The seventh 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.
Arikara Niituníšu’ Beliefs and the Fur Trade
Arikara Indian concepts of niituníšu’ (“evil medicine” or “witchcraft”) are connected with epidemic diseases introduced by fur traders. The Arikara believed that evil medicine was one of the primary causes of disease and epidemics; they began to suspect and blame Euro-Americans for introducing unfamiliar crowd-type diseases among them. As a result, the Arikara view of traders in the nineteenth century changed from “benign spirits” to potential “niituníšu’ practitioners.”
by Dr. Mark van de Logt
Fact and Fancy in Alfred Jacob Miller’s
Early Watercolors, 1837-39
Miller’s paintings offer valuable information if one accounts for when, where, and for whom the paintings were produced.
by Dr. Lisa Strong
Postscript: Where was Fort William?
This essay studies Miller’s art, examines the terrain, and evaluates other reliable sources in the ongoing search for the actual site upon which William Sublette’s men built a trading post.
by Scott Walker
Commerce in the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade:
Two 1830 Promissory Notes
At the rendezvous of 1830, held in the Wind River Valley of presentday central Wyoming, the fur trading firm of Smith, Jackson and Sublette (SJS) sold its commercial interests in the Rocky Mountains to the newly formed Rocky Mountain Fur Company (RMFC).1 This business transaction took place in the wilderness of the Wind River Mountains, some 1,500 miles from the nearest bank, legal firm or courthouse, raising the question of how the transfer was legally accomplished.
by Clay J. Landry
Bartolomé Baca and the Opening
of the Mexican Southwest
One of Santa Fe’s first Mexican governors partnered with American fur traders to improve the economy in his newly independent territory.
by J. Ryan Badger
Trappers’ Brides: Intercultural Marriages in the
Rocky Mountain Fur Trade
Alfred Jacob Miller’s sketches and paintings of his journey to the 1837 Green River rendezvous depict Native American women as present and involved in events of the fur trade. Miller’s scenes show Indian women observing, working in the background, and pursuing their own activities. As the only visual record of a rendezvous and associated events, Miller’s paintings and notes are an intriguing starting point for considering women’s participation in the fur trade of this region.
by Dr. Kathleen Barlow
Murthly: Castle of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade
William Drummond Stewart (1795-1871) sought out the American West hoping to discover a geographic and cultural landscape that resembled his Scottish homeland. He found it in the terrain, weather, and people of the region that became present-day Wyoming.
by James C. Auld
James C. Auld is an author and independent scholar of early nineteenth-century Western American fur trade history. A resident of Seattle, Auld attended the University of Wyoming and holds a history degree from Northern Illinois University. Auld is the executive director of the Three Worlds Meet project; his extensive study of William Drummond Stewart and Alfred Jacob Miller for that endeavor led to this paper on Murthly Castle. Auld extends deep gratitude to Thomas Steuart Fothringham of Pourie for his sustained assistance and friendship.
J. Ryan Badger is currently a master’s degree candidate at Utah State University. His latest publication, “That They Might Be Informed Who We Were: A Historiography of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 2000-2010,” led to his receiving the Fred R. Gowans Award for nineteenth-century Western American history.
Dr. Kathleen Barlow is professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology and Museum Studies at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. Her main research interests are gender and women’s roles in kinbased societies; culture and learning; and women, colonization and development. Barlow is co-author of a special issue of Ethos, the journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology, on “The Practice of Mothering.” This is her first foray into research on American Indian women in the fur trade.
Clay J. 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 and presentations at fur trade symposia. His career in the banking industry lent particular insight into the financial documents referenced in this article.
Dr. Lisa Strong is Manager of Curatorial Affairs at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Before coming to the Corcoran, she was an assistant professor of American art at James Madison University. In 2009 she acted as guest curator for Sentimental Journey: the Art of Alfred Jacob Miller (2009) at the Amon Carter Museum and authored its accompanying book (2008). Her many recent publications include essays in exhibit catalogs for major American museums and collections. She received her undergraduate degree in art history from Mount Holyoke College and her Ph.D. in American art from Columbia University.
Dr. Mark van de Logt is an assistant professor of history at Texas A&M University at Qatar. He was born in the Netherlands, where he developed a strong interest in American history. Van de Logt received an M.A. degree in American Studies from Utrecht University in 1995 and his Ph.D. in history from Oklahoma State University in 2002. His particular interests are Pawnee and Arikara Indian culture and history. In 2010, he published War Party in Blue: Pawnee Indian Scouts in the United States Army (University of Oklahoma Press). He has also published on Ponca history as well as other Plains Indian cultures. Van de Logt is currently finishing up a history of the Arikara Indians, and is researching global indigenous issues.
Scott Walker lives in Chicago, where he is a freelance writer and Pilgrim with the Rocky Mountain Outfit of the American Mountain Men. He has been a volunteer at Fort Laramie National Historic Site since 2001.
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 cochaired “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 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.
Brad Bailey is a member of the American Mountain Men 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 braintanner and spends much of his time “on the ground” recreating the lifestyle of the mountaineers. He resides in Centennial, Colorado.
Dr. Barton H. Barbour worked at several Southwestern museums and for the National Park Service in Colorado, North Dakota, and New Mexico, and has been a professor of history at Boise State University since 2001. He teaches courses in US history, colonial North America, North American exploration, and Native American history and US Indian policy. Dr. Barbour has published five books and numerous articles about the North American fur trade, including Fort Union and the Upper Missouri Fur Trade (2001), and Jedediah Smith: No Ordinary Mountain Man (2009).
Bruce Belason lives in the Boston, Massachusetts, area. After retiring from a 38-year career as an aerospace engineer, he is pursuing American history, especially the Colonial, trans-continental expansion, and mountain men/fur trade eras. For several years he was active in living history with the re-constituted Minuteman Company of his town, including pre-dawn sixteen-mile marches to Concord on April 19, helping recreate the town’s role on the day the Revolutionary War began.
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.
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 and 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.
Dr. Jay H. Buckley, a native of Lyman, Wyoming, is an associate professor of history at Brigham Young University. He is the author of William Clark: Indian Diplomat (2008) and co-authored By His Own Hand?: The Mysterious Death of Meriwether Lewis (2006), and Zebulon Pike, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West (2012). He is currently at work on A Fur Trade History of the Great Plains and Canadian Provinces.
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.
Bruce “Burnt Spoon” Druliner has been associated with the American Mountain Men since 1983. Retired from teaching outdoor education, “Spoon” spends the winter caretaking his beautiful Rancho Palomar in San Diego County. He migrates north in the summer to Fort Benton, Montana, where he interprets the fur trade era at the reconstructed trading post along the Missouri River.
O. N. (Ned) Eddins is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in Afton, Wyoming. He has extensively researched the Plains Indians and 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 America’s western expansion.
Brenda Francis holds an MA from Brigham Young University. She served as editor and co-author of The Fur Trade & Rendezvous of the Green River Valley (Sublette County Historical Society, 2005). Francis currently works as an engineering manager for a major software company.
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.
Todd Glover recently retired after twenty-five years in the military. He has participated in numerous living history events and spends much of his time researching, experimenting and recreating the lifestyle of the historic Rocky Mountain mountaineers. He is a Hiveranno member of the American Mountain Men.
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 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 pursued historical interpretation for many years, focusing on Lewis and Clark and the Western fur trade. Hickman has worked with the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and others. He has written numerous articles related to Indian Sign Language, Lewis and Clark, and the western fur trade. Hickman is a Hiveranno in the American Mountain Men and currently serves both as the Booshway for the Manuel Lisa Party and the Brigade Booshway for Montana and North Dakota.
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 was a staff writer for On the Trail Magazine for thirteen years.
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 a Reference Librarian at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington.
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 buckskinning magazines, provided demonstrations for many schools and gatherings and is coauthor 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.
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. Peterson has written for Muzzleloader Magazine and We Proceeded On, the quarterly of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. His article “Antonio Montero and the Portuguese Houses: An Outpost on Powder River,” appeared in RMFTJ Volume 2.
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.
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.
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). 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 spent many years as a news reporter 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 America 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 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 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 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.
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. 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.
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. 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, Consulting Editor, is a past president 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.
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
Sublette County Commissioners
Joel Bousman, 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