, L. Maxwell as hunter and Christopher Carson as guide. The twenty-one men recruited at St. Louis were Clement Lambert, J. B. L'Esperance, J. B. Leferve, Benjamin Potra, Louis Gouin, J. B. Dumes, Basil Lajeunesse, Francois Tessier, Benjamin Cadotte, Joseph Clement, Daniel Simonds, Leonard Benoit, Michel Morly, Baptiste Bernier, Honore Ayot, Francois Latulippe, Francois Badeau. Louis Menard, Joseph Ruelle, Moise Chardonnais, Auguste Janisse, Raphael Prone. In addition to those named were Henry Brant of St. Louis, aged 19, and Randolph, the twelve-year-old son of Senator Benton. The party was well mounted and armed with the exception of eight men who conducted as many carts containing stores, baggage and instruments. The carts were drawn by two mules each. There were a few loose horses and four oxen. The expedition left Chouteau's trading post on the morning of June 10th and proceeded west on the south bank of the Kansas River for a distance of 100 miles, where they crossed that stream and taking a northwesterly course reached the Platte twenty miles below Grand Island on June 26th. Going up the river, they arrived at the forks of the North and South Platte on July 2nd. A major part of the force in charge of Clement Lambert, was sent up the North Fork, with instructions to proceed as far as the Laramie Fork and there await Fremont, who, accompanied by Mr. Preuss, Maxwell, Bernier, Ayot and Basil Lajeunesse, went up the South Platte as far as St. Vrain Fort, for the purpose of securing some extra mules and at the same time informing himself as to the feasibility of connecting the South Platte country with the settlements by a line of posts from the Arkansas River. On the second day out Mr. Preuss was sent back to join the main division, his horse being in no condition to stand the journey. From St. Vrain they proceeded down the South Platte a short distance, then struck across the country and made direct for the Black Hills, crossing the Cache la Poudre, then continuing north to Crow Creek, entering Wyoming about thirty miles southeast of Cheyenne, proceeding thence north to Lodge Pole Creek, Horse Creek and through Goshen's Hole, reaching the North Platte thirteen miles below Fort Laramie, and on July 15th they reached that post. An extract from Fremont's official report will show the condition of things at the mouth of the Laramie at that early day. From this on I shall use this report freely, as it is a most valuable official document and pertains exclusively to the history of Wyo—<i6)

ming. It is fifty-three years since it was published by Congress and few of the rising generation have ever had an opportunity of seeing it, as it has been out of print for more than forty years. During the rush to Oregon, Utah and California in 1847-8-9 this report was in great demand and thousands of copies were distributed by members of Congress to their constituents. In those days every party of emigrants was supplied with these reports and the book was consulted daily by persons crossing Wyoming. The report reads as follows, commencing with a description of the old Adams fort at the mouth of the Laramie River:

"Like the post on the South Fork (St. Vrain), it was built of earth and still unfinished, being enclosed with walls (or rather houses) on three of the sides and open on the fourth to the river. A few hundred yards brought us in view of the post of the American Fur Company, called Fort John, or Laramie. This was a large post, having more the air of military construction than the fort at the mouth of the river. It is on the left bank, on a rising ground some twenty-five feet above the water; and its lofty walls, whitewashed and picketed, with the large bastions at the angles, gave it quite an imposing appearance in the uncertain light of evening. A cluster of lodges, which the language told us belonged to the Sioux Indians, was pitched under the walls, and, with the fine background of the Black Hills and the prominent peak of Laramie mountain, strongly drawn in the clear light of the sky, where the sun had already set, the whole formed at the moment a strikingly beautiful picture. From the company at St. Louis I had letters for Mr. Boudeau, the gentleman in charge of the post, by whom I was received with great hospitality and an efficient kindness which was valuable to me during my stay in the country. I found our people encamped on the bank, a short distance above the fort. All were well; and, in the enjoyment of a bountiful supper, which coffee and bread made luxurious to us, we soon forgot the fatigues of the last ten days.

"I walked up to visit our friends at the fort, which is a quadrangular structure, built of clay, after the fashion of the Mexicans, who are generally employed in building them. The walls are fifteen feet high, surmounted with a wooden palisade, and form a portion of ranges of houses, which entirely surround a yard of about one hundred and thirty feet square. Every apartment has its door and window— all, of course, opening on the inside. There are two entrances, opposite each other, and midway the wall, one of which is a large and public entrance; the other smaller and more private—a sort of postern gate. Over the great entrance is a square tower, with loop-holes, and, like the rest of the work, built of earth. At two of the angles, and diagonally opposite each other, are large square bastions, so arranged as to sweep the four faces of the walls.

"This post belongs to the American Fur Company, and at the time of our visit was in charge of Mr. Boudeau. Two of the company's clerks, Messrs. Galpin and Kellogg, were with him, and he had in the fort about sixteen men. As usual, these had found wives among the Indian squaws; and with the usual accompaniment of children, the place had quite a populous appearance. It is hardly necessary to say that the object of the establishment is trade with the neighboring tribes, who, in the course of the year, generally make two or three visits to the fort. In addition to this, traders, with a small outfit, are constantly kept amongst them. The articles of trade consist, on the one side, almost entirely of buffalo robes, and on the other of blankets, calicoes, guns, powder and lead, with such cheap ornaments as glass beads, looking glasses, rings, vermilion for painting, tobacco, and principally, and in spite of the prohibition, of spirits, Drought into the country in the form of alcohol, and diluted with water before sold. While mentioning this fact, it is but justice to the American Fur Company to state that throughout the country I have always found them strenuously opposed to the introduction of spirituous liquors. But, in the present state of things, when the country is supplied with alcohol, when a keg of it will purchase from an Indian everything he possesses - his furs, his lodge, his horses, and even his wife and children - and when any vagabond who has money enough to purchase a mule can go into a village and trade against them successfully, without withdrawing entirely from the trade, it is impossible for them to discontinue its use. In their opposition to this practice the country is sustained, not only by their obligation to the laws of the country and the welfare of the Indians, but clearly, also, on grounds of policy; for with heavy and expensive outfits, they contend at manifestly great disadvantages against the numerous independent and unlicensed traders who enter the country from various avenues, from the United States and from Mexico, having no other stock in trade than some kegs of liquor, which they sell at the modest price of thirty-six dollars per gallon. The difference between the regular trader and the coureur des bois is, that the latter has no permanent interest, and gets what he can, from every Indian he meets, even at the risk of disabling him from doing anything more at hunting.

"The fort had a very cool and clean appearance. The great entrance, in which I found the gentlemen assembled, and which was floored, and about fifteen feet long, made a pleasant, shaded seat, through which the breeze swept constantly; for this country is famous for high winds. In the course of conversation I learned the following particulars, which will explain the condition of the country. For several years the Cheyennes and Sioux had gradually become more and more hostile to the whites, and in the latter part of August, 1841, had had a severe engagement with a party of sixty men under command of Mr. Frapp of St. Louis. The Indians lost eight or ten warriors, and the whites had their leader and four men killed. This fight took place on the waters of Snake River; and it was this party, on their return under Mr. Bridger, which had spread so much alarm among my people. In the course of the spring two other small parties had been cut off by the Sioux - one on their return from the Crow nation, and the other among the Black Hills. The emigrants to Oregon and Mr. Bridger's party met here, a few days before our arrival. Division and misunderstandings had grown up among them; they were already somewhat disheartened by the fatigue of their long and wearisome journey, and the feet of their cattle had become so much worn as to be scarcely able to travel. In this situation they were not likely to find encouragement in the hostile attitude of the Indians, and the new and unexpected difficulties which sprang up before them. They were told that the entire country was entirely swept of grass and that few or no buffalo were to be found on their line of route; and, with their weakened animals, it would be impossible for them to transport their heavy wagons over the mountains. Under these circumstances, they disposed of their wagons and cattle at the forts, selling them at the prices they paid in the states, and taking in exchange coffee and sugar at one dollar a pound, and miserable worn-out horses,, which died before they reached the mountains. Mr. Boudeau informed me that he had purchased thirty, and the lower fort eighty head of fine cattle, some of them of the Durham breed. Mr. Fitzpatrick, whose name and high reputation are familiar to all who interest themselves in the history of the country, had reached Laramie in company with Mr. Bridger, and the emigrants were fortunate enough to obtain his services to guide them as far as the British post of Fort Hall, about two hundred and fifty miles beyond the South Pass of the mountains. They had started for this post on the 4th of July, and immediately after their departure a war party of three hundred and fifty braves set out on their trail. As their principal chief or partisan had lost some relations in the recent fight, and had sworn to kill the first whites on his path, it was supposed that their intention was to attack the party, should a favorable opportunity offer, or, if they were foiled in their principal object by the vigilance of Mr. Fitzpatrick, content themselves with stealing horses and cutting off stragglers. These had been gone but a few days previous to our arrival.

"The effect of the engagement with Mr. Frapp had been greatly to irritate the hostile spirit of the savages; and immediately subsequent to that event, the Gros Ventre Indians had united with the Ogalallas and Cheyennes and taken the field in great force - so far as I could ascertain to the amount of eight hundred lodges. Their object was to make an attack on a camp of Snake and Crow Indians, and a body of about one hundred whites, who had made a rendezvous somewhere in the Green River Valley, or on the Sweetwater. After spending some time in buffalo hunting in the neighborhood of Medicine Bow Mountain, they were to cross over to the Green River waters and return to Laramie by way of the South Pass and the Sweetwater Valley. According to the calculation of the Indians, Mr. Boudeau informed me that they were somewhere near the head of the Sweetwater. I subsequently learned that the party led by Mr. Fitzpatrick was overtaken by their pursuers near Rock Independence, in the valley of the Sweetwater; but his skill and resolution saved them from surprise, and, small as his force was, they did not venture to attack him openly. Here they lost one of their party by an accident, and continuing up the valley, they came suddenly upon the large village. From these they met with a doubtful reception. Long residence and familiar acquaintance had given to Mr. Fitzpatrick great personal influence among them and a portion of them were disposed to let him pass quietly; but by far the greater number were inclined to hostile measures; and the chiefs spent the whole of one night, during which they kept the little party in the midst of them, in council, debating the question of attacking them the next day; but the influence of the 'Broken Hand,' as they called Mr. Fitzpatrick (one of his hands having been shattered by the bursting of a gun), at length prevailed, and obtained for them an unmolested passage; but they sternly assured him that this path was no longer open, and that any party of whites which should hereafter be found upon it would meet with certain destruction. From all that I have been able to learn, I have no doubt that the emigrants owe their lives to Mr. Fitzpatrick.

"Thus it would appear that the country was swarming with scattered war parties; and when I heard during the day the various contradictory and exaggerated rumors which were incessantly repeated to them, I was not surprised that so much alarm prevailed among my men. Carson, one of the best and most experienced mountaineers, fully supported the opinion given by Bridger, of the dangerous state of the country, and openly expressed his conviction that we could not escape without some sharp encounters with the Indians. In addition to this, he made his will; and among the circumstances which were constantly occurring to increase their alarm, this was the most unfortunate, and I found that a number of my party had become so much intimidated that they had requested to be discharged at this place. I dined today at Fort Platte, which has been mentioned as situated at the junction of Laramie River with the Nebraska. Here I heard a confirmation of the statements given above. The party of warriors which had started a few days since on the trail of the emigrants was expected back in fourteen days, to join their village, with which their families and the old men had remained. The arrival of the latter was hourly expected; and some Indians have just come in who had left the men the Laramie Fork, about twenty miles above. Mr. Bissonette, one of the traders belonging to Fort Platte, urged the propriety of taking with me an interpreter and two or three old men of the village; in which case, he thought there would be little or no hazard in encountering any of the war parties. The principal danger was in being attacked before they should know who we were.

"They had confused ideas of the number and power of our people, and dreaded to bring upon themselves the military force of the United States. This gentleman, who spoke the language fluently, offered his services to accompany me so far as the Red Buttes. He was desirous to join the large party on its return, for purposes of trade, and it would suit his views as well as ray own to go with us to the Buttes; beyond which point it would be impossible to prevail on a Sioux to venture, on account of their fears of the Crows. From Fort Laramie to the Red Buttes, by the ordinary road, is one hundred and thirty-five miles; and, though only on the threshold of danger, it seemed better to secure the services of an interpreter for the partial distance than to have none at all.

"So far as frequent interruption from the Indians would allow, we occupied ourselves in making some astronomical calculations, and bringing up the general map to this stage of our journey; but the tent was generally occupied by a succession of our ceremonious visitors. Some came for presents, and others for information of our object in coming to the country; now and then one would dart up to the tent on horseback, jerk off his trappings and stand silently at the door, holding his horse by the halter, signifying his desire to trade. Occasionally a savage would stalk in with an invitation to a feast of honor, a dog feast, and deliberately sit down and wait quietly until I was ready to accompany him. I went to one; the women and children were sitting outside the lodge, and we took our seats on buffalo robes spread around. The dog was in a large pot over the fire, in the middle of the lodge, and immediately on our arrival was dished up in large wooden bowls, one of which was handed to each. The flesh appeared very glutinous, with something of the flavor and appearance of mutton. Feeling something move behind me, I looked around and found that I had taken my seat among a litter of fat young puppies. Had I been nice in such matters, the prejudices of civilization might have interfered with my tranquillity; but fortunately I am not of delicate nerves and continued quietly to empty my platter.

"The morning of the 18th was cloudy and calm and during the day the expected village arrived, consisting principally of old men, women and children. They had a considerable number of horses, and large troops of dogs. Their lodges were pitched near the fort, and our camp was constantly crowded with Indians of all sizes, from morning until night, at which time some of the soldiers generally came to drive them all off to the village. My tent was the only place which they respected. Here only came the chiefs and men of distinction, and generally one of them remained to drive away the women and children. The numerous strange instruments applied to still stranger uses excited awe and admiration among them, and those which I used in talking with the snn and stars they looked upon with especial reverence, as mysterious things of 'great medicine.' Of the barometers which I had brought with me thus far successfully, I found that two were out of order, and spent the greater part of the 19th in repairing them - an operation of no small difficulty in the midst of the incessant interruption to which I was subjected. We had the misfortune to break here a large thermometer, graduated to show fifths of a degree, which I used to ascertain the temperature of boiling water, and with which I had promised myself some interesting experiments in the mountains. We had but one remaining, on which the graduation extended sufficiently high; and this was too small for exact observations. During our stay here the men had been engaged in making numerous repairs, arranging pack saddles, and otherwise preparing for the chances of a rough road and mountain travel. All things of this nature being ready, I gathered them around me in the evening and told them that I determined to proceed the next day. They were all well armed. I had engaged the services of Mr. Bissonette as interpreter, and had taken, in the circumstances, every possible means to insure our safety. In the rumors we had heard I believed there was much exaggeration, and they were men accustomed to this kind of life and to the country, and that these were the dangers of every day occurrence, and to be expected in the ordinary course of their service. They had heard of the unsettled condition of the country before leaving St. Louis, and therefore could not make it a reason for breaking their engagements. Still, I was unwilling to take with me, on a service of some certain danger, men on whom I could not rely; and as I had understood that there were among them some who were disposed to cowardice, and anxious to return, they had but to come forward at once and state their desire and they would be discharged with the amount due to them for the time they had served. To their honor be it said, there was but one among them who had the face to come forward and avail himself of the permission. I asked him some few questions, in order to expose him to the ridicule of the men, and let him go. The day after our departure he engaged himself to one of the forts, and set off with a party for the Upper Missouri. I did not think that the situation of the country justified me in taking our young companions, Messrs. Brant and Benton, along with us. In case of misfortune, it would have been thought, at the least, an act of great imprudence; and therefore, though reluctantly, I determined to leave them.

"July 21.—A portion of our baggage, with our field notes and observations, and several instruments, were left at the fort. One of the gentlemen, Mr. Galpin, took charge of a barometer, which he engaged to observe during my absence; and I entrusted to Randolph, by way of occupation, the regular winding up of two of my chronometers, which were among the instruments left.

"We were ready to depart; the tents were struck, the mules geared up and our horses saddled, and we walked up to the fort to take the stirrup cup with our friends in an excellent home-brewed preparation. While thus pleasantly engaged, seated in one of the cool chambers, at the door of which a man had been stationed to prevent all intrusion from the Indians, a number of chiefs, several of the powerful, fine-looking men, forced their way into the room in spite of all opposition. Handing me the following letter, they took their seats in silence:

" 'Fort Platte, July 1, 1842.

" 'Mr. Fremont: The chiefs having assembled in council, have just told me to warn you not to set out before the party of young men which is now out shall have returned. Furthermore, they tell me that they are very sure they will fire upon you as soon as they meet you. They are expected back in seven or eight days. Excuse me for making these observations, but it seems my duty to warn you of danger. Moreover, the chiefs who prohibit your setting out before the return of the warriors are the bearers of this note.

" 'I am your obedient servant,


" 'By L. B. Chartrain.

" "Names of some of the chiefs.—The Otter Hat, The Breaker of Arrows, The Black Night, The Bull's Tail.'

"After reading this, I mentioned its purport to my companions; and seeing that all were fully possessed of its contents, one of the Indians rose up, and, having first shaken hands with me, spoke as follows:

" 'You have come among us at a bad time. Some of our people have been killed, and our young men, who have gone to the mountains, are eager to avenge the blood of their relations, which has been shed by the whites. Our young men are bad, and, if they meet you, they will believe that you are carrying goods and ammunition to their enemies, and will fire upon .you. You have told us that this will make war. We know that our great father has many soldiers and big guns, and we are anxious to have our lives. We love the whites, and are desirous of peace. Thinking of all these things, we have determined to keep you here until our warriors return. We are glad to see you among us. Our father is rich, and we expected that you would have brought presents to us—horses and guns and blankets. . But we are glad to see you. We look upon your coming as the light which goes before the sun; for you will tell our great father that you have seen us, and that we are naked and poor and have nothing to eat; and he will send us all these things.' He was followed by the others to the same effect. "The observations of the savages appeared reasonable; but I was aware that they had in view only the present object of detaining me, and were unwilling I should go further into the country. In reply, I asked them, through the interpretation of Mr. Boudeau, to select two or three of their number to accompany us until we should meet their people; they should spread their robes in my tent and eat at my table, and on our return I would give them presents in reward for their services. They declined, saying that there were no young men left in the village; and that they were too old to travel so many days on horseback, and preferred now to smoke their pipes in the lodge and let the warriors go upon the war-path. Besides, they had no power over the young men, and were afraid to interfere with them. In my turn, I addressed them: 'You say that you love the whites. Why have you killed so many already this spring? You say you love the whites and are full of many expressions of friendship to us; but you are not willing to undergo the fatigue of a few days' ride to save our lives. We do not believe what you have said and will not listen to you. Whatever a chief among us tells his soldiers to do, is done. We are the soldiers of the great chief, your father. He has told us to come here and see this country and all the Indians, his children. Why should we not go? Before we came, we heard that you had killed his people, and ceased to be his children; but we came among you peaceably, holding out our hands. Now we find that the stories we heard are not lies, and that you are no longer his friends and children. We have thrown away our bodies, and will not turn back. When you told us that your young men would kill us, you did not know that our hearts were strong, and you did not see the rifles which my young men carry in their hands. We are few, and you are many, and may kill us all; but there will be much crying in your villages, for many of your yonng men will stay behind, and forget to return with your warriors from the mountains. Do you think that our great chief will let his soldiers die, and forget to cover their graves? Before the snows melt again, his warriors will sweep away your villages as the fire does the prairie in the autumn. See! I have pulled down my white houses, and my people are ready; when the sun is ten paces higher, we shall be on the march. If you have anything to tell us, you will say it soon.'

"I broke up the conference as I could do nothing with these people, and, being resolved to proceed, nothing was to be gained by delay. Accompanied by our hospitable friends, we returned to the camp. We had mounted our horses, and our parting salutations had been exchanged, when one of the chiefs (The Bull's Tail) arrived to tell me that they had determined to send a young man with us; and if I would point out the place of our evening camp, he should join us there. 'The young man is poor,' said he; 'he has no horse and expects you to give him one.' I described to him the place where I intended to encamp, and shaking hands, in a few minutes we were among the hills, and this last habitation of whites shut out from our view.

"The road led over an interesting plateau between the North Fork of the Platte on the right and the Laramie River on the left. At the distance of ten miles from the fort, we entered the sandy bed of a creek, a kind of defile, shaded by precipitous rocks, down which we wound our way for several hundred yards to a place where, on the left bank, a very large spring gushes with considerable noise and force out of the limestone rock. It is called 'the Warm Spring,' and furnishes to the hitherto dry bed of the creek a considerable rivulet. On the opposite side, a little below the spring, is a lofty limestone escarpment, partially shaded by a grove of large trees, whose green foliage, in contrast with the whiteness of the rock, renders this a picturesque locality. The rock is fossiliferous, and, so far as I was able to determine the character of the fossils, belongs to the carboniferous limestone of the Missouri River, and is probably the western limit of that formation. Beyond this point I met with no fossils of any description.

"I was desirous to visit the Platte near the point where it leaves the Black Hills, and therefore followed this stream for two or three miles, to the mouth; where I encamped on a spot which afforded good grass for our animals. Our tents having been found too thin to protect ourselves and the instruments from the rain, which in this elevated country is attended with cold and unpleasant weather, I had procured from the Indians at Laramie a tolerably large lodge, about eighteen feet in diameter and twenty feet in height. Such a lodge, when properly pitched, is, from its conical form, almost perfectly secure against the violent winds which are frequent in this region, and, with a fire in the center, is a dry and warm shelter in bad weather. By raising the lower part so as to permit the breeze to pass freely, it is converted into a pleasant summer residence, with the extraordinary advantage of being entirely free from mosquitoes, one of which I have never seen in an Indian lodge. While we were engaged very unskillfully in erecting this, the interpreter, Mr. Bissonette, arrived, accompanied by the Indian and his wife. She laughed at our awkwardness, and offered her assistance, of which we were frequently afterward obliged to avail ourselves, before the men acquired sufficient expertness to pitch it without difficulty. From this place we had a very fine view of the gorge where the Platte issues from the Black Hills, changing its character abruptly from a mountain stream into a river of the plains. Immediately around us the valley of the stream was tolerably open, and at the distance of a few miles, where the river had cut its way through the hills, was a narrow cleft, on one side of which a lofty precipice of bright red rose vertically above the low hills which lay between us. "July 22.—In the morning, while breakfast was being prepared, I visited this place with my favorite man, Basil Lajeunesse. Entering so far as there was footing for the mules, we dismounted, and, tying our animals, continued our way on foot. Like the whole country, the scenery of the river had undergone an entire change and was in this place the most beautiful I have ever seen. The breadth of the stream, generally near that of its valley, was from two to three hundred feet, with a swift current, occasionally broken by rapids, and the water perfectly clear. On either side rose the red precipices, vertical, and sometimes overhanging, two and four hundred feet in height, crowned with green summits on which were scattered a few pines. At the foot of the rocks was the usual detritus, formed of masses fallen from above. Among the pines that grew here, and on the occasional banks, were the cherry, currants and the grains de boeuf. Viewed in the sunshine of a pleasant morning, the scenery was of a most striking and romantic beauty, which arose from the picturesque distribution of the objects and the vivid contrast of colors. I thought with great pleasure of our approaching descent in the canoe through such interesting places; and, in the expectation of being able at that time to give to them a full examination, did not now dwell so much as might have been desirable upon the geological formations along the line of the river, where they are developed with great clearness. The upper portion of the red sandstone consists of a very compact clay, in which are occasionally seen imbedded large pebbles. Below was a stratum of compact red sandstone, changing a little above the river into a very hard silicious limestone. There is a small but handsome prairie immediately below this place, on the left bank of the river, which would be a good locality for a military post. There are some open groves of Cottonwood on the Platte. The small stream which comes in at this place is well timbered with pine, and good building rock is abundant.

"If it is in contemplation to keep open the communications with Oregon territory, a show of military force in this country is absolutely necessary; and a combination of advantages renders the neighborhood of Fort Laramie the most suitable place, on the line of the Platte, for the establishment of a military post. It is connected with the mouth of the Platte and the Upper Missouri by excellent roads, which are in frequent use, and would not in any way interfere with the range of the buffalo, on which the neighboring Indians mainly depend for support. It would render any posts on the Lower Platte unnecessary; the ordinary communication between it and the Missouri being sufficient to control the intermediate Indians. It would operate effectually to prevent any such coalitions as are now formed among the Gros Ventres, Sioux, Cheyennes and other Indians, and would keep the Oregon road through the valley of the Sweetwater and the South Pass of the mountains constantly open. A glance at the map which accompanies this report will show that it lies at the foot of a broken and mountainous region, along which, by the establishment of small posts in the neighborhood of St. Vrain's fort, on the South Fork of the Platte, and Bent's fort, on the Arkansas, a line of communication would be formed, by good wagon roads, with our southern military posts, which would entirely command the mountain passes, hold some of the most troublesome tribes in check, and protect and facilitate our intercourse with the neighboring Spanish settlements. The valleys of the rivers on which they would be situated are fertile; the country, which supports immense herds of buffalo, is admirably adapted to grazing, and herds of cattle might be maintained by the posts, or obtained from the Spanish country, which already supplies a portion of their provisions to the trading posts mentioned above."

The party camped that night at the mouth of Horseshoe Creek, and the following night on the Platte a short distance south and east of what is now known as Orin Junction. On the 25th camp was made on the Platte a few miles above where Fort Fetterman was afterwards built. The next night they camped in a rocky glen, now known as Glenrock. On the night of the 27th camp was made in the vicinity of where Caspar now stands. This camp is somewhat in dispute among old-timers on account of the language used by Fremont in his journal after leaving the encampment of the 27th.

"July 28.—In two miles from our encampment we reached the place where the regular road crosses the Platte. There was two hundred feet breadth of water at this time in the bed, which has a variable width of eight to fifteen hundred feet. The channels were generally three feet deep, and there were large angular rocks on the bottom, which made the ford in some places a little difficult. Even at its low stage the river cannot be crossed at random, and this has always been used as the best ford. The low stage of the waters the present year had made it fordable in almost any part of its course, where access could be had to its bed."

It will be observed that Fremont says that he crossed where the regular road crosses the Platte. Now, as there were three regular crossings - one five miles below Caspar; another two miles above that town, and still another five miles above, it is somewhat difficult to determine which of these three crossings was used by the party. The men who went over the Overland Trail in the forties inform me that the lower crossing was not a good one, as quicksand was encountered. The one two miles above Caspar was somewhat better, but there was no rock in the river. The upper crossing was a hard, rocky bottom and answers Fremont's description, and old-timers have assured me that Fremont must have crossed at this point. What happened the party on the 28th of July is reserved for another chapter.



Meets A Band Op Ogalalla Sioux - Discouraging Reports Of The Condition Op The Country - Severe Drought and A Grasshopper Plague - Advised To Give Up The Expedition - Boldly Pushes Forward - Journey Up The Sweetwater - Crosses South Pass - Penetrates The Wind River Range - Climbs Fremont's Peak - The Return Journey - Engraves A Cross On Independence Rock - More Carefully Explores The North Platte - Returns To Fort Laramie - Follows The Platte To The Missouri - Goes Down The Missouri In A Ten-oared Boat - Arrives At St. Louis.

In the last chapter the crossing of the North Platte was noted. Four miles beyond the ford the party met a band of Ogalalla Sioux, who gave a gloomy account of the country beyond, reporting a great drought prevailed, and also that grasshoppers had swept over the country so that there was scarcely a blade of grass to be seen, and there was not a buffalo in the whole region. The Indians had been brought to the point of starvation and were obliged to eat their horses. Hearing these discouraging reports, Mr. Bisonette urged Fremont to turn back, as it would be dangerous to go forward. Fremont says:

"In reply, I called up my men and communicated to them fully the information I had just received. I then expressed to them my fixed determination to proceed to the end of the enterprise on which I had been sent; but as the situation of the country gave me some reason to apprehend that it might be attended with an unfortunate result to some of us, I would leave it optional with them to continue with me or to return. Among them were some five or six who I knew would remain. We had still ten days' provisions, and should no game be found when this stock was exhausted, we had our horses and mules, which we could eat when other means of subsistence failed. But not a man flinched from the undertaking. 'We'll eat the mules,' said Basil Lajeunesse, and thereupon we shook hands with our interpreter and his Indians, and parted. With them I sent back one of my men, Dumes, whom the effects of an old wound in the leg rendered incapable of continuing the journey on foot, and his horse seemed on the point of giving out. Having resolved to disencumber ourselves of everything not absolutely necessary to our future operations, I turned directly in towards the river and encamped on the left bank, a little above the place where our council had been held, and where a thick grove of willows offered a suitable spot for the object I had in view.

"The carts having been discharged, the covers and wheels were taken off, and, with the frames, carried into some low places among the willows and concealed in the dense foliage in such a manner that the glitter of the iron work might not attract the observation of some straggling Indian. In the sand which had been blown up into waves among the willows, a large hole was dug, ten feet square, and six deep. In the meantime, all our effects had been spread out upon the ground, and whatever was designed to be carried along with us separated and laid aside, and the remaining part carried to the hole and carefully covered up. As much as possible, all traces of our proceedings were obliterated, and it wanted but a rain to render our cache safe beyond discovery. All the men were now set to work to arrange the pack saddles and make up the packs. The day was very warm and calm and the sky entirely clear, except where, as usual along the summits of the mountainous ridge opposite, the clouds had congregated in masses. Our lodge had been planted, and on account of the heat, the ground pins had been taken out and the lower part slightly raised. Near to it was standing the barometer, which swung in a tripod frame, and within the lodge, where a small fire had been built, Mr. Preuss was occupied in observing the temperature of boiling water. At the instant, and without any warning until it was within fifty yards, a violent gust of wind dashed down the lodge, burying under it Mr. Preuss and a dozen men, who had attempted to keep it from being carried away. I succeeded in saving the barometer, which the lodge was carrying off with itself, but the thermometer was broken.

"July 29.—All our arrangements having been completed, we left the encampment at 7 o'clock this morning. In this vicinity the ordinary road leaves the Platte and crosses over to the Sweetwater River, which it strikes near Rock Independence. Instead of following this road, I had determined to keep the immediate valley of the Platte so far as the mouth of the Sweetwater, in the expectation of finding better grass. To this I was further prompted by the nature of my instructions. To Mr. Carson was assigned the office of guide, as we had now reached a part of the country with which, or a great part of which, long residence had made him familiar. In a few miles we reached Red Buttes, a famous landmark in this country, whose geological composition is red sandstone, limestone and calcareous sandstone and pudding stone. The river here cuts its way through a ridge; on the eastern side of it are lofty escarpments of red argillaceous sandstone, which are called the Red Buttes. In this passage the stream is not much compressed or pent-up, there being a bank of considerable though variable breadth on either side. Immediately on entering, we discovered a band of buffalo. The hunters failed to kill any of them, the leading hunter being thrown into a ravine, which occasioned some delay, and in the meantime the herd clambered up the steep face of the ridge. It is sometimes wonderful to see these apparently clumsy animals make their way up and down the most rugged and broken precipices. We halted to noon before we had cleared this passage, at a spot twelve miles distant from Cache Camp, where we found an abundance of grass. So far the account of the Indians was found to be false. On the banks were willow and cherry trees. The cherries were not ripe, but in the thickets were numerous fresh tracks of the grizzly bear, which are very fond of this fruit. The soil here is red, the composition being derived from the red sandstone. About seven miles brought us through the ridge, in which the course of the river is north and south. Here the valley opens out broadly and the high walls of the red formation present themselves among the hills to the east. We crossed here a pretty little creek, an affluent of the right bank. It is well timbered with cottonwood in this vicinity, and the absinthe has lost its shrub-like character and becomes small trees six and eight feet in height and sometimes eight inches in diameter. Two or three miles above this creek we made our encampment, having traveled today twenty-five miles. Our animals fared well here, as there is an abundance of grass. The river bed is made up of pebbles, and in the bank, at the level of the water, is a conglomerate of coarse pebbles about the size of ostrich eggs, and which I remarked in the banks of Laramie Fork. It is overlaid by a soil of mixed clay and sand six feet thick.

"July 30.—After traveling about twelve miles this morning we reached a place where the Indian village had . crossed the river. Here were the poles of discarded lodges and skeletons of horses lying about. Mr. Carson, who had never been higher up than this point on the river, which has the character of being exceedingly rugged and walled in by precipices above, thought it advisable to camp near the place, where we were certain of obtaining grass, and tomorrow make our crossing among the rugged hills to the Sweetwater river. Accordingly we turned back and descended the river to an island near by, which was about twenty acres in size, covered with a luxuriant growth of grass. The formation here I found highly interesting. Immediately at this island the river is again shut up in the rugged hills, which come down to it from the main ridge in a succession of spurs three or four hundred feet high, and alternated with green level meadows, bordered on the river banks with thickets of willow, and having many plants to interest the traveler. The island lies between two of these ridges, three or four hundred yards apart, of which that on the right bank is composed entirely of red argillaceous sandstone with thin layers of fibrous gypsum. On the left bank the ridge is composed entirely of silicious pudding stone, the pebbles in the numerous strata increasing in size from the top to the bottom, where they are as large as a man's head. So far as I was able to determine, these strata incline to the northeast, with a dip of about 15°. This pudding stone, or conglomerate formation, I was enabled to trace through an extended range of country, from a few miles east of the meridian of Fort Laramie to where I found it superposed on the granite of the Rocky Mountains, in longitude 109°. From its appearance, the main chain of the Laramie mountain is composed of this."

On the morning of the 31st the explorers left the Platte and crossed over to the Sweetwater. On August 1st they reached Independence Rock, of which Fremont says:

"The hunters went ahead this morning, as buffalo appeared tolerably abundant, and I was desirous to secure a small stock of provisions; and we moved about seven miles np the valley and encamped one mile below Rock Independence. This is an isolated granite rock, about six hundred and fifty yards long and forty in height. Except in a depression of the summit, where a little soil supports a scanty growth of shrubs, with a solitary dwarf pine, it is entirely bare. Everywhere within six or eight feet of the ground, where the surface is sufficiently smooth, and in 6ome places sixty or eighty feet above, the rock is inscribed with the names of travelers. Many a name famous in the history of this country, and some well known to science, are to be found mixed among those of the traders and of travelers for pleasure and curiosity, and of missionaries among the savages. Some of these have been washed away by the rain, but the greater number are still very legible."

The first mention I can find of this rock is by Rev. Samuel Parker, who visited it on the 7th of August, 1835. He, like Fremont, calls it Rock Independence. He says: "This rock takes its name from the circumstance of a company of fur traders suspending their journey and here observing, in due form, the anniversary of our national freedom." I have talked with many old trappers and traders, and none of them are able to fix the date of the naming of this rock. Jim Baker tells me that Captain Bonneville named it, but of this he had no personal knowledge. The numerous names which Fremont found on the rock would indicate that it had long been known to white men.

After remaining in camp one night below Independence Rock, Fremont's party pushed on west on the morning of the second, passed Devil's Gate and encamped eight miles beyond. They continued their course up the Sweetwater and on the 6th passed through the canon, the upper end of which is ten miles below where Lewiston is now located, and that evening camped on a small stream since called the Strawberry. The next morning they again turned to the Sweetwater and crossed the ridge where the Burr mine is now located. They made one more camp before crossing the Continental Divide, and the next day found them on the west side of South Pass.

They camped that night on the first Newfork now known as Eastfork. Fremont says: "Near our camp were two remarkable isolated hills, one of them sufficiently large to merit the name of mountain." W. O. Owen, who some years ago was engaged in making a government survey in that locality, identifies the spot as Section 27, Township 32, Range 107. From this point on until the party returned from the summit of Fremont's Peak, I will copy from the journal:

"August 10.—The air at sunrise is clear and pure, and the morning extremely cold but beautiful. A lofty snow peak of the mountain is glittering in the first rays of the sun, which has not yet reached us. The long mountain wall to the east, rising two thousand feet abruptly from the plain, behind which we see the peaks, is still dark, and cuts clear against the glowing sky. A fog, just risen from the river, lies along the base of the mountain. A little before sunrise the thermometer was at 35°, and at sunrise 33°. Water froze last night, and fires are very comfortable. The scenery becomes hourly more interesting and grand, and the view here is truly magnificent; but, indeed, it needed something to repay the long prairie journey of a thousand miles. The sun has just shot above the wall and makes a magical change. The whole valley is glowing and bright, and all the mountain peaks are gleaming like silver. Though these snow mountains are not the Alps, they have their own character of grandeur and magnificence, and will doubtless find pens and pencils to do them justice. In the scene before us, we feel how much wood improves a view. The pines on the mountain seem to give it much more additional beauty. I was agreeably disappointed in the character of the streams on this side of the ridge. Instead of the creeks, which description had led me to expect, I find bold, broad streams, with three or four feet of water and a rapid current. The fork on which we are encamped is upwards of a hundred feet wide, with groves or thickets of the low willow. We were now approaching the loftiest part of the Wind River chain; and I left the valley a few miles from our encampment, intending to penetrate the mountains as far as possible with the whole party. We were soon involved in very broken ground, among long ridges covered with fragments of granite. Winding our way up a long ravine, we came unexpectedly in view of a most beautiful lake, set like a gem in the mountains. The sheet of water lay transversely across the direction we had been pursuing; and, descending the steep rocky ridge, where it was necessary to lead our horses, we followed its banks to the southera extremity. Here a view of the utmost magnificence and grandeur burst upon our ejes. With nothing between us and their feet to lessen the whole height, a grand bed of snow capped mountains rose before us, pile upon pile, glowing in the bright light of an August day. Immediately below them lay the lake, between two ridges, covered with dark pines, which swept down from the main chain to the spot where we stood. Here, where the lake glittered in the open sunlight, its banks of yellow sand and the light foliage of aspen groves contrasted well with the gloomy pines. 'Never before,' said Mr. Preuss, 'in this country or in Europe, have I seen such magnificent, grand rocks.' I was so much pleased with the beauty of the place that I determined to make the main camp here, where our animals would find good pasturage, and explore the mountains with a small party of men. Proceeding a little further, we came suddenly upon the outlet of the lake, where it found its way through a narrow passage between low hills. Dark pines, which overhung the stream, and masses of rock, where the water foamed along, gave it much romantic beauty. Where we crossed, which was immediately at the outlet, it is two hundred and fifty feet wide, and so deep that with difficulty we were able to ford it. Its head was an accumulation of rocks, boulders and broad slabs, and large angular fragments, among which the animals fell repeatedly.

"The current was very swift and the water cold and of a crystal purity. In crossing this stream, I met with a great misfortune in having my barometer broken. It was the only one. A great part of the interest of the journey for me was in the exploration of these mountains, of which so much has been said that was doubtful and contradictory; and now their snowy peaks rose majestically before me, and the only means of giving them authentically to science, the object of my anxious solicitude by night and day, was destroyed. We had brought this barometer in safety a thousand miles, and broke it almost among the snow of the mountains. The loss was felt by the whole camp - all had seen my anxiety and aided me in preserving it. The height of these mountains, considered by the hunters and traders the highest in the whole range, had been a theme of constant discussion among them; and all had looked forward with pleasure to the moment when the instrument, which they believed to be as true as the sun, should stand upon its summits and decide their disputes. Their grief was only inferior to my own.

"This lake is about three miles long and of very irregular width, and of apparently great depth, and is the headwater of the third Newfork, and a tributary to Green River, the Colorado of the west. On the map and in the narrative I have called it Mountain Lake.* I encamped on the north side, about three hundred and fifty feet from the outlet. This was the most western point at which I obtained astronomical observations, by which this place, called Rernier's Encampment, is made in 110° 08' 03" west longitude from Greenwich, and latitude 42° 49' 49". The mountain peaks, as laid down, were fixed by bearings from this and other astronomical points. We had no other compass than the small one used in sketching the country; but from an azimuth, in which one of them was used, the variation of the compass is 18° east. The correction made in our field work by the astronomical observation indicates that this is a very correct observation.

"As soon as the camp was formed, I set about endeavoring to repair my barometer. As I have already said, this was a standard cistern-barometer of Troughton's construction. The glass cistern had been broken about midway; but as the instrument had been kept in a proper position, no air had found its way into the tube, the end of which had always remained covered. I had with me a number of vials of tolerably thick glass, some of which were of the same diameter as the cistern, and I spent the day in slowly working on these, endeavoring to cut them of the requisite length, but as my instrument was a very rough file, I invariably broke them. A groove was cut in one of the trees, where the barometer was placed during the night, to be out of the way of any possible danger, and in the morning I commenced again. Among the powder horns in the camp, I found one which was very transparent, so that its contents could be almost as plainly seen as through glass. This I boiled and stretched on a piece of wood to the requisite diameter, and scraped it very thin, in order to increase to the utmost its transparency. I then secured it firmly in its place on the instrument, with strong glue made from a buffalo, and filled it with mercury, properly heated. A piece of skin which had covered one of the vials furnished a good pocket, which was well secured with strong thread and glue, and then the brass cover was screwed to its place. The instru-

*This body of water is known on the Wyoming map of today as Boulder Lake. Owen locates Bernier's encampment in Section i4, Township 33, Range i08, and says that the identity of the camp isbeyond question.

ment was left some time to dry; and when I reversed it, a few hours after, I had the satisfaction to find it in perfect order; its indications being about the same as on the other side of the lake before it had been broken. Our success in this little incident diffused pleasure throughout the camp, and we immediately set about our preparations for ascending the mountains.

"I was desirous to keep strictly within the scope of my instructions, and it would have required ten or fifteen additional days for the accomplishment of this object; our animals had become very much worn out with the length of the journey; game was very scarce; and, though it does not appear in the course of the narrative (as I have avoided dwelling upon trifling incidents not connected with the objects of the expedition) the spirits of the men had been much exhausted by the hardships and privations to which they had been subjected. Our provisions had well nigh all disappeared. Bread had been long out of the question; and of all our stock, we had remaining two or three pounds of coffee and a small quantity of macaroni, which had been husbanded with great care for the mountain expedition we were about to undertake. Our daily meal consisted of dry buffalo meat, cooked in tallow, and, as we had not dried this with Indian skill, part of it was spoiled, and what remained of good was as hard as wood, having much the taste and appearance of so many pieces of bark. Even of this our stock was rapidly diminishing in a camp which was capable of consuming two buffaloes in every twenty-four hours. These animals had entirely disappeared, and it was not probable that we should fall in with them again until we returned to the Sweetwater.

"Our arrangements for the ascent were rapidly completed. We were in a hostile country, which rendered the greatest vigilance and circumspection necessary. The pass at the north end of the mountain was generally infested by Blackfeet; and immediately opposite was one of their forts, on the edge of a little thicket, two or three hundred feet from our encampment. We were posted in a grove of beech on the margin of the lake and a few hundred feet long, with a narrow pavilion on the inner side, bordered by the rocky ridge. In the upper end of this grove we cleared a circular space about forty feet in diameter, and with the felled timber and interwoven branches surrounded it with a breastwork five feet in height. A gap was left for a gate on the inner side, by which the animals were to be driven in and secured, while the men slept around the little work. It was half hidden by the foliage, and, garrisoned by twelve resolute men, would have set at defiance any band of savages which might chance to discover them in the interval of our absence. Fifteen of the best mules, with fourteen men, were selected for the mountain party. Our provisions consisted of dried meat for two days, with our little stock of coffee and some macaroni. In addition to the barometer and a thermometer, I took with me a sextant and spy-glass, and we had, of course, our compasses. In charge of the camp I left Bernier, one of my most trustworthy men, who possessed the most determined courage.

"August 12th.—Early in the morning we left the camp, fifteen in number, well armed, of course, and mounted on our best mules. A pack animal carried our provisions, with a coffee pot and camp kettle, and three or four tin cups. Every man had a blanket strapped over his saddle, to serve for his bed, and the instruments were carried in turn on their backs. We entered directly on rough and rocky ground and just after crossing the ridge had the good fortune to shoot an antelope. We heard the roar and had a glimpse of a waterfall as we rode along, and, crossing in our way two fine streams, tributary to the Colorado, in about two hours' ride we reached the top of the first row or range of the mountains. Here, again, a view of the most romantic beauty met our eyes. It seemed as if, from the vast expanse of uninteresting prairie we had passed over, nature had collected all her beauties together in one chosen place. We were overlooking a deep valley which was entirely occupied by three lakes, and from the brink the surrounding ridges rose precipitously five hundred and a thousand feet, covered with a dark green of the balsam pine, relieved on the border of the lake with the light foliage of the aspen. They all communicated with each other; and the green of the waters, common to mountain lakes of great depth, showed that it would be impossible to cross them. The surprise manifested by our guides when these impassable obstacles suddenly barred our progress, showed that they were among the hidden treasures of the place, unknown even to the wandering trappers of the region. Descending the hill, we proceeded to make our way along the margin to the southern extremity. A narrow strip of angular fragments of rock sometimes afforded a rough pathway for our mules, but generally we rode along the shelving side, occasionally scrambling up, at a considerable risk of tumbling back into the lake. The slope was frequently 60°; the pines grew densely together, and the ground was covered with the branches and trunks of trees. The air was fragrant with the odor of the pines, and I realized this delightful morning the pleasure of breathing that mountain air which makes a constant theme of the hunters' praise and which now made us feel as if we had all been drinking some exhilarating gas. The depth of this unexplored forest was a place to delight the heart of a botanist. There was a rich undergrowth of plants and numerous gay colored flowers in brilliant bloom.

"We had reached a very elevated point, and in the valley below and among the hills were a number of lakes of different levels, some two or three hundred feet above others, with which they communicated by foaming torrents. Even to our great height, the roar of the cataracts can e up, and we could see them leaping down in lines of snowy foam. From this scene of busy waters we turned abruptly into the stillness of a forest, where we rode among the open bolls of the pines over a lawn of verdant grass, having strikingly the air of cultivated grounds. This led us, after a time, among masses of rock which had no vegetable earth but in hollows and crevices, though still the pine forest continued. Toward evening we reached a defile, or rather a hole in the mountains, entirely shut in by dark pine-covered rocks.

"Our table service was rather scant, and we held the meat in our hands, and clean rocks made good plates, on which we spread our macaroni. Among all the strange places in which we had occasion to camp during our long journey, none have left so vivid an impression on my mind as the camp of this evening. The disorder of the masses which surrounded us; the little hole through which we saw the stars overhead; the dark pines when we slept, and the rocks lit up with our fires, made a night picture of very wild beauty.

"August 13.—The morning was bright and pleasant, just cool enough to make exercise agreeable, and we soon entered the defile I had seen the preceding day. It was smoothly carpeted with a soft grass and scattered over with groups of flowers, of which yellow was the predominant color. Sometimes we were forced, by an occasional difficult pass, to pick our way on a narrow ledge along the side of the defile, and the mules were frequently on their knees; but these obstructions were rare, and we journeyed on in the sweet morning air, delighted at onr good fortune in having found such a beautiful entrance to the mountains. This road continued for about three miles when we suddenly reached its termination in one of the grand views which, at every turn, meet the traveler in this magnificent region. Here the defile up which we had traveled opened out into a small lawn, where in a little lake the stream had its source.

"It is not by the splendor of far-off views, which have lent such a glory to the Alps, that these impress the mind; but by a gigantic disorder of enormous masses and a savage sublimity of naked rock, in wonderful contrast with innumerable green spots of a rich floral beauty, shut up in their stern recesses. Their wildness seems well suited to the character of the people who inhabit the country.

"I determined to leave our animals here and make the rest of our way on foot. The peak appeared so near that there was no doubt of our returning before night, and a few men were left in charge of the mules, with our provisions and blankets. We took with us nothing but our arms and instruments, and as the day had become warm, the greater part left our coats. Having made an early dinner, we started again. We were soon involved in the most ragged precipices, nearing the central chain very slowly, and rising but little. The first ridge hid a succession of others, and when, with great fatigue and difficulty, we had climbed up five hundred feet, it was but to make an equal descent on the other side; all these intervening places were filled with small, deep lakes, which met the eye in every direction, descending from one level to another, sometimes under bridges formed by huge fragments of granite, beneath which was heard the roar of the water. These constantly obstructed our path, forcing us to make long detours; frequently obliging us to retrace our steps, and frequently falling among rocks. Maxwell was precipitated towards the face of a precipice and saved himself from going over by throwing himself flat on the ground. We clambered on, always expecting, with every ridge that we crossed, to reach the foot of the peaks, and always disappointed until about four o'clock, when, pretty well worn out, we reached the shore of a little lake, in which there was a rocky island.

"By the time we had reached the further side of the lake, we found ourselves all exceedingly fatigued, and, much to the satisfaction of the whole party, we encamped. The spot we had chosen was a broad, flat rock, in some measure protected from the winds by the surrounding crags, and the trunks of fallen pines afforded us bright fires . Near by was a foaming torrent, which tumbled into the little lake abont one hundred and fifty feet below us, and which by way of distinction we have called Island Lake. We had reached the upper limit of the piney region, as above this point no tree was to be seen and patches of snow lay everywhere around us on the cold sides of the rocks. The flora of the region we had traversed since leaving our mules was extremely rich, and among the characteristic plants, the scarlet flowers of the Dodecatheon dentatum everywhere met the eye in great abundance. A small green ravine, on the edge of which we were encamped, was filled with a profusion of Alpine plants in brilliant bloom.

"I was taken ill shortly after we had encamped, and continued so until late in the night, with violent headache and vomiting. This was probably caused by the excessive fatigue I had undergone, and want of food, and perhaps, also, in some measure, by the rarity of the air. The night was cold, as a violent gale from the north had sprung up at sunset, which entirely blew away the heat of the fires. The cold, and our granite beds, had not been favorable to sleep, and we were glad to see the face of the sun in the morning. Not being delayed by any preparation for breakfast, we set out immediately.

"On every side, as we advanced, was heard the roar of waters, and of a torrent, which we followed up a short distance until it expanded into a lake about one mile in length. On the northern side of the lake was a bank of ice, or rather of snow covered with a crust of ice. Carson had been our guide into the mountains, and ,agreeably to his advice, we left this little valley and took to the ridges again; which we found extremely broken, and where we were again involved among precipices. Here were icefields, among which we were all dispersed, seeking each the best path to ascend the peak. Mr. Preuss attempted to walk along the upper edge of one of these fields which sloped away at an angle of about twenty degrees, but his feet slipped from under him and he went plunging down the plane. A few hundred feet below, at the bottom, were some fragments of sharp rock, on which he landed, and though he turned a couple of somersets, fortunately received no injury beyond a few bruises. Two of the men, Clement Lambert and Descoteaux, had been taken ill and lay down on the rocks a short distance below; and at this point I was attacked with headache and giddinese, accompanied by vomiting, as on the day before. Finding myself unable to proceed, I sent the barometer over to Mr. Preuss, who was in a gap two or three hundred yards distant, desiring him to reach the peak, if possible, and take an observation there. He found himself unable to proceed farther in that direction, and took an observation, when the barometer stood at 19.401; attached thermometer, 50°. in the gap. Carson, who had gone over to him, succeeded in reaching one of the snowy summits of the main ridge, whence he saw the peak towards which all our efforts had been directed, towering eight or ten hundred feet into the air above him. In the meantime, finding myself grow rather worse than better, and doubtful how far my strength would carry me, I sent Basil Lajeunesse with four men back to the place where the mules had been left.

"We were now better acquainted with the topography of the country, and I directed him to bring back with him, if it were in any way possible, four or five mules, with provisions and blankets. With me were Maxwell and Aver, and after we had remained nearly an hour on the rock it became so unpleasantly cold, though the day was bright, that we set out on our return to the camp, at which we all arrived safely, straggling in one after the other. I continued ill during the afternoon, but became better towards sundown, when my recovery was completed by the appearance of Basil and four men, all mounted. The men who had gone with him had been too much fatigued to return, and were relieved by those in charge of the horses; but in his powers of endurance Basil resembled more a mountain goat than a man. They brought blankets and provisions, and we enjoyed well our dried meat and a good cup of coffee. We rolled ourselves up in our blankets, and with our feet turned to a blazing fire slept soundly until morning.

"August 15.—It had been supposed that we had finished with the mountains, and the evening before it had been arranged that Carson should set out at daylight and return to breakfast at the camp of the mules, taking with him all but four or five men, who were to stay with me and bring back the mules and instruments. Accordingly, at the break of day they set out. With Mr. Preuss and myself remained Basil Lajeunesse, Clement Lambert, Janisse and Descoteaux. When we had secured strength for the day by a hearty breakfast, we covered what remained, which was enough for one meal, with rocks, in order that it might be safe from any marauding bird, and, saddling our mules, turned our faces once more towards the peaks. This time we determined to proceed quietly and cautiously, deliberately resolved to accomplish our object if it were within the compass of human means. We were of opinion that a long defile which lay to the left of yesterday's route would lead us to the foot of the main peak. Our mules had been refreshed by the fine grass in the little ravine at the island camp, and we intended to ride up the defile as far as possible, in order to husband our strength for the main ascent. Though this was a fine passage, still it was a defile of the most rugged mountains known, and we had many a rough and steep slippery place to cross before reaching the end. In this place the sun rarely shone; snow lay along the border of the small stream which flowed through it, and occasional icy passages made the footing of the mules very insecure, and the rocks and ground were moist with the trickling waters in this spring of mighty rivers. We soon had the satisfaction to find ourselves riding along the huge wall which forms the central summit of the chain. There at last it rose by our sides, a nearly perpendicular wall of granite, terminating 2,000 to 3,000 feet above our heads in a serrated line of broken, jagged cones. We rode on until we came almost immediately below the main peak, which I denominated the Snow Peak, as it exhibited more snow to the eye than any of the neighboring summits. Here were three small lakes of a green color, each of perhaps a thousand yards in diameter, and apparently very deep. These lay in a kind of chasm; and, according to the barometer, we had attained but a few hundred feet above the Island Lake. The barometer here stood at 20.450, attached thermometer 70°. "We managed to get our mules up to a litte bench about a hundred feet above the lakes, where there was a patch of good grass, and turned them loose to graze. During our rough ride to the place they had exhibited a wonderful surefootedness. Parts of the defile were filled with angular, sharp fragments of rock, three or four and eight or ten feet cube; and among these they had worked their way, leaping from one narrow point to another, rarely making a false step, and giving us no occasion to dismount. Having divested ourselves of every unnecessary encumbrance, we commenced the ascent. This time, like experienced travelers, we did not press ourselves, but climbed leisurely, sitting down as soon as we found breath beginning to fail. At intervals we reached places where a number of springs gushed from the rocks, and about 1,800 feet above the lakes came to the snow line. From this point our progress was uninterrupted climbing. Hitherto I had worn a pair of thick moccasins, with the soles of parfleche;* but here I put on a light, thin pair, which I had brought for the purpose, as now the use of our toes became necessary to a further advance. I availed myself of a comb of the mountains which stood against the wall like a buttress, and which the wind and the solar radiation, joined to the steepness of the smooth rock, had kept almost entirely free from snow. Up this I made my way rapidly. Our cautious method of advancing in the outset had spared my strength, and with the exception of a slight disposition to headache, I felt no remains of yesterday's illness. In a few minutes we reached a point where the buttress was overhanging, and there was no other way of surmounting the difficulty than by passing around one side of it, which was the face of a vertical precipice of several hundred feet. Putting hands and feet in the crevices between the blocks, I succeeded in getting over it, and, when I reached the top, found my companions in a small valley below. Descending to them, we continued climbing, and in a short time reached the crest. I sprang upon the summit, and another step would have precipitated me into an immense snow-field five hundred feet below. To the edge of this field was a sheer icy precipice; and then, with a gradual fall, the field sloped off for about a mile, until it struck the foot of another lower ridge. I stood on a narrow crest, about three feet in width, with an inclination of about 20° N., 51° E. As soon as I had gratified the first feelings of curiosity, I descended, and each man ascended in his turn; for I would only allow one at a time to mount the unstable and precarious slab, which it seemed a breath would hurl into the abyss below. We mounted the barometer in the snow of the summit, and fixing a ramrod in a crevice, unfurled the national flag to wave in the breeze where never flag waved before. During our morning's ascent we had met no animal life, except a small bird having the appearance of a sparrow. A stillness the most profound and a terrible solitude forced themselves constantly on the mind as the great features of the place. Here on the summit, where the stillness was absolute, unbroken by any sound, and the solitude complete, we thought ourselves

*Parfleche is the name given to buffalo hide. The Indian women prepare it by scraping and drying. It is exceedingly tough and hard and receives its name from the circumstance that it cannot be pierced by arrows or spears. The entire dress of Fremont and his party, on their ascent to trie " top of America," consisted of a blue flannel shirt, free and open at the neck, the collar turning down over a black silk handkerchief tied loosely, blue cloth pantaloons, a slouched broad-brimmed hat. and moccasins as above described. It was well adapted to climbing—quite light, and at the same time warm, and every way comfortable.

beyond the region of animal life; but while we were sitting on the rock, a solitary bee (bromus, the humble bee) came winging his flight from the eastern valley, and lit on the knee of one of the men.

"Around us, the whole scene had one main striking feature, which was that of terrible convulsion. Parallel to its length, the ridge was split into chasms and fissures, between which rose the thin, lofty walls, terminated with slender minarets and columns, which is correctly represented in the view from the camp on Island Lake. According to the barometer, the little crest of the wall on which we stood was three thousand five hundred and seventy feet above that place, and two thousand seven hundred and eighty feet above the little lakes at the bottom, immediately at our feet. Our camp at the Two Hills (an astronomical station) bore south 3° east, which with a bearing afterward obtained from a fixed position, enabled us to locate the peak. The bearing of the Trois Tetons was north 50° west, and the direction of the central range of the Wind River mountains south 39° east. The summit rock was gneiss, succeeded by sienitic gneiss. Sienite and feldspar succeeded in our descent to the snow line, where we found a feldspathic granite. I had remarked that the noise produced by the explosion of our pistols had the usual degree of loudness, but was not in the least prolonged, expiring almost instantaneously. Having now made what observations our means afforded, we proceeded to descend. We had accomplished an object of laudable ambition, and beyond the strict order of our instructions. We had climbed the loftiest peak of the Rocky Mountains and looked down upon the snow a thousand feet below, and standing where never human foot had stood before, felt the exultation of first explorers. It was about two o'clock when we left the summit, and when we reached the bottom the sun had already sunk behind the wall and the day was drawing to a close. It would have been pleasant to have lingered here and on the summit longer; but we hurried away as rapidly as the ground would permit, for it was an object to regain our party as soon as possible, not knowing what accident the next hour might bring forth.

"We reached our deposit of provisions at nightfall. Here was not the inn which greets the tired traveler returning from Mont Blanc, or the orange groves of South America with their refreshing juice and soft fragrant air; but we found our little cache of dried meat and coffee undisturbed. Though the moon was bright, the road was full of precipices and the fatigue of the day had been great. We therefore abandoned the idea of rejoining our friends and lay down on the rock, and, in spite of the cold, slept soundly.

"August 16. - We left our encampment with the daylight. We saw on our way large flocks of the mountain goat looking down on us from the cliffs. At the crack of a rifle they would bound off among the rocks, and in a few minutes make their appearance on some lofty peak, some hundred or a thousand feet above. It is needless to attempt any further description of the country; the portion over which we traveled this morning was rough as imagination could picture it, and to us seemed equally beautiful. A concourse of lakes and rushing waters, mountains of rocks, naked and destitute of vegetable earth, dells and ravines of the most exquisite beauty, all kept green and fresh by the great moisture in the air and sown with brilliant flowers, and everywhere, thrown around all, the glory of most magnificent scenes; these constitute the features of the place and impress themselves vividly on the mind of the traveler. It was not until 11 o'clock that we reached the place where our animals had been left when we first attempted the mountains on foot. Near one of the still burning fires we found a piece of meat, which our friends had thrown away, and which furnished us a mouthful - a very scanty breakfast. We continued directly on and reached our camp on the mountain lake at dusk. We found all well. Nothing had occurred to interrupt the quiet since our departure, and the fine grass and good, cool water had done much to reestablish our animals. All heard with great delight the order to turn our faces homeward; and towards sundown of the 17th we encamped again at Two Buttes."

Fremont's description of the Wind River Range and the climbing of the peak is one of the best literary efforts of any explorer. It is a word picture drawn with such accuracy as to enable the reader to gain a grand view of this, the most beautiful mountain in the whole Rocky range. I reproduce in connection with this report two views of the Wind River Range made by Mr. Preuss on this trip. They were published in Fremont's report and deserve, because of their excellence, a place in this volume. The return of the party across South Pass and down the Sweetwater to Independence Rock was accomplished by the evening of the 22nd. On this great rock Fremont placed the emblem of Christianity. He says: "Here, not unmindful of the custom of early travelers and explorers in our country, I engraved on this rock of the far west the symbol of the Christian faith. Among the thickly inscribed names, I made on the hard granite the impression of a large cross, which I covered with a black preparation of India rubber, well calculated to resist the influence of wind and rain. It stands amidst the names of many who have long since found their way to the grave, and for whom the huge rock is a giant gravestone."

I have met quite a number of people who claim to have seen this cross, but must confess that I never have been able to find it. On July 4, 1847, there was a grand celebration at this rock by more than a thousand people who were on their way to Oregon and California. During the day the enthusiastic American citizens loaded old wagon hubs with powder, to which they fastened a fuse, and exploded them in the crevices of the rock. By this means a large piece of the granite weighing many tons was detached and turned over on the ground, and I have been of the opinion that the Fremont cross is on this detached piece of rock and was thus covered from view.

After leaving Independence Rock the party proceeded across to the North Platte and carefully explored that stream, returning to Fort Laramie on August 31. The return trip was made down the Platte to the Missouri, from which point they floated down that stream in a ten-oared boat and finally reached St. Louis on October 17. After this expedition of Fremont into Wyoming, things were never to be as they were before. The dark mountain barriers, broad valleys and noble rivers took their places upon the map of our country and became an open book for all men to read. The great Overland Trail, with its memories of Robert Stuart, General Ashley, the Sublette brothers, Captain Bonneville, Marcus Whitman and others had become the broad highway used by those who were soon to build commonwealths. But Fremont is not through with Wyoming yet, for he is to mark out another public thoroughfare in our state. Of this I will speak in another chapter.



The Start From The Missouri - Follow The Kansas River - Command Divided - Explorations In Colorado - Two Divisions Meet At Fort St. Vrain -Twenty-five Men With The Baggage Go By Way Of Fort Laramie To Fort Hall - Fremont And Thirteen Men Explore Laramie Plains And Proceed Westward To Eastern Rim Of Red Desert - Proceed North To Sweetwater - Journey To Bear River - Explore Great Salt Lake - Join Balance Of Command At Fort Hall - Explorations In Oregon - Winter Campaign In The Mountains Of California - Third Exploring Expedition And Experiences In California - Fourth Exploring Expedition - Great Suffering Of The Party and Eleven- Deaths - Fremont's Public Services.

The second expedition of Fremont was undertaken early in the spring of 1843. The rendezvous was at the little town of Kansas, on the Missouri, now known as Kansas City. Experience had taught the chief of the expedition the necessity of a complete outfit, and consequently everything necessary was provided, Major Thomas Fitzpatrick being selected as guide. Charles Preuss was again chosen as assistant topographical engineer. Lucien Maxwell was engaged as hunter. Theodore Talbot of Washington City was a member of the party. Frederick Dwight, of Springfield, Massachusetts, who was on his way to the Sandwich Islands, accompanied them. William Gilpin of Missouri, who afterwards became the first governor of Colorado, journeyed with Fremont to Oregon. The men who enlisted in the enterprise were, as will be seen, largely chosen from the members of the first expedition. They were, Alexis Ayot, Francois Badeau, Oliver Beaulieu, Baptiste Bernier, John A. Campbell, John G. Campbell, Manuel Chapman, Ransom Clark, Philibert Courteau, Michel Crelis, William Creuse, Clinton Deforest, Baptiste Derosier, Basil Lajeunesse, Francois Lajeunesse, Henry Lee, Louis Menard, Louis Montreuil, Samuel Neal, Alexis Pera, Francois Pera, James Power, Raphael Proue, Oscar Sarphy, Baptiste Tabeau, Charles Taplin, Baptiste Tesson, Auguste Vasquez, Joseph Verrot, Patrick White, Tiery Wright, Louis Zindel and Jacob Dodson, the latter a young colored man from Washington City. The party was armed with Hall's carbines and also a twelve pound brass howitzer. The camp equipage, provisions and instruments were carried in twelve carts, drawn by two mules each. They left Kansas City on the 29th of May and proceeded up the south side of the Kansas River. On the 8th of June they arrived at the mouth of the Smoky Hill Fork, where they crossed and proceeded up the Republican Fork. Arriving at a place called by the Indians Big Timber, the force was divided. Leaving twenty-five men in charge of Mr. Fitzpatrick to follow on with the heavy baggage, Fremont took fifteen men, the mountain howitzer, the cart containing instruments, and pushed forward, reaching the South Fork of the Platte on June 30th, and followed up this stream to St. Vrain's Fort, which point was reached on the 4th of July.

On the 6th the journey up the Platte was continued; passing Lupton's trading post, and a day or two later camp was made on the ground where Denver now stands. Fremont finally reached Pueblo, where he encountered Kit Carson, who had been with him on his expedition the year before. This accomplished frontiersman was added to the command, after which explorations were pushed into South Park and across into North Park, then down again to St. Vrain's fort, reaching there on the 23rd of July, where was found the detachment under Fitzpatrick awaiting them. On the 26th the party was again divided, Fremont taking thirteen men for his own company, and Fitzpatrick the balance, with instructions to proceed by way of Fort Laramie, North Platte, Sweetwater and South Pass to Fort Hall and there to await the detachment under the personal charge of the explorer. Before starting out from St. Vrain, Fremont makes the following note in regard to the country through which he expected to travel, and the object of his explorations from St. Vrain west. His report reads:

"I had been able to obtain no certain information in regard to the character of the passes in this portion of the Rocky Mountain range, which had always been represented as impracticable for carriages, but the exploration of which was incidentally contemplated by my instructions, with the view of finding some convenient point of passage for the road of emigration, which would enable it to reach, on a more direct line, the usual ford of the Great Colorado - a place considered as determined by the nature of the country beyond that river. It is singular that, immediately at the foot of the mountains, I could find no one sufficiently acquainted with them to guide us to the plains at their western base; but the race of trappers who formerly lived in their recesses has almost entirely disappeared - dwindled to a few scattered individuals - some one or two of whom are regularly killed in the course of each year by the Indians. You will remember that in the previous year, I brought with me to their village near this post, and hospitably treated on the way, several Cheyenne Indians, whom I had met on the lower Platte. Shortly after their arrival here, these were out with a party of Indians (themselves the principal men), which discovered a few trappers in the neighboring mountains, whom they immediately murdered, although one of them had been nearly thirty years in the country, and was perfectly well known, as he had grown gray among them.

"Through this portion of the mountains, also, are the customary roads of the war parties going out against the Utah and Shoshone Indians, and occasionally parties from the Crow nation make their way down to the southward along this chain, in the expectation of surprising some straggling lodges of their enemies. Shortly before our arrival, one of their parties had attacked an Arapahoe village in the vicinity, which they had found unexpectedly strong, and their assault was turned into a rapid flight and a hot pursuit, in which they had been compelled to abandon the animals they had ridden, and escape on their war horses. Into this uncertain and dangerous region, small parties of three or four trappers who now could collect together, rarely ventured; and consequently it was seldom visited and little known. Having determined to try the passage by a pass through a spur of the mountains made by the Cache a la Poudre River, which rises in the high bed of mountains around Long's Peak, I thought it advisable to avoid any incumbrance which would occasion detention."

Fremont now pushed westward across the Laramie Plains, and his route lay from Cache la Poudre in Colorado, up Hale Creek, crossing over the head of Harvey Creek near Red Butte to the Big Laramie, when he camped four miles southwest of where Laramie City now stands; thence across to Little Laramie; thence to Seven Mile Creek, Dutton Creek and Cooper Creek, thence to a point on Rock Creek near where the old stage station was afterwards located. From this point he traveled in a northwesterly direction, crossing Wagonhound Creek, Medicine Bow Creek, camping at the north foot of Elk Mountain. From that point he went in a westerly direction, reaching the North Platte River a short distance above where Fort Steele was afterwards located. Near the North Platte they made a camp, and while there had the following experience:

"A successful day's hunt had kept our hunters occupied until late, and they slept out, but rejoined us at daybreak, when finding ourselves only about a mile from the river, we followed the ravine down and camped in a Cottonwood grove on a beautiful grassy bottom, where our animals indemnified themselves for the scanty fare of the past night. It was quite a pretty and pleasant place; a narrow strip of prairie about five hundred yards long terminated at the ravine where we entered by high precipitous hills closing in upon the river, and at the upper end by a ridge of low rolling hills. In the precipitous bluffs were displayed a succession of strata containing fossil vegetable remains, and several beds of coal. In some of the beds the coal did not appear to be perfectly mineralized, and in some of the seams it was compact and remarkably lustrous. In these latter places there were, also, thin layers of very fine white salts, in powder. As we had a large supply of meat in the camp, which it was necessary to dry, and the surrounding country appeared to be well stocked with buffalo, which it was probable, after a day or two, we would not see again until our return to the Mississippi waters, I determined to make here a provision of dried meat, which would be necessary for our subsistence in the region we were about entering, which was said to be nearly destitute of game. Scaffolds were, accordingly, soon erected, fires made, and the meat cut up into thin slices to be dried; and all were busily occupied when the camp was thrown into a sudden tumult by a charge from about seventy mounted Indians, over the low hills at the upper end of the little bottom. Fortunately, the guard, who was between them and our animals, had caught a glimpse of an Indian's head as he raised himself in his stirrups to look over the hill, a moment before they made the charge, and succeeded in turning the band into the camp as the Indians charged into the bottom with the usual yell. Before they reached us, the grove on the verge of the little bottom was occupied by our people, and the Indians brought to a sudden halt, which they made in time to save themselves from a howitzer shot, which would, undoubtedly, have been very effective in such a compact body; and further proceedings were interrupted by their signs for peace. They proved to be a war party of Arapahoe and Cheyenne Indians and informed us that they had charged upon the camp under the belief that we were hostile Indians, and had discovered their mistake only at the moment of attack— an excuse which policy required us to receive as true, though under the full conviction that the display of our little howitzer, and our favorable position in the grove, certainly saved our horses, and probably ourselves, from their marauding intentions. They had been on a war party, and had been defeated, and were consequently in the state of mind which aggravates their innate thirst for plunder and blood. Their excuse, however, was taken in good part, and the usual evidences of friendship interchanged. The pipe went round, provisions were spread, and the tobacco and goods furnished the customary presents, which they look for even from traders, and much more from government authorities. They were returning from an expedition against the Shoshone Indians, one of whose villages they had surprised, at Bridger's Fort, on Hani's Fork of Green River (in the absence of the men, who were engaged in an antelope surround) and succeeded in carrying off their horses and taking several scalps. News of the attack reached the Snakes immediately, who pursued and overtook them and recovered their horses, and in the running fight which ensued the Arapahoes had lost several men killed and a number wounded, who were coming on more slowly with a party in the rear. Nearly all the horses they had brought off were the property of the whites at the fort. After remaining until nearly sunset they took their departure; and the excitement which their arrival had afforded subsided into our usual quiet, a little enlivened by the vigilance rendered necessary by the neighborhood of our uncertain visitors."

The coal spoken of was found about six miles from his camping place on the Platte. From there he went up Sage Creek to Pine Grove, where there was afterwards a stage station located. That camp was within a mile of the Continental Divide. From that point his route lay northwest, approaching the east rim of Red Desert; thence north to the Sweetwater, striking that river twenty miles above Devil's Gate.

It will be observed that Fremont's route from Fort St. Vrain west over the Laramie Plains was a new exploration. A few trappers had been in that country before, it is true. Ezekiel Williams and his companions in 1807 had passed over these plains, but they were fleeing before hostile Indians. Jacques Laramie had also been in that country ten or twelve years later, but he had paid for his daring with his life. As Fremont observes, nothing was known of the country up to the time of his expedition in 1843. His explorations proved it to be a practicable route from Fort St. Vrain west, and before the end of that decade hundreds of emigrants, who came up the Arkansas, followed that course, and later on the Overland stage was established substantially on the line of Fremont's survey.*

Their route then led up the Sweetwater to the South Pass, going over at a point some miles south of the place crossed the preceding year. After leaving South Pass the emigrant road to Oregon was followed. Fremont in his report makes some interesting observations about Green River. He says:

"This is the emigrant road to Oregon, which bears much

*I am indebted to the well known civil engineer. M. N. Grant, for hit assistance in tracing Fremont's route from Fort St. Vrain to the Devil's Gate.

to the southward, to avoid the mountains about the western heads of Green River - the Rio Verde of the Spaniards. Crossing the river, here about 400 feet wide, by a very good ford, we continued to descend for seven or eight miles on a pleasant road on the right bank of the stream, of which the island and shores are handsomely timbered with cottonwood. The refreshing appearance of the broad river, with its timbered shores and green wooded islands, in contrast to its dry, sandy plains, probably obtained for it the name of Green River, which was bestowed upon it by the Spaniards, who first came into this country to trade some twentyfive years ago. It was then familiarly known as Seeds-kedee-agie, or Prairie Hen River, a name which it received from the Crows, to whom its upper waters belong, and on which this bird is still very abundant. By the Shoshone and Utah Indians, to whom belongs, for a considerable distance below, the country where we were now traveling, it was called the Bitter Root River, from the great abundance in its valley of a plant which affords them one of their favorite roots. Lower down, from Brown's Hole to the southward, the river runs through lofty chasms, walled in by precipices of red rock; and even among the wilder tribes who inhabit that portion of its course. I have heard it called by Indian refugees from the Californian settlements the Rio Colorado."

From Green River, the expedition headed for Bear River, and followed down the course of that stream to Great Salt Lake, which, with the aid of an India-rubber boat eighteen feet long, carried for the purpose, the lake was partially explored. Fremont visited an island in the lake and ascended a peak which upon measurement proved to be 800 feet above the surface of the water. On this peak he accidentally left the brass cover to the object end of his spyglass. I mention this fact to put at rest the prevailing opinion among the old-timers in Wyoming that this accident happened on Fremont's Peak.

On September 19th the expedition arrived at Fort Hall, and on the 22nd left for Oregon and joined the survey to that of Captain Wilkes, thus connecting explorations from the Mississippi to the Pacific. The winter was spent in exploring the mountains of California, and finally in May, Fremont passed around the southern rim of the Great Salt Lake, to the point visited the previous September, having made a circuit of 3,500 miles exploring the streams and mountains of Oregon and northern California from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. On the return journey from Salt Lake, Fremont explored the Colorado River, the headwaters of the Arkansas and the great parks of Colorado, returning to St. Louis on August 6th, 1844. He had many adventures during the trip and in all traveled 7,000 miles.

Fremont headed another expedition in 1845, going west by the northern waters of the Arkansas to Great Salt Lake, thence directly across the central basin towards California over a route of which he was the first explorer. Arriving in California, he instructed the main body to go on to San Jose and there remain until he should join them. Wishing to avoid all occasion of ill-will or suspicion on the part of the Mexican authorities in California, he went alone to Monterey, and made himself known to Mr. Larkin, the consul of the United States in that city, and, accompanied by him, waited upon Alvarado, the Alcalde, Manuel Castro, the Perfecto, and Carlos Castro, the commanding general, who constituted the leading authorities of the country. He communicated his object in coming into California, stating that he had not a single soldier of the United States army in his party, and that his sole purpose was a scientific exploration of the continent, with a view of ascertaining the best mode of establishing a commercial intercourse between the Atlantic and Pacific regions. He requested permission to winter in the country, recruit his company, and continue his explorations. His request was granted. He then repaired to his party at San Jose, where they remained several weeks.

Shortly after this interview with General Castro, orders were received by that officer to drive Fremont out of the country, or send him prisoner to the City of Mexico. Of these orders Fremont had no knowledge until a long time afterwards. The first intimation he had of any unfriendly feeling towards him, was in certain movements, at various points, which seemed to have a threatening aspect, as if aimed at him. But the interview with Castro and the other high officers at headquarters was so recent and had been so friendly and cordial that he would hardly believe that the appearances that had attracted his attention were meant against him. At length, however, on the 3rd of March, when within about twenty-five miles of Monterey, he was met by an officer who had a detachment of eighty dragoons in his rear to enforce his message, with a letter from Castro, ordering him without any explanation, peremptorily, out of the country. The communication was in such a tone, so entirely in violation of the arrangement made at Monterey on his visit to the authorities of the country, in that place, and the demonstrations were, all around, of such a belligerent look and character, that Captain Fremont felt no disposition to pay a hurried obedience to the order. He marched with his party directly to a lofty hill, called Hawk's Peak. It commanded a view, to a great extent, all around the country. In that pure atmosphere distant objects were clearly seen, and brought minutely to view by the aid of spy-glasses. It was evident that preparations were going on to attack him. The enemy was seen scaling his guns, and gathering Californians and Indians into his ranks. Captain Fremont at once proceeded to fortify his position, and erected a staff on its highest point, forty feet in length, and unfurled from it the flag of his country. His own spirit pervaded his whole party. Although few in number, and far away from aid, in the heart of a foreign country, thus suddenly assuming a hostile attitude towards them, they were determined to defend themselves against any assault, by however great a force it might be made, and were thoroughly prepared to meet the last extremity.

The Mexicans made every preparation to attack Fremont in his stronghold, but the reputation of his unerring riflemen kept them at a distance. At this time Fremont had sixty men under him, a force sufficient, considering their character and their fortifications, to defy any number of Mexicans. Finding that the Mexicans would not make an attack, the American commander moved his force down into the San Joaquin Valley and through northern California toward Oregon.

The attitude of Fremont in California caused much excitement when the news reached the states. There was a conservative class of people who were disposed to criticise this conduct of an American officer on foreign soil, but Senator Benton, when the subject came up in the United States Senate, made an eloquent speech explaining Fremont's position and giving fully the details which led to the event on Hawk's Peak. In closing his speech, he said: "Such was the reason for raising the flag. It was raised at the approach of danger; it was taken down when danger disappeared. It was well and nobly done, and worthy of our admiration. Sixty of our countrymen, three thousand miles from home, in sight of the Pacific Ocean, appealing to the flag of their country, unfurling it on the mountain top and determined to die under it before they would submit to unjust aggression."

Fremont had with him on this occasion some of the best fighters the world ever saw. There was Kit Carson, Maxwell, Godey, Owens, Stepp, and a dozen more of the same stamp, all men who could be depended upon to uphold the flag of their country. Proceeding up into Oregon, he was met by a special messenger from James Buchanan, then Secretary of State, and instructed to watch events in California in the interest of the United States. This caused him to face about and go back into northern California, but before leaving his camp he was attacked by Tlamath Indians in the night and five of his men were killed. He pushed on to California and found the whole country in a state of great alarm. American residents flocked to him for protection. To make matters worse, the Indians in the country commenced hostilities. Fremont acted promptly, marching against the Indians and defeating them in several engagements. He next organized a movement having for its object a free and independent government for California. Commodore Sloat of the American navy being on that coast and hearing of Fremont's movements, and supposing him to be acting under orders, took possession of Monterey, after which Fremont raised the American flag over Sutter's Fort. This was July 11, 1846. The prompt action of Fremont resulted in bringing California into the Union. Previous to this he had been promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in the regular army. Upon the organization of a state government for California, when it was admitted into the Union, September 9,1850, Colonel J. C. Fremont was elected one of the United States Senators. But before these events took place, he had returned home and organized another exploring expedition. This fourth journey to the wilderness was commenced October 19, 1848. The guide on this occasion was Bill Williams, a noted mountaineer. The party left Pueblo on the 25th of November and attempted to pass directly west over the mountains. Deep snows were encountered and the weather proved unusually severe. He lost eleven of his men by starvation and cold, but he pushed his way on by the southern route to California. In 1856 Colonel Fremont was nominated for President by the Republican party, then in its infancy, he being the first candidate of that party. Fie was defeated, of course, and James Buchanan elected. On the breaking out of the War of the Rebellion he rendered his services to the national government and was appointed a Major-General and at once took the field. In 1878 he was appointed Governor of the Territory of Arizona, which position he filled for four years. He died in the City of New York, July 13,1890. For some years previous to his death he was in extreme poverty, though once a millionaire. His fortune was spent in behalf of the west and the country at large.

It may not be out of place for me to say here that I met Fremont during the summer of 1856, and from that time until his death enjoyed his personal friendship. To me he appeared the ideal explorer who would brave every danger, the patriot who watched over the welfare of his country, the soldier who would dare to do and die, the gallant commander who would never ask men to go where he would not lead, the scientific scholar who commanded the respect of every learned man of the country, and withal a man inspired with virtues beyond most of his fellows.

General John C. Fremont did more for the west than any other explorer, statesman or patriot. His worthy deeds and brilliant achievements will make him remembered by all coming generations. He it was who pointed out the great value of the west and the importance of constructing a railroad across the mountains, and he proved by his surveys that such railroad construction was easy of accomplishment. He laid the foundation for a group of western commonwealths and fixed therein a standard of excellence of manhood; declaring that he who does the greatest service for the state is the most exalted citizen. Political demagogues have tried to dim the lustre of his achievements, but their puny efforts have been drowned by the whistle of the locomotive of the ever advancing train of civilization which followed his lead, the hum of human industries which cluster on the mountain side, results of his creation, and the acclamations of the millions who have made happy homes in the Rockies and on the Pacific slope, and whose hero ever will be the Pathfinder.



Joseph Meek Strays into The Park In 1829, And Tells What He Saw - An Unknown Explorer In 1833 Writes The First Description Of The Geysers - Jim Bridger In i850 Takes His Friends To See The Curiosities At The Head Of The Yellowstone, Which He Had Been Telling About For Twenty-five Years - Reynolds Expedition Of 1860 is Prevented By Deep Snow From EnTering The Geyser Country - Numerous Prospectors See The Thermal Springs And Geysers - The Folsom Expedition Of 1869 - Organization Of The Washburn Expedition In 1870.

I have already mentioned the first discovery of the Yellowstone National Park by John Colter in the year 1807. I also refer in another part of this work to the visit of Jim Bridger and Robert Meldrum to that locality in 1824, and now in regular order comes the important explorations of Joseph Meek in the year 1829. He was one of Captain William Sublette's men and was in company with other trappers. They were leaving the Snake River country, passing over into Montana, and were attacked by Blackfeet Indians. By some means Meek was cut off from the main body, and on foot and alone he wandered for several days, and by chance his route lay through the most interesting portion of the park. His adventures are thus described in "The River of the West," a book written in 1869 but not published until 1871. I will make but a single quotation from this work, simply to show that the curiosities in the park were noted by that wandering class, the trappers. Meek's biographer thus describes what this man, who was lost, saw while trying to work his way out of the desolate country. He had traveled five days without food or shelter, his course had been in a southerly direction, and consequently he had reached Wyoming.

"Being desirous to learn something of the progress he had made, he ascended a low mountain in the neighborhood of his camp, and behold! the whole country beyond was smoking with vapor from boiling springs, and burning with gases issuing from small craters, each of which was emitting a sharp whistling sound. When the first surprise of this astonishing scene had passed, Joe began to admire its effect from an artistic point of view. The morning being clear, with a sharp frost, he thought himself reminded of the City of Pittsburg as he had beheld it on a winter morning a couple of years before. This, however, related only to the rising smoke and vapor; for the extent of the volcanic region was immense, reaching far out of sight. The general face of the country was smooth and rolling, being a level plain, dotted with cone-shaped mounds. On the summit of these mounds were small craters from four to eight feet in diameter. Interspersed among these on the level plain were larger craters, some of them from four to six feet across. Out of these craters issued blue flames and molten brimstone."

This man Meek was three years later with Captain Bonneville and remained with him for three years, and was well known among trappers in Wyoming.

The above account by Meek may be considered reliable as far as it goes, but he only got a glimpse of a small portion of the park. By many persons this trapper is considered an exaggerator, but in this instance he could hardly be accused of this to any great extent.

Hon. N. P. Langford has kindly contributed for this work a clipping from "The Wasp," a Mormon paper published at Nauvoo, Illinois. The article is taken from the issue of August 13, 1842, but the incident referred to took place nine years earlier. This is the first written description of the park by a man who was on the ground. All that has come before are stories told by trappers around the camp fire. The name of the writer is unknown and at one time Mr. Langford was of the opinion that Captain Bonneville was the author, but a letter from him in 1875 to the Montana Historical Society proves that he did not write it. Mr. Langford has furnished me with a copy of the Bonneville letter, which reads as follows:

"You ask me if I knew of the thermal springs and geysers. Not personally; but my men knew about them and called their location the Fire Hole. I recollect the name of Alvarez as a trader. I think he came to the mountains as I was leaving them. * * * Half a century is a long time to look back, and I do so doubting myself."

The "Wasp" letter I regard as a valuable contribution to the History of Wyoming, and it is with satisfaction that I give it a place in these pages. In speaking of the author of this letter, Mr. Langford says:

"The writer's graphic descriptions stamp him as a man of culture and ability, and it would be interesting to know who he is and what fortune or enterprise brought him into that region at that early day. As the narrative was published in a Mormon paper, it is not impossible that the writer was spying out the country in the interest of the Latter Day Saints."

The communication to "The Wasp" reads as follows: "I had heard in the summer of 1833, while at rendezvous, that remarkable boiling springs had been discovered on the sources of the Madison, by a party of trappers, in their spring hunt; of which the accounts they gave were so very astonishing that I determined to examine them myself before recording their description, though I had the united testimony of more than twenty men on the subject, who all declared they saw them, and that they really were as extensive and remarkable as they had been described. Having now an opportunity of paying them a visit, and as another or a better might not soon occur, I parted with the company after supper, and taking with me two Pen d'Oreilles (who were induced to make the excursion with me by the promise of an extra present), set out at a round pace, the night being clear and comfortable. We proceeded over the plain about twenty miles, and halted until daylight on a fine spring flowing into Kamas Creek. Refreshed by a few hours' sleep, we started again after a hasty breakfast and entered into a very extensive forest known as the Pine Woods (a continued succession of low mountains or hills entirely covered by a dense growth of this species of timber), which we passed through, and reached the vicinity of the springs about dark, having seen several small lakes or ponds on the sources of the Madison, and rode about forty miles - which was a hard day's ride, taking into consideration the rough irregularity of the country through which we had traveled. "We regaled ourselves with a cup of coffee, the materials for making which we had brought with us, and immediately after supper lay down to rest, sleepy and much fatigued. The continual roaring of the springs, however, (which was distinctly heard), for some time prevented my going to sleep, and excited an impatient curiosity to examine them, which I was obliged to defer the gratification of until morning, and filled my slumbers with visions of waterspouts, cataracts, fountains, jets d'eau of immense dimensions, etc., etc.

"When I arose in the morning clouds of vapor seemed like a dense fog to overhang the springs, from which frequent reports or explosions of different loudness constantly assailed our ears. I immediately proceeded to inspect them, and might have exclaimed with the Queen of Sheba, when their full reality of dimensions and novelty burst upon my view, 'the half was not told me.'

"From the surface of a rocky plain or table burst forth columns of water of various dimensions, projected high in the air, accompanied by loud explosions and sulphurous vapors which were highly disagreeable to the smell. The rock from which these springs burst forth was calcareous, and probably extends some distance from them, beneath the soil. The largest of these wonderful fountains projects a column of boiling water several feet in diameter to the height of more than one hundred and fifty feet, in my opinion; but the party of Alvarez, who discovered it, persist in declaring that it could not be less than four times that distance in height—accompanied with a tremendous noise. These explosions and discharges occur at intervals of about two hours. After having witnessed three of them, I ventured near enough to put my hand into the water of its basin, but withdrew it instantly, for the heat of the water in this immense cauldron was altogether too great for my comfort; and the agitation of the water, the disagreeable effluvium constantly exuding, and the hollow, unearthly rumbling under the rock on which I stood, so ill accorded with my notions of personal safety that I retreated back precipitately to a respectful distance. The Indians who were with me were quite appalled and could not by any means be induced to approach them. They seemed astonished at my presumption in advancing up to the large one, and when I safely returned, congratulated me on my 'narrow escape.' They believed them to be supernatural, and supposed them to be the production of the Evil Spirit. One of them remarked that hell, of which he had heard from the whites, must be in that vicinity. The diameter of the basin into which the waters of the largest jet principally fall, and from the center of which, through a hole in the rock of about nine or ten feet in diameter, the water spouts up as above related, may be about thirty feet. There are many other smaller fountains that did not throw their waters up so high, but occurred at shorter intervals. In some instances, the volumes were projected obliquely upwards, and fell into the neighboring fountains, or on the rock or prairie. But their ascent was generally perpendicular, falling in or about their own basins or apertures. These wonderful productions of nature are situated near the center of a small valley, surrounded by pine-crowned hills, through which a small fork of the Madison flows.

"From several trappers who had recently returned from the Yellowstone, I received an account of boiling springs that differ from those seen at Salt River only in magnitude, being on a vastly larger scale; some of their cones are from twenty to thirty feet high, and forty to fifty paces in circumference. Those which have ceased to emit boiling vapor, etc., of which there were several, are full of shelving cavities, even some fathoms in extent, which give them, inside, an appearance of a honey-comb. The ground for several acres in extent in the vicinity of the springs is evidently hollow and constantly exhales a hot steam or vapor of disagreeable odor, and a character entirely to prevent vegetation. They are situated in the valley at the head of that river, near the lake which constitutes its source.

"A short distance from these springs, near the margin of the lake, there is one quite different from any yet described. It is of a circular form, several feet in diameter, clear, cold and pure; the bottom appears visible to the eye, and seems seven or eight feet below the surface of the earth or water, yet it has been sounded with a lodge pole fifteen feet in length without meeting any resistance. What is most singular with respect to this fountain is the fact that at regular intervals of about two minutes, a body or column of water bursts up to the height of eight feet, with an explosion as loud as the report of a musket, and then falls back into it; for a few seconds the water is roiled, but it speedily settles, and becomes transparent as before the efluxion. This spring was believed to be connected with the lake by some subterranean passage, but the cause of its periodical eruptions or discharges is entirely unknown. I have never before heard of a cold spring whose waters exhibit the phenomena of periodical explosive propulsion in the form of a jet. The geysers of Iceland, and the various other European springs, the waters of which are projected upwards with violence and uniformity, as well as those seen on the headwaters of the Madison, are invariably hot."

In commenting on this explorer's account of the wonders of the Yellowstone Park, Mr. Langford says:

"The writer of 'The Wasp' letter speaks of one curious thing: that of an eruption of a cold spring. I think that I can explain what seemed to him such a strange phenomenon. He says, 'this spring was believed to be connected with the lake by some subterranean passage.' I have no doubt that the pipe of some deep geyser opened into the bottom of this pond, or spring, as it was termed, and when an eruption of the geyser took place the cold surface water was forced into the air to a considerable height. After the eruption, when the geyser water had receded to the depth of forty or fifty feet from the surface, and the pipe had become filled with the cold water from the pond or lake, there would be nothing to indicate to the eye that it was anything else than a spouting cold spring. In support of this belief, I will mention that in 1870 I found several small geysers in the bed of the Fire Hole River which spouted their waters through the cold running water of that stream.

" 'The Wasp' writer also speaks of the deposits around the springs as 'rocks.' Bridger fell into the same error. General Reynolds in his report (Ex. Doc. No. 77, Fortieth Congress, page 77) says that Bridger told him of a stream of cold water that flowed over a smooth surface of rock so rapidly that it became hot at the bottom. Bridger told me the same story, which I regard as a figment of his imagination; but in 1870, while fording, bare-footed, the Fire Hole River, I found that what first appeared to be a smooth rock in the bed of the stream, was a silicious incrustation, deposited by a hot spring underneath; and the heat was so great that I could not stand still on the incrustation more than fifteen seconds. Without doubt a similar spring caused the heat which Bridger attributed to friction produced by the rapid flow of water down a smooth, steep declivity.

"Captain John Mullan, in his report published by the War Department in February, 1863 (Ex. Doc. No. 43) says that as early as 1853 his attention was called to the wild open region lying between Deer Lodge Valley and Fort Laramie, and that he learned of the existence of an infinite number of hot springs at the headwaters of the Yellowstone, Missouri and Columbia Rivers; and on page 20 of that report he again speaks of the mild climate of that region as follows:

" 'This is as true as it is strange, and shows unerringly that there exists in this zone an atmospheric river of heat, flowing through this region, varying in width from one to one hundred miles, according to the physical face of the country.'

"Captain Mullan believed that this aerial river of heat had its origin in these hot springs."

To resume the explorations of the northwest portion of Wyoming, I will quote from Gunnison's History of the Mormons, where is found a graphic description of the wonders of this part of our state. This author, in speaking of Jim Bridger's account of the country, says, under date of 1850, that "Bridger gives a picture most romantic and enticing of the headwaters of the Yellowstone. A lake sixty miles long, cold and pellucid, lies embosomed among high precipitous mountains. On the west side is a sloping plain, several miles wide, with clumps of trees and groves of pines. The ground resounds with the tread of horses. Geysers spout up seventy feet high, with a terrific hissing noise, at regular intervals. Waterfalls are sparkling, leaping and thundering down the precipices, and collect in the pool below. The river issues from this lake, and for fifteen miles roars through the perpendicular canon at the outlet. In this section are the Great Springs, so hot that meat is rapidly cooked in them, and as they descend on the successive terraces, afford at length delighful baths. On the other side is an acid spring, which gushes out in a river torrent, and below is a cave which supplies vermilion for the savages in abundance."

In confirmation of the above, I will state that Topping gives an account of a prospecting trip into that country in the spring of 1850. The party was composed of Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, Wiggins, Krusse, Anderson and about twenty others. Late in the fall of 1849 they arrived at the camp of the Bannocks on Green River, where they fixed up winter quarters and remained with the Indians till spring. As soon as the snow would permit, they went up Green River to its headwaters, crossed the mountains to the Yellowstone and down it to the lake and falls; then they crossed the divide and thus reached Madison River. They saw the geysers of the lower river and named the stream that drains them "The Fire Hole River." Vague reports of this wonderful country had been heard before. They had not been credited, but had been considered as trappers' tales - more imagination than fact. The report of this party made quite a stir in St. Louis and a company was organized there the next winter to explore this country, but from some unknown cause did not start, and not until 1863 were the geysers again visited. This time a party went down on the Madison until out of the mountains and then across the country to the Yellowstone, and they lay in camp on Shields River for two months. They were not troubled by Indians until the last of November, when a band of Blackfeet tried to ran off their horses. These Indians succeeded in capturing eight head, but two of their warriors were killed. Not wishing to be cleaned out entirely, the party packed up and went to the Platte via Wind River. At this point they disbanded.

It is not a little surprising that our government was so slow in sending an expedition into this wonderland, the existence of which had become well known to the people of the whole country. Stories told by Colter, Bridger, Meldrum, Meek, Carson, Wiggins, Krusse and Anderson had after a time become household tales throughout the land and yet the official heads of the great Republic refused to see the importance of making explorations, but finally in 1859, fifty-two years after John Colter had explored the sources of the Yellowstone, the government fitted out an expedition, in charge of Captain W. F. Reynolds, of the Corps of Topographical Engineers. Captain Reynolds was ordered to explore "the region of country through which flows the principal tributaries of the Yellowstone River, and the mountains in which they, and the Gallatin and Madison Forks of the Missouri, have their source." The expedition was overloaded with instructions and had entirely too much work assigned it to accomplish the important end in view, namely, to explore the sources of the Yellowstone. Captain Reynolds made a winter camp on Deer Creek, in Wyoming, the fall of 1859, and in May, 1860, started for the Wind River Valley with Jim Bridger as guide. It should be here remarked that Dr. F. V. Hayden accompanied the expedition as geologist. At the mouth of the Popo Agie River the party was divided. Reynolds with one division went up the Wind River. The other division under Lieutenant Maynardier went north with the understanding that the two parties should meet at the Three Forks of the Missouri. The division under Reynolds followed up the Big Wind River to its source, and there discovering a low pass, entered it and crossed over to the west side of the mountains. Reynolds' party was not the first by any means to discover this low pass. Hunt and Bonneville were before him, but to him belongs the honor of naming it Union Pass for the reason that it united two great valleys.

After crossing the mountain he turned north, hoping to find a passage to the headwaters of the Yellowstone, but the snow lay deep in the mountains and he was unable to force a passage; therefore the party headed west and finally missed the park entirely. The division under Lieutenant Maynardier kept away from the mountains and at last reached the Three Forks, where was found the commander awaiting them. This government expedition resulted in nothing as far as the upper Yellowstone was concerned. Less than a year after its return, the War of the Rebellion broke out and the army officers found employment on the battlefields of the south. During the war a number of prospecting parties from Montana entered the tipper Yellowstone country and some of them saw the wonders of the park, but the gold excitement was too intense to allow natural wonders to attract public attention at that time. In 1863 a prospecting party left Virginia City, Montana, going into Idaho and finally reached the Snake River. They passed up that stream through Jackson's Hole and flnallj discovered what is now known as Shoshone Lake; then passed directly through the park, noted many hot springs and some geysers; but the leader of the party, Walter W. DeLacy, was in search of gold, and therefore paid little attention to anything else. Following DeLacy's party were others, all in search of the precious metal. The first expedition entitled to the name of explorers were three gentlemen, David E. Folsom, C. W. Cook and William Peterson. They had expected an escort of United States troops, but being disappointed, they resolved to go forward alone. They started from Diamond City, on the Missouri, September 6, 1869. The party was well armed and equipped and successfully penetrated the park, saw many of the wonders, and after thirty-six days returned with a story which led to the organization of the Yellowstone expedition of 1870. This party was headed by the Surveyor-General of Montana, Henry D. Washburn, accompanied by the Hon. N. P. Langford, Cornelius Hedges, Walter Trumbull, Samuel T. Hauser, T. C. Everts, Benj. Stickney, Warren C. Gillette and Jacob Smith, all leading citizens of Montana. As this expedition takes me beyond the date covered by the first volume of this history, the report will be given in Volume II of this series. It will be observed that the United States had not up to the last date spoken of succeeded in sending an expedition into the park. The gentlemen above referred to, like those who went to the park in 1869, were unable to procure an escort of United States troops, and yet sixty-three years had elapsed since John Colter had penetrated and made known the Wonderland of America.



A Noted Post In The Wilderness - Story Of Jacques Laramie - Naming Laramie River - Robert Campbell Builds Fort William - Name Changed To Fort Laramie - Purchased By Milton Sublette, Jim Bridger And Others - Sold To American Fur Company - Becomes The Capital Of The Wilderness - Palmy Days At The Old Trading Post - Important Station On The Overland Trail - Closing Days Of The Fur Traders At Fort Laramie.

Fort Laramie, the first garrisoned post located in Wyoming, has clustered about it more historic incidents than any other military spot in the west. From first to last, the reminiscences of this fortified camp are full of tragedy, and these stories, if all told, would fill numerous volumes. For the purposes of this history, however, I must confine myself to the events which bear upon the conditions which surrounded the trader, trapper, hunter, emigrant, and the wayfarer who sought shelter behind the ramparts of this garrison or needed succor from the strong arms of those who were placed at this fort to aid and assist all who passed through the country. To commence at the beginning, it ia necessary to tell the story of Jacques Laramie, a French Canadian who came into the country in the employ of the Northwest Company, when that organization first extended its operations to the waters of the upper Missouri. A short time after Laramie came to the Rocky Mountains, the Northwest Company and the Hudson Bay Company commenced a ruinous rivalry in trade which greatly reduced the profits of each. The trappers of the rival organizations tried to outwit, out-trap and outdo each other in general. Frequently they became embroiled and blood was shed. Jacques Laramie was a lover of peace and held himself aloof from quarreling with his fellow-men, and above all, he was opposed to the shedding of blood. He went on the theory that the world was wide and there was room enough for all; he therefore gathered about him a number of reliable trappers, who shared his views, and led them to a new and undisputed territory. This country was the headwaters and tributaries of the North Platte. Here they trapped undisturbed. Laramie and his trappers soon made the acquaintance of many Indian tribes who either inhabited or made annual visits to the North Platte. These natives from the very first held Laramie in high esteem. He was of a resolute character, manly in conduct and kindly in disposition. His associates regarded him as absolutely honest, and his courage was never questioned. His conduct toward the Indians was such as to command their respect and good will. Every act of his life commended him as worthy of the friendship of both the white men and the natives. The free trappers regarded him as a partisan worthy of their confidence. Annually they brought their peltries to the rendezvous at the mouth of the Laramie River, and these were disposed of in St. Louis and goods were brought back to be distributed among the trappers at a price amounting to cost and carriage. This method of association was not a new idea; it had been practiced by trappers on the Missouri, Mississippi and other rivers for many years, and it was considered more profitable than dealing with the large traders in the country. There was one thing absolutely necessary in such co-operation; that was, an honest factor, and in this instance, as I have said, Jacques Laramie possessed their entire confidence. The furs were packed on horses or mules to a navigable point on the Platte River some distance below Grand Island, where bull boats were constructed and the peltries consigned to these, and without difficulty they floated down the Platte and the Missouri and finally reached St. Louis. The trappers in a body convoyed the furs to the embarking point and brought back the horses and mules, which were again sent to meet the goods at a specified time, and thus it was that the free trappers under the partisan Laramie received their annual supplies. The business grew rapidly, from the fact that many Indians sold their peltries to the association, receiving in pay the merchandise brought in annually; but all this was soon to terminate in a disaster which caused great loss to the trappers and their Indian allies. About the year 1820, Laramie announced his intention to trap on the Laramie River and its tributaries, notwithstanding the fact that it was well known among trappers as a dangerous country, for the reason that it was the battle ground of the northern and southern tribes. Here they had met in fierce combat for many years. The southern tribes in their passage north often encountered armed bands of northern tribes, who disputed their right to occupy the hunting grounds north of the Laramie Plains. Laramie's friends urged upon him the danger of penetrating the disputed country, but he calmed their fears by saying that he would go alone and throw himself upon the protection of the Indians who were known to be friendly to him. His companions were silenced but not convinced, and they parted with him with many misgivings as to the wisdom of his course, but they knew it would be useless to attempt to dissuade him from his purpose. At the next rendezvous, Laramie, the heretofore central figure in the camp, was absent. The free trappers, with forebodings of evil, organized a strong party and went up the Laramie River in search of a cabin which he had informed them he would build. In two or three days they found the cabin and the lifeless remains of their beloved partisan. There was every indication that he had met his death at the hands of savages. They had rewarded his friendship by basely murdering him, and thus brought on the war of extermination which was afterwards waged by Laramie's trappers and all others who pursued trapping in Wyoming. The friends of Laramie returned to the rendezvous on North Platte, but they were changed men and resolved never more to trust the friendship of a race of murderers. From that time on they spoke of the river on the banks of which Laramie had been murdered as Laramie's River, and later trappers in the country called it Laramie River. I have talked with some old trappers who are of the opinion that Laramie's cabin was located at the mouth of the Little Laramie. Be that as it may, this is the origin of the name Laramie River, from which comes Laramie Plains, Laramie Range, Laramie Peak, Fort Laramie, Laramie County, Laramie City and Little Laramie River.

The story of Jacques Laramie has been hard to trace. I have talked of this renowned trapper with many of the older class of pioneers, such as Baker, Majors, Wiggins, Perri, Chapman, Lowe, Street and many others. All knew something about him from tradition, but none could speak positively as to the time when Laramie was killed or as to the date of the Laramie trappers occupying the North Platte country. The murder was charged at the time to the Arapahoes, but this tribe strenuously denied the charge, and, Indian like, claimed that other Indians had committed the murder, and ingeniously argued that they would not have killed Laramie because he had given them in exchange for their furs more and better goods than they had-ever received from the large fur companies. The fact of the murder of Laramie is given by many writers. Col. A. G. Brackett says that Laramie was killed on the headwaters of the stream which bears his name. Bancroft says that Laramie was a French trapper, who in the earliest hunting times was killed by the Arapahoes on this stream, and credits the statement to Schell. Other writers give the same fact, but none enter into particulars. I fix the date of the murder as about 1820, but it might have been three or four years earlier.

In the summer of 1834 Robert Campbell accompanied Captain William Sublette on his return trip to St. Louis as far as Laramie's Fork, where it was agreed should be erected a trading post. Campbell brought with him from the west a number of French Canadians, also a few halfbreeds from St. Louis, and with the aid of these he constructed the post. The first structure was erected on the left bank of the Laramie, a half mile above its junction with the North Platte. Timber was cut in the hills and the fort erected was of logs, one end of which were set in the ground. projecting out about eighteen feet, forming what is known as a picket fort. The fort was 130 feet square and around the inside were small buildings for the use of the trader and his trappers. During the period of its construction Mr. Campbell was in his natural element, as he was by nature calculated to push without ceasing every undertaking in which he engaged. The force was completely organized, a detachment was sent to the woods for the timber, and a band of hunters supplied buffalo, elk, deer and mountain sheep. By the time winter approached there was an abundant larder and plenty of fuel had been gathered to keep up cheerful fires during the long winter months. Mr. Campbell had with him a stock of merchandise which he traded for furs with independent trappers who came along, and also with the Indians. There was at the fort that winter a motley collection of American trappers, hunters, Freach Canadians, half-breeds, Mexicans and Indians. Robert Campbell presided over the multifarious assembly with that true dignity which was a part of his nature. He was at this time still a young man, scarcely in his prime. He is spoken of as being tall, with a fair complexion and rather light colored hair. His figure was erect and his bearing that of a man of much reserved power. He settled disputes and bickerings with a word, and so that neither side could feel aggrieved. This was the first commander as well as the builder of the great military post which during the next fifty years was to be first an important trading center and then the theater of military events in the far west. When the establishment had been fully completed, Campbell sought for a proper name for this, the first permanent settlement in what was thirty-four years later the Territory of Wyoming, and he finally determined to call it Fort William, in honor of his friend, Captain William Sublette, and thus it was known among trappers. How long Robert Campbell remained in command of Fort William, tradition does not say. We next find him at the head of a large mercantile establishment at St. Louis, and his place became the popular outfitting resort of fur traders and trappers. He took in exchange for his goods the peltries of his customers. He necessarily employed large capital in the business, as he supplied goods all over the Rocky Mountain country. Annually Fort William drew its supplies from Campbell's establishment. Somehow the name Fort John became attached to this post. I find quite a number of writers who mention it by this name.

John Hunton, who has lived for many years at Fort Laramie, told me the past winter the origin of the name Fort John. He said when he went to Fort Laramie in 1867, there was an old half-breed Pawnee trapper around the place, Antoine Ladeau, who spoke English well. This trapper knew the history of the country and often told stories relating to Robert Campbell, William Sublette, Jim Bridger, General Harney, General Connor and others. He was a perfect encyclopedia of all events that had happened on the Platte during the early days. He claimed that Fort Laramie never bore the name of Fort John, but that there was a Fort John at the mouth of Laramie River occupied at one time by Adams and Sybylle. This I think offers a clear explanation of the name Fort John. It is simply a mistake of trappers, who mixed the names of the two forts. Ladeau was born on the Platte River and came to the fort at the forks of the river when he was a boy. His father was a Frenchman and his mother a Pawnee. When but a small boy he was captured by the Sioux and brought up by them. He was an interpreter for General Connor in his Powder River campaign, and died in 1881.

The name Fort William was changed in a rather singular manner. The subject was often discussed at Campbell's store in St. Louis, and this discussion was brought on by an eccentric shipping clerk whose duty it was to do the marking on all bales and boxes of goods which were sent out. His instructions were that all goods intended for this post were to be marked "Fort William, on Laramie River," as there were other Fort Williams in the Rocky Mountain country, but this artist of the marking-pot was troubled with forgetfulness, and he never could remember whether it was Fort William or Fort John, and finally one day there was no one at hand to give him the desired information, so he marked the long row of bales and boxes "Fort Laramie," instead of "Fort William, on Laramie River." Some one called Campbell's attention to the mistake, and that practical business man saw that his clerk had for once blundered correctly and given the fort on Laramie River its proper name, and ever afterward it was known as Fort Laramie.

At the opening of the season of 1835, Robert Campbell and William Sublette sold Fort Laramie to a syndicate of trappers at the head of which was Milton Sublette and Jim Bridger. Milton Sublette, like his brother William, was a bold, determined partisan, and Bridger was worthy to be classed as one of the bravest of leaders in the fur trapping business. These two men had for associates, Fitzpatrick, who had already won his spurs as a great leader, Basil Lajeunesse, who afterwards became one of Fremont's men, was a member of the syndicate; also W. M. Anderson and old Jack Robinson. The new company was composed of young men, but all possessed experience in trapping and trading and Indian fighting. They promptly sent out their trappers into all parts of Wyoming, and the outlook for the new organization was certainly very bright. There was only one thing in the way, and that was Fontenelle of the American Fur Company, who had gathered about him a large number of the best trappers in the Rocky Mountains, and many of these were associates and friends of Jim Bridger, Milton Sublette and other partners in the association. Fontenelle made a proposition to Milton Sublette that he and the members of his company become partners in the American Fur Company and thus put a stop to an unprofitable competition. This deal was accomplished early in the summer of the same year, and thus Fort Laramie passed into the hands of the American Fur Company and remained their property for fourteen years. In 1836 the logs of the fort were discovered to be badly rotted, and so the company rebuilt it at an expense of $ 10,000. It chanced that quite a number of Mexicans wintered at Laramie in 1835-6, and they made the proposition to build the new fort after the plan of such buildings in their own country, and thus it was that adobes were used. When completed, it was a substantial structure and served every purpose for which it was intended. Fremont, who visited the fort in 1842, gives a full description of it as it appeared at that time. This will be found in the first chapter of Fremont's explorations in Wyoming in this volume.

Fort Laramie from this on controlled the fur business of Wyoming. Everything being in readiness to conduct business on a large scale, two trappers, Kiplin and Sybylle, were sent out over the Black Hills to the north to invite the Sioux Indians to come to the fort and trade, and to live and hunt in that vicinity. Much to everybody's surprise, the two ambassadors returned bringing with them over one hundred lodges of Ogalalla Sioux under their chief, BullBear. The Sioux nation at this time numbered many thousands, consisting of numerous bands, each bearing a prefix to distinguish them from the others. In spite of the best efforts of the American Fur Company, the Sioux succeeded in driving away the Cheyennes, Pawnees and other tribes who had heretofore made the country adjacent to the North Platte their annual hunting grounds. The Sioux at this time were warlike and disposed to rule the whole country. Buffalo, deer, elk and mountain sheep were plentiful in the mountains and on the plains around the fort, and consequently the natives had no difficulty in procuring food. Those were happy days for the Indians. They sold their furs and robes at the fort and received in exchange bright blankets, beads, knives, powder and lead, and occasionally procured a gun. During the next two or three years Fort Laramie became the resort of thousands of Indians; also of free trappers, who camped under its walls in large numbers. They found fault with the prices charged for goods, but as they sold their beaver skins at a fair price they put up with over-charge. The Sinclair brothers, who were popular leaders of free trapper bands, were among the number who sold their furs at the fort. Dick Wootton, Jim Beckwourth, Bissonette, Kit Carson, August Claymore, "Old Charlefou," L. B. Maxwell, "Black Harris," F. X. Matthieu and many others were occasional visitors at the fort. Those were days of enterprise, adventure and hair-breadth escapes. The stories that these men recounted as they met at the rendezvous or winter encampment were never excelled by like adventures in any land. The language spoken at Fort Laramie at that time was French for the most part, bad English, and a dozen Indian dialects. Every white trapper had his squaw and the traders and clerks in this respect were equally well provided. At the time of Fremont's visit, July 15,1842, the fort was in charge of Mr. Boudeau; Galpin and Kellogg were his clerks. Frances Parkman, the author of "The California and Oregon Trail," who visited Fort Laramie in 1846, has left a very carefully written description of the noted trading post and its surroundings. Mr. Parkman was accompanied by Quincy A. Shaw of Boston, who afterwards became a prominent merchant in his native city and who still resides there, being at this date a very aged man. Henry Chatillon, a well known hunter in the Rocky Mountains, was the guide of this party. Describing the scenes in and around Fort Laramie, Mr. Parkman says in his chatty style:

"We tried to ford Laramie Creek at a point nearly opposite the fort, but the stream, swollen with the rains in the mountains, was too rapid. We passed up along its bank to find a better crossing place. Men gathered on the wall to look at us. 'There's Bordeaux!' called Henry, his face brightening as he recognized his acquaintance; 'him there with the spy-glass; and there's old Vaskiss and Tucker and May; and, by George, there's Cimoneau!' This Cimoneau was Henry's fast friend and the only man in the country who could rival him in hunting. We soon found a ford. Henry led the way, the pony approaching the bank with a countenance of cool indifference, bracing his feet and sliding into the stream with the most unmoved composure. We followed; the water boiled against our saddles, but our horses bore us easily through. The unfortunate little mules came near going down with the current, cart and all, and we watched them with some solicitude scrambling over the loose round stones at the bottom and bracing stoutly against the stream. All landed safely at last; we crossed a little plain, descended a hollow, and riding up a steep bank found ourselves before the gateway of Fort Laramie, under the impending blockhouse erected above it to defend the entrance.

"We were met at the gate, but by no means cordially welcomed. Indeed, we seemed objects of distrust and suspicion until Henry Chatillon explained that we were not traders, and we in confirmation handed to the bourgeois a letter of introduction from his principals. He took it, turned it upside down and tried hard to read it; but his literary attainments not being adequate to the task, he applied for relief to the clerk, a sleek, smiling Frenchman named Montalon. The letter read, Bordeaux (the bourgeois) seemed gradually to awaken to a sense of what was expected of him. Though not deficient in hospitable intentions, he was wholly unaccustomed to act as master of ceremonies. Discarding all formalities of reception, he did not honor us with a single word, but walked swiftly across the area, while we followed in some admiration, to a railing and a flight of steps opposite the entrance. He signed to us that we had better fasten our horses to the railing; then he walked up the steps, tramped along a rude balcony, and kicking open a door displayed a large room, rather more elaborately finished than a barn. For furniture it had a rough bedstead, but no bed; two chairs, a chest of drawers, a tin pail to hold water, and a board to cut tobacco upon. A brass crucifix hung on the wall and close at hand a recent scalp, with hair full a yard long, was suspended from a nail. This apartment, the best in Fort Laramie, was usually occupied by the legitimate bourgeois, Papin, in whose absence the command devolved upon Bordeaux. The latter, stout, bluff little fellow, much inflated by a sense of his new authority, began to roar for buffalo robes. These being brought and spread upon the floor formed our beds; much better ones than we had of late been accustomed to. Our arrangements made, we stepped out to the balcony to take a more leisurely survey of the long-looked-for haven at which we had arrived at last. Beneath us was the square area surrounded by little rooms, or rather cells, which opened upon it. These were devoted to various purposes, but chiefly to the accommodation of the men employed at the fort, or of the equally numerous squaws whom they were allowed to maintain in it. Opposite to us rose the blockhouse above the gateway; it was adorned with a figure which even now haunts my memory; a horse at full speed, daubed upon the boards with red paint, and exhibiting a degree of skill which might rival that displayed by the Indians in executing similar designs upon their robes and lodges. A busy scene was enacting in the area. The wagons of Vaskiss were about to set out for a remote post in the mountains, and the Canadians were going through with their preparations with all possible bustle, while here and there an Indian stood looking on with imperturbable gravity.

"Fort Laramie is one of the posts established by the American Fur Company, who well-nigh monopolize the trade of this whole region. Here their officials rule with absolute sway; the arm of the United States has little force, for when we were there, the extreme outposts of her troops were about seven hundred miles to the eastward."

Messrs. Parkman and Shaw remained in Wyoming several months, making Fort Laramie their headquarters off and on as it suited their convenience. They hunted buffalo and other game with the Indians and secured all they were in search of, health, experience and adventure. They met many traders and trappers, and among others three grandsons of Daniel Boone. Among the items of interest Parkman mentions in connection with Fort Laramie, is the price of horseshoeing, which he says was $3 per shoe. At the time of Parkman's visit to Laramie, the road was lined the entire season with emigrants bound for Oregon, and some few for California,

There were two notable parties that passed through Fort Laramie that year. One was headed by J. Quinn Thorton, a lawyer of ability from Quincy, Illinois, bound for Oregon. The other party was in charge of George and Jacob Donner, enroute for California. The Donners were from Springfield, Illinois. The two trains traveled together up the North Platte, along the Sweetwater, across South Pass, and followed the now fairly worn highway over Green River, just beyond which those going to California passed to the left, going by way of the Fort Bridger route. The Oregon party suffered great hardship and did not reach their destination until the 29th of November. Mr. Thornton was the following year appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Oregon, and from the time of his arrival in that country had much to do with public affairs. The train that went to California had the saddest experience of any like number of individuals who have ever crossed the mountains. Nothing unusual occurred until they reached the vicinity of Salt Lake. They entered the valley and passed around the southern end of the lake. Here one of their number died. In crossing the Salt Lake Desert thirty-six of their cattle perished and four of their wagons had to be abandoned. The Indians stole and killed much of their stock that survived the desert, and their dangers and hardships kept increasing as they advanced. And as their trials and sufferings increased they grew despondent and irritable and desperate. Quarrels frequently broke out and one man was killed. Although the killing was done in self-defense, friends of the dead man threatened to hang the slayer, and he had to leave the company and alone and on foot make his way through the deserts. One man became sick and exhausted and the owner of the wagon in which he rode put him out and left him by the roadside to die, where the wolves fought over and devoured his body. Another was shot accidentally and died from the wound, and one man and his wife were reduced to the extremity of going on foot and carrying their two small children.

On the 31st of October they reached an elevation of near 10,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and encamped in snow almost ten feet deep. Here their cattle soon all perished, and their bodies became lost in the deep bed of snow. For their protection they built log cabins and the heavy snowfalls soon piled up around these habitations to such a depth that they had to enter them through the roofs. Their provisions ran out and they fed upon the dead bodies of such of the cattle as they could find in the snow, and later on upon the hides of those they had killed. On the 16th of December a party of ten men and five women set out upon snow shoes to make their way into the Sacramento valley settlements to carry the news that a party of immigrants was starving in the mountains. Of this party only two men and the five women reached the settlements. Three of the men lost their reason, two of whom died, and the third, and for the express purpose of eating their flesh, shot two Indians who were with the party. The survivors ate their moccasins, crisped their boots and shoes at their camp fires and ate of them, and - horrible to relate - ate also of the flesh of several of the white men who had died. At last one of the men, while traveling ahead and alone, came upon some Indians, with whose assistance the party reached a settlement, and soon the news was sent to every settlement in the valley. Expeditions of relief were sent out immediately, but when the camp in the mountains was reached many were dead, the living were skeletons, barely able to move, and some were supporting life by feeding upon the dead. Their sufferings had made them childish, had driven them into insanity, and they indulged in the most revolting forms of cannibalism without compunction. Out of eighty persons who here went into camp on the 31st of October, only forty-four reached California alive, the last ones not until on the 25th of April. General Kearney, on his way east in the following June, passed the scene of this grewsome mountain camp and had the mummied remains of the dead buried and the cabins burned.

Such were the sufferings of some of those who passed through Wyoming in early years. Hardships were the lot of all, and dangers of every sort beset the traveler who started out on that long journey across the continent. In those days the trading post known as Fort Laramie was the one bright spot to be encountered in the mountain country. Notwithstanding the tales of starvation which were constantly being carried back to the states, the course of empire continued to take its way westward. Men, women and children in trains; first numbering hundreds, then thousands, followed the dusty, sandy road up the Platte River and passed the noted trading post and then on to the west, crossing the mountains at South Pass and disappearing on the western borders of Wyoming. When this travel began to assume large proportions, trading posts were established at convenient points along the route, and soon the old order of things passed away. The fur-bearing animals had nearly all been destroyed, and had it not been for the demand in the east for buffalo robes, the Indian would have lacked the wherewith to purchase his beads, vermilion and scarlet blankets. The trader could not live on this business alone, and fortunate it was for him that the exodus set in across the mountains and furnished him with customers for his merchandise.

I have now carried the history of Fort Laramie down to the year 1846, and this noted post has become the capital of a large extent of territory. People going to Oregon, California or Utah sojourned for a day or a week at this famous trading post. The events which happen at Fort Laramie are made known months afterwards on the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts, but it is destined to a great change. Fremont has recommended that a line of military posts be erected through the wilderness for the protection of emigrant travel, and Fort Laramie is soon to be selected as one of the government posts.



Purchase Of Fort Laramie By United States Government - The Price Paid - The First Garrison – Reinforcements - Rebuilding Of The Fort - Scurvy Attacks The Soldiers - Cholera At Scott's Bluffs - Captain Ketchum Relieves Major Sanderson As Commander - American Fur Company Retires Down The River To Scott's Bluffs - Emigrant Trains - Indians For The Most Part Peaceable - Valuable Services Of American Fur Company To Emigrants - Treaty Of 1851.

In accordance with Fremont's recommendation as mentioned in the last chapter, Congress passed an act on May 19,1846, making an appropriation of $3,000 for each post established on the Oregon road, and added $2,000 to pay the Indians for the land on which each of these posts might be located. Before anything could be done in regard to establishing such posts, the Mexican war broke out and the army having other business to attend to, the matter remained in abeyance for nearly three years. The first official order from the War Department relating to Fort Laramie is dated at Washington, March 30, 1849. From General Order No. 19, I make the following extract:

"To carry out the provisions of the 6th section of the Act of May 19, 1846, relative to establishing military posts on the Oregon route, and to afford protection to the numerous emigrants to that country and California, the first station has already been established, under instructions of the Secretary of War of June 1,1847, on the Platte River, near Grand Island, and is known as Fort Kearney. The garrison of this post will be one company First Dragoons and two companies Sixth Infantry, to be designated by the commander of the Department.

"Under the same instructions of the Secretary of War, it now becomes necessary to establish the second station at or near Fort Laramie, a trading station belonging to the American Fur Company. The garrison of this post will be two companies of the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen to be halted on the route, and one company Sixth Infantry.

"In the further fulfillment of the requirements of the Act of May 19, 1846, the march of the Rifle Regiment to Oregon during the ensuing season is deemed the proper occasion for establishing a third post on the route to and through the territory. From the best information on the subject, it is supposed the most eligible point for this third station in the northwest chain of posts may be found somewhere on Bear River or its tributaries, near enough to the settlements in the vicinity of Salt Lake to obtain with facility such supplies of subsistence and forage as they may afford. The trading establishment at Fort Hall, on the upper waters of the Columbia River, has also been considered an advantageous position. The instructions to Brevet Major General Twiggs, commanding the Sixth Military Department, charge that officer with giving the necessary directions upon the subject. By order:

"R. JONES, Adjt. Genl."

In connection with the above, I find the following from the commander of the Sixth Military Department at St. Louis, dated April 6, 1849:

"Recent instructions from the War Department make it necessary that supplies for one year shall be forwarded for two military posts to be established on the route to Oregon—one at or near Fort Laramie, and the other in the vicinity of Fort Hall. The garrison at Fort Laramie will consist of two companies of Mounted Riflemen and one company of Infantry. It will be supplied with provisions for one year, and the full ration of forage (grain) for six months. The post near Fort Hall will be garrisoned by two companies of Mounted Riflemen and will, also, be supplied with provisions for one year and forage for six months. Besides the above, each post will be furnished with such quartermaster's stores as may be expected to be necessary in the establishment of the posts. The supplies for the post near Fort Hall must be ready to move from Fort Leavenworth with the Rifle Regiment on the 15th of May; the departure of those for Fort Laramie may be delayed until the 1st of June. The chiefs of the quartermaster's and commissary's departments at these headquarters will take the necessary steps for the fulfillment of this order. It is to be understood that these supplies are exclusive of those that the troops will require during the march. They may, at the discretion of the Chief of the Quartermaster's Department, be forwarded either by contract or by government transportation; and in the latter case the teamsters will be hired by the Department. The train will have orders to return without delay. By order of Brevet Major General Twiggs. "D. C. DUELL, Asst. Adjt. Gen."

Following this was a second order, more specific, as it not only named the companies which were to be stationed at the different posts, but also named the commanders and the date upon which the troops would march. This supplemental order was dated April 9th. It is herewith appended.

"In connection with the movement of the Rifle Regiment, the further duty of directing the establishment of certain military posts on the route to Oregon, having, by late instructions from the Adjutant General's office, been devolved on the Commanding General of the Department, the following orders are published in relation thereto. In whatever they may conflict with these, all previous orders relative to the march of the Rifle Regiment are annulled.

"I. There will be a post established at or near Fort Laramie. Its garrison will consist of Companies A and E, Mounted Riflemen, and Company G, Sixth Infantry, under the command of Major W. F. Sanderson, Mounted Riflemen.

"A post will, also, be established either in the vicinity of Fort Hall, or Bear River, to be garrisoned by Companies G and B, Mounted Riflemen, under the command of the senior Captain, Brevet Major J. S. Simonson.

"The officers named above to command these posts, will immediately take the necessary measures for moving to and establishing their commands at their respective stations, in conformity with these orders and the special instructions that will be given them.

"II. The troops to garrison the post near Fort Hall will start from Fort Leavenworth on the 1st of May (Company B, starting from Fort Leavenworth, will be joined by Company G at Fort Kearney) taking with them provisions for three months, such quartermaster's stores( tools and building materials) as will be required in the construction of their post, and, if necessary, forage for their animals until the grass will sustain them.

"All empty wagons will be left at Fort Kearney in passing, and in order that the command may have time to put itself under shelter at its station before winter, its march will be hastened as much as may be consistent with the preservation of the efficiency of the troops and train. It will halt at Bear River, and from there a careful reconnoissance will be made of the locations which will be made in special instructions to the commanding officer, and from which a site for the post will be selected. The position being determined upon, the command will be immediately and actively employed in the construction of the post; the first object being to shelter the troops against the coming winter. The permanent arrangement of the post, whether as it regards quarters or defensive works, must depend upon the instructions of the proper departments to the officers charged with the construction.

"The year's supply of provisions and forage already ordered for this post will leave Fort Leavenworth with the remaining portion of the Rifle Regiment between the 1st and 20th of May; and within those limits, Colonel Loring may use his discretion as to the time and order of starting his train, and those companies of his regiment not detailed for the two new posts.

"III. Major Sanderson will leave Fort Leavenworth by the 10th of May with Company E, Mounted Riflemen, (rationed for two months) and such quartermaster's stores (tools, etc.) as may be necessary until the arrival of the remainder of his command, and will proceed to locate a post in the vicinity of Fort Laramie, agreeably to the special instructions that will be given him. The remainder of the garrison for this post (Companies A, Mounted Riflemen, and G, Sixth Infantry) will follow on the 1st of June, with the year's supplies already ordered for their post. The trains carrying supplies to the post near Fort Hall, and that in the vicinity of Fort Laramie, will immediately return to Fort Leavenworth.

"IV. Assistant Surgeon C. H. Smith is assigned to duty with the troops for Fort Laramie, and Assistant Surgeon William F. Edgar with those of Fort Hall. They will immediately join those troops and report to their commanding officers, respectively."

The above are of value in the history of Wyoming; therefore I have given them in full. To make the early official record of Fort Laramie complete, I copy the first report sent to the Secretary of War from the newly established post. It is dated at Fort Laramie, June 27,1849, and signed W. F. Sanderson, Major commanding post.

"I have the honor to inform you that I arrived at this fort on the morning of the 16th instant, nothing having occurred on our way to interrupt our march; since that time I have, accompanied by Lieutenant Woodbury of the Engineers' Department, made a thorough reconnoissance of the country in the neighborhood of this place, having passed up the ridge or mountain road as far as the Boisie (or Big Timber Creek) and returning by the river road.

"This was found to be the most eligible for a military post, and was purchased at my request on the 26th inst., by Lieutenant Woodbury, at a cost of four thousand dollars, from Mr. Bruce Husband, agent of the American Fur Company, who was duly authorized to dispose of the same for that amount.

"Pine timber, suitable for all building purposes, is found in abundance within twelve miles, on the north side of the Platte.

"The best of limestone is also found at about the same distance, on the south side of the same river.

"The Laramie is a rapid and beautiful stream, and will furnish abundance of good water for the command.

"Good, dry wood is found in abundance and easily to be obtained.

"There is plenty of grass for making hay within convenient distance of the post.

"The entire command (excepting eight men for stable police) are already employed in cutting and hauling timber, burning lime and coal, cutting and making hay; the saw mill will soon be in active operation; everything is being pushed forward as rapidly as circumstances will permit."

In connection with this report appears another communication from Major Sanderson, dated Fort Laramie, December 1, 1849. It is addressed to the Adjutant General of the army and reads as follows:

"In compliance with your letter of instructions of the 11th of September, 1849, requiring more definite information concerning the purchase of this fort, I have the honor to report that the sum of four thousand dollars was paid to the agent of the American Fur Company for the buildings and improvements. There was no ground included in this purchase. The four thousand dollars was paid by Lieutenant Woodbury of the Engineers Department, 'who is charged with the construction of this post,' out of the amount appropriated by the Act of Congress, Angnst 14th, 1848. This section of country from Horse Shoe Creek, fortythree miles above this post, to the Forks of the Platte, is claimed by the Sioux, the Arapahoes and the Cheyenne Indians. Each of these tribes is divided into several bands and are scattered over the country from the Kansas to the Missouri. The chiefs of the several bands are to assemble at this post in the spring, at which time it is proposed to purchase the ground."

The command which constituted the first garrison of Laramie was composed of fifty-eight men and five officers. The names of the latter were as follows: Major W. F. Sanderson, Mounted Rifles, commanding post; Major S. P. Moore, Surgeon; Captain Thomas Duncan, Mounted Rifles, commanding company; First Lieutenant Daniel P. Woodbury, Engineer Corps; First Lieutenant Thomas G. Rhett, Mounted Rifles, Post Adjutant and Quartermaster.

Company C of the Regiment of Mounted Rifles joined the post on the 26th of July, 1849, under the command of Captain Benjamin S. Roberts, two officers and sixty men. Company G of the Sixth Infantry joined the post on the 12th of August, 1849, under the command of Second Lieutenant Levi C. Bootes, two officers and fifty-three men.

In the summer of the same year, the cholera was on the plains, but came no nearer to the post than Scott's Bluffs, fifty miles below, on the Platte River. The emigrants were the persons chiefly attacked by it, and more particularly the men. Many trains passed through the post conducted only by women and children, the men being dead. In the winter of this year, the scurvy was prevalent among the troops at the post. About one-fifth of all the men were on crutches. Wild onions and water cresses were issued in large quantities by the commanding ofiBcer, Indians having been employed to gather them; and in the following spring many of the diseased soldiers were transferred to the general hospital at Leavenworth, Kansas.

During the fall of 1849 a bridge was constructed across the Laramie River not far from the fort. The enterprise was by private parties, a sort of stock company which collected toll from emigrants. The bridge went out in the June rise in the summer of 1853. A ferry boat was at once built to take the place of the bridge, and this was managed by a rope. The commander at the fort detailed men to operate this ferry, who collected toll from all except those in the employ of the government, but as high water did not last more than sixty or ninety days each season, it was only those who passed west during that time who were obliged to pay toll. It has been suggested that army officers of that early date were silent partners in the bridge and ferry, but if so there is no record to prove it.

Major Sanderson was relieved in October, 1850, by Captain William S. Ketchum, Sixth Infantry, who retained the command until the 19th of July, 1852, when he was succeeded by First Lieutenant Richard B. Garnett, Sixth Infantry ; the Mounted Rifles having left the post in the summer of 1850, the duties of the garrison were performed by Company G of the Sixth Infantry for the following year. Major Sanderson died in 1853.

Captain Ketchum is spoken of by old timers in Wyoming as a man who did not regard the position of commander at Fort Laramie as at all exalted or desirable. He longed to get back to civilization. Some say he had a quarrelsome disposition and was always in hot water. He did his duty, but was not disposed to make things pleasant for his associates or chance visitors at the fort. He was happy when relieved, and the employes at the post were not sorry.

The Rev. Richard Vaux was chaplain and schoolmaster at the fort from 1850 to 1861. This good man left pleasant memories at Fort Laramie and will never be forgotten by the boys and girls who were under his instruction. He was the associate of the officers, the friend of the enlisted men, and exerted an influence for good on all occasions. He nursed the sick, buried the dead and cheered the emigrants who passed through the country.

At the time of the purchase of Fort Laramie by the government, it was expected that the American Fur Company would retire from the country; in fact, Bruce Husband gave that as the reason of the company's desire to sell. It was quite a surprise, therefore, when this representative of the fur monopoly announced that he would build another trading post farther down the river and that already the locality was selected. This was at Scott's Bluffs. The buildings were at once constructed, and the stores, peltries and robes of the company at Laramie were moved to that point. Bruce Husband was an able trader and had managed the affairs of his company in a manner that reflected credit on himself. He was popular with the Indian tribes and pursued a policy with them that insured peace and prosperity. It turned out to be a fortunate thing for emigrants that this company continued to do business in the country, as its representative used his influence to prevent the Indians from stealing the stock of those going to Utah, Oregon and California, and in a number of instances it came to the know-ledge of the commanders at Fort Laramie that the American Fur Company had saved many white men from being killed. When Bruce Husband retired from the post at Scott's Bluffs, Fontenelle took his place, and his administration proved equally as satisfactory. The Indians were well acquainted with this famous partisan, he having been a familiar figure in the mountains for more than twenty years, and the red men had great respect for him because he would fight if driven to it, and this gave him great influence over the tribes. Fontenelle enjoyed the confidence of army officers and was well thought of by all who came in contact with him. It seemed proper that this distinguished leader, who had for so many years lived a life of adventure in the mountains, should be chosen by his company to fill a position in which he was no longer called upon to suffer the hardships by which he had won a name for himself and wealth for those whom he served. He was the last representative of the American Fur Company in this section of country.

In 1851 the government entered into a treaty with the Arapahoes, Cheyennes and the Ogalalla Brule Sioux, which combined tribes numbered about 6,000, in which the Indians were to have annuities to the value of $50,000, to be paid in goods. They were also to have a reservation between the 100th and 107th meridians of longitude and the 39th and 44th parallels of latitude. This reservation embraced more than one-third of what is now Wyoming, in the eastern part, nearly half of the western part of Nebraska, a portion of South Dakota, a considerable part of western Kansas and nearly one-half of Colorado. The Indians on their part agreed, in consideration of the annuities and the setting apart of nearly 123,000 square miles of territory as a reservation, to refrain from killing emigrants or fighting troops stationed along the Overland trail. This treaty was the commencement of a series of misunderstandings on both sides. For a time the annuities were paid, but when the government reduced the garrison at Fort Laramie the Indians became insolent. The first trouble occurred in the spring of 1852, at the ferry near the fort. An Indian shot at the sergeant in charge of the ferry-boat. The commander detailed twenty-three men under command of Lieutenant Fleming to arrest the would-be murderer. The soldiers went to the village and demanded the guilty Indian. Unfortunately the chief of the band was absent. The interpreter who accompanied the soldiers talked to the warriors, and when he informed them that they must give up the bad Indian they declared that rather than do this they would fight. Lieutenant Fleming with five men now advanced, when the savages opened fire. The soldiers quickly returned it with telling effect, killing four of the red men. Two Indians were captured and taken as prisoners to the fort, where they were held for some months. None of the soldiers were injured. This punishment had the desired effect, as it made the Indians respect the small garrison at the fort, and from this on peace reigned for more than a year around Fort Laramie, but not so beyond its influence. Stock was stolen and white people occasionally scalped along the emigrant road. White hunters were also killed by the Indians when opportunity offered. There were emissaries who went from one tribe to another stirring up bad feelings, pointing out to the more peaceably disposed that the Indian had been wronged by the government and that there was a disposition on the part of white men to take their hunting grounds. They also complained that they were not allowed to pass in and out of the garrison after "retreat" was sounded. In short, nothing pleased these lords of the soil, unless it was to rob trains and to kill and scalp white men, and they were constantly trying to find justification for these acts. The half-breeds and squaw men* were constantly telling the Indians that the government would treat them fairly and even generously, but the white traders stole all the presents sent by the Great Father to his Indian children, and thus the bad blood increased.

*Men who married squaws and who lived with the tribes were called squaw men. Their children were known as half-breeds.



Unpleasant Side Of The Service At Fort Laramie - Shut Up In The Wilderness - Gloom And Despondency - Insolent Savages - Indians Severely Punished - Lieutenant Grattan And Thirty Soldiers Massacred - Sioux Tribes On The Warpath - Fort Laramie Reinforced - Major Hoffman Takes Command - The Sioux Make War On Emigrant Trains - Sir George Gore's Hunting Expedition - Bridger Becomes Guide - Terrible Conditions Along The Overland Trail - Government Urged To Protect Emigrants - War Department Aroused At Last.

A post in the wilderness was hardly a place suited to the tastes of either officers or men connected with the United States army during the fifties. The stirring events of the previous decade, which included the Mexican War period, were quite in contrast with the service at Fort Laramie. It was simply the process of adding one day to another and doing routine duty. At the best it was banishment from civilization, and it is no wonder that these men complained of a service that doomed them to loneliness and despair. They longed for a more active life, something that would keep them employed in mind as well as body. The summer came only to remind them how pleasant would be a change of location, and the winters settled down upon them with the awful stillness of the mountain and desert. To these men the service they were doing seemed for the most part useless, and like all human beings, they despised a useless task. We are told that drinking and gambling were the great evils that prevailed at Fort Laramie at that time, and it seems not at all strange that this kind of depravity should exist. It certainly was to a certain extent excusable in such a place. They were shut up in this wilderness without being able to get a letter or a newspaper for six or seven months, and no shipwrecked mariners cast on a desolate island ever looked more longingly for a sail than these soldiers for the white canvas tops expected in early spring.

For a year or two, no events of any importance happened at Fort Laramie. During the summer months emigrant trains were very numerous, but they passed through without having any great difficulty with Indians. Occasionally escorts were furnished to outgoing trains, but only when a commander possessed information that Indians west were troublesome. Sometimes small trains were held until others came up, so as to provide protection for each other. In the main, the Indians were fairly peaceable on account of the presence of troops. In those days there were some motley collections around the old fort. Numerous hunting parties composed of men in search of adventure and big game passed through. In the spring of 1852 a surveying expedition for Oregon visited the post. Among the members of this party was W. N. Byers, who later, April 22,1859, founded the Rocky Mountain News, the first newspaper issued in Colorado. Mr. Byers is still living and is an honored citizen of the commonwealth of Colorado.

That year an expedition composed of three hundred people arrived at Fort Laramie in charge of Captain Douglas of Michigan. They remained some days at the fort and then pushed on to their destination, California. Before leaving Laramie, thirty of the members decided to go on an exploring and prospecting trip to the north, agreeing to join the company at a point farther west. A month later eight of these men rejoined the party, but twenty-two were never heard from, though diligent inquiries were made for years. It was supposed that they were all killed by Indians.

During the winter of 1853-4 the usual dull routine of garrison duty took place at Fort Laramie, and the spring season opened with promise of equally uneventful times. The War Department having need elsewhere of the services of Commander Garnett of Fort Laramie, that officer retired from the post on May 18, which left Second Lieutenant Hugh B. Fleming of the Sixth Infantry in command. Company G of Fleming's regiment was at the post, but how many men and officers is not clear. The command suffered principally with having nothing to do except consume commissary whisky. It was truly distressingly peaceable around the fort during the spring and early summer, and nothing occurred until the 19th of August, when the leader of a Mormon train which was camped ten miles below on the Platte reported to the fort early in the morning of that day that a large number of Indians were camped below on the river, and they had a day or two before killed a cow or ox belonging to the Mormons. The Indians were under a chief named Mat-to-i-o-way, who had himself made known at the fort this occurrence, saying that an unsuccessful hunter of his band returning to the village had killed the animal belonging to the Mormons, and that he had reprimanded him for the act. He further stated that he had permitted his band to eat the animal, inasmuch as it had been killed. The commander at Fort Laramie, making a mountain out of a molehill, sent Lieutenant Grattan with thirty men and two howitzers to bring in the guilty Indian and also such others as had taken the carcass. Eight miles below the fort the Indians were met by this detail, and Lieutenant Grattan made known to a sub-chief named Bear his errand. The chief told the officers that he did not regard the offense as of any great importance, and that the head chief of the band had reported the affair to the commanding officer at the fort. He said nearly the entire village had eaten of the slaughtered animal and were therefore all included under the orders of the officer. He refused to submit his people to arrest. When told that the soldiers would fire upon his tribe, he reiterated his explanation and said he could do nothing more. The lieutenant now advanced with his men to make the arrest, but the whole party were at once surrounded by the savages, when the soldiers were ordered to fire upon them, killing one Indian and mortally wounding the chief. The lieutenant now ordered that the howitzers be discharged, but the guns not being well sighted, the grape and canister went over the heads of the now infuriated warriors, who quickly closed in on the soldiers and with tomahawks and war-clubs killed the officer and all of his command except one, who though badly wounded escaped by the aid of a friendly Indian to the fort. This affair resulted in the almost total annihilation of the garrison at Fort Laramie. Lieutenant Grattan was a young officer recently from West Point, and this was his first and last experience as an Indian fighter. Commander Fleming has always been severely condemned for this affair. It was commonly stated at the time that there had been a too free use of whisky on that fatal morning before the detachment left the fort. Fleming's explanation was that the whole business was mismanaged by Lieutenant Grattan, but in the judgment of those around the fort at the time, the commander did an unwise thing when he placed so delicate a mission in the hands of an inexperienced young officer.

The Grattan affair was the starting point of a bloody, long and costly war with the Sioux tribes. Commencing in the very hour of their victory over the soldiers, they attacked the trading post of Chouteau & Company and also that of James Bordeaux. These posts were both robbed of all their goods and the people connected with them barely escaped massacre. Commander Fleming marshalled the balance of his garrison, including stable men and employes. and made every preparation for defense, feeling certain that the Indians would attack the post. Fortunately, tbe hostiles went to the hills and then hurried on east to confer with other tribes belonging to the Sioux nation, and soon several thousand were on the war-path with the avowed determination that they would kill not only every white man in the country, but every emigrant passing through on the Overland trail. A detailed account of the disaster was hurried off to Fort Kearney and reinforcements asked for from that garrison. A part of a company was at once sent up the river to help hold the unfortunate post which came so near destruction.

Two days after the Grattan disaster a burial party was sent from Fort Laramie to inter the remains of the ill-fated lieutenant and his men. A large hole was dug and the mutilated bodies hastily thrown in, covered with dirt, and on top of all was placed a pile of stones, and thus reposed the victims of the first military tragedy in Wyoming. This was a small blunder when compared with others which followed in later years. The War Department seemed awakened out of a sound sleep by this horrible affair; but little came of it for a year and a half except the sending of Companies B and D of the Sixth Infantry, numbering 111 men, under the command of Major and Brevet Lieutenant Colonel William Hoffman. These reinforcements arrived on November 12, 1854, and Lieutenant-Colonel Hoffman assumed command of the fort on that date. Hoffman was a good soldier, experienced in handling troops, and afterwards was conspicuous in the military affairs of the west. From the time of the Grattan massacre up to the arrival of the two companies of the Sixth Infantry, the inmates of Fort Laramie were kept upon a nervous strain, and the little garrison lived from day to day expecting the return of the Sioux in overwhelming force. Every man in the garrison, citizens as well as soldiers, did duty. Sentries walked their beat, and everything was kept ready so as to prevent a surprise or to repel an attack, and thus remained the military situation that year.

In June, 1854, Fort Laramie was enlivened by the arrival of Sir George Gore with a hunting outfit which surpassed anything that had ever before been seen in the Rocky Mountains. This gentleman was from Sligo, Ireland, and belonged to the Peerage, and with a rent roll which enabled him to spend $200,000 annually for his personal pleasures. He came to Fort Laramie with an outfit of six wagons, twenty-one carts, twelve yoke of cattle, one hundred and twelve horses, fourteen dogs and forty servants. In St. Louis he had secured the services of Henry Chatillon and his brother as guides. Gore created a sensation at Fort Laramie and made it his base of supplies for some months. Trappers and hunters of that day were astonished at the improved firearms with which he was provided. These embraced everything then known of a new pattern in England or America. His first expedition was through the Black Hills south, crossing the Laramie Plains into North Park and penetrating the mountains and valleys of Colorado. At a point described as seventy-five miles southwest of Fort Laramie, one of his men washed out quite a quantity of placer gold, and not knowing for certain what it was took it to Sir George Gore and asked if it was not gold. The nobleman examined it with great care and then replied, "Yes, this is gold; but under no circumstances mention the finding of it to anyone else." He then sent for his guide and directed him to take the expedition out of that place, saying that he did not care in what direction, as long as they got away, and made the further explanation that one of his men had found a quantity of gold and that he had forbidden him to speak of it to anyone. He said if his people knew there was gold in the country they would all leave him; that he was not there to get gold, as he had plenty of it. The guide then led the way into North Park. The place where the gold was found must have been in what is now Albany County. The expedition wintered at Fort Laramie and Sir George made a study of the motley collection of trappers, hunters and guides who gathered around the fort during that time. He also became acquainted with a number of noted Indian chiefs, who told him of their hunting grounds to the north and of the magnificent game in that region. Jim Bridger chanced to be at Fort Laramie that winter and Gore made his acquaintance. Both men were a revelation to each other. The like of Jim Bridger had never been encountered by the lordly Englishman. Here was a man of the forest who had no reverence for royalty and could not be obsequious if be tried. His answers were direct and to the point and he called things by their right names as far as his limited knowledge of the English language would permit. The nobleman admired Bridger's honesty and simplicity and resolved to make use of his knowledge of the country and his experience as a hunter. He wanted big game, and here was the man who could lead him to the best hunting grounds. Then commenced diplomacy on the part of Gore. He wanted to hire Bridger for the following summer and winter and attempted to secure his services at a good round figure, salary to commence from the time the expedition should leave Fort Laramie in the spring. Bridger cut the diplomacy short by accepting the proposition, providing he was placed on the payroll from the moment of that conversation, explaining that he had a number of opportunities for employment, one of which he should accept unless his services were engaged by the English lord. He did not care to continue negotiations further, and the result was that he was placed on the payroll at once, and he became the guide of the Gore expedition from that time until it left the country in 1856. In the spring, hunting was resumed, the route being up the North Platte through what is now Natrona County, and north into Johnson County to the headwaters of Powder River, to the old Portugese fort. From there Gore made hunting trips in various directions, the main route being down Powder River. Arriving at the mouth of that stream, he turned up the Yellowstone to Tongue River, in the vicinity of which he made a winter camp, building a fort on the Tongue eight miles above its confluence with the Yellowstone, on what afterwards became the Fort Keogh military reservation. This aristocrat did not have happy times among the free and easy Americans who were in the country at that time and his last winter was a stormy one in more than one particular, and by the time spring opened he was ready to leave the Rocky Mountains and return to civilization. The only man he met in this country whom he cared for as a companion was Jim Bridger. All others were distasteful to him.

In his "Old Santa Fe Trail," Colonel Inman describes the companionship of the two men—one, a rich, educated, whole-souled Irish nobleman; the other, a man who from boyhood had lived on the plains, depending on his tact and rifle for food and life.

Sir George would lie in bed until ten o'clock in the morning, then he took a bath, ate his breakfast, and set out generally alone for the day's hunt. It was not unusual for him to remain out until ten at night, and he seldom returned without "meat." His dinner was then served, to which he extended an invitation to Bridger.

After the meal was over, Sir George was in the habit of reading some book, and drawing out from Bridger his ideas about the author.

The Irishman usually read from Shakespeare, which Bridger "reckin'd was too highfalutin" for him. "That thar big Dutchman, Mr. Full-stuff," he commented, "was a leetle too fond of lager beer."

Sir George read the "Adventures of Baron Munchausen" to Bridger, who remarked that "he be dog-goned ef he swallowed everything that thar baron said." He thought he was "a liar," yet acknowledged that some of his own adventures among the Blackfeet would be equally wonderful "if writ down in a book."

Bridger thought Sir George a successful hunter; an opinion justified by the records of the two years' hunt; forty grizzly bears, twenty-five hundred buffalo, numerous antelope and other small game.

When Sir George Gore came to Wyoming, he was accompanied by a distinguished astronomer and scientist, Lord Fitz Williams of England, who visited the Rocky Mountain country for the purpose of making some important astronomical observations. His work was carefully done during the summer, from chosen points in the Black Hills. He was a warm personal friend of Sir George and the two spent the few months together pleasantly. Their friendship was not disturbed by the fact that their objects and aims in life were so different. The one was of the earth and gained amusement in the pursuit of the wild beasts of the forest, while the other sought pleasure in the study of the heavenly bodies. Lord Fitz Williams remained in Wyoming during the summer and in the fall went with the party to Fort Laramie, and from that point back to the states, and finally to England.

The year 1855 was rather uneventful at Fort Laramie. The garrison suffered greatly for the want of vegetables. Arrangements had been made as early as 1851 to cultivate a garden. It was planted and cared for until the dry weather came on, which produced a total failure of crop. This gardening experiment was undertaken regularly each year, but the result was only a partial success. In 1855 irrigation to a limited extent was introduced by Mexicans who were in the habit of hanging around the fort. This success in growing vegetables reduced the number of cases of scurvy. During this year, the guarding of government trains and the regular monthly mail was about the only act of service performed by the troops at the fort. A number of mail carriers had been killed between Fort Kearney nnd Fort Laramie during the summer, and the road between the posts became dangerous for small parties to travel. The Sioux had things pretty much their own way along the Platte Kiver that season and were making good their declaration of the year before that they would kill every white man who came into the country. Emigrants on the North Platte were robbed regularly both east and west of the fort. The conditions were simply disgraceful to the government. Before the troops came there were murders and robberies every few days, but since the troops had come into the country things were worse. For every Indian killed bj the troops, a dozen white men would be killed by the Indians. Officers at Fort Laramie that season complained bitterly of the discomforts. They did not like to be cooped up in the fort, and to go out on expeditions along the North Platte and up to Independence Rock was a disagreeable duty to perform, and great danger attended this sort of service. Finally it was recommended that a post be established at the crossing on the Platte about two miles above where Caspar now stands, but for a time nothing came of the recommendation. The year closed at Fort Laramie in a manner that was very discouraging to the officers and soldiers at that post, and there were loud complaints sent to Washington regarding the defenseless condition of the country. The consolidated Sioux tribes were well satisfied with their season's work. They had robbed emigrant trains and secured a large number of the white men's scalps. The War Department at Washington was severely criticised by the newspapers at the time for bringing on a war with the Sioux tribes, which was resulting in the death of many emigrants along the Overland trail. It was urged that the government was directly responsible for the deaths caused by Indians, and the pillage that was going on, of the emigrant trains. Under public pressure the War Department sent a force west in the spring of 1856, and some few troops were sent to Fort Laramie, but the force at that place was practically helpless, as it consisted entirely of infantry. These were thrown out at two or three points on the trail, yet little good was accomplished. In the early summer of that year the Sioux sent a force into the Black Hills and succeeded in capturing all the mules and horses at the fort belonging to the quartermaster's department. A force was promptly gent out to recapture the stock, but the Indians only laughed at these foot soldiers and not one of the stolen animals was recovered. The murdering of emigrants and the robbing of trains continued during the summer. The government at last became aroused and resolved to punish the combined Sioux tribes, and Fort Laramie is destined to become soon a military depot of importance and the center of warlike operations of great magnitude; but from this on the history of Fort Laramie will be included in the history of the Indian wars of Wyoming, which come in their proper place and under their appropriate headings.



Dr. Elijah White's Train Of i842 - Trials And Tribulations By The Way - Fitzpatrick The Guide - Emigrants Of 1844 - Extravagant Prices At Fort Laramie That Year - 1475 People Go To Oregon In 1844 - Senator Benton's Prophecy - The Business Of The Trail In 1845 - The Rush In 1846 - Indians Say White Men Are As Numerous As The Leaves Of The Forest - Scenes At Fort Laramie - Increasing Emigration Of 1847-8 - The " Days Of FortyNine."

Dr. Elijah White, who went to Oregon by sea in 1837, as a missionary doctor, returned east in the summer of 1840, having had a misunderstanding with Rev. Jason Lee, who was at the head of the Methodist missionary work in Oregon. On White's return, he was appointed Indian agent for Oregon and in 1842 we find him at the head of a colony, which is to proceed overland to Oregon. There were 112 persons in the company, fifty-two being over 18 years of age. The start was made from Independence, Missouri, on May 16. Before reaching the Wyoming country, Dr. White had made himself unpopular and the colonists deposed him and elected in his place Lansford W. Hastings. On the 23rd of June the company reached Fort Laramie, where they remained a week, repairing and refitting. At this point they were joined by F. X. Matthieu and half a dozen Canadians. They were informed by Mr. Bissonette, who was in charge of the fort, that it would be impossible for them to take their oxen and wagons through to Oregon, so they sold part of them to him. The price received was to be what they paid in the east, and they were to take in exchange coffee and sugar at a dollar a pound. It had been arranged that this company should be escorted through Wyoming by Fremont, but the explorer did not reach Fort Laramie until the 15th of July and the emigrants resolved not to wait. A guide named Coats had brought the party to Fort Laramie, which ended his contract. They started on without a guide, but fortunately met Jim Bridger and Thomas Fitzpatrick, and the latter was induced by Indian Agent White to go with them to Fort Hall. It was very fortunate that this experienced mountain man consented to go, for when they arrived at Independence Rock they had trouble with the Sioux, which tribe disputed their passage. While a halt was made, many of the emigrants cut their names upon the great rock. Hastings and Colonel Lovejoy, who had fallen behind the caravan, were attacked by the Indians and barely escaped. The savages followed them into camp and Fitzpatrick had his hands full for several hours, negotiating with the Sioux warriors for the peaceable passage for the emigrants through the country. This difficulty I have already explained in my account of Whitman's journey through Wyoming. On the 13th of July the train reached the Sweetwater and here an accident occurred which cast gloom over the party. Adam Horn, one of the emigrants, accidentally shot and killed a young man named Bailey. On the morning of the 14th the funeral of the man killed occurred, after which the train moved on. In spite of the presents given to the Sioux, they kept up hostilities and greatly annoyed the hunting parties sent out, frequently robbing them of their horses, game and rifles. This company was unfortunate in many particulars, there being dissensions, bickerings and much bad feeling shown among the emigrants. They broke up into factions, traveling separately as soon as they got away from the Sioux. At the crossing of Snake River, Adam Horn was drowned. These emigrants reached Oregon after having experienced severe trials. I find many conflicting accounts of the number of the company under the charge of Dr. White. Captain Sublette met these emigrants at Independence and gave them advice as to their conduct on the road. He told Dr. White that he was liable to experience difficulties in conducting so large a train. I give the figures on what I consider reliable authority. The Colonel Lovejoy mentioned is the same man who made the journey from Oregon with Dr. Whitman during the winter of 1842-3.

I have already told the story of Marcus Whitman and his passage west to Oregon with his great train containing two hundred wagons and a thousand people in the summer of 1843. In that same year Fremont went to Oregon, and his report confirmed the story of Dr. Whitman regarding the value of the country.

The Oregon emigration in 1844 was quite large. They collected at different points on the Missouri River and amounted in all to 1,475 persons. Cornelius Gilliam led one company of 323 persons. Captain Nathaniel Ford led another company. These two organizations joined forces on the plains and employed Moses Harris, the veteran trapper, as guide. They were two months getting to Fort Laramie from the Missouri River, owing to the bad weather, which produced rheumatism and dysentery. By the time they reached Fort Laramie many families were entirely out of flour and sugar. They procured these articles from the trader, paying f 1.50 a pint for sugar and $40 per barrel for flour. They reached Fort Hall on the 10th of September, suffering greatly after that point, being reduced to almost starvation, and fully a dozen died on the road. In the party was a Mr. Sager, his wife and seven children. Mr. Sager died at Green River and was buried on the east bank of that stream. Mrs. Sager died two weeks later. When the unfortunate children arrived in Oregon they were adopted by the large-hearted Dr. Whitman and his wife.

The year 1845 was a memorable one in Oregon emigration. No less than 3,000 people passed Fort Laramie on their way to the rich valleys beyond the mountains. There were two points on the Missouri River from which these emigrants started westward across the plains. St. Joseph was one prominent point and Independence the other. Senator Benton was to some extent responsible for this emigration; there being a quiet determination on the part of leading American statesmen to fill up Oregon with people from the United States and thus secure the territory to this government. The country seemed all at once to have awakened to the importance of securing the territory. In a speech made in St. Louis in October, 1844, Senator Benton uttered what the Oregon Spectator of September 17, 1846, called a prophecy.

"I say the man is alive, and is listening to what I say (without believing it, perhaps) who will yet see the Asiatic commerce traversing the North Pacific Ocean - entering the Oregon River - climbing the western slope of the Rocky Mountains - issuing from its gorges - and spreading its fertilizing streams over our wide-extended Union! The steamboat and the steam-car have not exhausted all their wonders. They have not yet even found their amplest and most appropriate theaters - the tranquil surface of the North Pacific Ocean and the vast inclined plains which spread east and west from the base of the Rocky Mountains. The magic boat and the flying car are not yet seen upon this ocean and this plain, but they will be seen there; and St. Louis is yet to find herself as near to Canton as she now is to London, with a better and safer route, by land and sea, to China and Japan, than she now has to France and Great Britain."

The North Platte and Sweetwater witnessed almost continuous trains from the middle of June to the middle of September. Among the many trains to pass Fort Laramie was one of twenty-five wagons, under the leadership of Presley Welch; another of forty wagons, directed by Samuel Hancock; another of fifty-two wagons, of which a Mr. Hackleman was leader; there was another company made up of sixty wagons and three hundred persons under the leadership of W. G. T'Vault; Samuel Tetherow commanded another outfit consisting of sixty wagons and over three hundred people. Many of these emigrants suffered greatly, and not a few deaths occurred on the way. I cannot pretend to give an account of all the expeditions that passed through that year; the object is simply to show that the Overland trail had become a popular highway, over which human hopes and human ambitions passed to make new homes and build a new state on the Pacific slope. One company which passed Fort Laramie that year had lost over a hundred oxen (stolen by Indians) and they had been obliged to yoke their cows to the wagons. Added to the Oregon travel were many trains going to California. The Indians, who had objected to the passage of emigrants in 1842, had continuously protested, but found themselves powerless to stem the rising tide of civilization sweeping westward year after year. The Sioux, the worst barbarians of the mountains, had secured the North Platte country by conquest, driving out the Crows, who had for many generations occupied the hunting grounds to the north and west. They had attempted to make the law of might, right, but the emigrants had little respect for these freebooters, who possessed only brutal instincts, savage cunning, and pursued the methods of the highwayman. They killed, robbed or tortured, as best suited their mood; gathering in bands along the route, making insolent and extortionate demands on all travelers. Every band had to be provided with presents, the demand being for whisky, tobacco, lead, powder, guns, beads, blankets or any other articles which they could see. They lorded it over the country they had stolen from the Crows, denying the right of emigrants to kill game, and demanding fees of the white men amounting to confiscation of their goods. It is not in the nature of the average emigrant to submit tamely to unjust demands, and it was little wonder that the savages finally encountered a class of men who refused to be robbed by these highwaymen. The impending conflict resulted in the location of fortified posts along the Platte, North Platte and points farther west. The Indian is about to enter into a contest, which, though it be long, will result in his destruction. Things are to be no longer as they were. Men going with their families to Utah, Oregon and California demanded free passage through the mountains, and when this could not be peaceably secured, they met force by force. From time to time emigrants were attacked by the savages, but the superior arms of the white man, and above all his unconquerable determination, swept the red man from his path. The government hastened to afford protection to a class of men who were going out to found new commonwealths on the Pacific slope.

In the year 1846 many trains passed over the trail. The trappers and traders were astonished at the exodus from the east and the Indians became convinced that the white men were as numerous as the leaves of the forest.

The people going out felt little interest in the discussion that had been going on in Congress for nearly twenty years as to who owned Oregon. They knew that it was held by joint occupation on the part of the United States and England, and they understood Dr. Whitman's theory of settling the question by having Americans occupy it, and fully subscribing to this view, they were going out to make homes and establish civil institutions in far-off Oregon. The aristocratic Francis Parkman amuses himself in his "Oregon Trail" at the expense of these emigrants whom he met on the road in 1846, but it can be said that some remarkably able men went over the trail that year - embryo statesmen who were heard of afterwards in the organization of a government for the new territory. All were brave, or they would not have undertaken the long journey across the plains and mountains and encountered the dangers which were well known to them before starting on their pilgrimage. On the 17th of July, 1846, while the emigration of that year was at its height, the treaty in regard to Oregon having previously been ratified by both governments, was exchanged in London between the representatives of Great Britain and the United States, and thus ended the discussion of the Oregon question, which had been before the people fifty-four years, two months and six days. That treaty comes in to the history of Wyoming, as a small part of Oregon has since become a part of this state. The eastern line of Oregon extended to the crest of the Rocky Mountains; hence all that portion of our state lying west of the mountains bordering on Idaho was included in the treaty of 1846.

The promulgation of this treaty between Great Britain and the United States served to bring Oregon again to the front, and the newspapers of the day were filled with letters written by men and women who had made their homes in the new land of promise beyond the mountains, and this resulted in increased emigration, which in 1847 became a grand rush. As an illustration of the number of emigrants that season, I will mention that Hon. H. B. Kelly, one of the oldest settlers in Wyoming, went to California that year and reaching Independence Rock on July 3, his party remained over to celebrate the 4th of July. They were joined by Oregon emigrants to the number of a thousand, and the day was celebrated in a manner worthy of American citizens. A vast amount of powder was exploded and the wilderness echoed the shouts of these loyal citizens of the republic.

Fremont, in his explorations of Oregon in 1843, foresaw that there would be a large emigration into the country and recommended that the government establish a line of military posts across the country occupied by the wild tribes, but the people bound for Oregon could not and would not wait for government protection. They went west by the Platte and Arkansas Rivers, the two columns converging at the already famous trading post known as Fort Laramie, at which they concentrated and passed west on what had then become known as the Oregon Trail. It was the same trail which Whitman had marked out with his two hundred wagons.

The decline of the fur trade in Wyoming had left many trappers and traders in the mountains ready to take up a new occupation. The majority of these located along the emigrant trail. Some became guides to trains going across the country, others furnished supplies of various kinds to the pilgrims, including horses and cattle, which they traded to the emigrants for their broken-down stock. This latter traffic was carried on to a considerable extent. Horses and oxen became foot-sore and consequently useless to the travelers. The traders took these animals and for a consideration furnished fresh ones, and thus those enroute to Oregon were enabled to continue their journey. The broken-down cattle and horses were turned out to feed and rest and were soon in prime condition to exchange for other broken-down stock. This business was a source of great profit to many traders located in Wyoming.

That year the last cavalcade passed over the trail in September and was hurrying forward to find a location in Oregon before the winter set in, when an event occurred which horrified the civilized world. It was known as the Whitman massacre. This occurred at Waiilatpui, Oregon, where Dr. Whitman had built a school for the Indian children. The conditions which led up to this wholesale butchery have never been satisfactorily settled. The announcement of the treaty of 1846 was a death-blow to the Hudson Bay Company. That monopoly, which was chartered in 1670, had occupied the Columbia and its tributaries since its consolidation with the Northwest Company in 1821, and the last-named company succeeded the Astorians in 1813. It had protected the fur interest by keeping white people out, and had raised half-breeds to catch the fur-bearing animals. The insolence of this monopoly was manifested when John Jacob Astor founded Astoria. He was driven out of the country by the connivance of British fur traders, and all other American traders following him met the same fate, including Nathaniel J. Wyeth. When American settlers went to Oregon, the servants of the Hudson Bay Company pointed out to the Indians that these people had come to take away their lands, destroy the beaver, and eventually to drive them from their homes. The consequences were that the natives looked with suspicion on Americans and were ready and ripe at all times to do them injury. Added to the prejudice for which the English were directly responsible, was the superstitious belief of the savages that the new people who came into the country were the cause of diseases in epidemic form which afflicted the tribes. On the 29th of November, 1847, the massacre occurred. Fifteen were killed, including Dr. Whitman and wife. Fifty white persons were captured, many of them women who suffered worse than death. Let the English residents of Oregon at that time explain the massacre as they will, the facts are that the treaty of 1846, which conceded Oregon to the United States, had much to do with the butchery of Dr. Whitman and his associates. The news of the treaty had a depressing effect on all Englishmen in that country, and while it is barely possible that they did not directly plan the murders, they stood aloof and allowed the devilish work to go on. The news of the murder of Dr. Whitman and his associates aroused deep feeling throughout the states, and during the spring of 1848, Oregon was the cry. That year large numbers of emigrants passed through Wyoming with the avowed purpose of taking possession of the country in spite of Indians, Englishmen or any other opposing force, and from early in the spring until late in the summer the road to Oregon was lined with trains which were so numerous as scarcely to be out of sight of each other. Those were great days for the traders along the Overland trail. They made their own prices on everything they had to sell, and the emigrants were glad to buy regardless of extortion.

At the time of which I write, the Oregon and California roads were one and the same across Wyoming. Occasionally a party would cross the Laramie Plains and go west through Bridger Pass and join the regular road on Green River, but this route was not yet a popular one. The main emigrant trail for both California and Oregon was up the Platte, through the South Pass, and thence on to Fort Hall. The Oregon road turned to the right, and the California route bore off to the left. Fremont made a map of the country which was published by the government in 1845, and this was much sought after by both those going to Oregon and to California. This route through the South Pass over to Fort Hall was first located by Captain Bonneville in 1832. It is true that other trappers and traders made the trip before Captain Bonneville, but over a trail of great length, winding in and out. Bonneville laid out a direct road, which was followed by other trappers and traders, and finally by Rev. Samuel Parker in 1835 and by Dr. Whitman, Rev. H. H. Spalding and their wives in 1836, and it became the road to Oregon.

In 1848 emigration to California was greatly increased over the preceding year, and Oregon drew its full share from the great trail. The trading post at Fort Laramie that season was a picturesque western settlement, emigrants coming and going almost every hour in the day and every day in the week. Wagons from each of the arriving trains had to be mended, horses and ox teams which had given out were being traded off for better animals, and stores replenished. The emigrants were not backward in denouncing the traders for overcharging them for almost every article they were compelled to purchase. The picture presented was rather a wild one, for on every side were blanketed Indians who watched the going and coming of the palefaces with as much interest as the noble red man is capable of showing. The brisk days of 1848, which excited so much attention in Wyoming, were nothing as compared with the year that is to follow. The slow-going ox teams of the past are largely to give way to powerful horse and mule teams, and the slow, easy-going emigrant on his way west in search of land must stand aside and give the gold prospector a chance.

Now we come to the most important year in the history of the Overland trail, which was 1849. The discovery of gold in California created throughout the east intense excitement, and as a result every road leading to the golden state was filled with hurrying crowds. Many took ships and went around Cape Horn. Others went by the way of the Isthmus of Panama, and still others came by the way of the Overland trail and consequently passed through Wyoming. This class of emigrants were better outfitted than any who had previously crossed the mountains. Large wagons drawn by fine horse and mule teams were the rule. There was no plodding by the way. Each outfit was hurried forward, and there seemed to be a grand struggle as to who should get to the gold fields first. Between May and October, some say 30,000, others 100,000, of these gold seekers passed through Wyoming. These were the "forty-niners," and they composed the grand army that rushed to California in that eventful year. Nearly fifty years have passed, and still we are listening to song and story of the "Days of Forty-nine." Some of these gold seekers, after the excitement was over, returned and prospected in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. In the history of Fort Laramie, I have already told of the transfer of the trading post to the United States government and of its occupation by troops.



Brigham Young's Pioneer Train - An Incident On The Eastern Border Of Wyoming - Arrival At Fort Laramie - Crossing The Platte Above Caspar With Boats And Rafts - The Train Crosses South Pass - Reaches The Big Sandy And Green River - Jim Bridger Meets Brigham Young - The Stop At Fort Bridger - Train Passes Out Of Wyoming - Arrival In Salt Lake Valley - Incidents Connected With The Mormon Settlement - Character Of Brigham Young.

The passage of the Mormon emigrants through Wyoming in 1847 was nearer related to the settlement of the country than was the emigration to Oregon or to California, from the fact that quite a number of these people settled within what are now the confines of our state. The Mormons were a religious sect, but held some peculiar ideas in regard to morals as well as religion. That is, they believed that the church and the state should be one; that the laws of God should be the laws of the land. They claimed that their prophet, Joseph Smith, had received a revelation from God, telling him where he would find the golden plates of a book, which he afterwards found buried in a hillside of the state of New York. From these plates, it was claimed, a book was printed which was called the Mormon Bible. The church as organized by the prophet Smith was governed by twelve elders. They claimed spiritual gifts such as were enjoyed by the apostles of Christ, and advocated and practiced polygamy. This latter resulted in a storm of objections when it was put in practice. The teachings of these people made them unpopular in the eastern states and they finally located at Nauvoo, Illinois, from which place they fled before their enemies into Missouri, where the people made them even less welcome. During the winter of 1846-7 they made what they called winter quarters in Nebraska, This place was a few miles northwest of Council Bluffs. To this spot all the Mormons wended their way, preparatory to locating in the far west. At the winter camp were about 700 houses, rudely constructed, and in these about 4,000 had gathered in readiness to make the journey across the plains and mountains in the spring. It has been claimed by some writers that these people started west without previously exploring the country, but this is not correct, as Oliver P. Gleason of New York, George Chatelaine of St. Louis, Miles Bragg of Jackson County, Missouri, J. P. Johnson of Nanvoo, Illinois, Solomon Silver of the same place, and William Hall of Piatt County, Missouri, appeared at Fort Laramie in the spring of 1846 on their way to find a location for the Mormon colony. Gleason had a brother named John, who was a Mormon elder and a preacher. These men all went to Salt Lake and spent a month there examining the country. Gleason made a map of Salt Lake and the valley. In the fall of that year the party returned to Fort Laramie. O. P. Wiggins, now of Denver, and the famous Jim Beckwourth, acted as guides for the party. The first division of the Mormon train left the Missouri on Monday, April 5, 1847, in charge of Heber C. Kimball. On the day following, Brigham Young, who was then at the head of the church, called a conference of the elders and people and explained that the objective point was Salt Lake. At the conference, most of the prominent leaders of the church were present.

On the 7th, the second division moved to the west, and then the other divisions quickly followed, making a train of seventy-two wagons, with 149 men, women and children. It was certainly the best organized outfit that had ever attempted the western journey. In the party were wagonmakers, carpenters, bricklayers, blacksmiths, and in short mechanics of all kinds, including farmers, engineers, merchants and schoolmasters. At the head of the expedition was Brigham Young. He led the way on to the mountains and reached the eastern border of Wyoming on May 28, when an event occurred which clearly stamped Young as a born leader. They had been a long time on the road, considering the distance they had traveled, and the men had grown careless and many indifferent. The novelty had worn off and a spirit of fault-finding and criticism had grown up which promised to result in the demoralization of the company. The morning of May 29th was cold and it was decided that the train should not move until the weather grew better. At 10:30 the leader caused a bugle to be sounded for the teams to be harnessed. After all was in readiness for starting, the company was called together in a circle around Mr. Young and the clerk was ordered to call the roll. Two of the brethren were out hunting and two more were sick in their wagons; all the others were in the circle and answered to their names. By this time everyone realized that something was going to happen. Seriousness and expectancy was on every countenance. They had not long to wait. Standing on a wagon, Mr. Young told his people that he had noticed the spirit which prevailed in the company and that he had been watching its influence and effect and that unless there was a change for the better he was ready to revolt. He was not willing to bow down to insubordination and the ill-feelings which existed among them toward each other. He then described the evil tendency of quarrels in camp, playing cards, using profane language and dancing for recreation. There were some in the camp, he said, who did not belong to the church, and these he would protect in all their rights, but they should not trample on his rights. He told them that they should reverence God and the priesthood and not seek to introduce iniquity into the camp. He said that if any man would rather go back than abide by the law, he had the privilege of doing so at once. He then turned to his brethren and said:

"I am one of the last to ask my brethren to enter into solemn covenants, but if they will not enter into a covenant to put away their iniquity and turn to the Lord and serve him, acknowledge and honor his name, then they shall take their wagons and retreat, for I will go no further under such conditions. I want the brethren to be ready for meeting tomorrow at the time appointed, instead of rambling off and hiding in their wagons to play cards. I think it will be good for us to have a fast meeting and a prayer meeting also, humble ourselves and turn to the Lord, and he will forgive us."

After this speech he called upon the apostles, bishops, high priests and other officers of the church to stand before him, when each was asked separately if he were willing to covenant and turn to the Lord with all his heart, to repent of his follies, to cease from his evil ways and serve God according to his laws. Without a dissenting voice, every man, with uplifted hand, entered into the covenant . Wilfurd Woodruff, the present head of the church, Heber 0. Kimball and Orson Pratt each spoke a few words, asking that their leader's advice be carefully followed. Others acknowledged their errors and pledged strict obedience for the future. This was the first crisis in the life of Brigham Young and it had been met in a manner that proved his worthiness to become a great leader. This event spoken of occurred twenty-five miles east of Fort Laramie and it had a marked effect on every person composing the train. On June 1st the pioneers reached Fort Laramie, where they were kindly received by James Bordeau of the American Fur Company. At that point Brigham Young found waiting for him a small company from Pueblo, Colorado, under the leadership of Robert Crow. Quite a number of Mormons had wintered at Pueblo and all of them were expecting to go to Salt Lake. Mr. Crow's party came on in advance with the understanding that the balance were to follow when they received word from him that the main caravan under Brigham Young had reached Fort Laramie.

At this fort the Mormons met a party of traders who had come from Fort Bridger, and from these they learned that the snow was two feet deep along the road up the Sweetwater and that they had been obliged to abandon their wagons and complete their journey to Fort Laramie on horseback. This was not a pleasant outlook for the Mormons, and so they remained over until the 4th, when they again pushed on up the Platte and on June 12th reached the crossing two miles above where now stands the city of Caspar. The river was full to its banks and there was great difficulty in crossing the stream with the wagons and teams. Boats and rafts were constructed, and it was not until the 19th that the party was ready to push onward. Brigham Young ordered ten men of the party to remain to ferry over trains that were to follow from Pueblo, and others from the Missouri River. Thomas Grover had charge of the party and his instructions were to allow all Oregon emigrants to use the ferry who would pay for the privilege, and it was his opinion that they would do business enough to cover the price of their subsistence. The 20th was Sunday, and in spite of the sacred day and the strict observance of it on all other occasions, the train went forward to escape bad water, mosquitoes and other discomforts. On the 21st Independence Rock was reached and that night camp was made at the Devil's Gate. Two days after leaving this place, they found on the side of the road a lonely grave, over which was an inscription which read: "Matilda Crowley; born July 16,1830; died July 7, 1846." The train passed on up the Sweetwater and on the 26th crossed the South Pass. This was the sixty-first day after leaving their winter encampment on the Missouri River. Here they met a return party from Oregon with Moses Harris, the trapper, as guide. Of this man Harris the Mormons asked many questions and drew from him a considerable amount of useful information regarding the road over which they had to pass, and of Salt Lake Valley, where they expected to settle. On the 28th they met Jim Bridger and two companions, who were on their way from Fort Bridger to Fort Laramie. Bridger was told that it was Brigham Young's intention to call on him at his fort for the purpose of securing a knowledge of the road. He informed them that if they would go into camp he would tell them all he knew of the road to Salt Lake and of the country which surrounded it. Brigham Young thought it was important to get information from a man who had the reputation at that time of being the best informed guide in the Rocky Mountains, and he therefore ordered a halt and they went into camp on the spot. This was the first meeting between Jim Bridger and Brigham Young, but it was by no means their last. The information imparted to the Mormon leader by this noted character was not encouraging; he did not think much of the region around Salt Lake and had nothing good to say about it. The next day, June 29th, the train reached Big Sandy and encamped. Here a number of the emigrants were taken sick with a violent fever, and some were delirious. It was supposed the sickness was caused by saleratus, picked up on the alkali lands, as this article had been freely used by the company in cooking. The sickness was not of long duration. On the 30th they reached Green River, to cross which they were obliged to construct a ferry. At this camp they were met by Elder Brennan of California, and his object in meeting them was to induce Brigham Young to locate his party at Yerba Buena, later known as San Francisco. Neither Young nor his elders were inclined to change their purpose of making their homes in Salt Lake Valley. Green River proved to be difficult to cross, and it was noon of July 3 before the last wagon was landed on the opposite side of the river. Three miles beyond, the train went into camp, where it remained until Monday, July 4. At this point five men were sent back as guides to other Mormon trains soon to leave the Missouri River. Their next camp was very near what is now known as Granger, the eastern terminus of the Oregon Short Line. On July 7th the train reached Fort Bridger, which is described by these pioneer Mormons as two adjoining log houses with sod roofs, eurrounded by a log fence eight feet high. The Mormons say that the fort was inhabited at that time by about fifty whites, Indians and half-breeds and was owned by Bridger and Vasquez. The Mormon train remained over one day at Bridger to give the blacksmiths and wagon-repairers time to shoe horses and repair wagons. On Monday, July 12th, they passed out of what is now Wyoming and entered Utah, but there was great discouragement prevalent. These pioneers realized that they were in a country destined to bring them many hardships. Brigham Young never faltered, nor did his courage fail once on the trip. He had a theory that in the Salt Lake Valley abundance could be produced for the use of his colony, by the aid of irrigation, and nothing would satisfy him except to make the trial.

The first section of the Mormon train, under Orson Pratt, reached Salt Lake on July 21st, and on the following day the main body arrived, but Brigham Young was behind in the mountains and did not come up until the 24th. He had been sick and was obliged to lay over. On the arrival of these people in Salt Lake Valley, they were not favorably impressed with the location. Brigham Young spoke encouragingly of the promised land. He understood the application of water to the soil and assured his followers that if crops were planted they would grow. The colonists had brought agricultural implements, seeds and cattle with them. Plows were brought out, and notwithstanding the lateness of the season, crops were put in the ground. Homes were built and the settlement commenced. That same week the ground was selected for the great Mormon temple. Trains continued to arrive all that summer and fall, and by the time winter set in there was a population of 2,095. On August 16th, Brigham Young started on his return journey to the Missouri, and the following year there were large additions made to the colony, and by September the population numbered between 4,000 and 5,000. During the summer of 1848 a considerable amount of land was ploughed and potatoes and other crops planted. Every effort was made to produce enough to feed the people during the following winter. Just at the time when the crops were the most promising, millions of crickets appeared and commenced to devour everything, and settlers saw starvation staring them in the face. Fortunately, gulls from the lake came and devoured the crickets, which was regarded as an act of Providence for the protection of the chosen people who had come to occupy the promised land.

The years following brought large additions to the Mormon colony in Utah, and a number of counties were organized. The tireless head of the church kept agents not only in the east but in Europe, asking people to join the Mormon settlement and the church. Some of these people located around Fort Bridger, others along the North Platte, and at one time it was thought that the southwestern portion of this state would become Mormon territory. Had not Brigham Young refused to acknowledge federal authority and forced the government to send Albert Sidney Johnston with five regiments out to subdue the Mormons, a portion of our state would undoubtedly have remained a part of Utah. This trouble with the Mormons induced the general government to reduce the size of their territory and accordingly Nevada was taken off the west, a considerable strip lying west of the mountains was put into Colorado, and a smaller portion makes up the southwest corner of Wyoming.

The Mormon settlers exercised great influence over this portion of the Rocky Mountains. It was Brigham Young who introduced, in a practical way, irrigation into the United States. He taught his followers how to become self-supporting and consequently how to overcome the trials incident to making homes in the arid region. He understood the art of attracting people to the country which he had selected for his operations. Aside from his peculiar views in regard to polygamy, no fault was found by broadminded people with his church, or the men who flocked to his standard. History will give him the first place in all that pertains to the founding and building up of a great commonwealth. Brigham Young and William Gilpin are the two great characters who early located in the Rocky Mountain country. Gilpin was an explorer, a soldier, a pioneer, a statesman and a founder of empire. He was broad-minded, possessed clear sight - seeing far into the future - was a loyal American citizen, and has left a name untarnished. He died loved and honored by all. Young was a man of another sort - leading men to do things through religious zeal, compelling obedience because of his commanding nature, reaching success through well chosen methods and building up his people and church by making the cornerstone of success, industry. Love of country was not in his nature.



First Fa Trappers' And Traders' Rendezvous - Bridger Builds A Blockhouse - The Bridger And Vasquez Partnership - The Mormons Settle Around The Fort In 1853 - Rebuilt In i855 - Occupied By Government Troops, Winter Of 1857-8 - Troops On Short Rations - Captain Marcy's Winter Journey - Fort Rebuilt By The Government - Practically Abandoned In 1861 - Judge Carter Organizes A Company Of Mountaineers To Garrison The Fort - California And Nevada Volunteers Occupy The Post From 1862 To 1866 - Arrival Of United States Troops Replace Volunteers - Troops Protect Overland Stages And Engineers Of Union Pacific Railway - Abandoned In 1890.

Fort Bridger is one of the well known trading posts in the Rocky Mountains. As early as Bonneville's time the locality was a rendezvous for fur traders and trappers. Even as early as 1834 a number of trappers made permanent locations in the vicinity. They married squaws of the Snake or Shoshone tribes and tried to induce the Indians to stay in the country. This was against the nature of these marauders, and the trappers who had been adopted into the tribe found that for safety they must, a part of the year, follow the Indians. One of the trappers who had fallen in love with the country along the Black Fork was Jack Robinson, a man who thoroughly enjoyed a home and had great influence among several Indian tribes. For many years he was the personal friend of Jim Bridger and a great admirer of that renowned trapper, trader, Indian fighter and guide. He it was who called Bridger's attention to the many advantages possessed by the little valley of Black's Fork. There was beaver in all the streams of that country, buffalo, deer and elk in the vicinity, and besides, it was beginning to be a highway used by those going to and from the Columbia River. These talks between Uncle Jack Robinson and Jim Bridger finally resulted in the latter's erection of a trading house at that point. This post was located in the valley of the Black Fork, a tributary of Green River, two and one-half miles above Smith's Fork.

Basil Lajeunesse, W. M. Anderson, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Captain William Sublette, Fontenelle, James Bridger and Jack Robinson all visited the Black Fork in 1834 and spent a part of the season in that vicinity. Nathaniel J. Wyeth, Captain Bonneville, Captain Stewart of the British army, Dr. Harrison, a son of the first president of that name, and a number of Catholic and Protestant missionaries who were on their way to Oregon, were also visitors at the rendezvous held by the Rocky Mountain and American Fur Companies at that place the same year. The whole country was filled with Snake Indians at that time, and these had many friends among the trappers.

In the spring of 1842, Jim Bridger built a blockhouse, or rather two houses joined together, surrounded by a fence eight feet high, made of logs set three feet in the ground and hewn to a touching surface. This served as a corral for the stock and also protected the blockhouse, which was located within the enclosure. During the next few years a large amount of business was transacted in furs at this point. In 1845, Auguste Vasquez became a partner of Bridger at this fort. The former had served under General Ashley as a trapper and later under Captain William Sublette. In 1843 he was chosen by Fremont and went with him to Oregon and to Northern California, and returned with him to the Great Salt Lake and was discharged at the Missouri River. Coming back to the mountains, he entered into partnership with Bridger as above stated. The firm of Bridger and Vasquez continued to do business at the fort until 1854, when, it is said, they sold out to Louis Robinson, but I do not feel certain that this transfer was made. Louis Robinson was a native of North Carolina and came to the west in 1832, locating at Taos, New Mexico. The Mormons claim that he was of their faith and that he went to Green River with Isaac Bullock and John Nebeker and fifty odd other Mormons in the year 1853, when the great Mormon settlement was made on the western tributaries of Green River. It is said by some that this man Robinson directly represented Brigham Young and that he was acting under orders when he bought Fort Bridger and the land connected with it. All I can find on this subject comes principally from Mormon sources. There is a story, however, told by E. A. Curley, a special correspondent of the London Field, who wrote some letters to his paper from Wyoming in 1873. These letters were republished in 1874 by the Wyoming Board of Immigration, and from among them I select the following extract regarding a visit paid by the correspondent to Fort Bridger and the old mountaineer of that name. Mr. Curley seems to have secured the facts for this story, if facts they are, from Judge Carter, the post trader at Fort Bridger at that time.

"The post is nestled in a beautiful valley with babbling brooks running through and around it. It was named after a famous hunter, trapper and guide, Jim Bridger, who passed about fifty years of his life in the wild regions of the Rocky Mountains. He was a great favorite with the Indians, and, with a natural fondness for mountain scenery, he traversed the country in every direction, sometimes accompanied by an Indian, but oftener alone - the beaver that he caught making his excursions as profitable as they were interesting to this wildest of mountain Nimrods. He familiarized himself with every mountain peak, every deep gorge, almost every hill and landmark, in an immense region of country. Few objects of interest to a hunter escaped his scrutiny, and he was said never to forget what once he had seen. By long intercourse with Indians, he learned their language, became familiar with their signs, adopted their habits, conformed to their customs, was imbued with some of their superstitions, and at length excelled them in strategy. In the course of his chequered life he saw marvels enough to have formed the stock in trade of a regiment of fair-weather travelers, and of novelists after - generally a long way after - Fenimore Cooper. But the. actual marvels, of which he had seen so many, never satisfied Jim Bridger; he delighted in tough yarns, in which he was quite an artist, telling his most Munchausen-like stories with such an air of literal accuracy, and with such an appearance of honest indignation at the slightest shadow of doubt, as generally enabled him to impose upon the credulity of the many. Mr. Hepworth Dixon, in his trip across the American continent, became the prey of artists far less skillful than old Jim; and it is almost a pity that he did not have the fortune to meet the greatest liar on the American continent and extend his very interesting book to three volumes in consequence. Bridger built a ranch on the site of the present post, where he had a few cattle in partnership with one Vasquez, who was, I believe, a Mexican halfbreed. When the Mormon pioneers first passed this way to Salt Lake, he probably acted as their guide. At any rate, he so far sophisticated President Brigham Young - who was even then an old bird not easily caught - that he bought out Bridger, who pretended to hold a stretch of thirty miles under a Mexican grant, paying him down $4,000 for the grant, the shanties and the cattle, and agreeing to pay $4,000 more at a subsequent time. The place became too hot for the Mormons; they had to leave, and Bridger rented his pretended grant to General A. S. Johnston of a military post for $600 a year, on a ten years' lease. Taking a copy of this provisional lease, he then journeyed to Salt Lake and succeeded in raising the other $4,000 from the Mormon prophet. But the contract, to be valid, must be confirmed at Washington. A diligent search revealed the fact that there was no Mexican grant, and that Bridger was kindly obliging the government for a substantial consideration with a piece of its own property. The bargain consequently fell through, and the post was established without payment of rental; but old Jim had the pleasure of spending the $8,000. President Young had made repeated applications to have his claim allowed; but, although it is quite as good as many another that had passed muster, it is very unlikely that the prophet will ever find profitable his $8,000 investment in Bridger. He still maintains, however, that he was never so unwise as to be outdone by old Jim; that his deeds are all right in his possession; and that it is nothing but the willful injustice of Uncle Sam that withholds from him this magnificent domain."

In corroboration of the sale by Bridger to Young, the War Department informs me that "The Mormons set up a claim to the land on which the post was located on the ground of a conveyance from James Bridger, who was said to hold a Spanish grant for the same." The land in that part of Wyoming was acquired from Mexico by the war of 1848, and Bridger made the location in 1842. It is probable, therefore, that Bridger did have some sort of a title or promise title to the property from the Mexicans. He took up the land with a view to using the broad valleys for pasturing stock. There were Mexican grants in Colorado and New Mexico and in other parts of the territory ceded by the Mexican government to the United States in 1848. All of Bridgers transactions were notably honest, and there are hundreds of people even to this day, who knew him well, who will testify to this. He told some wonderful tales, but, like the novel writer, he did not claim that they were true. They amused, at least, if they did not instruct.

Resuming the direct history of the fort, Louis Robinson rebuilt it in 1855, and when it was finished it presented a very substantial appearance. It was constructed of boulder stone, one hundred feet square and fourteen feet high. On the top of the walls were pickets and on diagonal corners were bastions, somewhat after the style of Fort Laramie. A corral fifty-two feet wide was built against the fort. The locality then was a part of Utah and the Mormons had scattered settlements over a considerable portion of that section, and thus matters stood until 1857, when the Mormons, who had been conducting affairs in the territory in a manner displeasing to the United States, by interference with the duties of territorial officials, not of their own religious faith, and by obliging prominent Gentiles to leave the territory, a crisis was reached in the affairs of Utah. President Buchanan appointed A. Gumming governor to succeed Brigham Young, who had held that office, and also made some changes in other territorial offices. Young refused to recognize these appointments, whereupon the President promptly dispatched a military force to Utah to seat the newly appointed officials and to enforce the laws of the United States. The command of the expedition was given to Brigadier General Harney, but he being detained by the political troubles in Kansas, Colonel E. B. Alexander of the Tenth Infantry went out in command. The force consisted of the Fifth, Seventh and Tenth Infantry, Second Dragoons, and Phelps and Reno's batteries of the Fourth Artillery. The troops started west by the North Platte route over the Overland trail, passing South Pass, and reached Henry's Fork of Green River thirty miles east of Fort Bridger and there went into camp to await instructions from Washington. In November, General Albert Sidney Johnston arrived and took command, having been substituted for General Harney. On the 23rd the expedition reached Fort Bridger and went into winter quarters. As I have explained in the history of the Overland trail, the greater part of the supplies for this force had been captured and destroyed on Green River and the Big Sandy by Mormon troops, and the command had to be placed on short rations. Captain R. B. Marcy with forty men was at once dispatched across the mountains to Fort Massachusetts to obtain supplies. It was a terrible trip in the dead of winter and there was much suffering among the men on the journey. Jim Baker accompanied Captain Marcy, and that officer testified that he rendered valuable services as assistant, guide and interpreter. The story is told that Marcy on this journey met a band of Utes in the mountains and tried to hire one as guide. The chief of the band said to Baker, the interpreter, that the snow was too deep for any human being to cross. Baker said in a taunting manner, "Do you think we are old women? I at first took you for a warrior, but I see you're a squaw." The Indian became very much enraged at this taunt, when Baker added in a soothing way, "Go home, now, and cover up warm, or assist your squaw in taking care of the babies." The warrior pointed to the mountain and called attention to the snow upon the peaks, and said that in the passes it was many feet deep. Notwithstanding this discouraging report, the little force pushed on and after losing nearly all their animals and suffering from hunger, cold and all the incidental privations, the little command at last reached Fort Massachusetts. Captain Marcy often said that had it not been for Jim Baker his little company would never have been able to reach its destination. Supplies were secured at Fort Massachusetts, but the return journey was not undertaken until June, and they came back by way of South Pass. In the meantime, the troops at Fort Bridger, which had been placed on half rations, were reduced to half of that. The snow was exceedingly deep that winter and little or no game was to be found and consequently horses and mules became the only article of diet . The wood for the camp had to be hauled a distance of five or six miles and the time finally came when there were no horses for this purpose. The men cheerfully harnessed themselves to the number of thirty before each wagon to go to the woods and secure fuel. At last spring came and supplies reached them from Fort Laramie. As soon as the snow was off, General Johnston made a reconnoissance of the neighborhood and finally decided to establish a post at Fort Bridger, as it was the most accessible point for concentrating troops to operate against the Mormons and Indians, and finally on the 10th of June, Troop K, First Cavalry, and Company E and H, Sixth Infantry, under the command of Major William Hoffman, who had just arrived with reinforcements and an ample supply train, were detailed to remain at the fort while General Johnston with the balance of the command pushed forward to Salt Lake. At about this time Brigham Young, on the part of the Mormons, consented without further resistance to the transfer of his office to Governor Cumming, and to the occupancy of the territory by United States troops. General Johnston then proceeded to establish old Camp Floyd, which was located forty miles south of Salt Lake City. Major Hoffman in the meanwhile was not idle at Fort Bridger. The building of barracks and quarters, etc., was at once begun, the labor being performed by the troops. The old boulder-stone Mormon fort (hitherto referred to) had meanwhile been taken possession of and converted into storehouses.

On the 17th of August of this year, Brevet Lieutenant Colonel E. A. S. Canby, Major Tenth Infantry, relieved Major Hoffman in command, the latter joining the companies of the Sixth Infantry, which shortly left the post enroute for California. During the administration of Colonel Canby, and in the same year, the building of the post was, for the most part, completed. Subsequently no important changes in the command of the fort occurred until May 29,

1861, when Captain Jesse A. Gore, Tenth Infantry, became commanding officer and so continued until the withdrawal of troops from Utah to aid in suppressing the rebellion.

About this period, Camp Floyd, already referred to, was abandoned, and the troops, under the command of Colonel Cooke, Second Cavalry, ordered to Fort Bridger. On his arrival he directed that the greatest portion of the subsistence stores then at the post, and such of the quartermaster's stores as were not needed elsewhere, should be sold at auction. Captain Gore, with the bulk of the garrison, joined Colonel Cooke's command, which early in August, 1861, left the post for Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Captain J. C. Clarke, Fourth Artillery, with a few soldiers whose terms of service had nearly expired, being left in charge of the post. In December of the same year, Captain Clarke was ordered east, leaving Ordnance Sergeant Boyer and a few privates at the post.

For about a year from this date, Fort Bridger was without a garrison or a commissioned officer, during which period the property was under charge of Sergeant Boyer. This was a somewhat critical period in the history of the post. The Shoshone Indians were at that time hostile, and the Mormons, since the withdrawal of the troops, were regarded as still more dangerous enemies.

Fearing trouble, and for the protection of property at the post as well as for personal security, Judge W. A. Carter, the post trader, organized a volunteer company of mountaineers from the surrounding country. In December,

1862, Captain M. G. Lewis, with Company I, Third California Volunteers, arrived and assumed command. During several succeeding years, Fort Bridger was garrisoned by companies of California and Nevada Volunteers; and various changes occurred from time to time. Major Noyes Baldwin, who afterwards located in Lander, was at one time in command.

In July, 1866, the volunteer troops were mustered out of service; and on the 13th of that month Brevet Major A. S. Burt, Captain Eighteenth Infantry, with Companies F and H, First Battalion of that regiment, arrived and assumed command. When the Territory of Wyoming was formed in 1868, the post and vicinity were included in that territory.

Many old trappers remained at the post or near there, becoming permanent settlers in the country, and these often visited the fort and station in the Overland days. Albert D. Richardson, who crossed the plains in 1865 with Vice President Schuyler Colfax, stopped over at Fort Bridger and there met and talked with Uncle Jack Robinson. He describes him as a good story-teller, droll and interesting. While waiting for dinner, Uncle Jack related that he had once, single-handed and alone, made 150 Blackfeet run. "How was that?" queried Richardson. "Well, you see," replied Uncle Jack, "it was one year when the red devils were very hostile and lifted the hair of every white man they could catch. While riding a swift horse one day, I came suddenly upon a party numbering fully 150. I turned quickly and ran, and they all ran after me." Then he added, "but they didn't catch Old Jack."

In 1866-7, the project of a railroad across the continent was in contemplation, and during these years portions of the garrison were, from time to time, engaged in escorting engineers of the Union Pacific Railway; also detachments were employed in guarding the Overland stage route 200 miles east of Green River. The troops were also employed in erecting additional storehouses and repairing old ones, under Brevet Major J. H. Belcher, Post Quartermaster.

The post was abandoned May 23, 1878, pursuant to General Orders No. 4, Headquarters Department of the Platte, series of 1878, and remained without a garrison until June 28,1880, when in view of the location of the Northern Utes on the Uintah reservation, it was reoccupied by Companies F and H, Fourth Infantry, under the command of Captain William H. Biabee, in compliance with Special Orders No. 57, June, 1880, from same headquarters.

In the summer of 1883, the work of building additional barracks and quarters was commenced, with a view of increasing the garrison. In June of this year, two companies from the post and two from Fort Fred Steele, under command of Major I. D. De Russy, Fourth Infantry, were engaged for about two months in repairing and improving the road to Fort Thornburg. From November 19 to December 4, 1885, Company H, Twenty-first Infantry, under the command of Lieutenant F. E. Eltonhead, of same regiment, was at work on the telegraph line between the post and Carter Station, being engaged in replacing the old wooden telegraph poles by iron ones, in accordance with instructions from Department Headquarters.

After the necessity for which the post was established had ceased, its garrison was useful in protecting the Overland stage route, on which it was located, and in keeping in subjection the Ute and Shoshone tribes of Indians, who roamed in the vicinity. The utility of the post consisted in its being a base of supplies for troops serving at the Wind River Agency and Sweetwater mining district, and a wintering place for the cavalry operating in that country during the summer.

The post was discontinued and troops withdrawn November 6, 1890.

This closes the military history of Fort Bridger. The civil history of that locality and the record made by honored pioneers in that section will be given in connection with the history of Uintah County, which will appear in the second volume of my work.



What Came Of Fremont's Explorations - Hockaday And Liggett's Monthly Stage From The Missouri To Salt Lake - Fort Kearney, South Pass And Honey Lake Wagon Road - Winter Camp In The Wind River Valley - Colonel F. W. Lander And The Shoshone Indians - Russell, Majors And Waddell, The Freighters - Daily Stage Line - The Pony Express - Fight Between The Shoshones And Sioux - Death Of The War Chief Washakie's Eldest Son - Construction Of The Telegraph Line.

The Overland trail through Wyoming became the great continental highway over which passed the army of settlers who located in Oregon, California and Utah. Its geographical position was such as to make it the most direct route to the territories named, and it had another important advantage. It was the one easy route from the Missouri to the Columbia. There was water, feed and fuel in abundance, three absolute necessities on a road to be used for emigration purposes. I have already told of Robert Stuart and his companions discovering this short-cut to the Pacific; we have seen General Ashley, Captain Sublette, Captain Bonneville, Rev. Parker, the missionary, Marcus Whitman, Father De Smet, John C. Fremont and other men of renown pass over this trail.

During the year 1840, Congress had under consideration the establishing of a line of posts through the Indian country, and the Secretary of War was asked to report to the Senate, giving his opinion as to the necessity of establishing these posts from the Missouri River to the South Pass. That officer, in reply to the Senate resolution asking for information, said that he could not satisfactorily answer until the completion of certain explorations undertaken by the War Department, which he expected would be finished during the year. He, however, considered that three posts would be sufficient, one at the junction of the North and South Forks of the Platte, one at the mouth of the Laramie, and the third might be at the mouth of the Popo Agie on Wind River or at the junction of Horse Creek and Green River. The report and recommendations were of such a nature as to prevent the subject being further considered by Congress until the explorations spoken of were made. The evident object of the Secretary of War was to prevent action by Congress. No explorations were made into this section of country, and it was not until the spring of 1842 that an expedition was fitted out to explore the North Platte, the Sweetwater and South Pass. This was Fremont's exploring party, but he did not go to the mouth of the Popo Agie. Nor did he get nearer Horse Creek than the main Newfork, and yet that was near enough to answer all practical purposes. He reported in favor of a post at the mouth of the Laramie, but made no recommendation at that time for any other post in Wyoming.

The settling up of the territories west brought about the necessity of military protection for the people, and consequently the founding of military posts throughout the interior. The army post created a demand for transportation and the government found it advantageous to employ contractors to handle its freight, consisting of military stores, ammunition, etc. Such contracts were let as early as 1849 for transporting the supplies to Fort Kearney, Fort Laramie and Fort Hall. The founding of cities increased this demand for transportation, as merchants found it cheaper to employ freighters than to own and operate freighting outfits. The outgrowth of this demand for freight transportation was the organization of transportation companies. The supplies for General Albert Sidney Johnston's army in 1857 were transported by contract, and the freighters were Russell, Majors and Waddell, who had for a number of years been engaged in the freighting business between the Missouri River and Santa Fe. Following Johnston's army were three large trains belonging to the firm I have mentioned, loaded with five hundred thousand pounds of supplies. The train was in the rear of the army and without a military escort. The head train had passed Green River and the two following it were still on the Sandy, when a Mormon force under Colonel George A. Smith came up and captured the three trains. No violence was offered to the freighters, but orders were given to wagon masters to surrender the property to the Mormons; at the same time each was told to select a wagon and a yoke of oxen and take supplies sufficient to last the men until they should reach Fort Leavenworth. As soon as this was done, the trains were set on fire and the stores, together with the wagons, consumed. This high-handed outrage was a full declaration of war on the part of the Mormons against the general government, and besides, it placed Johnston's army on very slender subsistence for the winter. This is more fully explained in the history of Fort Bridger. The men belonging to the freighting outfits arrived safely at the Missouri River and were the first to report the loss of the supplies to the government, which they made known to the commander at Fort Laramie as they passed through. The cattle captured by the Mormons were returned to the United States authorities at Salt Lake the following year. Early in the spring of 1858, the War Department hurried forward an immense amount of supplies for troops at Fort Laramie, Fort Bridger, Fort Hall and Salt Lake. Russell, Majors and Waddell had on the plains that year 3,500 wagons, 40,000 oxen and 4,000 employes, but some of these were On the Santa Fe trail. The road across Wyoming in 1858 was a grand thoroughfare, filled with government freighters, army ambulances and emigrant outfits. The most of the wagons and oxen were left in the west and never returned to the Missouri River country. Remarkable to relate, the Indians seldom annoyed these freighters. The road over which this freight was carried was comparatively level as far west as South Pass. There was an abundance of grass and water nearly every mile of the way, yet I find General Johnston forwarding a report to the quartermaster's department at Washington saying that it would bo impossible to find subsistence along the road for the number of animals it would require to transport the freight necessary for the army. This was only the ordinary blunder of an eastern officer who knew nothing of the nutritious quality of the grasses on the plains and in the mountains.

The conditions, circumstances and developments of the west brought about new demands, such as mail, express and passenger facilities, and these had to be supplied. In the early days of the occupation of Fort Laramie by United States troops, the great difficulty was to secure mail. Letters intended for the western posts went to Fort Leavenworth and then were forwarded as opportunity offered to Fort Kearney, Fort Laramie, Fort Hall and Halt Lake. In 1851, John M. Hockaday and William Liggett established a stage line to carry the mail and express packages lo the western posts. The stage also carried passengers. The mail contract with the United States government called for making the journey from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Salt Lake in twenty-one days, and the same number of days for the return, making forty-two days for the round trip. The horses were changed at Fort Kearney, Fort Laramie, Fort Hall and Salt Lake. When the stage reach>>d a watering place, the driver watered his horses, and when they needed feed, turned them out on the prairie. In this way the mail and passengers were carried. This continued until 1868, when Russell, Majors and Waddell, the government freighters, became the purchasers of the Hockaday and Liggett line, which had grown from a monthly to a semi-monthly. The new proprietors ran the line from Atchison, Kansas, and built stables and stations every ten or fifteen miles, and horses were strung out along the line. When all was in readiness, stages left Atchison and Salt Lake every day, changing horses at each station, and made the 1,200 miles in ten days. The line was supplied with Concord coach is and the animals used were Kentucky mules. It took a large number of freight teams to supply hay, grain and provisions for the relay posts. From Salt Lake, Ben Holliday ran a line to San Francisco, the government paying each of these Overland mail lines $400,000 for carrying the mail from the Missouri to San Francisco. The daily line was put in operation in the spring of 1859.

In order to give a correct history of the great Overland trail, it will be necessary to show the interest which the general government was commencing to take in this highway.

In the winter of 1856-7, Congress made an appropriation for the building of what was called the Fort Kearney, South Pass and Honey Lake wagon road. This was substantially a government road from the Missouri through to California. The object was to open a highway which would permit emigrants to reach the Pacific coast without passing through Salt Lake or the territory occupied by the Mormons. A massacre of a whole train of people at Mountain Meadow, Utah, who were on their way to California, by Mormons, had prompted Congress to open a new route, and William M. McGraw secured the contract, with the understanding that the road builders should be accompanied by a sufficiently large military escort to give protection while the work was going on. The soldiers were accompanied by C. Drexler, taxidermist, and J. G. Cooper, surgeon. The expedition left Fort Leavenworth in the spring of 1857 and at once started for Fort Kearney, where the work of construction was to commence. The route was west by the Overland trail and for the most of the way little work had to be done. There were some new crossings made, and at such places the banks on either side of the river were graded down. The expedition went to Ash Hollow, Chimney Rock, Fort Laramie, Independence Rock, Devil's Gate, and late in the fall reached Rocky Ridge, near South Pass. The country at that season of the year presented a midwinter appearance, and to attempt going into camp at such a place was out of the question. The government guide recommended the Wind River Valley as a desirable wintering place, so the soldiers and road builders turned north and wading through deep snow finally reached the valley, and winter quarters were selected on the Popo Agie River at a point two miles northeast of where Lander now stands. The encampment was surrounded with abundant feed for horses and mules and game of all kinds was plentiful. Here in one of the most beautiful spots for a winter camp the soldiers and artisans remained until the spring opened, when Colonel F. W. Lander arrived and took command of the expedition. It was the first visit of Colonel Lander to this beautiful valley and it is said that he was much pleased with it. Hon. B. F. Lowe became acquainted with the colonel a year later. Lander liking the location of the valley, and Lowe being favorably impressed with the many good qualities of the colonel, nothing was more natural than that he should name the town, which he was afterwards to locate, in honor of Colonel Lander. On the 1st of June, 1858, the command moved south to Rocky Ridge and took up the work of building the road on across Wyoming. Before leaving, Colonel Lander negotiated a treaty with the Shoshone tribe for a right of way through the country claimed by them, extending westward from the Sweetwater to Fort Hall. The Indians were paid on the spot in horses, firearms, ammunition, blankets, and many other articles of value, highly prized by Washakie and the chief men of the nation. The Shoshones remembered Colonel Lander kindly ever after and they mourned his death when they heard of it. He made several railroad surveys through the Rocky Mountains, and in one of these expeditions he was the sole survivor. In 1861 he entered the war for the preservation of the Union and in May of that year he was appointed a brigadier general and distinguished himself in several campaigns in Virginia. He died in 1862. His wife was an actress of note, Jean Margaret Davenport. At the breaking out of the war she volunteered as an army nurse and remained in the service until 1865, when she again returned to the stage.

It is proper here to mention two very important enterprises which relate to the Overland trail; in fact they are a part of the trail itself, and these are the conveniences for crossing the various streams. The one great obstacle in the way of the early emigrants was the swollen rivers which crossed their path. The hardy trappers, traders and explorers cared little for rivers, but when it came to the women and children connected with the Overland travel it was a serious business, and ways and means were finally found to overcome the difficulty. The history of the ferries and bridges of the Overland through Wyoming is not as clear as could be wished. It certainly extends beyond the memory of any man now living. It is safe to say that the bridge across the Platte at Fort Laramie is the first structure of that kind built within the present limits of our state. This bridge has been mentioned in the history of Fort Laramie. In those early days it was hard to find men who would furnish the capital for these great conveniences along the Overland trail, for the reason that the season when a bridge was necessary was very short, being only two or three months in the year. After the month of August the rivers could be" crossed at almost any point, and consequently the emigrants would not pay for going over a bridge.

Early in the fifties Louis Ganard built a toll bridge on the Sweetwater, a short distance below Independence Rock, and during the seasons of high water he did a paying business. He had a sort of sliding scale of prices, intended to be adjusted to the flood in the river. If the stream was running very high he charged ten dollars for a wagon and its teams. If the water was lower the charge was five dollars, and he had also a three dollar rate. Ganard was a French Canadian and had a squaw for a wife, with whom he lived until the time of his death. He had two nephews, halfbreeds, who lived with him. As has been related, the Mormons, in 1847, established a ferry for their own convenience on the North Platte, where Fort Caspar was afterwards built. This ferry was kept up for a number of years, but there was always difficulty in keeping track of the boat. Mormon emigrants were instructed before leaving the east to build a raft at this ferry in the event of their being unable to find the regular boat. About the time the bridge on the Sweetwater was built, John Reshaw, or Richaud, bridged the North Platte at a point seven miles below the Mormon ferry. He did a good business there but was much annoyed because people refused to pay his prices and went up to the ferry and crossed somehow, either in a boat or on a raft. In those days the horses were driven across the ford, but the wagons were carried over on the improvised ferry boat, also the people and their effects. At last some one put in a good boat and stretched a rope across the stream, establishing a regular ferry. This was too much for Reshaw. He stormed, roared, and finally gave the parties running the ferry $300 to stop business. He did not, however, purchase the ferry boat and rope, but he thought he had secured the traffic for his bridge. W. H. Carmichael, who now resides at Wheatland, passed over the Overland trail in 1859, being one of a company going to California. The train was a large one, and when it reached Reshaw's bridge, the leader entered into negotiations with Reshaw for crossing. The price was fixed at f2.50 per wagon and the emigrants made up their minds they could do better by going to the ferry. Reshaw informed them that the ferry was a thing of the past and no longer existed, but the leader of the train did not choose to believe a statement that was made so clearly in the interest of the toll-bridge keeper and consequently he proposed to go on up to the ferry. Reshaw then notified him that if he persisted in going on, he would be obliged to come back and cross the bridge at last, and if he did return, double price would be charged, that is, $5.00 a wagon. On went the train toward the ferry and on arriving there they found the rope down and the ferry boat moored on the opposite side. The water was high, but a man was placed on a horse and took a rope across. After considerable delay and no little hard work, the ferry was re-established and the families, teams and goods were rapidly transferred to the north bank of the river. All but four teams had been taken over when Reshaw, accompanied by three men, all heavily armed, put in an appearance, and seeing the situation, his indignation knew no bounds. He abused and threatened those on shore, remarking that he had influence with the Indians and would see to it that they followed the train and despoiled the emigrants of all they possessed. George Morris, one of the emigrants, refused to be bulldozed, and drawing a revolver, covered Reshaw with it and ordered him to get in the boat and accompany a load that was going across, informing him at the same time that he would stand no more of his abuse, but that he might make his complaint to the leader of the train, who was on the other side of the river. Reshaw went over, and when he reached the other side he burst out anew and fairly astonished the people of the train with his violent language. It so happened that the parties to the dispute were standing near a wagon which was occupied by a sick man. Reshaw heard the click of a rifle as it was cocked and looking around to see where it came from, discovered that the invalid had him covered with his rifle and seemed to be fully determined to hold his advantage. This brought an end to the scene and Reshaw and his armed ruffians started back down the river, but with a parting malediction on the heads of the emigrants, threatening them with 500 savages, who at his bidding would capture the train, scalp the people and run off their stock. He then left, amid the jeers of the party. As soon as he had departed a subscription was taken up and twenty-five dollars raised and paid to the owner of the boat for its use. The train now proceeded on to the west. Reshaw's threat was not carried out, as no Indians followed or disturbed the emigrants.

In that same year Louis Ganard built a bridge at the Mormon ferry, as it had become a place of some importance. This point was occupied by troops July 29,1858, Companies D and E, Fourth Artillery, Captain Joseph Roberts, Captain G. W. Getty, being a part of the second column of the Utah expedition, for the purpose of keeping open the communication with Salt Lake City, and to aid in the prompt forwarding of supplies. I find on file in the War Department an order dated Washington, March 23, 1859, which orders the abandonment of the post at Platte Bridge, and the troops were accordingly withdraw on April 20th of that year. The same order includes the abandonment of Camp Walbach, a post which had been located at a somewhat earlier date, but what year I am unable to find in the records of the War Department. The location of this post was at the head of Lodge Pole Creek, on the old Lodge Pole trail. The locality is now in Albany County, about twenty miles east of Laramie. Old pioneers say that the soldiers stationed at Camp Walbach were massacred in 1854, but that it was reoccupied afterwards. It was an unhealthy spot, the water being bad and caused a great amount of sickness among the troops. There were no troops at Platte Bridge from April 20, 1859, until sometime in the month of May, 1862, when it was occupied by volunteer troops who were serving as escort for emigrants and for the protection of the telegraph line. When it was decided, a year or two later, to chastise the Indians, the post was rebuilt to accommodate several companies.

To return to the Platte bridge, which was the most notable structure of its kind in this part of the country in early times. It was finished, it was said, at a cost of f60,000. It was of cedar logs, built on cribs filled with stone, and made to resist the current of the river and time. Martin Oliver of Caspar, who, when he first came to the country, worked on the bridge, says that it was commonly reported that Ganard came from the Sweetwater with $30,000 in cash, and this sum he put in the new bridge before it was completed, and that he spent every year large sums in building new piers and structural work. This, then, is the |60,000 which the bridge is said to have cost.

At the time Johnston's army went to Utah in 1857, Jim Bridger had a ferry on the North Platte, a short distance below where Orin Junction is today. Its more exact location is near the Cheyenne and Northern railroad bridge which now spans the North Platte. This ferry was a fairly good business enterprise, but Bridger was too active a man to give it much personal attention. He had a number of partners in the venture, and it is quite safe to say that he did not make any great amount of money out of his ferry.

At the time he put in thin ferry on the North Platte, Jim Baker commenced a like enterprise on Green River at the old Overland crossing. Baker was another man who was not adapted to a business requiring him to remain in one place, but he made some money during 1857-8, yet the season of high water was so short that it was not encouraging for him to continue the business any great length of time.

I will now go back to the Overland Stage Company. The new proprietors, Russell, Majors and Waddell, regardless of expense, abundantly equipped the line and started the stages running early in the summer of 1859. The rush to California, Oregon and Utah was considerable that year and the Concord coaches were filled with trans-continental travelers. They did a large business in express as well as passengers. This same firm ran a line from Leavenworth to Denver. Previous to that all mail for Denver and other Colorado points was carried by the Salt Lake stages and dropped at Fort Laramie, and mail matter was often three months old when it reached Colorado. Russell, Majors and Waddell did business under the name "Central Overland, California and Pike's Peak Express Company." This name was so unwieldy that it was abbreviated to "C. O. C. & P. P. Express," which everybody will admit was long enough. Newspaper editors of the country, those practical men of few words, called it the Overland stage, and the roadway itself the Overland trail. This great mail, express and passenger route was the talk of the whole country and the news of events occurring along the line became a regular feature in the great journals of the day. This news consisted principally of attacks on the stages or the stage stations by Indians, robberies by freebooters, snowbound stages, sickness and deaths along the road. Those were days filled with stirring events in Wyoming, but the country had scarcely accustomed itself to the fast time made by the daily Overland stage before a new enterprise was announced. W. H. Russell of the C. O. C. & P. P. Express conceived the idea of carrying letters to and from California by pony express, and the schedule time between Saa Francisco and New York was ten days, less than half the time heretofore required to carry the mail through.* All letters by this route were required to be written on tissue paper, and the charge for each half ounce was f5.00. Messages by this line were sent by telegraph from New York and other eastern points to St. Joseph, Missouri. They were then carried by pony express to Sacramento, California, and from there forwarded by telegraph to San Francisco. On the pony express line between the Missouri River and Sacramento there were 190 stations; 200 men were employed as station keepers and eighty men as riders. Riders were selected from trappers and scouts, who were acquainted with the country, understood the service for which they were needed, capable of great physieal power, endurance and bravery. They were armed with a Marlin rifle and a Colt's revolver of the most approved pattern. The horses were a cross between the American horse and the Indian pony. The saddle was of medium weight, made of the best material, and to the cantle was attached a pair of saddle-bags containing the dispatches and letters. Th*, schedule time to be made was fifteen miles an hour, but this was more than was averaged. The first pony express left St. Joseph April 3, 1860, going by way of Fort Kearney, Fort Laramie, South Pass, Fort Bridger, Salt Lake, Carson City, to Sacramento, making the distance in ten days. The first express rider from the west left Sacramento on April 4th and reached St. Joseph on the 13th. These trips were made once a week from each way. It was considered at that time a wonderful achievement, but in a financial way it was not a success. Indian troubles occurred at many points; stations were burned and the keepers killed, stock run off, riders shot from ambush, and in short the dangers were of such a character as to be almost insurmountable, and yet the promoters of the line continued to furnish new riders in place of those killed and new ponies in place of those stolen, and so they continued to keep the enterprise in full practical operation for two years, when it was from necessity abandoned, the business having paid only about ten per cent of the amount expended.

*F. A. Bee and B. F. Ficklin were the assistant projectors of the pony express, though W. H. Russell was the man who organized it.

The season of 1861 was filled with important events along the Overland trail in Wyoming. There were many depredations committed by Indians and the trouble seemed to be on the increase as the summer advanced. The Sioux were out in full force, likewise the Cheyennes. The Shoshones early in June camped on the Sweetwater, ten miles west of Strawberry Creek. Soon after a war party of Cheyennes, Sioux and Arapahoes made their appearance on the Strawberry, where Lewiston is now located. They were in search of the Shoshone village and they pushed on to the west to the point where their scouts had located the enemy. The Sioux had the advance and came in sight of the Shoshone camp just at sunrise on the morning of June 20th. B. F. Lowe, who was at the Shoshone encampment, says that as the Sioux, Cheyennes and Arapahoes advanced in solid column with the rising sun reflecting on their bright burnished spears and shields, it was a magnificent sight. The Sioux dashed forward and cut off four hundred of the Shoshone horses and started back with them in an easterly direction. All was now excitement in the Shoshone village, and preparations were instantly made to follow the marauders. The war chief of the band was the eldest son of Chief Washakie, and he was the first to mount. He sat astride his noble war-horse, in front of his father's lodge, waiting for a few of his picked men. The old chief came out and his face wore signs of impatience. Casting his eyes on the young war chief, he said, "What are you waiting for?" The young man made no reply, but brushing the flanks of his horse with his heels, the spirited animal bounded forward, carrying the war chief in pursuit of the fleeing enemy. He dashed along a distance of six miles, when he came up to eight Sioux Indians at the crossing of Willow Creek. These closed in on him with their lances, but the Shoshone warrior, with a Colt's revolver in each hand, did not shrink from the unequal contest. With his right hand he brought down a Sioux, and another with his left, but at this instant the remaining six crossed their spears in his body and he fell to the ground lifeless. His enemies had barely time to remove his scalp when young Washakie's friends were upon them and a running fight ensued which lasted for three hours. The Shoshones recaptured their horses, besides securing a number of those belonging to the Sioux, who had retreated into a green grove of quaking asp near Eagle Nest, on Little Beaver. The Shoshones assaulted their position but were unable to drive the Sioux out of the timber and finally night put an end to the contest. After a brief consultation, the Shoshones decided to return to their village, bury their dead and care for the wounded. The Sioux, taking advantage of the darkness, managed to escape, but they were on foot and had to travel many a weary mile to insure their safety. The Shoshones lost in this fight five killed and several wounded; the Sioux had forty men killed and lost a large amount of supplies, aims and horses. Chief Washakie has never ceased to mourn the loss of this, his eldest son. He has always felt that his own hasty words brought about the death of the young man.

In this connection it will not be out of place to more fully introduce this remarkable chieftain, who will hereafter be prominent in this history. Captain Bonneville says that in 1833 he met a young Shoshone chief, "a man of great promise," but unfortunately he fails to give his name. I feel satisfied, however, that the chief he referred to was Washakie. This great leader of the Shoshones became a chief when he was nineteen years old. The "Indian Guide," published at the Wind River boarding school, Shoshone Agency, in its December number, 1897, says that Washakie was born 1803, that his father was a Flathead and his mother a Shoshone, that he was a warrior from his youth up. According to the date given by the "Indian Guide," Washakie was 30 years old at the time Bonneville met him. The age of this chief has been a question of more or less speculation for years. In 1892 the writer met this renowned warrior at Fort Washakie, and in the conversation asked him how old he was and he promptly replied that he did not know, hut he remembered that he was fifty-five years of age at the time the great treaty was signed, meaning the treaty of 1868. This would make the year of his birth 1813 and his age when Bonneville met him twenty years, and eighty-five at the present time (1898.)

The Overland telegraph was the great event in the west during the year 1861. Edward Creighton of Omaha, in 1860, conceived the idea of constructing a line of telegraph across the Rocky Mountains. He had completed several lines in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, and this experience, together with his great energy and business qualifications, enabled him to carry out the undertaking. During the year 1860 he entered into a contract with the Western Union people to build a line from the Missouri River to Salt Lake. Congress, in the meantime, had granted a subsidy of $40,000 a year for ten years as an inducement for the construction of the telegraph. During the fall of 1860, Mr. Creighton visited Salt Lake and secured the co-operation of Brigham Young in the enterprise. From Salt Lake he went to California and procured the help of the California State Telegraph Company. This company was to build as far east as Salt Lake. In the spring, Mr. Creighton commenced the construction west and the work was pushed with great vigor, and on October 17th, 1861, his contract to construct the line to Salt Lake was completed and on the 24th of the same month the California company reached Salt Lake with their line and the two wires were united. The route chosen was the Overland trail. The telegraph offices were numerous in Wyoming—one at Fort Laramie, Horse Shoe, Deer Creek, Platte Bridge, a couple on the Sweetwater, one at South Pass, Sand Creek, Fort Bridger and several other points. As part payment for the construction of the line, Mr. Creighton was to receive $ 100,000 in stock, which was valued at eighteen cents on the dollar. The company afterwards increased the amount of stock to three times the original and gave Mr. Creighton his portion of the increase. The shares immediately rose in value from eighteen cents to eighty-five cents. He afterwards sold one-third of his stock for $850,000. This same contractor in 1865 commenced to build a line from Denver west on the southern stage route, and the next year it was pushed across Laramie Plains, through Bridger Pass and on to Fort Bridger and Salt Lake. Both of these lines were of national importance and a great convenience to the army in its operations against the Indians in Wyoming.



Ben Holliday Becomes Proprietor Of The Stage Line - Shoshones Capture All The Horses For A Distance Of 200 Miles - The Mormon Battalion - Arrival Of Volunteer Troops - The Emigrant Road Expedition - Colonel P. Edward Connor Takes Charge Of The Military District Of Utah - Fort Douglass Located - Fort Bridger Garrisoned - Mormon Effort To Have Troops Removed From Fort Douglas - Colonel Connor's Letter To The War Department - Removal Of The Stages To The Laramie Plains And Bridger Pass Route - Whisky Gap Named - Thorough Equipment Of The Holliday Line.

The events on the Overland mail route in the year 1862 were many. Tribes that had heretofore been peaceable suddenly assumed an attitude of hostility. The trouble had in the past been mostly with the Sioux, Cheyennes and Arapahoes, but in the early spring of this year Indians to the west made war on emigrants, freighters and the Overland mail coaches. The government, being now thoroughly aroused, ordered to the west volunteer troops from California, Kansas, Iowa and other states. There were some troops enlisted by the government composed of captured Confederate soldiers and also deserters from the southern army. These were made into regiments which were sent to fight Indians on the plains and were styled U. S. Volunteers. When these troops arrived in the west they were distinguished from other volunteers by being called "Galvanized Yankees." Before any of the troops mentioned had time to arrive, the Indians commenced active hostilities.

During the winter of 1861-2, Russell, Majors and Waddell found themselves financially embarrassed through losses sustained in the pony express enterprise and the daily Overland coach system. They had been obliged to borrow large sums of money to meet their obligations and keep the business running, and they found themselves at the close of 1861 owing Ben Holliday $100,000. Holliday was the proprietor of the line running from Salt Lake to California. Russell, Majors and Waddell being unable to meet their debt to Holliday, turned over to him the property and franchises. The pony express had served its purpose, however, by securing from the government a contract for carrying the mails for the neat sum of {1,000,000. This contract, or at least one-half of it, together with the horses, coaches, stations and outfit of the line from the Missouri River to Salt Lake, fell into the hands of Holliday at a mere nominal cost, and Russell, Majors and Waddell were obliged to content themselves with a loss of several hundred thousand dollars. It was a bitter stroke of fortune for these pioneers.

Holliday had been busy during the winter and spring, stocking up the line, distributing additional men, horses and stores at the different stations in Wyoming, and all things were in readiness for business when in March, like a thunderclap from a clear sky, the Shoshone tribe which had for so many years been peaceable and friendly to the whites, made a descent simultaneously on the stage stations from Platte Bridge, just above Caspar, to Bear River Station, where Evanston now stands, and captured every horse and mule belonging to the company. The coaches containing passengers were left standing at stations and between stations. The Indians refrained from killing anyone except at the station of Split Rock, on the Sweetwater. Holliday had brought to that place a Pennsylvania colored man who spoke only what is called Pennsylvania Dutch. This man was the cook at the station. The Indians who were gathering up the stock reached Split Rock and concluded that it was a good opportunity to get something to eat, and selecting one of their number who could speak English, instructed him to direct the negro to prepare dinner for them. The order was given in fairly good English, but the negro failed to understand. The native linguist then tried French and followed it with Spanish, but none of these languages were understood by the trembling cook and things began to look serious. After a brief consultation among the Shoshones, they decided that the negro was bad medicine, so they killed him on the spot. Near the Devil's Gate Station they met the west bound coach, which contained, besides some passengers, Lem Flowers, an agent of the company, also two other employes, Jim Reed and Bill Brown. A demand was made on them for the horses, which they refused to give up, and a fight ensued which resulted in the wounding of the three men mentioned. They finally gave up the horses, and the Indians were content to go away. This attack on the stage line by the Shoshones resulted in the stoppage of all stages in Wyoming. President Lincoln was appealed to, but having no troops who could reach the scene of Indian depredations under two months, made a personal appeal to Brigham Young to send troops for the protection of the mails. In response to this request, Young sent what was known as the Mormon battalion. It consisted of 300 men under the command of Lot Smith. Headquarters being established near Devil's Gate, details of twenty men were made to guard different points on the road. New stock was furnished by the stage company, and by the time the stages were again ready to move, the Sioux in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska started out on their regular spring campaign of murder and plunder. The War Department, being again appealed to, could do nothing but push the volunteer troops forward. The Fourth Iowa Cavalry arrived in May, and they were followed by a battalion of the Sixth Ohio Cavalry, afterwards known as the Eleventh Ohio Cavalry, and about the same time the Eighth Kansas Infantry came out. These troops were distributed over a wide section of country, and their duties were to escort emigrant trains, the mail coaches, and to guard and repair the telegraph line. It was hard service, but it was performed in a creditable manner. The Mormon battalion did not wait to be relieved, but quietly withdrew to Salt Lake. It has never been explained why these troops were in such a hurry to get away. It has been claimed, however, that Brigham Young offered to make a contract with the government to guard the Overland mail, and it is believed that his proposition was considered at the time, but nothing came of it. There were many charges made against the Mormons at that period, some going so far as to claim that they were responsible for the Indian outbreaks. This was the opinion of a majority of the army officers who were engaged in the Indian service.

It is an indisputable fact, when we look up the evidence, that the government had many enemies in this quarter of the globe, shortly after the breaking out of the war. Many army officers who had been in service in the west had resigned and cast their lot with the southern Confederacy in 1861, and these had their friends in the west. The Democratic party was in control of the national government up to the time of Lincoln's inauguration. The southern people, who had always possessed a strong desire for civil appointments in connection with the army, had been successful in securing numerous post traderships, and these traders had brought with them assistants and clerks from the south and it was quite natural that these people should be in sympathy with their kindred at home. This element, up to the time the volunteers were stationed along the Overland trail, was more or less demonstrative. The Mormons, no one pretended to claim had any love for the government. Added to this disloyal sentiment, there was a Confederate influence brought to bear from New Mexico, which showed itself in Colorado and in other portions of the Rocky Mountains, and especially along the Overland trail. Public feeling ran high in Denver and on one occasion a rebel flag was raised over a store on Sixteenth street, in that city. A crowd of Union men quickly gathered in front of the store and told the parties who raised the flag that Denver was a Union city and that the Confederate emblem must be taken down at once or serious consequences would result. The flag was promptly removed. Governor Gilpin took energetic measures to protect Union citizens, and to this end raised a military force which co-operated with the United States troops in the subjugation of the Confederates in the southwest. His splendid service on this occasion did much to suppress disloyalty in the whole western country. The Confederate sympathizers in Wyoming were not numerous enough to exert any detrimental influence after the arrival of the volunteer troops. A few ill-advised persons along the stage line expressed their sympathy with the Confederacy and denounced President Lincoln, but a sharp reprimand from an officer was all that was required to bring these foolish people to their senses. Volunteers thought it bad enough to be obliged to fight savages without submitting to having treason talked in their presence by white men, consequently it early came to be understood that neither the government of the United States nor its honored chief executive could be lightly spoken of in their hearing.

After the arrival of the troops from the east and their distribution along the stage road, the Indians as far west as the South Pass seemed to hesitate about continuing their depredations, and for a time peace prevailed, but it was not to last any lengthened period. The Indians, seeing the formidable force, required time to plan and carry out a new sort of campaign. They now adopted a system of harrassing the troops, and the officers found it dangerous to send out men to repair the telegraph line without giving them strong escort. Emigrants continued to put in an appearance on the road, and what was remarkable, few of them were armed in a manner to secure the protection of themselves and families. They relied on the soldiers to see them safely through the dangerous country, and the result was that many of them lost their stock and not a few of them their lives.

In May, 1862, the first division of the Eleventh Ohio Cavalry, sometimes called the Sixth, Colonel Collins in command, reached Fort Laramie, and these troops were at once sent out to guard the stage and telegraph line west as far as Pacific Springs. They were scattered in small detachments and did escort duty, accompanying stages and emigrant trains. The service proved very severe, but the officers and men performed it without a murmur. They had numerous slight engagements with prowling bands, and occasionally a soldier was killed. The great difficulty was to protect the telegraph line. As the Indians had found out that this was a part of the duty of the troops, they kept them busy making repairs. The most serious difficulty that occurred that season was at Independence Rock, Split Rock and the Three Crossings of the Sweetwater.

On June 16,1862, what was known as the emigrant road expedition left Omaha and proceeded up the north side of the Platte River, up the Sweetwater, over the Lander cut-off, near Fort Hall, and thence down on the south side of Snake River to Oregon. The expedition was ordered by the Secretary of War, and Captain Medorem Crawford was in charge, having under him fifty mounted men. This officer, in his report, says: "From the best information in my possession, I estimate the emigration to Oregon and Washington this year, 10,000 souls. There were also many on the road to California, Salt Lake and Denver." This officer also reported that emigrants had started out with a mistaken impression as to the condition of the roads and the prevalence of grass along the route. Teams were overloaded, and when they left the valley of the Platte they began to give out. First furniture was thrown out to lighten the load, then many wagons abandoned, and in quite a number of instances disabled cattle were left along the trail.

"The first evidence of Indian depredations we saw was a grave at the crossing of New Fork on Green River. From the inscription placed over it we learned that Patrick Moran, of Missouri, was killed by Indians on the 18th of July and two men wounded. We passed this place August 11, about three weeks after, at which time no Indians were to be seen. The next grave was on La Barge Creek, in the Bear River Mountains. On the head-board of the grave was inscribed: 'Opened by Kavanaugh's train on the 27th of July, 1862. The body of a man found too badly decayed for removal. One shot in the temple and an arrow shot. Supposed to have been killed by Indians.'

"On the 25th day of August we passed the graves of the following persons: One unknown man found by Captain Glenn's party, August 13. He had been shot in the back of the head with buckshot. Three miles farther there were five graves, side by side, of persons supposed to have been killed by Indians. Rufus C. Mitchell, N. Howie, James Steel, David Whitmer and Frank Sessions were the names inscribed over them. This was in the vicinity of Fort Hall, and happened on the 9th of August, we passing on the 25th. We learned from the ferry-man that while these five men were slain by Indians twenty armed men from the same train stood upon a hill near by and made no attempt to rescue their comrades. There the strong reasons for believing that white men bore a part in this massacre. Between Fort Hall and Raft River we found four graves of men supposed to have been killed by Indians on the 9th of August. After passing Raft River we found the grave of a Miss Adams, who was shot on the 9th and died on the 12th. We passed here August 31, twenty-two days after the fight. About the same time a Mr. Phillips left his train to go fishing, alone and unarmed, and was taken by Indians, and is supposed to have been killed. This happened near Goose Creek. It will be seen that the number killed, of which we have positive information, is about fifteen. No emigrants have at any time been troubled by Indians while in the vicinity of my company, but from the disposition shown toward the advance trains, it is easy to see that the later and weaker parties would have been easily cut off had it not been for the protection afforded them by the government. Near old Fort Hall a ferry had been established, and many emigrants had crossed in pursuit of the mines. Some went to Fort Lemhi, others to the Deer Lodge Prairie, while others kept down the north side of Snake River and recrossed the stream at Boise. From what was told me, I am satisfied that many were induced to cross at Fort Hall by the representations of these ferrymen, which turned out unreliable. About twenty wagons which had crossed and met a returning party, were induced to recross and join those who were already under my escort. At this point I had 125 wagons of emigrants under my charge and I found many of their teams so weak that they could not travel over ten miles per day, others being able to proceed faster; and in order to give protection to all, I divided my company, placing the advance party in charge of my principal assistant, Mr. Le Roy Crawford, while I remained with the rear and weaker party. From this point my journey was extremely slow. Many of the emigrants were short of provisions, which deficiency I had to supply. Others had difficulties among themselves which I was obliged to settle. The grass was very scarce and their stock would scatter during the night, so that frequently my men would spend hours in looking after them in the morning. We cured their sick, fed their destitute, hunted, and in some instances drove their teams, mended their wagons, hauled their goods, settled their disputes and kept them moving. Two men died and one was drowned in Snake River. With these exceptions, every man, woman and child that had traveled in my vicinity reached the settlements in safety."

I make use of the above both for the purpose of the historical facts contained in this officer's report and to show the conditions prevailing along the Overland trail that year. Captain Crawford was certainly a model officer to have charge of such an expedition, and it cannot be otherwise than that he endeared himself to many unfortunate emigrants on the trail. We will now turn our attention to events happening between South Pass and Salt Lake.

On August 6th, Colonel P. Edward Connor of the Third Infantry, California Volunteers, assumed command of the District of Utah and from the first commenced a vigorous prosecution of the war against Indians. This gallant officer was much annoyed at the prevalence throughout Utah of a disloyal sentiment toward the government, and consequently on assuming command of the district he enjoined upon all commanders of posts, camps and detachments to cause to be promptly arrested all persons endeavoring to destroy and defame the principles and institutions of a government under whose benign influence they had been so long protected, and he further ordered that such persons be confined until they had taken the oath of allegiance to the United States, and he further added, "Traitors shall not ntter treasonable sentiment in this district with impunity, but must seek a more genial soil or receive the punishment they so richly merit." The Utah district extended east at that time to a point between Big Sandy Station and Pacific Springs.

Colonel Connor had under his command a couple of Nevada regiments as well as two from California. He taught the Indians through his entire district to fear his punishments before he had been there a year. He proved himself an able officer and won distinction as an Indian fighter. In September he went to Salt Lake and selected the location whereon was built Camp Douglas. The post was located three miles from the business portion of the town. The Mormons did not like the presence of Connor's force and used every means to get the troops away, but without avail. Colonel Connor refused to be drawn into a personal controversy with anyone representing the Mormon church or give them any just cause for complaint, and yet in his letters to the War Department he showed his utter contempt for Brigham Young. One of the methods used to secure the removal of the troops was to show the necessity of employing a military force along the Overland mail route, east of Salt Lake. Mormon influence was brought to bear to induce the mail contractors, the Overland Stage Company, to demand protection from Indians. Connor claimed that the Mormons incited the Indians to commit depredations. Come from what source it may, the savages fulfilled expectations by running off a hundred head of horses during the month of November from Fort Bridger; at least it was so reported. These horses belonged to some trappers and hunters who went to winter at that post. The loss was reported to Colonel Connor and he at once dispatched Company I of his regiment, in command of Captain Lewis, to garrison the fort. The troops left Fort Douglas December 2nd. The Indians had a short time previous to this attacked the station at Pacific Springs, also a telegraph station at Big Sandy. Colonel Connor detailed ten men to guard the latter station, and they remained there during the winter. About the same time an emigrant named Van Orman reported that nearly a year before, while passing through the Green River country, the Bannock Indians had captured his three neices and a nephew. At the time, he had been obliged to go on to Oregon with the balance of his family and as soon as he could he had returned to look after the fate of the rest of his relatives. He had learned that the three girls were dead but the boy was in the hands of Bear Hunter, of the Bannock tribe. Colonel Connor at once dispatched Major McGarry with a force to punish the Indians and recapture the boy. Bear Hunter and his band were found in the Cache Valley and Major McGarry ordered his troops to surround them and make a vigorous attack. The soldiers killed three Indians and wounded another, when Bear Hunter surrendered. He was at once asked for the Van Orman boy. The chief replied that the white boy had been sent away some days before. The major told him to send some of his men out and bring him in and that he should hold the chief and four of his men as hostages until the boy was returned. Bear Hunter dispatched three of his men and the next day they returned with the lad.

Colonel Connor made up his mind to strike a decisive blow and end the war with the Shoshones, Bannocks and Snakes, but the agents and officers of the stage company demanded troops to escort the mail and did not interest themselves in a war against the Indians. Political influence was brought to bear to have Colonel Connor's entire force at Camp Douglas distributed at various points along the Overland from Salt Lake to Big Sandy. Finally the commander of the Pacifio Department wrote Colonel Connor on the subject, which brought back a reply that throws a good deal of light on the situation. The letter is dated December 20th and reads:

''Sir: Your communication of date December 12, 1S62, inclosing telegram from General-in-Chief to Department Commander, is just received. In reply I have the honor to inform you that since my arrival here I have beeu aware that efforts were being made to dissever my command. The real governor of this Territory, Brigham Young, and his satellites on the one hand, and agents and contractors on the other, have since my arrival here constantly worked to separate this command - the former, with his usual sagacity, for the attainment of his own purposes and without the least doubt of his success (high authority states that he has openly boasted, in fact, that he would drive me away from here before spring), and the latter from a desire to make money out of the government. Judge Carter, agent of the Overland Mail Company east of here, and sutler of Fort Bridger, with other interested persons within this district, have not so much the interest of the government or the Overland Mail Company at heart as a desire to speculate upon the necessities of this command by selling to it supplies, of which Judge Carter has large quantities on hand. As an evidence of this fact, that gentleman has been the only one of a great many among those interested largely in the Overland Mail Company who has desired the establishment of more posts on the line; and I am now satisfied that the rumor started by him previous to my garrisoning Fort Bridger, of 100 head of stock being stolen by Indians from the reservation, was false, and circulated for the purpose of having troops ordered to the post. I am reliably informed that the so-called President Young is making active preparations indicating a determination on his part to oppose the government of the United States in the spring, provided Utah is not admitted into the Union as a State, or in case of a foreign war or serious reverse to our arms. It is constantly asserted by him and his agents that this command should be moved and scattered along the line of the Overland Mail Company as a 'check against Indians,' who they say are ready to attack the property at any moment; and many willing converts to this fear are found among Brigham's hosts. But no one having the interest of the government or the company in view can be found here credulous enough to be blind to the real motives which actuate their desires. Brigham Young is now engaged in mounting cannon for the purpose of resisting the government, and has reports circulated, which have reached the ears of those highest in authority, in order to mature his plans, gain time and prepare his cannon. Desirable as this would be to him, I hope to defeat his intentions. From a careful scrutiny of the state of affairs here, and thorough knowledge of the country, I am satisfied I occupy every necessary position. The entire line from the Ruby Valley to Ham's Fork is completely under my control, and while, in my opinion, there exists no necessity for troops at Fort Bridger, to quiet the apprehensions of the Overland Mail Company, if they have any (which I doubt), and to obey the orders of the general commanding, I shall continue to garrison Fort Bridger, and I will immediately send sufficient force to occupy Ham's Fork, although I am of the opinion there is no real necessity for it. My present position was selected for its availability, and commanding as it does not only all the avenues to but even the town itself, it is an important one, and I am not surprised that Brigham Young considers its occupancy dangerous to his interests. The presence of this command here, which the informants of the General-in-Chief desire so much to have removed, indicates that my information regarding the real intentions of these people is correct, and events will prove that in selecting my position and carrying out my own views, the interest of the government and of the Overland Mail Company has been anticipated. I am truly glad that the Department Commander has given me discretionary powers in the premises. I am credibly informed and believe that Mormons had instigated the late attack by Indians on the telegraph station at Pacific Springs, in order to draw my forces to that point. Mormons also, in the northern part of this valley, encourage depredations by the Humboldt Indians by purchasing of them property of which massacred emigrants have been despoiled, by giving in exchange therefor powder, lead and produce. I have heretofore refrained from submitting a report of these transactions to the general commanding for the reason that I desired to be previously well informed."

This letter was accepted by the War Department as the true situation of affairs at Salt Lake and along the Overland mail route as far east as Pacific Springs. There is uo doubt that persons, who desired to make money out of the troops, were anxious to have the different posts along the mail route garrisoned, but Colonel Connor had other views. This experienced Indian fighter knew that the only way to secure peace with the Indians was to bring them to battle and crush them in detail. With this end in view he set about organizing a campaign which would bring disaster to the Bannocks, Snakes and Shoshones.

Citizens of Denver had long been working to secure the regular Overland stage route for their town, and when Ben Holliday became proprietor of the line he agreed upon a route running through Denver and from that point west, and discontinue that part of the road running up the North Platte, the Sweetwater and across South Pass. The many difficulties experienced on the latter route was the inducement to abandon it. The new road led by way of Julesburg to Denver, from the latter place over the old wagon road to Fort Lupton, and north across the Laramie Plains, then due west, through Bridger Pass, joining the old trail. The change was made during the summer of 1862, and remarkable to relate, the transfer to the new line was so successfully accomplished that not a mail was missed or a coach delayed. The rolling stock, horses and other property of the company was gathered at the station just above Devil's Gate. Company A, of the Eleventh Ohio Cavalry, with Major O'Farrell in command, was the escort at the time the transfer was made. The first day the long train of coaches, wagons, horses and mules made eleven miles from the station where the property had been gathered. The route chosen was directly south from the Sweetwater. The camp selected was in a gap in the mountains where there was a fine spring and plenty of wood for cooking purposes. Shortly after going into camp the Major discovered that quite a number of his soldiers were intoxicated and he at once sent for Lieutenant W. H. Brown, who was officer of the day, and informed him of the condition of many of the men and gave it as his opinion that someone was selling whisky in the camp. The command was doing escort duty for not only stage stock, consisting of coaches, wagons, horses and stores, but for a number of emigrants who had availed themselves of the opportunity for safe conduct. Lieutenant Brown received orders to search all these wagons and if he discovered whisky to destroy it. Taking a corporal and three or four men, they commenced the search for the contraband article. They had examined every wagon in the camp except one; when they came to this they discovered a barrel of whisky. The officer at once ordered his men to roll the barrel out, knock in the head and empty the contents on the ground. This was done, but it chanced that the spot where the whisky was emptied was just above the spring, and the fiery liquid went pouring down into the water supply for the camp. The soldiers saw what was going on and they rushed forward with cups, canteens, buckets and camp kettles to save what they could of the whisky. Those who were without the wherewith to hold the liquor stamped their boot-heels in the ground and caught the whisky in the hole, and lying down drank it. A half hour later the intoxicant was showing its effect pretty generally around the camp and soon there were few sober men to be found. One soldier who had succeeded in getting a full canteen from the spring grew richly mellow and while in this condition paid his respects to Major O'Farrell at the headquarters tent, assuring his commanding officer, with maudling mein and many a "hie," that that was the finest spring he had ever seen and the best water he had ever tasted. Major O'Farrell was apprehending an attack from the Indians that night, and the condition of his men fairly disheartened him. He saw at a glance that even a small body of savages could make a successful raid on his camp, consequently the sober and less intoxicated men were kept on the alert that night. Fortunately no Indians put in an appearance and by morning the debauched men had slept off their intoxication and were ready for duty. The gap in the mountains in which the camp was made had never been named up to that date, but the soldiers in referring to it afterwards called it Whisky Gap, a name which it bears to the present time. After escorting the stage stock to the future line of operation, this command selected the location for Fort.Halleck and constructed the buildings. The fort was located on the new Overland trail and was garrisoned for some years by troops from the Eleventh Ohio. The official order locating Fort Sanders in 1866 includes the abandonment of Fort Halleck.

The equipment of the Overland road by Ben Holliday was equal to that of a modern railway. The coaches, express wagons and the rolling stock generally were all manufactured by the famous Concord Coach Manufacturing Company of Concord, New Hampshire. This company not only manufactured the rolling stock but supplied the material used in the repair shops along the line. The harness was made by the Hill Harness Company of the same city. The material in everything was of the very best. The stations along the line averaged about ten miles apart, and every fifty miles was what was called a home station, where the drivers changed and made their homes. These were also eating stations for passengers. The intermediate stopping places were called "swing stations;" here only horses were changed, and at these were kept two men to take care of the stock. At every station was a large barn, with accommodations for from thirty to fifty horses. The grain was supplied from Fort Kearney and Salt Lake. When there was a failure of crops, which sometimes happened, horse feed was shipped from St. Louis. Every horse on the line was grain fed, groomed and cared for in the best manner. The main shops of the company were located at Atchison, Denver and Salt Lake, and there were repair shops on each division of 200 miles. Besides the repair shops, on each of these divisions was a traveling blacksmith shop. This consisted of a wagon fitted up with bellows, anvil and tools, drawn by a team of strong horses. The movable shop was kept going constantly from one end of the division to the other. There was also a harness maker and mender, who traveled over each division with his tools and material for repairing harness. The supplies for the road - that is, the provisions used at the stations - were purchased in large quantities at St. Louis and sent out and distributed among the division points, and from these they were sent to the smaller stations as required. At first the men made trips east when they needed clothing, but later Mr. Holliday conceived the id«a of having clothing of all kinds, including boots and shoes, manufactured in large quantities for the use of his men. The suits were of the most substantial material and made in the most thorough manner. The overcoats were of Irish frieze, cut long, with capes reaching to the hands. The linings in these coats were of blue Shaker flannel. The drivers, enveloped in them, were well protected from cold, wind or rain. The boots were high-topped, made especially to keep the feet and legs warm. The underclothing was of a kind suited to the needs of men who were constantly exposed to winds and storms. This clothing was distributed by special express sent out for the purpose, and the amount each man received was charged up to his account, the price being the cost and transportation. No profit was demanded. The company owned large transportation trains of ox and mule teams and these transported all supplies to stations, and on their return hauled fuel to places along the line where it was needed. The first division on the main line was from Atchison to Fort Kearney, the second from Fort Kearney to Julesburg, the third from Julesburg to Denver, the fourth from Denver to North Platte (Fort Steele) going by way of Virginia Dale, the fifth from North Platte to Green River, and the sixth from Green River to Salt Lake. On each division was an agent, a bookkeeper and a steward of supplies. These were the divisions on the new line after the Sweetwater and South Pass route was abandoned. Leaving Denver, the stations were, Big Thompson, La Porte, Virginia Dale, Big Laramie, Cooper's Creek, Medicine Bow, Elk Mountain, North Platte, Sulphur Springs (forty miles south of Rawlins). Laclede (head of Bitter Creek), Rock Springs, Green River, Granger, Fort Bridger, Bear River (Evanston), Echo Canon and Salt Lake.

The officers of the company were, Ben Holliday, president and proprietor; Bela M. Hughes, who had been attorney for the C. O. C. and P. P. Company before Holliday's time, was retained as the attorney for the new company; David Street was made paymaster and general agent, and his assistants were Thomas A. Beach and A. T. Beach. The following persons at different times held the position of superintendent of the line: Isaac Eaton, Major John Kerr, William Reynolds, David Remick, Alexander Benham, James Stewart, Reuben S. Thomas and Robert I. Spotswood.