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THE MOUNTAIN MEN. MOUNTAIN MEN. Prime period 1820-1840 Only about 200-300 a year Lured by the west Opportunity to make money. Illiterate Uneducated Primitive Relatively young Reckless Adventuresome In need of money However, some had college degrees and were very refined.

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

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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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 1840’s

  7. 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)

  8. Beaver Skin Hats

  9. Where trappers sold pelts: • Either in Taos, New Mexico • Caravan that brought supplies to annual “rendezvous”

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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

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

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

  16. MOUNTAIN MEN • 1840’s 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

  17. Legacy of Mountain Men Discovered trail & passes Established relations with Native Americans Established trade routes and trails west

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. BENT’S 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

  21. BENT’S 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





  26. BENT’S 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





  31. BENT’S FORT • William Bent married a Cheyenne woman-Good relations with Indians • US annexed Texas in 1845 –Mexicans viewed this as an act of war • Bent’s Fort was used as an advance base and rendezvous for General Kearney (1650 troops); because of this trade stopped

  32. BENT’S 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

  33. 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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