The Crazy True Story of the North American Fur Trade

The Crazy True Story of the North American Fur Trade

2020/06/26

Where did trappers take their furs? Between 1825 and 1840, trappers, mountain men, and Native Americans gathered at places across the West every summer. As Rocky Mountain National Rendezvous explains it, these festivals weren't just for doing business. They also were "the trapper's Christmas, New Year's Eve and birthday party; a general-purpose annual blowout and trade fair." Here, men could gather to eat, drink, gamble, socialize, meet others, and trade goods. Wyoming lays claim to the earliest of these, in 1825, on Henry's Fork of the Green River. Subsequent Wyoming meeting spots were at Horse Creek west of Daniel in 1833, 1835-1837, 1839 and 1840; west of Granger in 1834, and near Riverton in 1838.



Other rendezvous took place in Utah (1826, 1827 and 1828), and Idaho (1832). There were 16 in all, each held west of the Continental Divide, says the Fur Trapper. The one exception was in 1831 when Thomas Fitzpatrick, who was bringing many of the supplies from St. Louis, got a late start and missed the deadline for the rendezvous plans to be finalized by a whole two months. There was no FedEx or UPS back then; by the time Fitzpatrick reached Santa Fe to meet up with the others in charge, it was too late. Instead, Henry Fraeb took needed supplies to the trappers who had planned to be at the event, while Fitzpatrick once again headed east to assure having enough supplies for the 1832 gathering on time.
















The Crazy True Story of the North American Fur Trade

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