Volume 8 – 2014


William H. Ashley’s Newly Discovered 1826 Fur Trade Journal
Describes how the diary was found and eventually made its way into the archives of the Campbell House Museum in St. Louis Museum.  Includes the complete diary with transcriptions.  By Jay H. Buckley

1836 and 1838: When White Girls Crashed the Party
Conveys thought-provoking observations about the impact the presence of these women had on the rendezvous they attended.  By Jill R. Ottman

Smith, Jackson & Sublette:  A Difficult Partnership
A challenge to the accepted viewpoints regarding the business dealings of the three men, providing a particularly critical assessment of Jedediah Smith’s contribution to the enterprise.  By John C. Jackson

The Blackfoot Road to Plunder
An explanation of the Blackfoot tribe’s migration and trade routes that took them north and south along the Rocky Mountain Range from Alberta, Canada to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  By Paul M. Raczka

Jedediah Smith’s Disaster at Defeat River
Looks at clues found in first-hand reports as well as an on-the-ground search for further hints that help pinpoint the site of Smith’s camp that was overrun by Kelawatset Indians leaving few survivors.  By James C. Auld 


James C. Auld is an author and independent scholar of early nineteenth-century Western American fur trade history and a frequent contributor to the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal.  In 2005, Auld researched and appeared in the History Channel film, “Taming the Wild West:  The Legend of Jedediah Smith.”  He served for 8 years on the Board of Directors of the Jedediah Smith Society.  He is the executive director of the Three Worlds Meet project, headed to Scotland and Northern Ireland in September 2014.  For more information, visit www.threeworldsmeet.com

Dr. Jay H. Buckley is an Associate Professor of history at Brigham Young University.  His specialties include Lewis & Clark, exploration & migration, Indian white relations, fur trade, and other western themes.  He is the author of the award-winning William Clark: Indian Diplomat (University of Oklahoma Press, 2008).  Buckley has co-authored volumes on Meriwether Lewis and Zebulon Pike.  His current book project is A Fur Trade History of the Great Plains and Canadian Prairies (Plains Histories series, Texas Tech University Press).

John C. Jackson has published seven books on the North American fur trade since 1993.  Until his string runs out, he will keep working on a final saga, this one about mixed-bloods.  Jackson’s research files have been transferred to the archives of the Museum of the Mountain Man, where he hopes others will find them useful.

Jill R. Ottman holds a bachelor of science in geography from the University of Wyoming and is pursuing her graduate degree in historical geography.  She is a regular contributor to the “Writers of Wyoming” column in the Casper Star Tribune.  Her lifelong interest in the history of the American West and the Oregon Trail kicked into high gear when she moved to Wyoming in 2004.

Paul M. Raczka has been involved with the Blackfoot people for over forty years in traditional cultural land use studies regarding the traditional boundaries of the Blackfoot Nation, cultural impact studies and oral history.  He has written extensively on Blackfoot art form and function as well as traditional cultural property issues.  Recently completed, and due for publication, is a history of the Blackfoot people, in their words and viewpoint, based on their oral history and fourteen surviving winter counts.  


Dr. John L. Allen is a well-known teacher, lecturer, and author in historical geography.  A native of Laramie, Wyoming, Dr. Allen is the author of numerous books and articles, including Lewis and Clark and the Image of the American Northwest and Jedediah Smith and the Fur Traders of the American West.  He was editor and primary contributing author of the three-volume collection, North American Exploration.  Dr. Allen’s current research interests include the changing landscape of the American West in the nineteenth century and the Jeffersonian period of Rocky Mountain fur trade explorations.

Brad Bailey is a member of the American Mountain Man and founding member of the Rocky Mountain Outfit party.  His primary interest is the material culture and skills of the mountaineers and Native Americans.  He is an accomplished brain tanner and spends much of his time “on the ground” recreating the lifestyle of the mountaineers.  He resides in Centennial, Colorado.

Stephen V. Banks of Dubois, Wyoming is a lecturer and re-enactor of the Rocky Mountain fur trade.  Banks studied western history at the University of Wyoming, has written several articles and produced a website for Wyoming’s K-12 school about this time period.  Banks is a retired IT consultant for the Dubois School District.

Mike Bryant has been an independent scholar and avid historian of the early West for over forty years.  Combining geography with his geologic profession, Bryant has focused his fur trade interests on retracing trails that crisscrossed the upper Missouri Basin and searching for the physical an archeological evidence of those features.  He enjoys muzzleloading, buckskinning, and mastering the skills that are associated with each discipline.  He is presently retracing and documenting the Bad Pass trail along the west rim of the Big Horn Canyon.

Allen Chronister is a retired attorney and independent researcher with a lifelong interest in the history and people of the American West.    He maintains particular interests in the history and ethnology of Native Americans and the material culture of the fur trade.

Dr. S. Matthew DeSpain is a lecturer in the Native American Studies program at the University of Oklahoma, where he teaches a wide range of courses related to Native American and western American history, government, and culture.  He direct publication of the Native American student journal Native Matters and serves as editor of the Journal of Chickasaw History and Culture.  His current research focuses on cultural collision in the American Est, masculine identity in the West, and social constructs in the Far West fur trade.

O. N. (Ned) Eddins is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in Afton, Wyoming.  He has extensively researched the plains Indians and the mountain men of the Rocky Mountain fur trade.  Dr.  Eddins has written two historical novels, Mountains of Stone and The Winds of Change.  His website, www.thefurtrapper.com, features well-documented history on the America’s western expansion.

Jerry Enzler is a historian of the West who is completing a new biography of Jim Bridger.  He is the founding director of the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, a Smithsonian affiliated ten acre campus, and has created and scripted more than fifty museum exhibits including “Lewis and Clark’s Excellent Adventure” and “The Rivers of America.”  Enzler is a frequent speaker at national forums, and has appeared numerous times on national television.  He lives on the Mississippi River in East Dubuque, Illinois.

Dick Gadler earned a degree in history from the University of San Diego.  He has an active interest in antique firearms and other weapons.  He has led numerous independent studies on antique arms, their makers, uses and consumers.  Owning and examining thousands of antique arms over a fifty-year span has given him a broad appreciation and knowledge of these items.

Clay Landry is an avid researcher, whose study and writing on the material culture items used by the men of the Rocky Mountain fur trade has resulted in numerous published essays.  A registered researcher with the Fur Trade Research Center, Landry has presented paper son fur trade material culture at numerous fur trade symposia.  He has conducted demonstrations and seminars on mountaineer clothing, food, horse gear and trade goods at various national historic sites throughout the West.

David F. Morris holds graduate degrees in Historic Preservation, Library Science, and Park & Resource Management. Morris has particular interests in the Western frontier and the built environment, and has been involved with historic preservation in several locations across the country, including volunteering with the National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service, and Kootenai County, Idaho. He is currently an Architectural Historian for the National Park Service in Anchorage, Alaska.

Dr. James A. Hanson is a recognized expert on frontier material culture, frequently called on to identify, authenticate, or appraise objects by museums and collectors.  He recently completed an appraisal of the one million objects retrieved from the steamboat Arabia which sunk in the Missouri River in 1856 near Kansas City, Missouri,  Dr. Hanson is also the author and illustrator of the eight-volume Sketchbook series about voyageurs, buffalo hunters, and mountain men.  The most recent of his fourteen published books is When Skins Were Money:  a History of the Fur Trade.  Hanson, who holds a PhD in American history and anthropology from the University of Wyoming, has done field research on American Indian history and Indian=White relations from Alaska to Mexico and Vancouver to Virginia.  His current research project is a six-volume encyclopedia of Indian trade goods; the first volume, “Firearms of the Fur Trade,” appeared in 2010.  A popular lecturer and panelist, he is presently historian and editor for the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, Nebraska.

Dr. Don Hardesty is a professor of anthropology and Director of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Nevada, Reno.  His research interests have focused on the archaeology and history of the American Est from Alaska to California, overland emigration, frontier mining settlements, and historical landscapes and environments.  His publications include:  The Archaeology of the Donner Party; The Archaeology of Mining and Miners; Ecological Anthropology; and Assessing Site Significance:  A Guide for Archaeologists and Historians (with Barbara Little).

Mike Moore is a lecturer and author, with over 150 articles to his credit and four books on the early American West.  He has appeared on the History Channel and has been a staff writer for On the Trail magazine for thirteen years.

Scott “Doc Ivory” Olsen is a Hiverano member of the American Mountain Men, and has ridden primitive, long-distance horse packing trips for twenty-six years.  Olsen has authored many articles for buckskining magazines, provided demonstrations for many schools and gatherings and is co-author of the book Supply and Demand:  the ledgers and Gear of the Western Fur Trade.  His current series on National Geographic TV, Hard Riders, depicts the history, tools and skills of the original mountaineers.

Mike Powell has been a historian of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Rocky Mountain fur trade era for twenty years.  A member of the American Mountain Men for more than ten years Powell consults, sets up displays, and provides demonstration s and lectures on the Rocky Mountain fur trade era for organizations, museums, libraries and schools.

Dean Rudy a student of western history, is a member of the American Mountain Men, and the creator of the “Mountain Men and the Fur Trade: website (www.mtnmen.org).  He holds degrees from Cornell University and the University of Utah and currently lives in Park City, Utah.

Dr. Mark Schreiter spent much of his early life in the mountains of Wyoming and Montana.  He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Idaho and specializes in environmental and Native American history of the Pacific Northwest.  His fur trade studies focus on trappers’ relationships with tribes of the upper Missouri.  A long-time wilderness ranger and fire lookout for the U.S. Forest Service, Schreiter is currently professor of history and humanities with the University of Alaska at Kodiak College.

William Scurlock has been the president of Scurlock Publishing Company since 1987 and publishes works of colonial, frontier history and living history.  Since 1979 he has served as the editor of Muzzleloader magazine and also edited The Book of Buckskinning I-VIII (1981-1999).  Scurlock is a member of the Museum of the Fur Trade, the Kentucky Rifle Association, the Contemporary Longrifle Association and the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association.

Dr. Darby Stapp has spent thirty years studying the history and archaeology for the Pacific Northwest.  For much of that time, Stapp worked on understanding and protecting important cultural and historic resources at the Hanford Reach National Monument, Mid-Columbia River, in Washington State.  Stapp established Northwest Anthropology LLC to conduct cultural resource impact studies for tribes and agencies in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Pat Surrena spent many years as a news reported and photojournalist, and is widely published in many trade publications. Surrena has devoted more than three decades studying and re-enacting the history of the fur trade, colonial American and the Old West.  He is a member of the American Mountain Men, and is a board member of both the Oregon-California Trails Association and The Zebulon Pike National Historic Trail.

Dr.  William Swagerty has taught college-level American History since 1977 and has presented papers at many fur trade symposia over the past thirty years.  Swagerty is especially interested in the labor and social histories of fur trade personnel, including employment histories, marriage, and retirement patterns.  A second interest is the material culture of the fur trade, especially blankets and trade cloth.  He is director of the John Muir Center and professor of history at University of the Pacific, Stockton, California.

Tim Tanner was educated at Utah State University and the California Art Institute, and embarked on a career as an illustrator in 1989.  His artwork has graced the pages of national best-sellers and many popular magazines.  An avid historian and fur trade re-enactor since the late 1970s, Tanner is a member of the American Mountain Men, and a founding member of the American Longrifle Association.  Tanner is on the art faculty at Brigham Young University/Idaho.

Dr. Brad Tennant is an associate professor of history at Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota.  Tennant is an active researched, writer, and presenter on a variety of topics related to the northern plains and the American West.  He currently serves as the president of the Board of Trustees for the South Dakota State Historical Society.

Cliff Tiffie of Durant, Oklahoma, is an avid horseman who has researched and practiced numerous aspects of fur trade history over twenty-five years.  He travels the routes of the mountain men on horseback using period-correct tack and the lessons learned from studying trapper journals.  Tiffie is a member of the American Mountain Men and is the current Booshway of the Upper Missouri Outfit.

Melissa Tiffie of Durant, Oklahoma, has spent her life from childhood reenacting fur trade history.  She enjoys and has mastered many of the crafts and skills of the early West and has researched fur trade history with a focus on women’s roles in the Rocky Mountain area.  Tiffie is a member of the Women of the Fur Trade and has been involved in several research projects including editing fur trade articles and related books.

Dale F. Topham, a native of Orem, Utah, received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Brigham Young University.  He is presently a doctoral candidate in American History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Scott Walker became fascinated by the Rocky Mountain fur trade as a kid.  Since, then he has followed the trails of trappers and traders through their writings, and gained a hands-on sense of their lives as a member of the American Mountain Men.   Recently relocated to the Chicago area, Scott is studying British Isles and American fiddle music of the early nineteenth century to recreate tunes of the rendezvous period in a style those trappers would have heard around camp fires and trading posts.

Editorial Team and Production Staff

Jim Hardee, Editor, has served as the director of the Fur Trade Research Center since 1998 and has been a member of the editorial board of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal since its inception. He has published numerous articles and books on the Rocky Mountain fur trade, most recently Pierre’s Hole! The Fur Trade History of Teton Valley, Idaho. Hardee served as the historical and technical advisor of the History Channel presentation, “Taming the Wild West” and was featured in the program. He has presented research papers at symposiums and conferences across the nation.

Angie Thomas – Managing Editor, is the Publications Director at Museum of the Mountain Man and Sublette County Historical Society.

Fred R. GowansEditor Emeritus, PhD, professor emeritus of Western American history, Brigham Young University, is the Historian in Residence of the Museum of the Mountain Man.

Clint Gilchrist, Consulting Editor, is a past president of the Board of Directors for the Musuem of the Mountain Man and Sublette County Historical Society.

Laurie HartwigDirector, BS, University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the Director of the Sublette County Historical Society and the Museum of the Mountain Man.

Sue Sommers of Sommers Studio – layout, design and production.


The Sublette County Historical Society would like to thank the Sublette County Museum Board and the Sublette County Commission for providing the funding to make this publication possible.

Sublette County Museum Board
Van Huffman, Chairman
Mark Eatinger
Clint Gilchrist
Tim Thompson
Becky Thompson

Sublette County Commissioners

Joel Bousman, Chairman
Andy Nelson
Jim Latta


For more information on the Journal contact the Museum of the Mountain Man, PO Box 909, Pinedale, Wyoming 82941 – Email: journal@mmmuseum.com – Phone: 877-686-6266 – Fax: 307-367-6768