Volume 6 – 2012

The sixth issue of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal is now complete and available for purchase online through the trading post . We appreciate all the authors, peer reviewers, and staff who lent us their expertise and credibility.


Zackary Perch Claims the Northwest
Who was the man behind two mysterious 1807 letters challenging British encroachment on the waters of the Columbia?
by John C. Jackson

Who Was Roy?
Discovering whose name was chiseled in 1814 on a rock in southwest Wyoming provides the earliest evidence for American traders west of South Pass.
by John Eldredge

The Mexican Connection
The Southwest trade with Indians of the northern Rockies and western Plains endured for nearly three centuries.
by Dr. James A. Hanson

Jedediah Smith’s Journeys of “Secondary Consideration”: New York to St. Louis
Jedediah Smith is arguably one of the most written-about personalities of the Rocky Mountain fur trade. His career, spanning a short nine years from 1822 to 1831, was packed with penetrating explorations of the American West. But his adolescence in Pennsylvania and Ohio remains relatively undocumented. Still, faint clues hint at his motives for leaving family behind for the frontier. Although impossible to prove using extant sources, these clues suggest that Smith’s choices may have hinged partly on the girl he loved marrying his older brother.
by James C. Auld

India Rubber in the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade
Until the advent of India rubber items, rain and snow gear for feet or body was limited to heavy leather or double-layered boots and shoes, oil cloths, canvas and densely woven wool or other fabric. These methods proved marginally successful in keeping a person dry, which accounts for the general acceptance and demand for the first India rubber items imported into the United States in the 1820s. These unique items found their way to the Rocky Mountains during the latter days of the region’s fur trade.
by Clay J. Landry

Eavesdropping on Fur Trade Mail
Fur trade history is replete with shrewd business dealings giving one company a strong advantage over another. A classic illustration of such cunning tactics was when William Sublette beat Nathaniel Wyeth to the 1834 rendezvous at Ham’s Fork stealing the bulk of the trade away from the Bostonian in spite of Wyeth’s contractual agreement for the delivery of goods. A letter penned on September 24, 1834, by Edward M. Samuel reveals interesting information about this incident and the inner workings of a fur company.
by Jim Hardee


James C. 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 more than twenty-four years, concentrating on Smith’s early travels from Ohio to Illinois, and his Pacific Northwest Expedition of 1828. For more information visit www.jedsmithlegacy.com.

John Eldredge lives in Riverton, Utah, and holds a master’s degree from the University of Utah. Trained in scientific research and computer technologies, he has studied Emigrant Trails for nearly thirty years. Among his many achievements are the Illustrated Emigrants’ Guide, describing the pioneer trail from Salt Lake City to Fort Bridger, Wyoming, and discovering the location of two Pony Express stations, an important emigrant grave, and various historic inscriptions. He is an avid explorer of stagecoach, mail and military trails, as well as the Transcontinental Railroad in Utah, Nevada and southwest Wyoming.

Dr. James A. Hanson is a recognized expert on frontier material culture. 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 has authored numerous acclaimed books, has done field research on American Indian history and Indian-White relations across the continent, and is currently developing a six-volume encyclopedia of Indian trade goods. The first volume, Firearms of the Fur Trade, appeared in 2011. A popular lecturer and panelist, he is presently historian and editor for the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, Nebraska.

Jim Hardee 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.

John C. Jackson’s new book on John McClallen, By Honor and Right: How One Man Boldly Defined the Destiny of a Nation, was recently published by Prometheus Books. He also co-authored a biography of Meriwether Lewis with Thomas C. Danisi, which is now in its second printing. His other writings include books on the Metis in the Pacific Northwest, the Piikani Blackfeet, and biographies of David E. Jackson and James Bird. He is currently editing a history of the North West Company that is a joint effort with his deceased friend Lloyd Keith. An independent historian, Jackson hails from Washington State.

Clay J. Landry is a nationally recognized authority on early nineteenth century fur trade material culture and has published numerous essays and articles. He conducts demonstrations and seminars on mountaineer clothing, food, horse gear and trade goods. An accomplished horseman and wilderness packer, Landry has been leading horse trips, using only gear and tack appropriate to the fur trade era, through the Rocky Mountains since 1987. An agricultural banker and rancher, Landry holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from Texas A&M University.


Rich Aarstad has worked for the Montana Historical Society since 2001. He served as the society’s Lewis and Clark Reference Historian through the bicentennial and served for a short time as the Montana representative on the David Thompson Bicentennials Committee. In 2007, Aarstad co-chaired “Beyond Borders and Boundaries: David Thompson and the North American Fur Trade Symposium” held in Helena. Aarstad continues his research on Montana’s fur trade, focusing primarily on the period between 1807 and 1820.

Dr. John L. Allen is a well-known teacher, lecturer, and author in the field of 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 Rocky Mountain fur trade explorations.

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 schools about this time period. Banks is a retired IT consultant for the Dubois School District.

Nathan E. Bender is a former professor of the University of Idaho Library special collections and archives. He has built historic research collections at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Montana State University, West Virginia University, and the University of Oklahoma. Publishing on western history, folklore, and American Indian studies in a variety of research journals, he is currently an independent scholar in Laramie, Wyoming.

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 and 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 retired attorney who is an 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 directs 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 collisions in the American West, masculine identity in the West, and social constructs in the Far West fur trade.

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.

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.

Doug Erickson is College Archivist and head of Special Collections at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. 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.

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 fifty-year span has given him a broad appreciation and knowledge of these items.

Dr. Don Hardesty is 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 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).

David F. Morris developed his interest in Western history growing up in Montana and living in other states throughout the West. He 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 a Reference Librarian at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington.

Dr. Larry E. Morris is the author of The Fate of the Corps: What Became of the Lewis and Clark Explorers After the Expedition (Yale University Press, 2004). He recently completed a book on the founders of the Oregon Trail (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, forthcoming) and is now working on a book about John Colter with Ron Anglin. Morris has also published articles on early Western history in such periodicals as The Missouri Historical Review, American History, and We Proceeded On. Morris and his wife Deborah live in Salt Lake City.

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 demonstrations and lectures on the Rocky Mountain fur trade era for organizations, museums, libraries and schools.

Doyle Reid has been involved in historical reenactment for almost thirty years and is a ounding member of the Wind River Party of the American Mountain Men. He resides in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming, in a log home he built with the help of his wife Debbie, son Walter and daughter Heather.

Dr. Mark Schreiter spent much of his early life in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. He holds a PhD. 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.

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.

Dr. Darby Stapp has spent thirty years studying the history and archaeology of 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 has a long career in history, journalism and marketing. He spent many years as a news reporter and photographer for newspapers and UPI and is widely published in many trade publications. Patrick has devoted more than three decades studying and re-enacting the history of the fur trade, colonial America and the Old West. He is a member of the American Mountain Men, on the Board of Directors of the Oregon-California Trails Association and the Zebulon Pike National Historic Trail and is a member of many other history organizations.

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 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. Tanner is on the art faculty at Brigham Young University/Idaho and makes his home in “Pierre’s Hole” (Teton Valley), Idaho.

Dr. Brad Tennant is an associate professor of history at Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Tennant is an active researcher, 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 reenacting the fur trade history from
childhood on. 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 arena. Tiffie is a member of 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 lives in Colorado where he is a freelance writer and a stay-at-home dad for his fiveyear-old daughter. He interprets fur trade history as a volunteer at Fort Laramie National Historic Site, and is a member of the American Mountain Men – Rocky Mountain Outfit.

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 Living History Days presentations to school children in May at the Museum of the Mountain Man.

David Wright has been painting memorable moments in American history for more than forty years. His scholarship, professional artistic training, and historical sensitivities are evident in his works on the American frontier, settlement, and Civil War. Wright’s paintings have been featured in television documentaries and as covers and illustrations for numerous books and magazines. He has appeared on television as a historical consultant and served as Art Director for Native Sun Productions’ award-winning film Daniel Boone and the Westward Movement. He also provided art direction for the History Channel film: First Invasion – The War of 1812, for which he received a Prime Time Emmy nomination.

Dr. Ken Zontek is an ethnic and environmental historian and 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. Zontek also founded YVCC’s Afghan Women’s Education Project, a by-product of his ongoing military service in Afghanistan.

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.

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
Tim Thompson, Chairman
Elaine Crumpley
Becky Thompson
Van Huffman
Sanford Wise

Sublette County Commissioners
Joel Bousman, Chairman
John Linn,
Andy Nelson

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: journal@mmmuseum.com – Phone: 877-686-6266 – Fax: 307-367-6768