Volume 18 – 2024 Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal

Three Early J. & S. Hawken Prestige Rifles
By Nathan E. Bender, Robert A. Tetro, and Daniel W. Phariss

The story of a trio of remarkable weapons that helped define the craft of these famous gun makers. A trio of authors all well-versed in the study of early firearms, put this piece together. The accompanying images amplify the stunning nature of these rifles and confirm the artistry and skill of the Hawken brothers.

Packing Fur – A Pressing Matter
by Jim Hardee

The preparation of beaver hides for transportation to fur markets included compacting bulky stacks into more manageable bales. This article adds new detail to the available information surrounding this process. Numerous entries from period journals are examined to provide insight on baling, weighing, pressing, and packing bison robes, beaver skins and other fur.

Who’s Buried in Pinckney’s Tomb? The Two Deaths of Pinckney Sublette
by Carol Kuhn

Sublette County, Wyoming, home to the Museum of the Mountain Man, was named in honor of one or more of the Sublette brothers who spent so much time in the West. The captivating story of Pinckney, the middle of the five siblings, takes an in-depth look at the legend of this young man’s time in the Rockies, contrasting it to later reports that he was the last survivor on the male side of the family. The struggle to settle the eldest Sublette’s estate drags Pinckney into the middle of a decades long legal battle proving, once again, it is always about the money!

The Cost of a Hide Lodge: Historical Insights into the Value of Early 19th-Century Native American Shelters.
By Bradley C. Bailey

Readers seldom think about how much a mountaineer might invest in a place to live. Brad solves that in his examination. He breaks down the purchase of a tipi during the fur trade period, in terms of dollars, as well as trade goods. These skin lodges, typically of tanned bison hides, required a monumental amount of work before a trapper could move in and this article’s surmise of what it cost might be surprising.

Chief’s Coats, Capotes and Calico: Clothing Traded at Fort Hall 1834 to 1837
By Clay J. Landry

Maintaining his usual high-level investigation of material culture, Clay delves into the Fort Hall accounts once again. This time, the focus is on clothing and describes the operation of the trading post’s tailor shop, an innovative enterprise of the entrepreneurial Nathaniel Wyeth. Trousers, pantaloons and breeches – read the article to learn the difference.

Governor Simpson and the HBC Snake River Brigade: 1818-1846
By John C. Jackson

Historian John C. Jackson, a name most readers will recognize, submitted this article just before his passing in 2015. The article languished in the RMFTJ files until last year when some associates convinced the Editorial Board to revamp Jackson’s paper and make his last foray into fur trade history available to the public. It is a fairly critical review of how Hudson’s Bay Company Governor George Simpson micro-managed trapping brigades in the Pacific Northwest. Some of these details of the early Snake River Brigades, particularly the near-defiant viewpoints of some of the brigade leaders, have seldom been scrutinized in this light.

Three Worlds Meet, Interpreting the 1837 Rendezvous with Alfred Jacob Miller: From Pencil Sketches to Live Theatrical Performances
By James C. Auld

It is hard to believe it has been ten years since this project traveled across the pond to present the multicultural story of fur trapping in the Rockies. In honor of that milestone, the Museum is adding documentary footage of the events to its online presence. Founded in 2011, the show was eventually staged in Wyoming, Scotland and Ireland. It used artwork by Alfred Jacob Miller in tableaux vivant format to demonstrate the collaborations of trappers, Native Americans, and higher-class Euro-Americans at rendezvous and throughout the mountains. Included in this volume’s pages are a few examples of additions to the museum’s webpages highlighting this memorable historical production.

In Memoriam: Fred R. Gowans (1936-2023)
by Jay H. Buckley

For those who have not heard, Fred Gowans, one of the foremost scholars of the Rocky Mountain fur trade, passed away in December, 2023. Fred, Professor Emeritus of History at Brigham Young University, was a strong supporter of this Museum and was instrumental in establishing the academic credentials of this publication. He was a fascinating speaker and many readers have attended his talks or read his books. On top of that, he was a fine, down-to-earth man who could tell the story of John Colter better than anyone.

Editorial Board & Staff
Jim Hardee (Editor), Clint Gilchrist, Nathan E. Bender, Tim Tanner, William R. Swagerty, Angie Thomas, Dawn Ballou.

Peer Reviewers
Don Arp Jr., PhD; Vic Nathan Barkin; Bruce Belason; Michael T. Bies; Allen Chronister, JD; S. Matt DeSpain, PhD; Jerry Enzler; John Fisher; Todd D. Glover; William W. “Bill” Gwaltney; Keith “Moki” Hipol; Thomas H. Holloway, PhD; Mark William Kelly, JD; Alan McFarland; Mike Moore; Scott “Doc Ivory” Olsen, DDS; Gary Peterson; Michael Schaubs; Mark Schreiter; PhD, Darby Stapp; PhD, Mark van de Logt, PhD; E. Rick Williams; David Wright