As the Journal continues to grow, we are lucky to have the help of a team of 50 people to make the third edition of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal a great success. We appreciate all the authors that were willing to submit papers and give this publication a chance. We also owe a debt of gratitude to the peer reviewers who lent us their expertise and credibility, trusting that this new unknown publication would be worthy of their participation.
Revisiting the Colter Legend
by John C. Jackson
The Taos Whiskey Trade
by Joe Kierst
An American Fur Company Northwest Trade Gun
by Barry C. Bohnet
“Formidable Men and Heroes:”
The Forgotten Delaware Mountaineers
by Doyle Reid
Alfred Jacob Miller:
The Artist and the Greenhorn,
Lost and Found in Wind River Country, 1837
by Chavawn Kelley
The Spanish Saddle:
Choice of the Rocky Mountain Fur Men
by Clay Landry
A Fur Trader’s Tale of Saving the Bison
by Ken Zontek, Ph.D.
Originally from Michigan, Barry C. Bohnet served in the U.S. Navy from 1963 to 1967. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Design from the University of Michigan. He is currently retired from the State of Florida where he worked as a supervisor in the Juvenile Probation Department. He is an artist and designer, a lifelong black powder shooter and, more pertinent to his article, a gun maker. Bohnet has previously published articles in the Journal of Historical Arms Making Technology. He is an occasional speaker on historical subjects for the Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution, The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, Georgia State Parks, Fort King George, as well as schools and other organizations.
John C. Jackson cut his history teeth on the first biography of David E. Jackson, and may have to switch to dentures after critics of the best biography to date of Meriwether Lewis get through with him and his partner, Thomas C. Danisi. A graphic designer for twenty years in Portland, Oregon, Jackson has written books on Metis in the Pacific Northwest, Piikani Blackfeet, Indian wars and Indian politics. He is presently editing a history of the North West Company Columbia Adventure after time ran out for his friend Lloyd Keith. No matter where the data leads, he adheres to the Jackson family commandment, “always tell the truth no matter who gets hurt.”
Chavawn Kelley earned an MA in American Studies from the University of Wyoming. She has received literature fellowships from the Wyoming Arts Council, the Ucross Foundation, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation and Can Serrat International Arts Center (Spain). In 2001, she presented on Miller at the British Association of American Studies Annual Conference and was invited to visit Murthly Castle in Scotland, home of William Drummond Stewart. In 2005, she designed the exhibits for the Alfred Jacob Miller Classroom at the American Heritage Center in Laramie, Wyoming. She lives in Laramie with her husband and son.
Joe Kierst was born in Taos, NM, and at an early age became an author and independent scholar of the history and skills of the Western fur trade. He has won several awards for both fiction and nonfiction writing. Since graduating high school in 2005 he has divided his time between attending college and running the rendezvous circuit. He is a member of the New Mexico Mountain Men.
An avid researcher, Clay Landry’s 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, Clay has presented papers on fur trade material culture at the 1997, 2000 and 2006 Fur Trade Symposiums. He has conducted demonstrations and seminars on mountaineer clothing, food, horse gear and trade goods at various national historic sites throughout the West. He has served as a Journal reviewer and this is his second article for the publication.
Doyle Reid has been involved in historical reenactment for almost thirty years and is a founding member of the Wind River Party of the American Mountain Men. He resides in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming, living in a log home he built with the help of his wife Debbie, son Walter and daughter Heather. This article is his second for the Journal.
An ethnic and environmental historian, Ken Zontek teaches at Yakima Valley Community College (YVCC). His monograph Buffalo Nation: The American Indian Effort to Restore the Bison (University of Nebraska Press, 2007) won the American Library Association’s Best of the Best University Press Award in 2008. He plans a forthcoming study analyzing the impact of the HBC’s “fur desert” on the inland Northwest. He also founded YVCC’s Afghan Women’s Education Project, a by-product of his ongoing military service in Afghanistan. This article is his second for the Journal.
Rich Aarstad, like most fur trade enthusiasts, started reading about mountain men at an early age. In 2001, he was offered the position of Lewis and Clark Reference Historian for the Montana Historical Society. He served as a Montana representative on the David Thompson Bicentennials Committee and co-chaired “Beyond Borders and Boundaries: David Thompson and the North American Fur Trade” symposium in 2007. Since then Aarstad has published an article and several book reviews in Montana, The Magazine of Western History.
James Auld is an author and independent scholar of early nineteenth century Western American fur trade history. He lives in Seattle, Washington. He attended the University of Wyoming and holds a history degree from Northern Illinois University. Auld has researched and written about the life and times of Jedediah Smith for over fifteen years, concentrating on Smith’s early travels from Ohio to Illinois, and his Pacific Northwest Expedition of 1828. For more information visit
Steve 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 and has written several articles and produced a web site for Wyoming’s K-12 schools about this time period. Banks is a technology consultant for the Dubois School District.
Nathan Bender is a special collections librarian and archivist at the University of Idaho. He previously headed the McCracken Research Library of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming and the special collections and archives of Montana State University Libraries in Bozeman, Montana. He has published on western history, folklore, American Indian studies, libraries and bibliography in numerous periodicals.
Roger Bloomquist started his fur trade journey working on historical movies, including “The Great American West” and “National Geographic’s Lewis and Clark.” He studied the fur trade under Dr. Fred Gowans, and Lewis and Clark under Dr. Gary Moulton. He is an expert on saddles from Old West Wyoming. Bloomquist is currently working on two books on saddles and has published an article on the topic in Annals of Wyoming. He has consulted for the Museum of the Mountain Man, photographing and cataloging its saddle collection.
Mike Bryant has enjoyed muzzle loaders since 1972. He grew up with visions of Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Mike Fink, and Andy Burnett stirring his imagination. Living in the West, along the forks of the Yellowstone River, Bryant still marvels at its grandeur. His first rendezvous was the National Association of Primitive Riflemen nationals in 1976, high in the Bitteroots of western Montana and he has enjoyed reliving the Rocky Mountain fur trade ever since.
Michael Casler is a graduate of North Dakota State University. He worked for the National Park Service as a Park Ranger at Fort Union Trading Post NHS for fifteen years. He was the NPS Lewis & Clark Coordinator for North Dakota during the bicentennial. He has published two books: Steamboats of the Fort Union Fur Trade (1999) and The Original Journal of Charles Larpenteur (2007) plus numerous articles on steamboats and the fur trade.
Allen Chronister is a researcher and writer with special interests in the material culture of the Plains Indians and the western fur trade. He has published thirty papers on those topics in journals, periodicals and books over the past twenty years.
Dr. S. Matthew DeSpain is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Oklahoma. He is also the editor of The Journal of Chickasaw History and Culture and a tribal historian for the Chickasaw Nation.
Bruce “Burnt Spoon” Druliner has been associated with the American Mountain Men since 1983. His winter quarters are at his cabin on Palomar Mountain, where he teaches outdoor education for the San Diego County Department of Education. Druliner migrates north in the summer, living in and conducting tours of the reconstructed Old Fort Benton trading post in Montana.
O. N. (Ned) Eddins is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine living in Afton, Wyoming. He has done extensive research on the Plains Indians and mountain men related to the Rocky Mountain fur trade. Eddins is the author of the historical novel Mountains of Stone and is the founder of TheFurTrapper.com website.
Doug Erickson is College Archivist and head of Special Collections at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where he has worked for fourteen years. He has published two books on Lewis and Clark and teaches courses at Portland State University on the American West, Archives and Special Collections. He has served as a consultant to many agencies, businesses and organizations.
Brenda D. Francis, MA, Brigham Young University, was editor and co-author of The Fur Trade & Rendezvous of the Green River Valley (Sublette County Historical Society, 2005). She currently works as an engineering manager for a major software company.
Dick Gadler earned a degree in history from the University of San Diego, specializing in the Spanish Borderlands and the early West. He has an active interest in antique firearms and other weapons. He has led numerous independent studies on antique arms, their makers, their consumers, and the circumstances under which they were used. Owning and examining thousands of antique arms over a 50-year span has given him a broad appreciation and knowledge of these items. Gadler finds the most interesting of all to be the guns of the early West and the fur trade period.
Todd D. Glover has been an avid fur trade historian for the past thirty years. He spends much of his time researching, experimenting and recreating the lifestyle of the original Rocky Mountain based trappers and traders. He is a member of the American Mountain Men.
Don Hardesty is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. He has served as president of the Society for Historical Archaeology, the Register of Professional Archaeologists, and the Mining History Association. His research interests have focused on the archaeology and history of the American West 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).
Gene Hickman has for many years worked as a historical interpreter, focusing on Lewis & Clark and the western fur trade, and working with the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and others. He has written numerous articles related to the western fur trade, Lewis & Clark, and Indian sign language. He also authored, through an NPS grant, a manual for interpreting Lewis & Clark. Hickman is a Hivaranno in the American Mountain Men and currently serves as the Brigade Booshway for Montana and North Dakota.
Jourdan and Fraser Houston are authorities on the officials and artists of the 1859 Lander expedition, which surveyed and improved a trail across the Green River headwaters in what is now Sublette County, Wyoming. The Houstons address their Western research and writing to American artists who traversed the trans-Mississippi frontier before the advent of railroads. In addition, they have published extensively on Eastern landscape artists born before 1830.
Alex Miller is a member of the Barren River Party of the American Mountain Men and lives in the Klamath River Mountains of Northern California. He is a staff writing tutor and adjunct instructor at College of the Siskiyous and a regular contributor to Muzzleloader Magazine. He is also the author of A Chronology of the American Fur Trade, a two-volume history work documenting the fur trade from its colonial roots through its Golden Age.
Mike Moore has written about the western American fur trade for more than a decade as a staff writer at various magazines. He has more than one hundred and twenty articles on the early West to his credit, has published four books and has appeared on the History Channel. Moore maintains a large online database of people who lived in the early West and references to them in journals and diaries. He is a member of the Western Writers of America.
Kerry Oman received his doctorate from Southern Methodist University. He is a two-time Spur Award winner from the Western Writers of America for articles written about the mountain men.
Wynn B. Ormond earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Utah State University School of Business and is the proud father of three boys. He has published in the Tomahawk and Long Rifle. An experienced horseman, Ormond took his first ride with the American Mountain Men in 1999, which inspired his study of horse equipment and techniques of the Rocky Mountain fur trappers. He researches and builds period saddles and equipment and puts them to the test on the trail.
Gary Peterson and his wife Patty have lived and worked in Buffalo, Wyoming for the past thirty years. Peterson is an avid hunter, black powder enthusiast and student of western history. The Big Horn Mountains and Powder River country have provided him with a rich setting in which to pursue these interests. Peterson has written for Muzzle Loader Magazine and We Proceeded On, the quarterly of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation.
Mike Powell has been a historian of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Rocky Mountain fur trade era for nineteen years. A member of the American Mountain Men for ten years, Powell consults, sets up displays, and provides demonstrations 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.mtmen.org). He holds degrees from Cornell University and the University of Utah and currently lives in Park City, Utah.
Mark Schreiter spent much of his early life in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. 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. Schreiter is professor of history and humanities and Chair of Academic Affairs at the University of Alaska/Kodiak College, as well as a budding documentary filmmaker (he aspires to become the Ken Burns of Alaska and is currently working on an environmental history of the Kodiak brown bear).
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). His love of history and the fur trade traces back to the “Daniel Boone” TV series of his youth. 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.
Roderick Sprague is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Laboratory of Anthropology, Director Emeritus from the University of Idaho, Moscow where he taught for 30 years. He holds a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Arizona. Sprague’s research has focused on culture change, burials, and historical archaeology during the protohistoric period and into the fur trade era of the Northwestern Plateau, with an emphasis on glass and ceramic trade beads and buttons, and the categorization of fur trade artifacts in general. He has published over one hundred journal articles, book chapters, and books.
Darby Stapp has focused his fur trade research on the Columbia River drainage. His master’s thesis involved a study of copper and brass trade goods found at Native American sites and their origins in the eighteenth-century sea-based fur trade dominated by Spanish, English and American traders. Stapp lives near the ruins of Hudson’s Bay Company Fort Nez Perces (1821-1855) at the Mouth of the Walla Walla River in Washington State, where he continues to study the impacts of the fur trade on the indigenous inhabitants.
William Swaggerty’s interest in the fur trade of the Far West was sparked by Harvey L. Carter’s course on the American West at Colorado College in 1971. He has taught college-level American history since 1977 and has presented papers at many fur trade symposia over the past thirty years. Swaggerty 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 currently is director of the John Muir Center and professor of history at University of the Pacific, Stockton.
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 popular magazines, including publications from Simon & Schuster, Ballantine Books, Bantam, Dell, Doubleday, Reader’s Digest, Outdoor Life, and Field & Stream. 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. He currently chairs that organization’s National Standing Committee on Authenticity. Tanner is on the art faculty at Brigham Young University/Idaho and makes his home in “Pierre’s Hole” (Teton Valley), Idaho.
Dale F. Topham is a native of Orem, Utah, and received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Brigham Young University. He is presently pursuing a doctorate degree in American history at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Mark Wagner has been a lifelong researcher and nationally recognized collector of artifacts used during the fur trapper and trader era of the late 1700s through early 1800s. Wagner grew up in Minnesota and developed a passion for the outdoors and a deep appreciation for older accoutrements that show evidence of hard use.
Rick Williams is currently serving as an administrator for Brigham Young University, and is a member of the American Mountain Men. He has also participated in the Living History Days presentations to school children in May at the Museum of the Mountain Man.
Editorial Team and Production Staff
Jim Hardee, Editor, graduated from the University of the Pacific, Stockton, California. He has served as Director of the Fur Trade Research Center since 1998. He is the Museum Factor for the American Mountain Men Association and is the former president of the Jedediah Smith Society.
Fred R. Gowans, Editor 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, Managing Editor, is a member of the Board of Directors for the Musuem of the Mountain Man and Sublette County Historical Society.
Laurie Hartwig, Director, 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.
Angie Thomas – graphics acquisition. Museum of the Mountain Man and Sublette County Historical Society.
Millie Pape, Business Manager for Museum of the Mountain Man and Sublette County Historical Society.
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
Dale Jensen, Chairman
Sublette County Commissioners
Bill Cramer, Chairman
For more information on the Journal, download the supporting documents linked on the side bar or contact the Museum of the Mountain Man, PO Box 909, Pinedale, Wyoming 82941 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – Phone: 877-686-6266 – Fax: 307-367-6768