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The Fur trade and mountainmen

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  • The Fur trade and mountainmen

    When i was growing up, these stories were still being told by the old timers up on the Lllano. Their history is well represented in the exstant lit... but amazingly enough it's been glossed over in certain respects by events that would occur after it's hey day. Altho traping is still ongoing in America and elsewhere, it's not to the extent or obviously under the conditions of the time of the old west and even earlier as Frenchman and Englishman, strove to gain supremacy in the northern half of a new continent..

    I trapped muskrats and fox as a kid...and shot rabbits to sell skins for pocket money....and even when freezing my ass off, felt like them old timers were watching over me; them and my pesky red cousins and maybe even nodding in approval.

    As kids we pretended to be a Bent or Bridger or Bass or a Pierre 'whatisname' and we idiolized the spirit of freedom and adventure and harrowing conditions of survival, they had to actually exsist in.

    These men and women, as the trade developed and died out, it's been said; represented the 'real spirit of the west', long before the wagon trains of pioneer farmers and ranchers moved out along the Oregon trail and or became established from St. Louis to Astoria or Austin to Billings.

    Cattle drivers and Mining interests and railroads, took up their footsteps, thru Raton, Wolf Creek or 4th of July Pass, and hundreds more. Or crossed the Red, the Republican, the Missouri and Arkansas Rivers; and eventually saw the wonders, that were in Yellowstone, the Green River, the Snake river, the San Juan river, Crater Lake, and the Grand Canyon.... all because of these very early frontier individuals and groups of people who formed the famous trapping companies.

    These were mainly solitary souls. Who would wander the frontslope and west, of the great Rocky mountains, far out into the great basin, across the Sierra Nevada, to the Pacific. Or down into the mountains of Northern Mexico across the Mogollon rim....or equally, as far north into Canada, as a Mackenzie river country, winter would allow.

    To say they assisted in the expansion of the frontier in America and Canada is an understatement.

    These intrepid individuals, who names are legion, mostly unknown, were in effect the first scouts, and explorers of youthful nations. Certainly in America, even before the L/C expedition and the likes of Pike and Kearney.

    And their stories, of majesty of land and waters and bounty of wildlife and flora, became a major reason why national interests focused and expanded, west of the Appalachia.

    Many good sites to research from and below is one.


    "The fur trade in North America began almost as soon as Europeans began their explorations of the North American mainland. This is a brief description of the most significant events in the 250 years during which the fur trade flourished. This period of time can be roughly divided into three sections, the "French Era" from 1600 to 1760. The "British Era" from 1760 to 1816. And the "American Era" from 1816 to 1850. By 1850, the fur trade had mostly come to an end, but not for the reasons you might assume. You can read through the events in the order they occurred, or you can move to a particular period by clicking on the "Era" that interests you the most. However, you may have trouble following some later events if you haven't looked at earlier ones first."
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    In a day or two i'll be heading north again and i'll be gone awhile; crossing rivers and thru pass' and out and onto the prairies and then west a bit, towards the Tetons, as i take my semi annual excursion of America.

    I do it, i suppose, because i can and no longer have the commitments, i once did. But each time i go, i am minded of the 'feet' who were there before me....and that's a Good thing.

    So when you get a chance, you do it too and maybe, just maybe, you'll be crossing over an area where them mountainmen, natives, and trappers, miners, and eventually soldiers and other pioneer types, once did before you.. History is always around just have to reach out and touch it.

    Last edited by Centrix Vigilis; 21 Jul 07, 17:15.

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