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THE MOUNTAIN MEN

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Fur trader-Did not trap, but traded with Indians (The whiskey trade was his bonanza) ... Dominated fur industry in Northern Rocky Mountains during the trappers era ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: THE MOUNTAIN MEN


1
THE MOUNTAIN MEN
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MOUNTAIN MEN
  • Prime period 1820-1840
  • Only about 200-300 a year
  • Lured by the west
  • Opportunity
  • to make
  • money

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CHARACTERISTICS OF A MOUNTAIN MAN
  • Illiterate
  • Uneducated
  • Primitive
  • Relatively young
  • Reckless
  • Adventuresome
  • In need of money
  • However, some had college degrees and were very
    refined

6
DESCRIPTION OF MT MEN
  • Many were very large-Natives looked at them with
    awe and superstition
  • Eventually occupation developed lifestyle,
    conduct and habits, a culture of their own
  • Harsh language
  • Smelly and dirty
  • They never laundered their buckskin suit and
    seldom removed it

7
DESCRIPTION
  • Many mountain men were more
  • savage than Natives
  • Little concern for family or
  • comforts
  • Not materialistic
  • Traveled with a rifle,skinning
  • knife, horse, traps and utensils

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DESCRIPTION
  • Ate well at times and poorly at others
  • Cut off horses tail and ears to make stew
  • Tapped into horses veins
  • Ate moccasins, ants, black crickets, deer
    excrement soup, bark and berries
  • Explored trails helped name the west
  • Traders gave Indians the whiskey trade, small
    pox, diphtheria and cholera
  • Trapped themselves out of business by the
    1840s

10
TRAPPERS
  • Trappers were divided into three categories
  • Free trapper-Unaffiliated, unfettered, most
    colorful and romantic
  • Company trapper-Affiliated with a company
  • Fur trader-Did not trap, but traded with Indians
    (The whiskey trade was his bonanza)

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Beaver Skin Hats
14
Where trappers sold pelts
  • Either in Taos, New Mexico
  • Caravan that
  • brought supplies
  • to annual rendezvous

15
Taos
  • A wild city, north
  • of Santa Fe Trail
  • Pelts were sold
  • Supplies purchased
  • Gambling, whiskey,
  • women

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Rendezvous
  • Different location each year in Wyoming or Utah
  • Fur companies brought boats and wagons filled
    with supplies
  • Weeklong party,
  • dancing, story telling,
  • trading
  • Mountain men left penniless

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Hudson Bay Company
  • 1670
  • British
  • Still operating-sells blankets
  • Dominated fur industry in Northern Rocky
    Mountains during the trappers era
  • 250,000 skins sold in Europe
  • One man earned 50,000 in one year

21
Missouri Fur Company
  • 1808
  • First in the US
  • Owner was Manuel Lisa
  • Base-Omaha
  • Operated upper Missouri River system
  • 1811-sent trappers to upper Arkansas River

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American Fur Company
  • 1808
  • Operates in Yellowstone River system
  • Owner-John Jacob Astor (Americas first
    millionaire)
  • 1811- Made settlement on Columbia river to expand
    industry into NW

24
Rocky Mountain Fur Company
  • 1822
  • Upper Missouri River
  • First Rocky Mountain success
  • 1834-Was sold to American Fur Company

25
MOUNTAIN MEN
  • 1840s saw the end of the Mountain Men
  • Silk hats had replaced the beaver skin hat so
    there was no longer a market
  • The rendezvous had been replaced by the trading
    post

26
Legacy of Mountain Men Discovered trail passes
Established relations with Native
Americans Established trade routes and trails
west
27
TRADE
  • 1821-Mexican Independence
  • (Spain had not allowed Mexicans to trade with
    Americans)
  • William Becknell quickly took advantage of this
    and became known as the father of Santa Fe
    Trade
  • Raiding Indians became a problem-Government
    marked the trail and provided escorts

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TRADE
  • Santa Fe Trail was in its prime from 1820-1870
  • Preceded the Oregon Trail, the 49ers and the
    59ers
  • Manufactured goods from the east sent west for
    pelts, blankets and whiskey
  • Tough trip because of long stretches without
    contact with civilization, natural barriers and
    Indian problems

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BENTS FORT
  • Charles (25 and a West Point graduate) and
    William (15) headed west to find their future
  • To enter the fur trading business-
  • carried trinkets to help trade
  • Located along the Arkansas River
  • (wood and water available)
  • Established a good relationship
  • with Indians, purchased pelts

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BENTS FORT
  • 1833-Chose a site on the Arkansas River
  • Ceran St. Vrain suggested the Spanish style
    (Bent, St. Vrain Company)
  • Chose the high ground
  • Adobe instead of wood because
  • Wood was scarce
  • Did not burn
  • Warm in the winter and cool
  • in the summer

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BELLTOWER
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NORTHEAST BASTION
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SOUTHWEST BASTION
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ARKANSAS RIVER FROM SW BASTION
42
BENTS FORT
  • Tried to provide eastern culture (White
    tablecloths, imported china and a wine cellar)
  • Permanent employees-Blacksmiths, carpenters,
    gunsmiths and hunters
  • Six different languages spoken-French, Spanish,
    German, English, Comanche and Arapaho

43
BILLIARD ROOM
44
PRIVATE QUARTERS
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TRAPPERS QUARTERS
46
ST VRAINS QUARTERS
47
BENTS FORT
  • William Bent married a Cheyenne woman-Good
    relations with Indians
  • US annexed Texas in 1845 Mexicans viewed this as
    an act of war
  • Bents Fort was used as an advance base and
    rendezvous for General Kearney (1650 troops)
    because of this trade stopped

48
BENTS FORT
  • Charles Bent had been appointed governor of newly
    annexed New Mexico
  • He was killed by the Mexicans and the Pueblo
    Indians
  • St Vrain sold his interest in the fort to
    William
  • Army wanted to buy it from him
  • The fort was burned to the ground
  • Did not like the price
  • Possibly cholera
  • Built a second fort 38 miles away

49
OTHER TRADING POSTS
  • Ft Robidoux
  • Ft Davy Crockett (nw colorado)
  • Ft Lupton (S. Platte)
  • Ft St. Vrain
  • Forts died out
  • Indian trade fell
  • Silk Hats
  • Buffalo robes
  • were plentiful

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John Fremont
  • 1840s- Manifest destiny
  • Senator Thomas Hart Benton - from Mo. Pushed for
    30,000 to explore and map the west
  • John Fremont led the topographical corps of
    engineers in the US army
  • Nicknamed the pathfinder
  • Fremont eloped with Jessica Benton

52
John Fremont
  • He led three expeditions (Jessica wrote the
    journals for him)
  • His fourth journey west was for a RR company-this
    was a disaster
  • His fifth journey was a private prospecting
    excursion to California
  • His books were well written and his maps and
    journals were accurate-journals were best sellers
    and musts for anyone heading west
  • The Library of Congress published 100,000
    journals of his first expedition

53
John Gunnison
  • John Gunnison went on a search for a pass through
    the mountains that a RR could get through
  • Gunnison concluded that a RR could not get
    through the Colorado mountains
  • After leaving Colorado Gunnison and his men were
    killed and mutilated
  • Fremont concluded on his fifth expedition that a
    rr could get through the Colorado mountains
  • Narrow Gauge railroad
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