The rendezvous of 1826 took place near Great Salt Lake. The turnover of furs was immense and, having made his fortune, General Ashley sold his interests to three of his most able employees, Jedediah Smith, David E. Jackson, and William Sublette. Smith left the rendezvous to lead a band southwest across the desert to the Spanish settlements of California, being the first to make this perilous passage. Jackson and Sublette headed for the Snake River country to trade with the Flatheads, taking a large force of trappers.
Trapper train in Teton Pass
Trade Beads and Hawk Bells
Rocky Mountain men setting traps
At the Pierre’s Hole rendezvous, Drips and Vanderburgh, the American Fur Company partisans, were frustrated in their competitive effort by the fact that their supply train under Fontenelle had failed to arrive. It was now too late to bid for the furs taken out by Sublette, but they might follow Bridger and Fitzpatrick with profit if they only had trade goods. Accordingly, they resolved to hasten to Green River to see if they could find the belated caravan.
Marcus Whitman removing arrow from Jim Bridger
The extent of the wanderings of this trio is not known. In the spring of 1807 Colter alone paddled a canoe down the Missouri to the mouth of the Platte where he found keelboats of the Missouri Fur Company of St. Louis, led by Manuel Lisa. He was promptly recruited and went with this expedition up the Missouri and the Yellowstone to the 14mouth of the Bighorn River, where Lisa built a log fort known as Fort Raymond or Manuel’s Fort.
The remaining three expeditions were guided by James Bridger, who in 1843 had set up Fort Bridger on Black’s Fork of Green River, to cater to the emigrants who were beginning to follow the Oregon Trail. James Gemmell claims to have been among those present in 1846 when Bridger led “a trading expedition to the Crows and Sioux,” north up the Green River through Jackson’s Hole to West 78Thumb, making a tour of the “wonderful spouting springs” and other scenic features before continuing down the Yellowstone. E. S. Topping states that in 1850 Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, and twenty-two others on a prospecting trip out of St. Louis “crossed the mountains to the Yellowstone and down it to the lake and the falls; then across the Divide to the Madison River. They saw the geysers of the lower basin and named the river that drains them the Fire Hole.... The report of this party made quite a stir in St. Louis.”
Indian “Buffalo Jump”—Yellowstone Valley.
Green River Knife
Three significant events occurred in connection with the rendezvous of 1834.
(1) En route from St. Louis, Sublette and Campbell began the building of Fort Laramie (originally Fort William) on the North Platte.
(2) Nathaniel Wyeth, embarking on a second venture, brought in trade goods which were not accepted, and so resorted to the establishment of Fort Hall near the junction of the Snake and Portneuf. The advent of these two fixed trading posts prophesied an end to the traditional rendezvous system. Also
(3), at the rendezvous the partnership of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company was dissolved, Fraeb and Gervais selling out their interests. The remaining partners—Fitzpatrick, Bridger, and Milton Sublette—formed a new firm, but they made an agreement with Fontenelle which gave the American Fur Company a virtual monopoly of the Rocky Mountain fur trade.
In 1808 John Jacob Astor secured a charter from the state of New York creating the American Fur Company. The most ambitious of his schemes was the establishment 26of a trading post at the mouth of the Columbia River, to exploit the wealth of the Northwestern wilderness. To promote this enterprise, Astor organized the subsidiary Pacific Fur Company and sent out two expeditions, one of which went by sea around Cape Horn, while the other was to proceed overland along the route of Lewis and Clark. The overland Astorians achieved fame as the first transcontinental expedition after Lewis and Clark, but fate decreed that they should blaze their own trail—through Jackson’s Hole.
At the 1827 rendezvous at Bear Lake Jedediah Smith appeared like a ghost out of the Great Salt desert, reporting that the Spanish Governor of California had expelled him from that province. He arranged with his partners, Jackson and Sublette, to meet two years hence “at the head of Snake River.” Then, after a rest of only ten days, he summoned volunteers and again set his face toward the Pacific Ocean. In the winter of 1827-28, while Sublette attended to the business of getting supplies from St. Louis, Jackson sent fur brigades north from Bear Lake to the Snake River and its tributaries, where they came in frequent contact with the Hudson’s Bay Company trappers under Ogden. In 1828 the rendezvous was again Great Salt Lake, and again the trappers dispersed to hunting grounds on the Bear, the Snake, and the Green.
For a few years after Stuart’s party disappeared up Hoback Canyon, the Tetons and Jackson’s Hole were left in solitude. Due to the hostility of the Blackfeet, the loss of Astoria in the War of 1812, and the indifference of the Federal Government, American interest in the Western Fur trade suffered a relapse. British interests now took the initiative. In 1816 the Northwest Company, licensed by the Crown to trade in Oregon, put Donald McKenzie in charge of the Snake River division. From Fort Nez Perce at the mouth of the Walla Walla, he set forth in September of 1818 at the head of an expedition “composed of fifty-five men, of all denominations, 195 horses and 300 beaver traps, besides a considerable stock of merchandise.”
By the 17th of July the whiskey kegs were all empty, and the wild celebration which invariably climaxed every rendezvous of the fur traders perforce came to an end in Pierre’s Hole. On this day the combined companies of Nathaniel Wyeth and Milton Sublette set out for the lower Snake River. On the morning of the 18th they described a column of Gros Ventre tribesmen descending a hillside, “fantastically painted and arrayed, with scarlet blankets fluttering in the wind.” The ensuing conflict was a victory for the trappers. Some of the Indians escaped from their improvised fort into Jackson’s Hole, leaving perhaps twenty-six of their number dead, while their trail of blood suggested other heavy casualties.
Left to right - The In-Curve, the out-curve, the drop and the out-drop
The pitcher is the most important member of a ball team. Most of the work falls to him, and a good pitcher, even with a comparatively weak team behind him, can sometimes win games where a good team with a weak pitcher would lose. A good pitcher must first of all have a cool head and keep his nerve even under the most trying circumstances. He must also have good control of the ball and be able to pitch it where he wants it to go. After that he must have a knowledge of curves and know how by causing the ball to spin in a certain way to cause it to change its course and thus to deceive the batsman. The art of curving a ball was discovered in 1867. Before that time all that a pitcher needed was a straight, swift delivery. The three general classes of curved balls used to-day are the out-curve, the in-curve, and the drop. There are also other modifications called "the fade away," "the spitball," and others. Curve pitching will only come with the hardest kind of practice.
An Indian tepee
A type of camp fire that will burn all night
To make a fire that will burn in front of the tent all night, first drive two green stakes into the ground at a slant and about five feet apart. Then lay two big logs one on each side of a stake to serve as andirons. Build a fire between these logs and pile up a row of logs above the fire and leaning against the stakes. You may have to brace the stakes with two others which should have a forked end. When the lower log burns out the next one will drop down in its place and unless you have soft, poor wood the fire should burn for ten hours. With this kind of a fire and with a leanto, it is possible to keep warm in the woods, on the coldest, night in winter.
There are several kinds of ovens used for baking bread and roasting meat in outdoor life. The simplest way is to prop a frying pan up in front of the fire. This is not the best way but you will have to do it if you are travelling light. A reflector, when made of sheet iron or aluminum is the best camp oven. Tin is not so satisfactory because it will not reflect the heat equally. Both the top and bottom of the reflector oven are on a slope and midway between is a steel baking pan held in place by grooves. This oven can be moved about at will to regulate the amount of heat and furthermore it can be used in front of a blazing fire without waiting for a bed of coals. Such a rig can easily be made by any tinsmith. A very convenient folding reflector oven can be bought in aluminum for three or four dollars. When not used for baking, it makes an excellent dishpan.
A rabbit hutch or coop is easily built from old packing boxes. One third of the coop should be darkened and made into a nest, with an entrance door outside and the rest simply covered with a wire front, also with a door for cleaning and feeding. The hutch should stand on legs above ground as rabbits do not thrive well in dampness. They will, however, live out all winter in a dry place. A box four feet long and two feet wide will hold a pair of rabbits nicely. Rabbits will become very tame and may often be allowed full liberty about the place if there are no dogs to molest them.
The drawing shows a standard type of rabbit hutch. A boy who is handy with tools can easily build one. We can always dispose of the increase in our rabbit family to friends or to dealers.
A chicken coop for grown fowls can be of almost any shape, size, or material, providing that we do not crowd it to more than its proper capacity. The important thing is to have a coop that is dry, easily cleaned and with good ventilation, but without cracks to admit draughts. A roost made of two by four timbers set on edge with the sharp corners rounded off is better than a round perch. No matter how many roosts we provide, our chickens will always fight and quarrel to occupy the top one. Under the roost build a movable board or shelf which may easily be taken out and cleaned. Place the nest boxes under this board, close to the ground. One nest for four hens is a fair allowance. Hens prefer to nest in a dark place if possible. A modern, up-to-date coop should have a warm, windproof sleeping room and an outside scratching shed. A sleeping room should be provided with a window on the south side and reaching nearly to the floor.
The chief’s house, situated on top of a mound, overlooked the plaza area. The chief used the house as his living quarters as well as a reception area for visitors and subjects. The furnishings of the house included wooden beds covered with matting, and perhaps a wooden stump used as a stool. Reed or cane torches provided light. Servants waited on the chief, always keeping a respectful distance, and quickly meeting all of his needs. No one ever used the chief’s belongings or walked in front of him.
The chief was a highly honored and respected person, and his death was a time for great mourning. Ceremonies, dancing, and processions were part of the burial rituals that continued for several days. The chief’s wife, servants, and others who volunteered for the honor, were sedated and ritually strangled as part of the ceremonies. The bodies were placed on special raised tombs covered with branches and mud. After many weeks, the bones were removed and placed in baskets that were stored in the temple. Eventually, the bones were buried in a platform in the temple, or were buried in the mound when it was expanded. The deceased chief’s house was usually burned and might be covered with another layer of earth before the new chief’s house was built. The son of the dead chief’s sister would become the next ruler.
Daily life of ordinary people was much different than that of the elite. As far as we know, the former continued to live as they had during the earlier part of the period. They lived in circular houses in small villages located near their gardens and buried their dead in simple graves with few goods.
The men and women had very different daily tasks. Women took care of the young children; planted, tended and harvested the crops; cooked the meals; and made the pottery, baskets, mats and clothing. Men’s work consisted of housebuilding, canoe-making, and clearing land for gardens, along with defense, hunting, woodcutting, and making the tools for these chores. The men also had primary responsibilities for ritual and political activities.
As Meso-Indian family groups traveled, they met other hunting groups, and sometimes camped together. These were important times for social and ceremonial activities. They probably smoked pipes together and shared information about good hunting, fishing, and plant collecting areas.
Map showing the first settlements made on the Eastern coast of North America
Socially, the Indian had less liberty than the white man. He was bound by customs handed down from his forefathers. He could not marry outside his tribe. He could not sit in whatever seat he chose at a council. He could not even paint his face any color he fancied; for a young who had won no honors in battle would no mor ehave dared to decorate himself like a veteran warrior than a private soldier in the United States army would venture to appear at parade in the uniform of a major-general.
Each tribe had a "totem", ot badge to designate it. The "totem" was usually the picture of some animal. The totem was also used as a mark on gravestones, and as a seal.
The most ingenious work of the Indians was seen in the moccasin, the snow-shoe and the birch-bark canoe. The moccasin was a shoe made of buckskin, - durable, soft, pliant, noiseless. It was the best covering for a hunter's foot that human skill ever contrived.
The snow-shoe was a light frame of wood, covered with a network of strings of hide, and having such a broad surface that the wearer could walk on snow in the pursuit of game. Without it the Indian might have starved in a severe winter, since only by its use could he run down the deer at that season.
Section of Frobisher's map of the world, 1576.
Copied from Hakluyt.
It shows what the English explorer thought America was.
De Soto's Expedition 1539-1542
The outlines and names of states are given for convenience in tracing De Soto's course.
Map of 1515, showing what some geographers then supposed North America to be. This is one of the earliest maps on which the name America occurs. It will be notices that at that time it was confined to South America.
Columbus watching for land
Correct chart of westward route from Europe to Asia, for comparison with the chart of Columbus
The World as known shortly before the sailing of Columbus
A more correct estimate of the cataract than either of the preceding is that of M. Charlevoix, sent to Madame Maintenon, in 1721. After referring to the inaccurate accounts of Hennepin and La Hontan, he says: "For my own part, after having examined it on all sides, where it could be viewed to the greatest advantage, I am inclined to think we cannot allow it [the height] less than one hundred and forty or fifty feet." As to its figure, "it is in the shape of a horseshoe, and it is about four hundred paces in circumference. It is divided in two exactly in the center by a very narrow island, half a quarter of a league long." In relation to the noise of the falling water, he says: "You can scarce hear it at M. de Joncaire's [Fort Schlosser], and what you hear in this place [Lewiston] may possibly be the whirlpools, caused by the rocks which fill up the bed of the river as far as this."
On the 25th of June, 1850, occurred the great downfall which reduced Table Rock to a narrow bench along the bank. The portion which fell was one immense solid rock two hundred feet long, sixty feet wide, and one hundred feet deep where it separated from the bank. The noise of the crash was heard like muffled thunder for miles around. Fortunately it fell at noonday, when but few people were out, and no lives were lost. The driver of an omnibus, who had taken off his horses for their midday feed, and was washing his vehicle, felt the preliminary cracking and escaped, the vehicle itself being plunged into the gulf below.
The history of the navigation of the Rapids of Niagara may be appropriately concluded in this chapter, which is devoted to a notice of the remarkable man who began it, who had no rival and has left no successor in it—Joel R. Robinson.
In the summer of 1838, while some extensive repairs were being made on the main bridge to Goat Island, a mechanic named Chapin fell from the lower side of it into the rapids, about ten rods from the Bath Island shore. The swift current bore him toward the first small island lying below the bridge. Knowing how to swim, he made a desperate and successful effort to reach it. It is hardly more than thirty feet square, and is covered with cedars and hemlocks. Saved from drowning, he seemed likely to fall a victim to starvation. All thoughts were then turned to Robinson, and not in vain. He launched his light red skiff from the foot of Bath Island, picked his way cautiously and skillfully through the rapids to the little island, took Chapin in and brought him safely to the shore, much to the relief of the spectators, who gave expression to their appreciation of Robinson's service by a moderate contribution.