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Title: Breaking the Wilderness
Author: Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's Note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have
  been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  The following alternate spellings may be typos, or refer to different
  places or people.

    Willamet and Willamette
    Choteau and Chouteau
    Mohave and Mojave
    Pratt and Pratte
    Purisima and Purissima
    Radisson and Raddison

  The photograph of "Navajo Silver Beads" shown in the list of
  illustrations as being on page 72 does not appear in the book.

  Duplicated advertisements in the front and back matter of the book
  have been removed from the front.

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

  [Illustration: THE SIERRA BLANCA

     Blanca Peak, 14,390 feet.      Baldy Peak, 14,176 feet.

   Blanca Peak is the Third Highest in Colorado.

   The point of view is on Trinchera Creek looking north from an
   altitude of about 8000 feet. To the left is the San Luis Valley
   through which flows the Rio Grande, and to the right are the
   two high passes known as Veta and Sangre de Cristo. The Sierra
   Blanca forms the southern end of the Sangre de Cristo Range and
   was one of the great landmarks of the Wilderness.

   Sketch in oils made at the place by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

     Breaking the

     The Story of the Conquest of the Far West, from the Wanderings
     of Cabeza de Vaca, to the First Descent of the Colorado by
     Powell, and the Completion of the Union Pacific
     Railway, with Particular Account of the
     Exploits of Trappers and Traders

     Frederick S. Dellenbaugh

     Member of the Powell Colorado River Expedition; Author of "The
     Romance of the Colorado River," "The North Americans of Yesterday,"

                                 "Accursèd wight!
     He crowds us from our hills. He hacks and hews,
     Digs up our metals, sweats and smelts and brews."

     Hauptmann, _The Sunken Bell_.


     G. P. Putnam's Sons

     New York and London
     The Knickerbocker Press

     Copyright, 1905

     The Knickerbocker Press, New York


     1871 AND 1872


In this volume I have endeavoured to present a review in chronological
order of the important events which contributed to breaking the
Wilderness that so long lay untamed west of the Mississippi, mentioning
with as much detail as possible in a single popular volume the principal
persons and happenings in proper sequence, but paying special attention
to the trapper and trader element, which, more than any other, dispelled
the mysteries of the vast region.

I believe this to be the first book so fully to treat the subject as a
consecutive narrative. By means of it, not only may the story of the
struggle to master the Wilderness be examined, but the place of the
trapper and trader in the work of its reduction, and that of Coronado,
Mackenzie, Lewis and Clark, Frémont, Powell, and similar explorers, may
be determined with reference to each other as well as with reference to
the general order.

Many people seem to know little about Western history; about Coronado,
Cabeza de Vaca, or even about Mackenzie; and others are by no means
clear as to where in the historical scale these characters belong.
While the name of Daniel Boone is familiar to every child, names of
men equally eminent in the same pursuits, like Jedediah Smith, Bridger,
Fitzpatrick, etc., are scarcely known at all. Nor have many persons a
just appreciation of the numerous attempts that were made to explore the
Western Wilderness, or of the extremely early period in the history of
North America when these attempts began. Many are surprised, therefore,
to learn that the first European entrance into the western part of the
United States occurred over three and a quarter centuries ago. At least
partly, this vagueness is due to the one-sidedness up to the present
of the usual works dealing with American history, most of which are
only histories of the eastern part of the country, with mere offhand
references to the important events of the region beyond the Mississippi.
Numerous details are presented of early Virginia and of New England,
but the happenings in New Mexico and in California, and the great West
generally, are dismissed with a few superficial notes.

Within the last year or two much has been written about Lewis and Clark,
and consequently their grand exploit is well known, but its relation
in the popular mind as to accomplishment and position with reference
to other explorations is often quite uncertain. It therefore appeared
to me that a single volume which should tell the Wilderness story in
unbroken sequence, with special emphasis on the trapper and trader,
would be of value. I have consequently shown the first attacks by sea
and land, and the gradual closing in on all sides, through the matchless
trail-breaking of the trappers and traders, down to the year when Powell
practically finished this particular white man's task by his bold and
romantic conquest of the Colorado,—the year when the first railway
trains crossing the continent began a new era. In order that the subject
might be still clearer and more comprehensive, I have gone farther and
have told the story of the chief denizens of the pristine Wilderness:
the beaver, the buffalo, and their close associates, those indomitable,
iron-nerved people, the Amerinds; the North-Americans of yesterday.

Sometimes it is difficult to describe with precision the route of an
explorer without searching his original story, and, in my studies,
this has not always been practicable. For example, I do not know
where the journals of Hunt and Bonneville now are, if extant. Irving's
interpretation seems fairly accurate, but as he was entirely unfamiliar
with the region west of the Rocky Mountains, his description is not
always clear. In other cases, especially in that of Verendrye, I have
relied on the transcripts of others. The trail of Coronado I have long
studied with special care, and I have reached the conclusions embodied
in the map on page 115,—conclusions entirely at variance with all
accepted authorities, but which I feel confident, nevertheless, are in
the main correct.

One early explorer in the Minnesota and Hudson Bay regions I have
not mentioned. This is Radisson, who, it is claimed, saw the upper
Mississippi before Marquette. The omission was an oversight. Miss A. C.
Laut has given a convincing account of his travels in her _Pathfinders
of the West_, to which I take pleasure in referring the reader for
information on this point.[1]

A completed book is the mirror of the writer's shortcomings. I hope
the reflections which may fall to my lot in this one will not be too
painful, for I have had in contemplation others to fill in a general
scheme. One starts with a desire for perfection, but without the
resources of a Carnegie he is apt to fall so far short of the mark that
he fears to look in the glass at all.

With the Wilderness, however, I can claim some degree of familiarity,
for I may be said to have been "in at the death," as I was one of
Powell's companions down the Colorado on his second voyage, 1871-72, and
have been over portions of almost every one of the principal historical
trails. I have travelled there on foot, on horseback, by boat, by
waggon, and by railway,—even by Pullman "Palace" car. I have lived under
its open sky through summers and through winters; its snows, its rains,
its burning heat, have baptised me one of its children. In some cases my
footsteps have been among the first of our race to break the surface;
and if I have not visited every nook and corner of it during the last
thirty four years it is the fault of my purse, not of my spirit.

My remarks on supplying whiskey to the natives may by some be deemed too
severe, but in my own opinion there is no expression of condemnation
adequate to denounce the debauchment of the American tribes by this
foul means. It was a crime against civilisation, against humanity; a
cruel, dastardly outrage against these people who by its means largely
have been reduced to the lowest degree and are sneered at by those
who have profited by their debasement. In the final chapter I have
thought it desirable to add a footnote to the effect that I am neither
a teetotaler nor a prohibitionist for the reason that my condemnatory
remarks might otherwise be attributed to the prejudice of zeal, rather
than to indignation at the low devices resorted to by white men to work
the Amerinds for their own profit. A great deal that is base and mean is
now excused on the ground that this is a commercial age, but I can only
remark that if there is to be no standard for measuring modern conduct
but financial profit, the white man's footsteps are surely on the wrong

The reader in following these pages must remember that comfort is
generally relative, and that what appears hard from the chimney corner
may have been comparative luxury. I have never slept more comfortably
anywhere than under a foot of snow.

I have had much kind assistance and am grateful for it. I am
particularly obliged to Mr. William J. Schieffelin for the generous and
unlimited use of valuable books from his library; to Mr. E. H. Harriman
for transportation favours; also for the same to Mr. S. K. Hooper;
to Mr. F. M. Bishop for the loan of a volume on Jacob Hamblin not
otherwise obtainable; to Mr. O. D. Wheeler and the Montana Historical
Society for cuts; to Captain E. L. Berthoud, Edgar A. Rider, and Jack
Sumner for manuscript notes; to Mr. L. H. Johnson for manuscript notes
and photographs; to Mr. B. L. Young for a special drawing of the rock
pecking of a buffalo in southern Utah; to Mr. R. H. Chapman, Mr. J. B.
Lippincott, Mr. J. K. Hillers, Mr. E. E. Howell, Mr. Delancy Gill, for
photographs; and to the United States Bureau of Ethnology for the use
of illustration material. I would also here thank my publishers for
their constant consideration, for presents of books pertaining to my
subject, and for the loan of others; and Mr. H. C. Rizer, chief clerk
of the United States Geological Survey, for assistance and courtesies
extending over a long series of years. Finally I wish to express my
renewed thanks for many favours to the veteran geographer and explorer,
A. H. Thompson, of the United States Geological Survey, to whom I have
the honour of dedicating this book.

     Frederick S. Dellenbaugh.
     New York, December 7, 1904.



     CHAPTER I                                                    PAGE

     Extent of the Wilderness—The First White Man—The Backbone
     of the Continent—A Vanished Sea and a Petrified Ocean—The
     Biggest Trees—The Spike of Gold                                 1


     The Intelligent Beaver, Chief of the Rodents—A
     Four-footed Engineer—A Builder of Houses, Artificial
     Canals, Dams, Ponds, and Lakes—Beaver Meadows—A Masterful
     Woodchopper—A Tail for the Epicure—Muskbogs—The Fatal
     Trap                                                           13


     A Monarch of the Plains—The Hunchback Cows of Cibola—A
     Boon to the Frontiersman—Wide Range of the Bison—Marrow
     Bones for the Epicure—Washington Irving a Buffalo
     Hunter—The Rushing Run of the Bison Herd—The Sacred White
     Buffalo Cow Skin—A Calf with a Bull Head—Wolves and White
     Bears                                                          32


     The People of the Wilderness—Men without Rights—Killing
     by Alcohol—Change in the Character of the Native—Growth
     of the War Spirit—Classification by Language—Dwellers
     in Tents and Builders of Houses—Farmers and
     Hunters—Irrigation Works—The Coming of the Horse               54


     Three Conditions of Wilderness Life—Farming in the
     Driest Country—The _Cache_—The Clan, the Unit of the
     Tribe—Hospitality—Totems and Totem Marks—Dress—An
     Aboriginal Geographer—The Winter Life—The War-path,
     the Scalp-lock, and the Scalp-dance—Mourning the Lost
     Braves—Drifting                                                75


     Lost in the Wilderness—Cabeza de Vaca, Great Medicine
     Man—The Wilderness Traversed—Spanish Slave Hunters—The
     Northern Mystery—The Monk and the Negro—The Great
     Coronado Expedition—The Settlement of New Mexico and the
     Pueblo Rebellion—California Missions—Escalante to Salt
     Lake Valley                                                   103


     Soto and the Mississippi—The Gate to the Wilderness—The
     _Voyageur_—Champlain to Mackinaw—Pandemonium of Wars—Down
     the Mississippi to Soto's Grave—Louisiana—La Salle and
     his Death—_Coureurs de Bois_—First Sight of the Northern
     Rockies—Where Rolls the Oregon—The American Revolution        126


     The United States Borders the Wilderness—American Ships
     to the Pacific Coast—The North-West Company—Mackenzie
     Spans the Continent—Meares and Vancouver Baffled by
     Breakers—Captain Robert Gray, Victor—The Columbia at
     Last—The Louisiana Purchase a Pig in a Poke, and a
     Boundless Wilderness—Claims All Round to the Centre—The
     Perfidious Napoleon—The Spanish Sentinel Steps Back           144


     Jefferson's Hobby—Two Noblemen—An Indefinite
     Transaction—Expedition to the Wilderness—Fort Mandan—The
     Roche Jaune and the First View of the Great Range—The
     Long-lost Sister—Depths of the Unknown—Starvation
     on the Trail—Music of the Breakers—Fort Clatsop—The
     Return—Medicine Men Again—Two Natives Shot—Premature
     Death of the Captain                                          156


     The Metropolis of the Far Wilderness—James Pursley
     Arrives—Pike up the Mississippi and across the Plains—A
     Spanish War Party—A Breastwork to Mark the Site of
     Pueblo—Polar Weather and No Clothing—Pike Sees the
     Grand Peak—San Luis Valley—The Americans Captured by
     Diplomacy—Pursley Finds Gold—Malgares, the Gentleman—The
     Pike Party Sent Home                                          175


     A Race for Life—Colter Wins—The Missouri Fur Company—The
     American Fur Company—The Pacific Fur Company—A Great
     Project Foredoomed—Disaster at the Columbia Bar—The
     Destruction of the _Tonquin_—Hunt Starts for the Columbia
     Overland—The _Voyageurs_ Baulked—The Caldron Linn—Dog
     Steak at a Premium—Misery and Danger—Success at Last          193


     Eastward from Astoria—The War of 1812 on a Business
     Basis in Oregon—Astoria Becomes Fort George—The Pacific
     Fur Company Expires—Louisiana Delimited at Last—The
     Expedition of Major Long—A Steamboat on the Missouri—The
     First Man on Pike's Peak—The Elusive Red River Refuses to
     be Explored—Closing on the Inner Wilderness—The Spanish
     Sentinel Turns Mexican                                        215


     The Wilderness Breaker—Lisa Closes his Account—General
     Ashley Takes a Hand—The Religious Jedediah—Green River
     Valley—What a White Bear could Do—Ashley Navigates Red
     Canyon of Green River—Discovery of Salt Lake—Ashley
     Retires Rich—The Rocky Mountain Fur Company—Sylvester
     and James O. Pattie—Pattie's Journey in the Valley of
     the Colorado—The Great Circuit of Jedediah Smith              229


     A Brood of Wilderness Breakers—Kit Carson the
     Dauntless—Campbell, 1827, Santa Fé to San Diego—Becknell
     and the Santa Fé Trail—Wheel Tracks in the Wilderness—The
     Knight in Buckskin Dies—Pegleg Smith the Horse
     Trader—The Apache Turns Forever against the American—New
     Mexico the Dreamland—Wolfskill Breaks a Trail to the
     Pacific—Bonneville, Captain Courteous; and Wyeth, Leader
     Hopeful—Bonneville Forgets a Duty                             253


     Bonneville Dropped from the Army—Indian Shooters—The
     Mythical Rio Buenaventura—Bonneville Twice to the
     Columbia—Wyeth Again—The Oregon Trail—The Big Thunder
     Canoe—A Wilderness Whiskey Still—Missionaries to
     Oregon—The North-West Boundary Settlement—Decline of the
     Beaver—Through the Canyon of Lodore on the Ice—Frémont,
     the Scientific Pathfinder—The Spanish Sentinel Turned to
     the Wall—Fortune's Blindfold                                  276


     Free Distribution of Frémont's Reports—Latter Day
     Saints—Murder of a Prophet—Brigham Young Guides Saints
     to the Wilderness—The State of Deseret—California the
     Golden—Massacre at Mountain Meadows—Old Jacob, the Mormon
     Leatherstocking—Steam on the Lower Colorado—Old Jacob
     Finds the Crossing of the Fathers—Circumtouring the Grand
     Canyon—Solitudes of the Colorado—Last of the Wilderness
     Problems—Powell Solves it by Masterful Courage—The Iron
     Trail—The End and the Beginning                               303

     INDEX                                                         339




     THE SIERRA BLANCA                                  _Frontispiece_

       Blanca Peak, 14,390. Baldy Peak, 14,176. Blanca Peak is
       the third highest in Colorado.

       The point of view is on Trinchera Creek looking north
       from an altitude of about 8000 feet. To the left is the
       San Luis Valley through which flows the Rio Grande, and
       to the right are the two high passes known as Veta and
       Sangre de Cristo. The Sierra Blanca forms the southern
       end of the Sangre de Cristo Range and was one of the
       great landmarks of the Wilderness.

       Sketch in oils made at the place by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     THE BACKBONE OF THE CONTINENT                                   3
       Photograph by R. H. Chapman, U. S. Geol. Survey.

     WILDERNESS OF THE UPPER MISSOURI                                5
       Photograph by R. H. Chapman, U. S. Geol. Survey.

     THE YOSEMITE VALLEY                                             7
       Photograph by C. C. Pierce & Co.

     THE GRIZZLY GIANT                                               9
       Height, 285 feet. Circumference, 93 feet.
       Copyright by C. C. Pierce & Co.

     A WILDERNESS HOME                                              11
       Photograph by R. H. Chapman, U. S. Geol. Survey.

     THE MOUNTAIN PART OF THE WILDERNESS                            14
       Relief map by E. E. Howell.

     NO PLACE FOR BEAVER                                            15
       Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.

     BEAVER COUNTRY                                                 17
       Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.

     GREAT BEAVER DAM—GRASS LAKE, 260 FEET LONG                     19
       From Morgan's _American Beaver_.

     RED CANYON—GREEN RIVER                                         20
       Where Ashley went for beaver in 1825.
       Photograph by E. O. Beaman, Colo. Riv. Exp.

     BEAVER CANAL                                                   22
       From Morgan's _American Beaver_.

       Where Pattie trapped beaver in 1826.
       Photograph by Delancy Gill.

     TREES CUT BY BEAVERS                                           26
       From Morgan's _American Beaver_.

     BEAVER TRAP                                                    29

     THE BEAVER                                                     30
       Copyright, 1901, by Doubleday, Page, & Co.

     THE MONARCH OF THE PLAINS                                      33
       The figure a photograph by C. C. Pierce & Co.

       Pecked drawing, copied by B. L. Young.

     THE GRAND TETON FROM JACKSON'S HOLE                            39
       The buffalo reached this valley by 1824.
       Photograph by W. H. Jackson, U. S. Geol. Survey.

     CANYON OF LODORE—GREEN RIVER                                   41
       Canyons of this character are almost continuous from a
       few miles below the Union Pacific Railway crossing.
       Photograph by E. O. Beaman, U. S. Colo. Riv. Exp.

     HEAD OF BISON BULL                                             43
       Specimen shot by Theodore Roosevelt, Dec. 17, 1883.
       From Roosevelt's _Hunting Trips of a Ranchman_.

     BUFFALO CHASE                                                  45
       After Catlin. From _Smithsonian Report_, 1888.

       Photograph by E. O. Beaman, U. S., Colo. Riv. Exp.

     CANYON OF DESOLATION—GREEN RIVER                               50
       A barrier to the buffalo's westward movement.
       Photograph by E. O. Beaman, U. S. Colo. Riv. Exp.

     MANDAN BUFFALO DANCE                                           51
       After Catlin From _Smithsonian Report_, 1885.

     BUFFALO SWIMMING MISSOURI RIVER                                52
       After Catlin. From _Smithsonian Report_, 1885.

     A VILLAGE OF THE PLAINS                                        55
       This form of tipi was readily taken down and as
       readily set up again.
       Photograph by U. S. Government.

     A PAI UTE FAMILY AT HOME                                       57
       Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Colo. Riv. Exp.

     A UTE MOUNTAIN HOME                                            58
       Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.

     TOWN OF MISHONGNAVI, ARIZONA                                   59
       Photograph by U. S. Bu. Eth.

       From _Lewis and Clark_, by O. D. Wheeler.

     AMERIND LINGUISTIC MAP                                         62
       After Bu. of Eth. Seventh An. Rep.

     A PUEBLOAN FARMHOUSE                                           64
       Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.

     PLENTY-HORSES, A CHEYENNE                                      65
       Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.

     A PAI UTE MODERNISED                                           67
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     RUIN CALLED CASA GRANDE, ARIZONA                               69
       Photograph by Cosmos Mindeleff, U. S. Bu. of Eth.

     MEXICO                                                         71
       Photograph by U. S. Bu. of Eth.

     NAVAJO SILVER BEADS—ACTUAL SIZE                                72
       From U. S. Bu. Eth.

     BLANKETS BEHIND                                                73
       Photograph by J. B. Lippincott, U. S. Geol. Survey.

     MOKI WOMAN MODELLING A CLAY JUG                                76
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     EARTHENWARE FROM MOKI REGION                                   77

     "CASA BLANCA." THESE WERE ONCE CONNECTED.                      78
       Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.

     OLD MANDAN HOUSE                                               79
       From _Wonderland_, 1903, Northern Pacific Railway.

     A YOUNG COCOPA                                                 80
       Photograph by Delancy Gill.

       Drawing by Catlin, plate 48, vol. i.; Catlin's _Eight
       Years_. Reproduction from _Smithsonian Report_, 1885,
       part ii.

     A DAKOTA OF THE PLAINS                                         83
       Figures from photograph by U. S. Government.

     A UINTA UTE                                                    84
       Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.

     UMATILLA WOMAN AND CHILD                                       85
       From _Wonderland_, 1904, Northern Pacific Railway.

     MANDAN VILLAGE ON THE MISSOURI, 1832                           86
       Drawing by Catlin, plate 47, vol. i.; Catlin's _Eight
       Years_. Reproduction from _Smithsonian Report_, 1885,
       part ii.

     A GROUP OF CROW CHIEFS                                         87
       Photograph by U. S. Government about 1875.

     GROUND                                                         90
       Photograph by L. H. Johnson.

     INTERIOR OF A MOKI HOUSE                                       91
       The women at the back are grinding corn, while those
       at the right are baking bread on a hot slab in
       paper-like sheets. Above is the chimney-hood. U. S.
       Bu Eth.

     SITTING BULL                                                   93
       From _Wonderland_, 1901, Northern Pacific Railway.

     BELLOCHKNAHPICK—THE BULL DANCE                                 94
       Mandan ceremonial. Drawing by Catlin, plate 67, vol.
       i., Catlin's _Eight Years_. Reproduction from
       _Smithsonian Report_, 1885, part ii.

     DETAILS OF NAVAJO LOOM CONSTRUCTION                            95
       U. S. Bu. Eth.

     A NAVAJO                                                       96
       Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.

     SCALP-DANCE OF THE SIOUX                                       97
       Drawing by Catlin, plate 297, vol ii., Catlin's _Eight
       Years_. Reproduction from _Smithsonian Report_, 1885,
       part ii.

     A GROUP OF DAKOTAS                                             98
       Photograph by U. S. Government about 1875.

     NECKLACE OF HUMAN FINGERS                                      99

     HOUSE RUIN ON GREEN RIVER, UTAH                               101
       Photograph by L. H. Johnson.

     COLORADO, 1540                                                105
       Drawing by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     SO GLOWINGLY DESCRIBED                                        109
       Drawing by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     NEW MEXICO, 1540 TO 1630                                      115

       Mission founded 1699. The church here shown was
       finished in 1797.

     ON THE YUMA DESERT                                            120
       Character of the country around the head of the Gulf
       of California.
       Photograph by Delancy Gill.

       Mission founded in 1770.
       Photograph by C. C. Pierce & Co.

     GLEN CANYON, COLORADO RIVER                                   123
       This shows the nature of the Colorado where Escalante
       crossed in 1776. The surface on each side is barren
       Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Colo. Riv. Exp.

     BARRIERS OF ADAMANT, MISSION RANGE                            128
       Photograph by R. H. Chapman, U. S. Geol. Survey.

     A RECEPTION COMMITTEE                                         131
       Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.

       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     GREAT FALLS OF THE MISSOURI                                   137
       From _The Trail of Lewis and Clark_, O. D. Wheeler.

     GREAT FOUNTAIN GEYSER—YELLOWSTONE PARK                        141
       From _Wonderland_, 1901, Northern Pacific Railway.

     SUMMITS OF THE BACKBONE                                       145
       Gray's Peak, 14,341 feet; Torrey's Peak, 14,336 feet.
       Photograph by U. S. Geol. Survey.

     MOUTH OF THE COLUMBIA FROM ASTORIA                            149
       Cape Disappointment, left distance. From _The Trail
       of Lewis and Clark_, O. D. Wheeler.


     MOUNT HOOD—FROM CLOUD CAP INN                                 159
       From _Wonderland_, 1903, Northern Pacific Railway.

     CANYON OF THE GATES OF THE MOUNTAINS                          165
       From _The Trail of Lewis and Clark_, O. D. Wheeler.

     JUNCTION OF THE MADISON AND JEFFERSON                         167
       The Madison at left, the Jefferson at the right centre.
       From _The Trail of Lewis and Clark_, O. D. Wheeler.

     THE DALLES OF THE COLUMBIA                                    169
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     TRAIL                                                         171
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     TRAVELLER'S REST AND RETURN                                   173
       From _The Trail of Lewis and Clark_, by O. D. Wheeler.

     NEW MEXICAN CART                                              177
       Drawing by Julian Scott. From Bulletin of the Eleventh

     A ROCKY MOUNTAIN TORRENT                                      179
       Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.

     A GLADE FOR THE WEARY. ALTITUDE 8000 FEET                     183
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     THE GODS                                                      187
       (Pike got his view of it from a mountain to the left,
       not seen.)
       Photograph by C. C. Pierce & Co.

     VEGETATION OF THE SOUTH-WEST                                  191
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     CANYON OF THE YELLOWSTONE FROM GRAND VIEW                     195
       From _Wonderland_, 1903, Northern Pacific Railway.

     A MANSION OF THE WILDERNESS                                   197
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     SAWMILL GEYSER, YELLOWSTONE PARK                              201
       From _Wonderland_, 1904, Northern Pacific Railway.

     THE DEADLY RATTLER                                            203
       From _The Mystic Mid-Region_, by A. J. Burdick.
       Photograph by C. C. Pierce & Co.

       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

       Sketch by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     SIDE                                                          209
       Photograph by G. K. Gilbert.

     HORSE-HIDE                                                    211
       Frequently used in early days of the West.
       From _The Trail of Lewis and Clark_, by O. D. Wheeler.

     ON THE VIRGIN RIVER, SOUTHERN UTAH                            217
       Near where Escalante went in 1776. Pine Valley Mountain
       in distance.
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     AN ARIZONA THISTLE                                            220
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     A FULL LARDER                                                 223
       From _Wonderland_, 1904, Northern Pacific Railway.

     STANDING ROCKS, COMMON IN THE WILDERNESS                      227
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     IN THE MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS—VULTURE PEAK                       230
       Photograph by R. H. Chapman, U. S. Geol. Survey.

     BEFORE SUNRISE                                                231
       From _Wonderland_, 1904, Northern Pacific Railway.

     GREEN RIVER VALLEY                                            233
       Photograph by C. R. Savage.

     ARROW WEED IN THE YUMA COUNTRY                                236
       Photograph by Delancy Gill.

     RED CANYON OF GREEN RIVER                                     239
       Length, 25 miles. Walls 1800 to 2500 feet high.
       Average width of water, 250 feet. Ashley was the
       first white man to pass through this gorge.

     ASHLEY FALL, RED CANYON, GREEN RIVER                          241
       Ashley's name was found on right of the picture
       on one of the huge fallen rocks, about at the top of
       the old dead tree.

     LOWER FALLS OF THE YELLOWSTONE                                245
       From _Wonderland_, 1901, Northern Pacific Railway.

     ON THE GILA RIVER, ARIZONA                                    248
       This is the place chosen for the San Carlos irrigation
       Photograph by J. B. Lippincott.

     HEADWATERS OF VIRGIN RIVER                                    251
       Named Adams River by Jedediah Smith in 1826.
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     PRAIRIE DOGS                                                  254
       From _Wonderland_, 1901, Northern Pacific Railway.

     ON THE YUMA DESERT. A DYING HORSE                             256
       Photograph by Delancy Gill.

     AN OLD BEAVER HAUNT                                           261
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     THE HEART OF THE SIERRA                                       263
       Photograph by Watkins.

     A ROSE OF NEW MEXICO                                          266
       Photograph by C. C. Pierce & Co.

     ON THE GILA                                                   268
       Photograph by J. B. Lippincott.

     CAPTAIN BONNEVILLE                                            271
       A General when this was taken, long after his
       trapping career.
       Photograph from Montana Historical Society.

     "OLD FAITHFUL" GEYSER, YELLOWSTONE PARK                       274
       From _Wonderland_, 1901, Northern Pacific Railway.

     ELK IN WINTER                                                 277
       From _Wonderland_, Northern Pacific Railway.

     IN THE SIERRA NEVADA                                          279
       On the Merced, Yosemite Valley. Walker, 1833, was
       probably the first white man here.
       Copyright C. C. Pierce & Co.

     A WILDERNESS WAGGON ROAD                                      282
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     1833                                                          285
       From _Travels_, etc., 1832-3-4, by Maximilian, Prince
       of Wied, 1843.
       From _Wonderland_, 1904, Northern Pacific Railway.

     BEFORE THE SAWMILL COMES                                      289
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     THE GREAT OR LOWER FALL OF THE YELLOWSTONE                    291
       From _Wonderland_, 1904, Northern Pacific Railway.

     JIM BRIDGER IN HIS LATTER DAYS                                293
       Photograph from Montana Historical Society.

     VALLEY                                                        295

     SNOW-BOUND IN THE WILDERNESS—1875                             297
       Pencil sketch on the spot by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     CANYON OF LODORE, GREEN RIVER                                 299
       The first on record to go through this and the canyons
       immediately below it—that is, from Brown's Park to
       Wonsits Valley—was Joe Meek and a party of trappers
       on the ice, in the winter of 1838-39.
       Photograph by E. O. Beaman, U. S. Colo. Riv. Exp.

     A CHANCE MEETING                                              301
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     A SETBACK                                                     307
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     IN COUNCIL                                                    311
       General Sherman third from left of white group.
       Photograph from United States Government.

     THE STEAMBOAT "EXPLORER"                                      316
       In which Lieutenant Ives, in 1858, ascended the
       Colorado to the foot of Black Canyon.
       Sketch by H. B. Mollhausen.

     WHERE THE WILDERNESS LINGERS                                  319
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     RUNNING THE COLORADO                                          321
       Drawing by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

       This gorge merges into the Grand Canyon at the mouth
       of the Little Colorado. The length of both together
       is about 300 miles. The first to travel this
       distance were Powell and his men, 1869.

     THE GRAND CANYON REGION                                       326

     THE THOUSAND-MILE TREE                                        328
       A hemlock 1000 miles from Omaha.
       Photograph by C. R. Savage.

     SECRET TOWN TRESTLE                                           329
       1000 feet long. Maximum height, 90 feet.
       Photograph by C. R. Savage.

     SNOW SHEDS IN THE SIERRA                                      331
       Photograph by C. R. Savage.

       Photograph, 1871, by E. O. Beaman, U. S. Colo. Riv.

     POINT, UTAH, MAY 10, 1869                                     333
       John Duff in front, immediately beneath engine.
       Sidney Dillon at his left. The Reverend Doctor
       Todd asking a blessing.
       Photograph by C. R. Savage for the Union Pacific

     THE AMES MONUMENT—UNION PACIFIC RAILWAY                       334
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     10, 1869                                                      335
       Locomotive "Jupiter" of the Central Pacific, and "119"
       of the Union Pacific about to meet when last spike is
       Photograph by C. R. Savage for the Union Pacific

     THE LAST TIE                                                  336
       Union Pacific Railway, 1869. Made of California
       laurel polished, and with a silver plate on the side.

     THE LAST SPIKE                                                337
       Union Pacific Railway. Made of gold.

     A MODERN FAST TRAIN                                           337
       From _Wonderland_, 1901, Northern Pacific Railway.

     THE MORMON TEMPLE—SALT LAKE CITY                              338
       Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     CANADA LYNX                                                   361
       From _Wonderland_, 1904, Northern Pacific Railway.





     Extent of the Wilderness—The First White Man—The Backbone of
     the Continent—A Vanished Sea and a Petrified Ocean—The Biggest
     Trees—The Spike of Gold.

The natural habitat of man is the wilderness. No matter how civilised he
may become, his heart turns with longing to the woods, to the sea, and
to the mountains. There he is unconventional; animals are his compeers,
the forest his friend, the free-flowing stream nectar to his lips.
Civilised peoples, after all, are but wanderers driven from the Garden
of Eden by the sword of necessity. Of the virtues they claim, a large
proportion is imperative, the result of conflicting numbers—society's
effort to preserve itself. Men are no better, no worse, in the
wilderness or in civilisation; nor does race or colour appear exactly
to define quality. By noting this at the outset we may be inclined to
be more sympathetic; and therefore may better understand the superb
wilderness which forms the subject of this work.

Nearly two-thirds of the entire present area of the United States was
comprised in it, extending between the north and south bounds of the
Union, from the Mississippi on the one hand, to the Pacific on the
other; a vast region of marvellous diversity, greater far than several
of the Old-World empires rolled into one. Up to the hour when the Santa
Maria flung her parting banners out and under the steady will of the
Admiral moved upon the Western Mystery, no European had ever beheld the
wide horizon of this splendid realm, nor yet even dreamed of it, for
whatever in the way of exploration prior to Columbus the Northmen may
have accomplished on the Atlantic coast of America, we may be sure not
one of them ever set foot beyond the banks of the Father of Waters. And
so this land, unknown to Europeans, remained unknown till the year when
Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, escaping from the terrible disasters of the
Narvaez Florida expedition, in his enforced long wanderings, crossed
the lower margin, now the State of Texas, and in 1536, less than four
decades after the Discovery, gave to expectant Europe first news of
the "hunchback cows" and the great interior. That was a day of marvels.
After Mexico and Peru anything! Though we may smile at the imaginings
of those iron-nerved Spaniards, they were not inconsistent with their
time. Now the mighty tract is well known to us, but our knowledge has
come piecemeal through centuries of endeavour, the last portion of
the unknown yielding only so late as 1869. It is a romantic story. In
these pages the salient features will be traced with special attention
to the doings of the trappers and traders who bore in its conquest so
dominating an influence.

In the beginning it will be well to glance at the main facts of the
region, and see what it was that the newcomers were compelled to
encounter and overcome before the land became theirs. Vast mountain
chains there were, turbulent rivers, deserts and semi-deserts, and
forbidding gorges. Almost through the middle, trending north-westerly
and south-easterly, stretched the great Backbone of the continent, the
Shining Mountains, or, as we now call them, the Rocky Mountains, with
many peaks reaching up beyond the timber-line and into the realm of
perpetual snow, peaks now familiar under the names of early explorers
like Pike, Long, James, Frémont, etc., and whose meandering crest
composed the Continental Divide, casting the rains on one side into
the broad Pacific, and on the other side into the tides that laved the
shores of Europe. For a considerable portion of the year deep snows
upon these heights prevented all crossing, except at great hazard.
This mountain range was at the same time the western limit of the most
remarkable and bountiful river valley in all the world, the basin of
the Mississippi, whose other edge was bounded by the verdant slopes of
the Alleghanies, and which came within a stone's throw of the Niagara
cataract and the Great Lakes.

  [Illustration: The Backbone of the Continent.

   Photograph by R. H. Chapman, U. S. Geol. Survey.]

Four large rivers of immense length took their rise towards the north
on the summits of the Backbone, the greatest three springing like
triplets of a single mother from practically the same spot in what is
now Wyoming. One of these, rushing toward the north-west over a cataract
that rivals Niagara, and over falls and wild rapids, swept into the
Pacific through a line of dangerous breakers which, notwithstanding the
labours of our best engineers, still remains a barrier to the entrance.
This was the "River of the West," now the Columbia, taking its name from
the ship of Captain Gray, the first to sail into its mouth. Another
river, the real continuation of the Mississippi, ran its course for
some three thousand miles before joining the parent stream at a point
still more than a thousand miles from the Gulf of Mexico, navigable in
high-water season for boats of moderate draught for about two thousand
miles of its length above the junction. This was the Missouri, at first
the main highway from the east into the wilderness, leading the trappers
and traders to the very threshold of the great mountains. The third
river, the Seedskedee, the Rio Colorado Grande of the Spaniards, now
the Green and Colorado, started just over the range at the head of the
Missouri and the Columbia, and leaping down the westerly precipices
in bold cataracts, made for the south-west and the gulf now called
California, never heeding the mountain barriers, but for half its two
thousand miles of length cleaving through them, a series of terrifying
chasms, deep and difficult, where its waters are torn by hundreds of
loud rapids, and whose tributary chasms unite with the mother gorges
to interpose almost insurmountable obstacles in the path of the
explorer,—the last portion of the wilderness to be vanquished and,
though vanquished, yet to this day formidable and defiant. The fourth
river, less in magnitude and vigour than the others, but nevertheless
fractious, rose some miles southward of their birthplace on the rugged
slopes of spurs of the great range, and sweeping to the south and
south-east entered the Gulf of Mexico. This was the Rio Grande del
Norte, now abbreviated to Rio Grande, and forming for a long distance
the boundary of Mexico. It was on this river that the first settlements
were made in the wilderness, by Europeans, in what is now New Mexico.

  [Illustration: Wilderness of the Upper Missouri.

   Photograph by R. H. Chapman, U. S. Geol. Survey.]

East of the huge central mountain system there rolled away from the base
of the range to the Mississippi endless plains resembling a petrified
ocean; the prairies, treeless, sublime in their immensity. For about
half the distance from the mountains to the river, approximately as far
as the 100th meridian, this enormous territory was well-nigh rainless,
thus presenting an additional barrier to investigation from the
eastward. The remaining half was invitingly fertile. Across these wide
prairies meandered eastwardly several branches of the Missouri and the
Mississippi, chief among them the Platte, the Arkansas, and Red River.
West of the Backbone lay a maze of mountains, "parks," deep gorges,
now called canyons, cliffs, plateaus, and valleys, limited on the far
western side by a second mother-range rivalling in height and extent and
impenetrability the central system itself. This was the Sierra Nevada
and its upper continuation, the Cascade Range. About midway between
the two master ranges another, the Wasatch, extended northerly and
southerly, forming the eastern limit of the dry bed of an ancient sea of
which a small remnant remained concentrated in a salt lake some fifty
miles in length. This vanished sea is now known as Lake Bonneville,
its old bed as the "Great Basin." Its southern rim breaks down from an
altitude of about ten thousand feet in a series of mighty cliffs, like
cyclopean steps, to the canyons of the Colorado, and near the summit of
this rim a river starts north down into the basin, sweeping along for
many miles to turn suddenly to the westward and end in a lake without
visible outlet, in the middle of a stretch of desert. This is now the
Sevier. West of the salt lake another stream, the Humboldt, took its
rise and, darting boldly toward the Sierra as if to cut it in twain,
meekly collapsed in a small lake at the foot. Between the Wasatch and
the Rocky Mountains lay the valley of the Colorado, already mentioned,
a marvellous labyrinth of canyons and cliffs, of dead volcanoes, lava
beds, plateaus, and mountain peaks of rare beauty.

  [Illustration: The Yosemite Valley.

   Photograph by C. C. Pierce & Co.]

Some of the stream branches took their rise in a series of deep valleys
called "parks," lying close within the main range and known to-day as
North, Middle, and South parks, with still another below South Park,
called San Luis Park, in which heads the Rio Grande. Thus the wide area
intervening between the two chief mountain systems, the Rocky and the
Sierra, was one of extraordinary topographical diversity, presenting
innumerable minor mountain ranges (most of them, like the mother chains,
trending northerly and southerly), lines of high cliffs of great length,
extensive plateaus, and wonderful gorges like mountain ranges hollowed
out and turned upside down below the surface of the earth, gorges so
long and so deep as to absolutely and completely separate the areas
lying on their opposite sides. East of the Rocky Mountains was the vast
prairie land mentioned, while west of the Sierra lay the sunland now
known as California, with the moister region of Oregon immediately above
it cut in twain by the Columbia rushing triumphantly to the sea. Here
too was still another lesser mountain chain, the Coast Range.

On the headwaters of the Yellowstone branch of the Missouri was a
district of hot springs and geysers, famous now the world round. Here
also were the great falls of the Yellowstone and its celebrated canyon,
so wonderful in the variety and brilliancy of its colouring, now held,
by the wisdom of Congress, for a National Park. Farther south, like a
beacon for the Christian pilgrim, there shone aloft, formed in ice and
snow, on the topmost slopes of a high peak, the semblance of a perfect
cross. The Arkansas, in freeing itself from the mountains, carved
through them a long gorge, deep and narrow, of splendid picturesqueness,
which later made a highway for the locomotive. Besides the Great Salt
Lake there were broad salt lagoons farther south in what is now New
Mexico, and in California likewise salt spread itself by tons and tons
over the surface of the ground. In Southern Utah were the superb Temples
of the Rio Virgen. In the Sierra Nevada was the now celebrated Yosemite,
one of the grandest valleys on the globe; and there too stood the
largest known trees, patriarchs from a former age, three hundred feet
in height, with trunks of enormous circumference—the _Sequoia_. Here
also were the redwood forests, scarcely less noble than the _Sequoia_.
The vegetation was as varied as the topography. On the prairies of what
is now Kansas flourished the sensitive plant, covering the ground with
its lovely rose-coloured, rose-scented blossoms, round as a puff-ball,
the delicate stems withering at the touch of a human hand, to lift
themselves again when the intruder had withdrawn. Farther west the
antithesis of this exquisitely sensitive growth, the cactus, spread its
defiant lances everywhere, and there it was the human hand and not the
plant which withered at the touch. And the cactus was no less beautiful
than the sensitive "rose"; indeed, more beautiful, for nothing could
exceed the gorgeousness of its blossoms of various shades of red, or
yellow, or white as they stood resplendent under the glowing sun against
the soft colour of the earth.

  [Illustration: The Grizzly Giant.

   Height, 285 feet. Circumference, 93 feet.

   Copyright by C. C. Pierce & Co.]

At the north, and on the higher lands of the south, grew the pine trees
in magnificent forests, with the beautiful spruce and cedar, the latter
attaining its noblest proportions in the north-west. Towards the south,
on the lower lands, grew the juniper and the piñon, the latter bearing
a delicious, edible nut, a boon to the native. In the south, too, were
the mesquite with its sweet bean, and the splendid yuccas, some of them
tree-like and twenty or thirty feet high, the pitahaya, and many other
plants strange to European eyes. These and the cacti require a dry
climate and a hot one, and the southern portion of the wilderness was
particularly dry and hot. The extreme south-western part was the driest
and the hottest, and there stretches of real desert interposed further
obstacles to exploration and to settlement. On the other hand, the
climate of the extreme north-west was the reverse. There mist and rain,
nearly unknown in the lower basin of the Colorado, were almost constant.
But the characteristic of the major part of the wilderness was excessive
dryness, prohibiting agriculture without irrigation. The high peaks,
receiving snow and rain in plenty, dealt out the moisture generously
through creeks and rivers upon the parching plains roundabout.

  [Illustration: A Wilderness Home.

   Photograph by R. H. Chapman. U. S. Geol. Survey.]

Thus there were wide deserts as well as regions of humidity; an immense
range in climate with a corresponding range in life zones, till the
biologist discovered in this area specimens ranging from the boreal to
the tropical. The animals were of all kinds found on the North American
continent. There were scorpions, tarantulas, snakes (many varieties of
rattlesnakes) in the south; there and elsewhere beaver, bison, panthers,
bears, wolves, deer, elk, mountain sheep, and small game of various
kinds, all adjusted to altitude or latitude. Bears were particularly
numerous. The bison (buffalo) roamed the east in countless numbers,
crossing the Rocky Mountains and pushing westward to the Pecos, to Green
River, and to the Columbia. As a wild animal the bison now is extinct,
and it is difficult to imagine the enormous herds that so short a time
ago at will traversed the face of the wilderness. The beaver existed in
vast numbers also, and this fact was the first incentive to exploration
of the immense tract by Americans. Deer and antelope grazed everywhere
and scarcely a day could pass without the traveller sighting some of
these animals. All furnished subsistence to the man who was there,
the Amerind. Because this person was not a European he has often been
regarded as hardly worth consideration, but he was a good specimen
of mankind in the hunter state. Physically and mentally he had few
superiors. He knew the country as well as we know it to-day. He knew
every pass in the mountains, every buffalo trail. Each tribe knew its
own land limits, as well as those of its neighbours, and each defended
its home with unsurpassed daring and bravery.

This was the wilderness when the hordes of Europe descended upon it and
claimed it for their own. Well did they fight their way into it, and
equally well did the native oppose the invasion and fight to preserve
his ancestral home in all its freedom and pristine glory. But the
Europeans were stronger and wrested it from him, from the animals, and
from Nature; yet it was never fully theirs till the sledge drove home
that last spike of gold that pinned the East and the West together and
tacked the skirts of Europe to those of Cathay.



     [1] See also Sulte (Benjamin), _Découverte du Mississippi en 1659_.
     In _Proceedings and Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada_,
     Second Series, vol. ix., (1903), section i., pp. 3-44. Radisson's
     veracity is not unquestioned.



     The Intelligent Beaver, Chief of the Rodents—A Four-Footed
     Engineer—A Builder of Houses, Artificial Canals, Dams, Ponds,
     and Lakes—Beaver Meadows—A Masterful Woodchopper—A Tail for the
     Epicure—Muskbogs—The Fatal Trap.

Several factors combined to break the wilderness to the uses of the
Americans into whose possession it eventually fell. One of these, and
it was one of the most important in its effect on primary exploration,
was the presence there in vast numbers of a comparatively small and
singularly intelligent animal called the beaver, belonging to the
order _Rodentia_. While not of great size it was, nevertheless, with
one exception, the largest of its kind, weighing thirty or forty
pounds and being about three and one-half feet long. In colour it was
chestnut brown and was endowed with a rich, thick fur, one-half to
three-quarters inch long, with coarse hair scattered through it about
one inch longer. It so happened that this particular quality of fur
was in great commercial demand in Europe for the making of hats. For
some time it had constituted an article of profitable export from the
eastern part of the continent, as the similar animal in Europe had
been exterminated. Finally the supply from America also diminished as
the trappers pursued their merciless task. Then followed the discovery
that the great wild region west of the Mississippi contained beaver in
immense numbers, and beaver trapping immediately became the principal
quest of many bold natures eager to stake their lives in a tilt with
Fortune, just as others later played a different game with the golden
gravels of California.

  [Illustration: The Mountain Part of the Wilderness.

   Relief map by E. E. Howell.]

  [Illustration: No Place for Beaver.

   Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.]

In their search for the most lucrative beaver grounds they crossed
the boundless prairies, and stimulated by the prospect of riches and
the excitement of new scenes they sought the innermost recesses of the
mountain wilderness, slaying what opposed their way, taking beaver by
thousands and tens of thousands, and sending pack upon pack by way of
St. Louis to the waiting markets of the Old World. The early returns
may be estimated from the success of one enterprising man who, having
employed a band of expert trappers, came out of the far regions on
one occasion with nearly two hundred packs, each worth in St. Louis
about one thousand dollars. In one period of two and one-half years,
over six hundred thousand beaver skins were sent out by one of the
great companies that were organised systematically to prosecute the
fur business in North America.[2] Thus it was that the beaver became
responsible for the first opening of the great western Unknown, and in
order fully to understand the interesting story of human endeavour,
it is necessary to glance at the characteristics of this remarkable
creature, which unwittingly performed such a prominent part in affairs
so momentous to the American Republic and to the world, and which in
consequence has become almost extinct. By it was the trapper and trader
led from the Mississippi to the Western Ocean, and from the Gila River
to and beyond the bounds of Canada.

With so great regularity was the daily life of the beaver ordered that
the hunters in their admiration ascribed to it mental qualities which
probably it did not actually possess, yet it certainly executed well
defined works with skill and precision, and performed many acts which
might easily have been the result of mental processes.[3] A house
builder and an engineer, it constructed for its occupation comfortable
lodges, it excavated canals for its convenience, and formed ponds and
lakes of considerable extent by means of dams made of trees, sticks,
mud, and stones. Moreover, the trees were felled by its own efforts,
and cut up into pieces suitable for the object desired. The mud and
stones were then combined with these pieces with a dexterity that was
astonishing and that will always command for this amphibious, burrowing
creature of the genus _Castor_ a high rank in the animal world. Its
paws were supplied with long, strong claws, the hind ones having an
extra claw peculiar to the beaver. The front pair were small and were
used deftly like human hands; and the animal could walk erect on its
hind feet carrying small stones and earth, pressed against the throat,
for house or dam building; it could drag poles and sticks in the same
manner. When necessary to move larger stones they pushed them along,
sometimes using the tail also, and stones of five or six pounds' weight
were moved in this way. All their works were of the same general
character, and in each class they did not vary their methods, which
were largely dictated by surrounding conditions. Being amphibious, they
naturally lived by and in water. Their food being tender bark and small
twigs of trees, they were forced to gnaw down woody growths to exist,
and as these growths near streams usually incline toward the water they
naturally fell into or across the channel. Accumulations of driftwood
and of the discarded food sticks started dams, and the animal aided the
natural construction by adding mud and more sticks. Thus, perhaps, its
habits were begun in the remote past by what is called instinct rather
than any reasoning quality, yet there remains always the problem as to
where instinct stops and reason begins. At any rate there appears to
have been no very deep intellectuality about the beaver, notwithstanding
its dexterity and ingenuity. It was moulded by the laws of its life
exactly as the spider is when it spins a web; yet in the case of the
beaver there was a complexity of action that seems extraordinary,
although the action apparently was always that which beaver after beaver
had employed for an immense period. Where a stream was large and deep
or swift, the beaver could not build a dam, nor was it necessary, as
it could and did burrow into the banks, excavating a chamber above
the water-level, and the primary object of the dam was to supply deep
water to cover the lodge entrance. Where waters were continually swift
or turbulent and uncontrollable, and especially where they were not
bordered by an abundance of cottonwoods, willows, yellow birch, or
other favourite food wood, the beaver was absent. For these reasons
they were never found in deep canyons. The trappers, as soon as by some
bitter experience they discovered this, sought them no further in such
localities, hence while these men traversed almost every other foot
of the great wilderness, the huge canyons, particularly those of the
Colorado River series, were avoided. They continued, therefore, _terra
incognita_ long after the remainder of the region was broken; till, in
fact, the remarkable boat journey of Major Powell in 1869 fathomed their
mysteries. Thus the habits of the beaver controlled widely separated

  [Illustration: Beaver Country.

   Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.]

Where brooks or creeks were small with the proper wood growths beaver
were abundant, as well as in natural lakes and on all the quieter
reaches of the large rivers. Across small streams trees were felled,
and with the aid of sticks, mud, and stones the beaver laid up a dam to
back up the water and form a basin wherein could be built their lodges
with entrances below the surface. On mountain streams these dams one
above another often transformed them for long distances into a series
of pools and ponds where great numbers of beaver made their homes. In
such places a trapper would reap a speedy reward, more particularly as
there was no thought of sparing any of the creatures for the future.
Often fifty or sixty beaver would be taken in a single night.

According to Morgan, dams were of two kinds, the "stick" and the "solid
bank." The former was made by a combination of sticks and poles on the
lower side, while the upper was built of sticks and earth. The sticks
were laid in the direction of the current with the butts up-stream, and
not across. This was probably due to the animal's inability to lay the
stick in any other way, the current itself determining the beaver's
conduct, though it is possible that experience had taught that this
was the best method, for by such arrangement the water was not wholly
obstructed and, percolating through the interstices, was less likely
to break away the structure. The other form of dam, the solid bank,
was merely a modification of the stick dam adapted to a deeper channel.
Large quantities of earth and stones were added to this to enable it to
withstand the greater force of water, and this seems to indicate some
degree of contemplation on the part of the builder; yet the result was
natural, as the animal, having placed earth on one form of dam, would
go on placing earth on the same form in deeper water as a matter of
instinct. But there was one touch in the construction of the solid-bank
dam which more than any other appeared to be the result of thought. This
was an opening left in the top of the dam, several inches lower than
the remainder, and three or four feet long, as a spillway for surplus
water. In the stick dam no spillway was provided because the surplus
was allowed to flow through the interstices, so that the construction
of this feature in the larger, more compact dams seems to have been an
example of pure invention to guard against possible disaster.

  [Illustration: Great Beaver Dam—Grass Lake.

   260 feet long.

   From Morgan's _American Beaver_]

  [Illustration: Red Canyon—Green River.

   Where Ashley Went for Beaver in 1825.

   Photograph by E. O. Beaman, Colo. Riv. Exp.]

All dams were begun at the surface and no sticks or stakes were driven
down in beginning to hold in place the sticks that were to compose the
bulk of the structure. Earth and stones, the latter of as much as six
pounds each in weight, were brought to the spot and piled on the sticks.
Trappers asserted that they would load each other's backs with earth and
stones to be carried to the site, but this statement is not sufficiently
authenticated to receive much confidence. In form all dams were curved,
up stream in small dams and down in the larger. This was doubtless due
to the current, which in small streams, obstructed easily in the centre,
would become stronger on the sides and push the sticks down, while the
reverse would be the case in large streams. Ordinarily the dams would
support a man's weight. They seemed like masses of driftwood under the
foot. The older they were, the more compact. Within the ponds, formed
by these remarkable dams, sometimes covering more than fifty acres,
one or many lodges were built to furnish shelter and protection to the
beaver family. These houses were dome-shaped structures composed of
sticks and mud, the dome rising above the water-level between four or
five feet and extending along it about sixteen feet. The top of the
lodge was left rather loose, but below it was compact with earth. This
gave the interior sufficient ventilation. The floor, which was about two
inches above the water-line, was hard and clean with, in summer time,
fresh cut grass around the sides. Being so near the level the inmates
could tell, by the lowering of the surface, whether the dam had a break
in it, in which case they would sally forth to make repairs. Trappers
took advantage of this trait, breaking the dam and setting traps in
the break. The interiors were about two yards in diameter and twelve
to sixteen inches in height, the roof above being about three feet in
thickness, while the sides were four or five. There were several kinds
of entrances, ten to fifteen feet long, but one was always straight
with an inclined floor, to permit food sticks to be taken into the house
and out again when the bark on them had been consumed. Then the sticks
were used in construction work. Other entrances were more abrupt and
full of curves. The winter pile of food sticks was sunk alongside the
house where it was easily accessible under the ice. No animal could
successfully attack one of these lodges, so that the family within
it was perfectly safe, but men with axes could force an entrance from

  [Illustration: Beaver Canal.

   From Morgan's _American Beaver_]

  [Illustration: Lower Colorado River—Mouth of Gila on Right.

   Where Pattie Trapped Beaver in 1826.

   Photograph by Delancy Gill.]

In low ground the dams backing the water around trees killed them
and in course of time they would disappear, leaving in their place an
open, boggy space covered with a growth of rank vegetation. These were
called by the hunters "beaver meadows." The "beaver canals" were cut
through marshy places and were sometimes prominent features of the local
landscape, extending four or five hundred feet in length, and having a
breadth of three feet, with a depth of fifteen to thirty inches.

When in the water the beaver was far more graceful and active than when
on land, swimming powerfully by means of its large, strong, webbed hind
feet, aided, when speed was desired, by the broad, flat tail used like
the blade of a sculling oar, which, indeed, it much resembled, being
ten inches long by five wide, and smooth, hard, and scaly, and entirely
devoid of the soft fur which covered the body. Besides this use in
swimming, the tail served as a prop when the animal desired to sit up on
land, and also as a sort of trowel for beating down the mud-mortar used
in dam building. At night it was also struck sharply on the surface of
the water as a signal of alarm, giving a report which sounded, in the
stillness, like a pistol shot and could be heard for a long distance. In
regions frequented by man, or where in any way likely to be disturbed,
the beaver was nocturnal and did most of its work during the dark hours,
but where unmolested it spent much time out in the broad daylight. I
saw large numbers swimming about in daytime when on Green River in 1871,
in Wonsits Valley, where white men had rarely passed, and they gave no
indication of special alarm at sight of us. Perhaps they regarded our
boats as nothing more than drifting logs, just as the seal of Alaska
is deceived by the trick the natives there have of covering themselves
and their canoes with white cloth to resemble floating ice. At one
point where we were in camp a whole day within a few hundred yards of
a colony actively engaged in their various labours in the sunlight of
the river bank, they apparently did not notice our presence, and even a
rifle ball sent among them did not seem to derange their equanimity. In
this locality the banks were full of burrows, and as we passed along in
our boats we could see the beaver swimming around in every direction.
We shot at several, but as they immediately sink to the bottom when
killed, the gun is not successful in taking them, except in very shallow
streams. We would have failed altogether albeit we made no special
effort, had not one of the boats been able to head off a large fellow
that was wounded, just as he arrived at the opening of his burrow, which
happened, at that stage of river, to be a little above the water-level.
A moment more and the animal would have been safe from us, but though
the bottom was invisible on account of the turbidity of the river, one
of our men quickly took the plunge and grasped the beaver from behind
firmly around the middle at the moment when its head was almost against
the steep high bank. The depth was no more than about three feet,
and though the beating of the heavy tail, and the fierce struggles,
made it anything but easy, the beaver was thrown into the boat, where
a blow from an oar finished him. The captor, drenched and covered
with mud, climbed triumphantly on board. Some of the meat was cooked
and suggested to me beef in flavour, though it was rather tough and
unappetising. The tail makes a soup which is the delight of the epicure,
or was, when beaver tails were procurable, but somehow that which our
cook concocted did not strike our palates favourably and we abandoned
it for the regulation bacon and beans. Beaver meat was often the only
food the trapper and frontiersman could obtain, and they considered it
quite a good article of diet. The one we tested was doubtless too old
a specimen, and we had no opportunity to secure another, for we passed
on into the great Canyon of Desolation and saw beaver no more.

  [Illustration: Trees Cut by Beavers.

   From Morgan's _American Beaver_.]

When at work cutting down a tree they stood on their hind legs,
supported also by the tail, two working at one time on the same
tree. They began eight or ten inches above the base and cut round and
round, making each successive cut wider and deeper, the chips thrown
off being some three inches in length by one and one-half wide, and
one-quarter thick, each showing the sharp, clean strokes of the teeth,
and resembling chips made with an axe. As the trees selected were always
soft wood, they were easily gnawed while green. A tree of considerable
size would be readily felled in two or three nights. Often they worked
in pairs at a number of trees at one time, and nineteen falls, says
Morgan, have been counted in a single night between the hours of seven
and twelve. Cottonwoods twenty-four inches in diameter were brought
down, though the more ordinary size was fourteen to sixteen inches.
Father de Smet saw a stump that was thirty inches in diameter.

At first glance a beaver stump looks almost as if it might have been
cut by an axe in the hands of an inexperienced chopper. Pine trees were
sometimes cut down, but the boughs were not used for food. Food branches
were cut up into lengths of one to two feet, for convenience in handling
and storing. Sometimes trees that fell with their tops in the deep water
were allowed to remain this way till winter, when the branches were cut
off under the ice. As the beaver was able to stay below the surface
comfortably from five to ten minutes, he could accomplish his work
there with ease. Both sexes possessed in two glands of the groin a musky
secretion called _castoreum_, which was used in medicine and also as a
bait for the animal itself. When at play they would void some of this
musk upon the ground, and their favourite playgrounds were consequently
called by the trappers "muskbogs."

Hunters sometimes found trees standing near a stream that were partly
cut, and they observed that in these cases the trees would not have
fallen into the water, from which they inferred that cutting these
trees had been started by young, inexperienced beavers who had finally
been stopped in the useless labour by their wise elders. Bradbury,
the English naturalist who was in the West with Wilson Price Hunt in
1809, thought he found some substantiation of this theory in trees
he carefully examined—at least, none of these trees would have fallen
across the neighbouring streams. Inasmuch as these animals, however,
were in constant need of food branches, there would seem to have been no
good reason for preventing the young beaver from completing the cutting
of any tree no matter where it might drop. That the beaver had gone
into the study of forestry and was endeavouring to preserve the woods is
not likely, nor is it probable that the time of the youthful beaver was
valuable. If all stumps in a given locality had been examined, doubtless
it would have been found that a considerable number of trees had not
fallen across the stream or even in its direction. A more probable
explanation of these half-cut trees would be that from time to time
some of those engaged in gnawing were interrupted during the operation,
perhaps killed, and prevented from resuming, and that the rest, having
their attention engaged on other trees or their branches, were not
impelled to take up the work. The tree being girdled soon died. Then
the fibre of the wood growing dry and hard, the tree would be avoided,
because there were always plenty of fresh, juicy ones to cut. The tops
of the old dead trees would also be of no use for food. So while the
young may have been regularly educated as the trappers believed, this
particular illustration of wise guidance does not appear convincing. It
was also believed that an old beaver which had once escaped a trap could
not again easily be caught, for the reason that thereafter it carried a
stick in its mouth with which to test suspicious places and spring any
trap that might be in its way.

Nevertheless the trap was fatal to these industrious and ingenious
animals, and by the year 1835 they had been reduced in numbers to such
a degree that they were no longer the chief lure and gain of the fur
hunter. The native, before the opening of the European market, not
having much use for such small skins and preferring the meat of other
game for food, the beaver for ages had been practically unmolested.
But the footsteps of the American trapper sounded his death knell. At
the same time they sounded the same knell for every living thing in the
whole vast wilderness, and now, a century after, not only is it next to
impossible to find a beaver colony in that immense array of mountain and
plain, but all wild animals have become more or less of a curiosity,
only preserved from absolute extermination by the most rigorous game
laws. Killing for fun is even more destructive than killing for profit.

The principal contrivance employed in taking beaver was the common steel
trap, a couple of jaws so arranged that they could be spread and set on
a trigger which was connected with a treadle in the centre. When the
animal stepped on this treadle, the powerful jaws were freed and were
brought fiercely together by a spring, clamping the leg of the victim
securely. The trap being fastened to a strong chain and this to a stake,
the captive could not escape, unless it gnawed its own leg off, and it
is said beaver sometimes did this. The trap was set in the line of a
runway or trail or near the entrance to a burrow, with a stick leaning
over it on the extremity of which was the bait, a small quantity of
castoreum, of gum camphor, oil of juniper, cinnamon, or cloves. The last
two were dissolved in alcohol and made into a paste. In reaching for
the bait, the beaver stepped on the treadle of the trap. The hunter made
his rounds regularly to gather in the pelts of the captives, resetting
the traps for another catch if the locality was promising, or, if the
contrary, taking them up and pushing on in search of better ground.
In the very beginning those first in a rich spot of course reaped the
best harvest, and it was the desire to obtain large and quick returns
that induced trappers constantly to enter farther and farther into the
unfathomed places. The move was not always a wise one. Frequently they
left comparatively good ground and came to that which was lean, or
perhaps entirely devoid of the animal sought.

  [Illustration: Beaver Trap.]

  [Illustration: The Beaver.

   Copyright, 1901, by Doubleday, Page & Co.]

Sometimes the trap was set so that the ring attached to the end of the
chain, as soon as the captive dived, would slide down to the small end
of a pole planted in the water, preventing the ascent of the beaver
and consequently drowning it. At the lodge, rows of strong stakes were
driven in such a way as to form alleys leading to the entrances through
which the members of the family would have to pass to reach the house,
the trap being cunningly concealed on the bottom. In winter, as it
was easy to discover the lodges because the snow was melted away from
above by the rising warm air, the tops were chopped in, and the beaver
taken in this way. The store of winter food sticks being placed in a
pile beside the lodge, the trappers often staked around it to compel
the beaver to enter for food at points where traps were set. When it
was driven to its bank burrows, the entrances were closed and then
the occupants were dug out from above. The setting of steel traps,
however, and visiting them at regular intervals was the easiest and
most profitable method, for one man could take care of fifty traps or
more, without great difficulty. One peculiarity of the animal was of
great service to its pursuers,—it never stepped backwards. Altogether
the poor creature was an easy prey to the keen hunter, and the capture
of it amounted to wholesale slaughter.

In disposition the beaver was gentle and shy. When caught very young,
they became perfectly tame and contented. Native women sometimes nursed
young captives as they would a child, till, in a few weeks, they were
old enough to eat bark, when they would wean themselves. Their cry
resembled that of a human infant, and their affectionate natures made
them attractive and satisfactory pets. Full growth was attained at two
and one-half years, and they died of old age at about fifteen. A beaver
family consisted of the two parents and the several offspring under two
years of age, all living in one lodge or burrow. Occasionally a male
refused to pair, and then after the second season he was driven from the
colony and became an outcast. Their interesting social organisation and
general sagacity placed them in the very top rank among animals.

This small creature, then, that offered its life as a bait to entice
the white man into the depths of the wilderness, was one of the most
remarkable on the continent, and its likeness, as the emblem of the
American Republic, would be far more appropriate than the carrion eagle,
which has little to commend it, as compared with the beaver, the model
of gentleness, industry, ingenuity, and painstaking skill, and which
formed a stepping-stone to the power and greatness of the Union of
States now spreading from ocean to ocean.


     [2] For an admirable account of the fur trade see _The American
     Fur Trade of the Far West_, by H. M. Chittenden.

     [3] See _The American Beaver and his Works_, by Lewis H. Morgan.



     A Monarch of the Plains—The Hunchback Cows of Cibola—A Boon to
     the Frontiersman—Wide Range of the Bison—Marrow Bones for the
     Epicure—Washington Irving a Buffalo Hunter—The Rushing Run of the
     Bison Herd—The Sacred White Buffalo Cow Skin—A Calf with a Bull
     Head—Wolves and White Bears.

Another denizen of the wilderness that performed an important part
in its preparation for occupation by the white race was the buffalo
or _Bison Americanus_, a monarch of the plains, huge and fierce in
appearance; a monarch with the mien of a lion and the resistance of a
sheep; an animal quite the opposite of the interesting beaver in almost
every particular but numbers. In this respect, however, it vied with
its smaller associate, roaming by millions and millions up and down
across the limitless prairie-ocean, apparently as inexhaustible as the
vagrant breezes blowing one day here and one day there. But the breezes
still waft above the billowy surface, while the bison has vanished
like a dream. The farm, the ranch, the town, and the railway now claim
his vast grazing grounds. Were it not for a few specimens preserved in
private herds and zoölogical gardens, this strange creature would be
as unfamiliar to us in the life as are the _Dinosaurs_ of the Jurassic

  [Illustration: The Monarch of the Plains.

   The Figure a Photograph by C. C. Pierce & Co.]

They were the "hunchback cows" which Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca first
accurately described to the European world, although it is said that
Montezuma had one captive in his collection of animals at the time
Cortez pillaged the Aztec capital. They were later called "cattle or
cows of _Cibola_" (and _Sibolo_)[4] by the Spaniards, perhaps because
the inhabitants of the first group of native villages of New Mexico
encountered by Coronado were supplied with buffalo robes and were in
the habit of going to hunt the animals on the plains of the river Pecos,
where at that time they were abundant. The name passed into common use
and to-day, although there is the correct word _Bisónte_, the American
bison is generally known in Spanish as _Cibolo_. In his celebrated
traverse of the Texas and Kansas prairies in 1540 Coronado saw immense
herds that roamed there. The buffalo range was great, especially in
a north and south direction, its southernmost limit having been in
north-eastern Mexico a little below the lower end of Texas, while
its northernmost was the upper shores of Great Slave Lake. It seems,
however, that it did not cover this range in latitude at one time, so
that in Coronado's day the northern limit was doubtless considerably
below Great Slave Lake. The buffalo was not migratory in the sense that
herds from the extreme north traversed the entire range and occupied a
place on the southern edge, but it was migratory as a whole, swinging
back and forth from north to south and south to north like a huge
pendulum, the various sub-herds always retaining practically the same
relative position to the complete mass. It appears also that in this
annual oscillation with the seasons it gradually retired from the
extreme southern limit and encroached beyond its northern limit, till
the position at the north mentioned was arrived at. This is indicated by
the statement of an Amerind of the Athabasca country, who in explaining
his age to Mackenzie, said that "he remembered the opposite hills
and plains now interspersed with groves of poplars, when they were
covered with moss, and without any animal inhabitant but the reindeer.
By degrees, he said, the face of the country changed to its present
appearance, when the elk came from the east and was followed by the
buffalo; the reindeer then retired to ... a considerable distance."[5]
It is therefore quite probable that, had not the European arrived to
interfere, the buffalo eventually would have gone farther north and
would have spread over Alaska. It was perfectly at home in the cold
northland so long as the summers permitted grass and herbage to mature.
The Saskatchewan country was full of them all winter, though they were
forced to paw away the snow to reach the grass. The range east and west
was also extensive, though this was not the direction of its annual
movement. Its eastern limit was the extent of the Mississippi valley
north of the Tennessee; and possibly as far as Lake Champlain. While
seemingly not as numerous in this eastern part of its range as farther
west, yet there were large numbers, and the hunters of the early days
of European settlement often killed them. Albert Gallatin states that
while in western Virginia in 1784 he subsisted chiefly on buffalo meat.
The city of Buffalo takes its name from this animal, which formerly
fed on its site. That they were abundant in this eastern region long
before Gallatin's time is established by the large quantities of
their bones found around the salt licks of the Ohio valley. At Big
Bone Lick, Kentucky, these accumulations are so great as to indicate,
beyond question, a very remote date for the beginning of the range of
the buffalo in this region. Beneath them the bones of the mastodon are

It is strange that no bison remains have thus far been found in the
ancient mounds of the Mississippi valley; nor are there any images
of them on Moundbuilder pipes. It is also strange that, despite the
abundance of buffalo throughout the greater part of the West, pictures
of it made by the natives should be so rare. The Sioux lived with and on
the bison, yet they seldom drew it, while their robes are covered with
drawings of horses and other animals.

On the west the limit of the range, at least north of about latitude
41°, up to the end of the first decade of the nineteenth century seems
to have been the Rocky Mountains. Lewis and Clark, on their great
journey of 1804-06, make no mention of the buffalo on the Pacific side
of the mountains, hence it is probable that few had crossed there at
that time. This would imply that it was the advance of civilisation
which impelled the buffalo in numbers finally to seek passes over the
Backbone and spread across the upper valley of Green River, of Bear
River, and of the Columbia. The possibility always remains that there
may have been other causes at work, perhaps climatic, to induce or
assist this movement, and it is also possible that the animal may have
crossed earlier, and have temporarily refrained from migrating in that
direction, perchance on account of extra deep snow or some such natural
interference, although the usual snow did not prevent their crossing
in dead of winter. Escalante's party in 1776 found abundant signs of
buffalo on White River, near the Green, and killed one there. They named
a canyon Arroyo del Cibolo because of the many buffalo trails in it.

But the modern Pai Utes apparently had no knowledge of this animal, so
that if it ever was found in any numbers in southern Utah, the period
of occupation must have been remote. Dr. Coues believed that it ranged
at one time in Arizona, though he could not recall the ground for this
belief, simply remembering that it appeared to him sufficient at the
time. The only indication that I know of, of the former presence of
the buffalo in southern Utah is a rock picture found on the walls of
Kanab Canyon (see page 37), some eight miles north of latitude 37° and
about two west of longitude 112° 30´. This drawing would suggest that
some natives captured a buffalo not far from the spot, though it might
have been the record of a hunt at some other point. Buffalo would not
have been likely to cross the vast depths of the Grand Canyon to the
southward, hence they could have arrived at this place easily only by
way of the Sevier River, the Escalante Desert, or by turning the western
end of the Grand Canyon. At Gunnison on Sevier River a buffalo skull
was found in a canyon ten feet below the surface. It is more probable
that they would come from the north, yet if they did not cross the
mountains there till 1810, a new difficulty is met with, for the present
Pai Utes seem not to have made any rock pictures. These were done by
the pottery-making, house-building Amerinds, who, as far as can be
determined, had vanished from the region long before 1810.

  [Illustration: Picture of Buffalo on Cliff Wall, Southern Utah.

   Pecked Drawing Copied by B. L. Young.]

I do not remember any reference to buffalo on Espejo's trip to Zuñi and
west in 1583, nor on the journey Juan de Oñate made across Arizona and
back in 1604-05; it is likely that if this animal ranged there it was
before the time of Coronado. The south-western limit at that period
appears to have been the first mountain range west of the Rio Pecos.
North of latitude 57° they never crossed the Rocky Mountains. In 1820,
according to Long, they had not yet entirely crossed in the central
portion, that is to Green River and the Columbia, yet in 1824 they were
ranging the Green, Columbia, and Bear River valleys in vast numbers. Up
to 1823 they existed in great herds in the new State of Missouri, and
their crossing to the Pacific slope thus appears about coincident with
their retiring from this eastern ground. In their western range they
extended as far as the Blue Mountains of Oregon, and even to the foot of
the Sierra Nevada in the region farther south. Fossil remains have been
found, according to Coues, within the limits of its range, east of the
Rocky Mountains. There were two kinds of buffalo in the opinion of the
frontiersmen, the wood buffalo and the prairie type. Apparently there
was not sufficient differentiation in these to warrant the separation.
They were practically the same, the variation being merely one of
habitat, and individual change, like the occasional development of an
extra rib. The buffalo inhabiting the woods usually grew to a larger
size than that of the plains, but this was probably the result of a less
active life and more abundant food. All buffalo at maturity were large
animals, the male weighing 1000 to 1500 pounds or more, and the female
from 800 to 1200. In size the adult male measured about 9 feet from
muzzle to root of tail, and 13 feet 6 inches to end of tail including
the hairs, which were about 15 inches long. In similar measurement the
adult female was about 6 feet 6 inches to root of tail and 9 feet to
the extreme end, the hairs being about 10 inches long. The male at the
highest part was 5½ to 6 feet and the female about 5 feet; at the hips
both sexes were around 4½ feet. The horns of the male were short and
very thick at the base, with a quick taper to a sharp point. Those of
the female were smaller at the base, but about the same in length and
curve as those of the male. In winter the colour of the woolly hair was
a blackish brown, but it became lighter in summer and so varied somewhat
with season and locality. The hair was moulted in early spring except
that on the shoulders, which with age became tawny—a yellowish brown.

The earliest published drawing of the American bison is supposed to be
that which appeared in 1558 in Thevet's book,[7] sixteen years after the
return to Mexico of Coronado, but it would seem that some illustration
of an animal that was considered so remarkable must have been printed
before that. Since then it has been drawn and painted unnumbered times.
It figured largely, as a matter of course, in Catlin's celebrated
illustrations of aboriginal life in the Far West, and forms the subject
for about the best picture Albert Bierstadt ever painted, _Buffalo
Hunting on Laramie Plains_.[8]

  [Illustration: The Grand Teton from Jackson's Hole.

   The Buffalo Reached this Valley by 1824.

   Photograph by W. H. Jackson, U. S. Geol. Survey.]

But it was not as material for picture making that the bison became of
greatest value, it was as a meat supply to the trapper, the trader, and
the traveller generally upon the bosom of that wide expanse of rolling
prairie that so resembled the great salt ocean itself. As Butler[9]
describes it,

     "the unending vision of sky and grass, the dim, distant, and
     ever shifting horizon; the ridges that seem to be rolled upon one
     another in motionless torpor; the effect of sunrise and sunset, of
     night narrowing the vision to nothing, and morning only expanding
     it to a shapeless blank, ... and above all the sense of lonely,
     unending distance which comes to the _Voyageur_ when day after day
     has gone by, night has closed, and morning dawned upon his onward
     progress under the same ever-moving horizon of grass and sky."

No wonder the moment buffalo were first sighted by the anxious caravan,
a joyful cry went up, equivalent, as Irving says, to the cry of, "A
sail, a sail!" at sea. All was commotion on the instant, and everybody
prepared for the hunt. Thenceforward, as long as buffalo were near,
hunger held no terrors on that boundless plain that now our limited
express so contemptuously spurns beneath its throbbing steel, as the
ennuied lady sits wearisome at the window gazing with disdain on those
blood-bathed reaches of country, so full of thrilling story and history,
a bill of fare in her hand that would have driven the old voyageur to

  [Illustration: Canyon of Lodore—Green River.

   Canyons of this Character were almost Continuous from a few Miles
   below the Union Pacific Railway Crossing.

   Photograph by E. O. Beaman, U. S. Colo. Riv. Exp.]

Yet buffalo meat could not have been less delicious to the appetite
of the plains traveller. It not only furnished food for the moment,
but dried, or dried and pounded and mixed with the rendered tallow,
sometimes including berries, it made _pemmican_,[10] which could
be kept a long time, and which formed the basis of the supplies for
long expeditions and for winter consumption. The meat from old bulls
was often tough, but that from a fat cow was always delicious, and
the marrow!—well, that was a dish fit to set before a king. The Hon.
Grantley F. Berkley[11] of England was not exactly a king, unless we
elevate him as far above the Americans as he thought himself to be, but
he appreciated marrow in 1859 when he honoured the great plains by his

     "No man [he exclaims] can guess what marrow amounts to until he
     has been to the Far West.... The bone was brought to table in its
     full length, and they had some way of hitting it with an axe which
     opened one side only, like the lid of a box. The bone then, when
     this lid was removed, exposed in its entire length a regular white
     roll of unbroken marrow, beautifully done. When hot, as the lid
     had kept it, and put on thin toast, it was perfection."

Another part that was particularly delicious was the hump or rather
the hump-ribs; and so too was the tongue. Still another tidbit was the
meat along either side of the loin, so that altogether living was high
on the rolling prairie as long as buffalo held out. Frequently the
traveller became so pampered by these luxuries that he spurned all but
the daintiest parts and thought nothing of killing a cow simply for the
marrow or for the tongue.

The poor beast deserved better treatment than it got; indeed, the only
treatment was a dose of lead on sight, even when no meat was needed.
The Amerinds often killed the bison recklessly before the arrival of
the European, yet the herds would have resisted all such inroads. But
when the white man came he quickly gave the native points in the game
of useless destruction. The buffalo range immediately was transformed
into a vast slaughter-house, and the carcasses were left to rot and dry
under the western sun. And the more civilised the hunter—that is, the
more unaccustomed to the frontier—the greater the waste of bison life
at his hands. _More than sixteen thousand_ were shot for sport alone,
on the plains of Kansas and Colorado, in 1871. The sportsmen killed all
sizes and ages, pell-mell, just to kill and to ride away at headlong
speed like escaped madmen, never stopping a moment even for the tongues.
Everywhere the carcasses of wantonly slain buffalo in disgusting masses
of putrefaction were lying over hill and dale.[12] They enjoyed the
bison's terror and agony, and with the improved breech-loader death was
dealt in a steady stream, easily and at little cost. It was grand sport!

     "Some of our bullets are telling; you can hear them crack on
     his hide. There is a red spot now, not bigger than the point of
     one's finger, opposite a lung, and drops of blood trickle with
     the saliva from his jaws.... He is bleeding internally.... Now he
     stands sullen glaring at us. The wounds look like little points
     of red paint, put deftly on his shaggy hide.... The large eyes
     roll and swell with pain and fury.... See him blow the blood from
     his nostrils. The drops scatter like red-hot shot around him,
     seeming to hiss in globules of fury, as they spatter upon the dry

  [Illustration: Head of Bison Bull.

   Specimen Shot by Theodore Roosevelt. Dec. 17, 1883.

   (From Roosevelt's _Hunting Trips of a Ranchman_.)]

When finally the railways began to push across the plains, passengers
would amuse themselves by shooting buffalo from the windows. The animals
had a habit of trying to cross the track ahead of the engine, and
sometimes would rush beside the train a long distance, for in the early
days trains had to run slowly, thus giving passengers the opportunity.
If the train did not stop, the herd would perhaps butt up against it,
so the engineers learned to stand still, and, with due respect, wait
for the bison to pass. When wounded, they became dangerous, especially
the vigorous bulls, and the novice then had to look sharp for his own
life, like the _matador_ in the bull-ring.

The advance of one of the enormous herds was a terrific sight. Great
clouds of dust rolled up, there was bellowing and bawling, and the
thunder of the thousand hoof-beats on the hard ground. The herd came as
one animal, sweeping everything before it as an avalanche descends some
precipice in the Alps. "Their lion-like fronts and dangling beards—their
open mouths and hanging tongues—as they come puffing like a locomotive
engine at every bound do at first make the blood settle a little heavy
about the heart." Woe to the caravan or horseman who failed to evade
this resistless approach! The forward animals were borne ahead by the
pressure from behind, and the mass swept on like some tremendous flood.
Should a river or other obstacle come in the way there was no halt.
Whole herds were sometimes dashed to death over some precipice, or
drowned in a river where quicksand prevented fording or swimming. Four
thousand once crossed the Platte when it was a foot or two deep and full
of quicksand. The animals in the lead mired, but those behind prevented
their return, and rushing on over the ones already entangled in the
fatal sands, themselves fell in, till finally the bed of the stream,
nearly half a mile wide, was covered with dead and dying buffalo,
two thousand, at least, having been killed in the attempt to cross.
Gregg[14] asserts that any herd was easily turned aside, but others
give a different opinion, and judging from all the data, it seems that
Gregg's experience in this particular must have been unusual.

  [Illustration: Buffalo Chase.

   After Catlin.

   From _Smithsonian Report_, 1885.]

Hunting was done by several methods; first, following along the
outskirts of a herd on a trained and fleet horse and "cutting out" an
animal to shoot; or, by "still" hunting—that is, creeping up to a herd
unobserved and picking animals off while feeding; or by the surround;
or the drive. The natives were expert in all methods. In the surround
they closed in large numbers on a herd and at a given signal all began
to shoot. They used the bow and arrow and the spear, and also firearms
when they finally acquired them. They were astonishingly expert with
the bow, singling out their animal while riding full speed and sending
an arrow entirely through the victim. Sometimes the arrow would also
kill a calf or another buffalo before ceasing its flight. The spear
was skilfully used, and it is said an Amerind would ride alongside a
cow allowing his spear to rest on its back till it became accustomed
to it and then he would thrust the weapon into the vitals and deftly
withdraw it, all without even slackening his horse's speed, the horse
being trained to guide by the movement of his rider. Large numbers
were captured by building a sort of corral with wing-like sides of
bushes fifty feet apart and a mile or two long, or more, leading to the
entrance. The hunters closed in gradually on a herd and drove them into
the corral, other men being stationed behind the bushes to frighten the
buffalo. Hind describes vividly his visit to one of these scenes[15]:

     "A sight most horrible and disgusting broke upon us as we ascended
     a sand dune overhanging the little dell in which the pound was
     built. Within a circular fence 120 feet broad, constructed of
     the trunks of trees, laced with withes together and braced by
     outside supports, lay tossed in every conceivable position, over
     two hundred dead buffalo. From old bulls to calves of three months
     old, animals of every age were huddled together in all the forced
     attitudes of violent death. Some lay on their backs, with eyes
     starting from their heads, and tongue thrust out through clotted
     gore. Others were impaled on the horns of the old and strong bulls.
     Others again, which had been tossed, were lying with broken backs
     two and three deep. One little calf hung suspended on the horns of
     a bull which had impaled it in the wild race round and round the
     pound. The Indians looked upon the dreadful and sickening scene
     with evident delight."

This seems like great slaughter, and so it was, but compared with the
white man out after tongues and hides it was as a raindrop to Shoshone

  [Illustration: Character of Buffalo Range in Green River Valley.

   Photograph by E. O. Beaman, U. S. Colo. Riv. Exp.]

Another way was to take advantage of the blind impetuosity of the charge
of a herd and lead it over the brink of a precipice. A man holding upon
himself a buffalo skin with head and horns, and running before the herd
toward the precipice, thus induced the buffalo to follow, as they took
him to be one of themselves. At the brink the man secured himself in
some safe nook, while the herd, forced by the rush from behind, fell
over the cliff and were dashed to death. The hunters then took what they
wished and left the rest to the wolves.

The fur companies about 1835, when the beaver began to fail and they
found their next mainstay in buffalo robes, annually sent to market
about a hundred thousand. Add to this a greater number killed by all
parties for various purposes, and it is reasonable to estimate the
number yearly destroyed at not less than a quarter of a million. When
the value of robes fell off, the buffalo was killed for hides and
tallow. Eventually the price of hides fell to no more than one dollar
apiece, delivered in Leavenworth. Made into leather, the bison hides
could not compare with those of domestic cattle. It was soft and spongy
and not adapted for shoe, for sole, or for harness leather. Large
quantities were at one time finished by American tanners, but were
chiefly used for making horse collars. A good deal was exported to Great
Britain. The process of tanning was the same as for ordinary leather.
But no method of tanning robes with the hair on could equal that of the
natives, and this was admitted by the best American tanners, who turned
out few robes for this reason. The Amerind method was first to scrape
off the superfluous flesh with a sort of bone adze, the skin being
either stretched on a frame or pegged out on the ground. When dry the
surface was rubbed and scraped again and then covered with the brains
and rolled up flesh side in for three or four days, the brains of the
animal being sufficient for its own hide. Then it was soaked in water
and softened by working and rubbing, thoroughly smoked over a fire of
rotten wood, and finally rubbed down to a finish. A large hide was often
split in two for convenience in dressing and then sewed together after
completion of the tanning process.

One hardly thinks of Washington Irving as a sportsman and buffalo
hunter, yet he was out on the plains in 1832 gaily charging after
buffalo with pistols of the old priming-pan pattern, for breech-loaders
were not yet in use, and many of the early trappers had only the old
flint-lock. It was the breech-loading repeater and canned goods that
finished the buffalo.

     "There is a mixture of the awful and the comic [says Irving] in the
     look of these huge animals as they bear their great bulk forwards
     with an up-and-down motion of the unwieldy head and shoulders;
     their tail cocked up like the cue of Pantaloon in a pantomime, the
     end whisking about in a fierce yet whimsical style, and their eyes
     glaring venomously with an expression of fright and fury."

Borrowing a companion's double-barrelled gun which had one shot
remaining in it, Irving took after the fleeing herd and succeeded in
bringing one down.

     "Dismounting, I now fettered my horse to prevent his straying and
     advanced to contemplate my victim. I am nothing of a sportsman;
     I had been prompted to this unwonted exploit by the magnitude of
     the game, and the excitement of an adventurous chase. Now that
     the excitement was over I could not but look with commiseration
     upon the poor animal that lay struggling and bleeding at my feet.
     His very size and importance, which had before inspired me with
     eagerness, now increased my compunction."[16]

The scurrying herds sometimes ran close to a caravan and mules, horses,
and oxen have been known to run away with them. The buffalo often
seemed to consider the domestic animals part of their own herd and the
cattle appeared to hold the same opinion of the buffalo. Indeed, there
was little difference except in appearance between a herd of domestic
cattle and one of buffalo. The mingling was prevented by firing into the
buffalo and killing several, which served to turn a small herd, though
frequently their headway was so great they could not be swerved and
the animals were stampeded with them. Then hours of hard work became
necessary to rescue the tame animals, and some never were regained.
The season had much to do with the manageability of a herd, as at some
periods the bulls were extremely fierce.

In summer the bulls would find wet places in the prairie and soon by
ploughing and wallowing would create a considerable puddle, wherein
they would lave themselves and finally emerge coated with mud. Others
would follow till a great depression was the result. These depressions
were called wallows and the plains were covered with them. When filled
up eventually by the washings of the rains they induced, by superior
fertility, a rank growth which distinguished them for a long distance.

  [Illustration: Canyon of Desolation—Green River.

   A Barrier to the Buffalo's Westward Movement.

   Photograph by E. O. Beaman, U. S. Colo. Riv. Exp.]

The Osages and other tribes at one time wove blankets of buffalo wool
in the same manner that the Navajos to-day weave blankets of sheep's
wool. Many tribes lived by and with the buffalo, having no other source
of food, shelter, or raiment, and this animal became to them the most
important being in creation. It entered into their ceremonials and
into almost every act of their daily life. When no buffalo had been
secured for a time and the camp was growing hungry, the Buffalo Dance
was performed and, as Catlin says, it never failed to bring the buffalo,
because it was invariably continued till buffalo came in sight—a happy
event signalled by a lookout "throwing" his robe. All then rushed to
the hunt. If a white buffalo cow were taken,—and there were occasionally
white buffalo,—the skin was preserved as a sacred object by the Dakota
tribes. It was sheltered under a special sacred tent and carried about
from camp to camp with the greatest reverence.

  [Illustration: Mandan Buffalo Dance.

   After Catlin. From _Smithsonian Report_, 1885.]

The buffalo was easily domesticated, but the Amerind never seems
to have attempted to tame it, although Gomara states that a certain
tribe living in north-western Mexico about latitude 40°—wherever that
might have been—had herds of tame bison. In the north-west counties
of Virginia early in the nineteenth century a mixed breed was common,
and in the first settlement of the North-west there was also crossing
with European cattle. The cows of this mixed breed that were considered
best for milking were the half bloods down to the quarter or even
eighth of buffalo blood. But it may be assumed that had there been any
considerable gain by the cross the experiment would have been continued.
It seems probable in view of the physique of each animal that the cross
had heavier forequarters and lighter hindquarters than either parent,
and a lighter milk yield, hence it would not be found advantageous.

  [Illustration: Buffalo Swimming Missouri River.

   After Catlin. From _Smithsonian Report_, 1885.]

The calf, Catlin asserts,[17] could be made to follow a horseman simply
by holding the hand over its eyes and breathing into its nostrils a few
strong breaths. In this way he collected about a dozen, which were fed
at the fort on milk and finally sent down the river to St. Louis as
a present to Choteau. All but one died on the journey. The breathing
operation was not unattended with danger for the calves were vigorous
butters and not lightly to be trifled with. The trapper Pattie, when
crossing the prairies, shot a cow and concluded to take the little
calf alive to camp. So he laid aside his equipment in order the more
easily to catch it, expecting a hot chase. But when he approached the
prospective captive it also approached him, and with the speed and
vigour of a battering ram. Mr. Pattie found himself stretched on the
ground, with the further misfortune of being knocked back again every
time he attempted to rise. He began to suspect that his final hour had
come, when he succeeded in catching the calf by one of its legs, and
killed it with his sheath knife, which was still in his belt.

The pursuit of the buffalo was full of excitement and within reason was
a legitimate sport. Catlin exclaims: "I have always counted myself a
prudent man, yet I have waked (as it were) out of the delirium of the
chase, into which I had fallen as into an agitated sleep, and through
which I had passed as through a delightful dream, where to have died
would have been but to have remained riding on without a struggle or a

The herds of buffalo were always followed by large numbers of wolves,
both the small coyote variety and the huge grey wolf. There were also
on the prairies in great numbers what the early frontiersmen called
"white bears." These were grizzlies. They were very bold and many a
man was sent to the Happy Hunting Grounds by their ferocious power. No
animal in the world perhaps, taken all in all, was so dangerous. Besides
these there were numerous antelope, elk, deer, sheep, prairie hens,
turkeys, quail, rabbits, and other small game, more or less familiar to
the reader, and, therefore, not requiring an extended description here.
The beaver and the buffalo were the animals of the greatest importance;
and the buffalo deserves a place in our national emblem along with
the beaver, for the bones of the bison may be said to form one of the
corner-stones of the Union.



     [4] Gatschet says there is a word in the dialect of Isleta, N. M.,
     _Sibúlodd_, meaning buffalo, and it is possible that a native name
     for the animal has been mixed up with the name of the first group
     of towns, written often _Cevola_. For a description of these towns,
     etc., see _Coronado_, by George Parker Winship, A. S. Barnes & Co.

     [5] _Voyages through North America_, Alexander Mackenzie, vol. ii.,
     p. 27, Barnes edition.

     [6] An excellent monograph on the American Bison, by J. A. Allen,
     edited by Dr. Elliott Coues, is contained in the _Report of the U.
     S. Geological Survey of Colorado and Adjacent Territories_, by F.
     V. Hayden, for 1875. See also works of W. T. Hornaday.

     [7] _Les Singularitez de la France Antarctique._

     [8] Owned by the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy.

     [9] _The Wild Northland_, Sir William Francis Butler, K.C.B.

     [10] _Pemmican_, from the Cree language—_pimmi_, meat, and _kon_,

     [11] _The English Sportsman in the Western Prairies._

     [12] _Buffalo Land_, W. E. Webb.

     [13] _Buffalo Land_, p. 304.

     [14] _Commerce of the Prairies._

     [15] _The Canadian Red River Expedition of 1858_, H. Y. Hind, p.

     [16] _Crayon Miscellany. A Tour on the Prairies._

     [17] Catlin's _Eight Years_, vol. i., pp. 25, 26.



     The People of the Wilderness—Men without Rights—Killing by
     Alcohol—Change in the Character of the Native—Growth of the War
     Spirit—Classification by Language—Dwellers in Tents and Builders
     of Houses—Farmers and Hunters—Irrigation Works—The Coming of the

Of more than equal interest with the magnificent wilderness and its
animal occupants was the human dweller within its broad limits, the
Amerind,[18] commonly called the Indian. Still another name for him was
Red Man, yet he was neither an Indian nor was he red, except when he
painted himself with ochre and vermilion. His real colour was various
shades of brown or bronze, rather yellowish than red where protected
from the sun. We are not surprised that roses of different hue grow in a
garden, but there has always been unwarranted amazement that different
shades of men should be found in the garden of the universe. There
appears to be no reason why men should not vary in colour as well as
all other animals and plants. But though races of mankind may vary in
colour they never, so far as now determined, have varied in any other
essential; or at least only slightly in fundamental characteristics.
In general physical composition all men to-day are identical, and there
is no certain evidence that they have ever differed more than they now
do.[19] Man is everywhere the same as far back in the ages as he can be
traced. Some may be stronger, or larger, or shorter, than others, with
brains more or less developed, but they are all practically alike, even
to their emotions.

  [Illustration: A Village of the Plains.

   This form of tipi was readily taken down and as readily set up again.

   Photograph by U. S. Government.]

Races, as a whole, differ from each other, in their ability to make
machines, in their ability to secure comfort, in language, and in their
social regulations; differences of degree. These qualities are begun
and fostered more by stimulating circumstances than by particular
superiority of race. For example, the Europeans forged ahead mainly
because they were possessed of animals easily domesticated that would
supply their needs. The Amerind had no such animals in North America
except the bison and the dog. The latter he utilised to the full as a
draught and pack animal, as a wool producer, and as a supply of animal
food. Why he did not domesticate the bison is a problem. Perhaps it
was because there were too many of them. The store of animal food was
usually over-abundant with all Amerinds living in the range of the
buffalo, so there was no spur to economy. We may imagine that if the
buffalo from time to time had appeared in comparatively small numbers
in the thickly populated country of the Aztecs where animal food was so
scarce that an elaborate system of human sacrifices developed to supply
this deficiency, the latter eventually would have been abandoned and
captive buffalo substituted for captive man. Domestication, to guard
the supply, would then have been an easy step. But the buffalo was
permitted to roam at will, and the dog remained the sole domestic animal
in possession of the people of North America before the arrival of the
white race.[20]

The Amerind was not a savage. He was a barbarian with a rather well
ordered society. He possessed a high quality of intellect, and he
differed from his white antagonist more in external complexion than in
any other particular except his social organisation, which was one the
white man had passed through and left behind in centuries far past. But
the Amerind had the same emotions. He loved his home, his family,—as
constituted by his social regulations,—and his children. As to honesty
and dishonesty, the balance was certainly not far from even, average
for average; if anything, the Amerind had more respect for the ideals
of his race than was the case with the white man with reference to his.
Of course he had abundant vices like all the rest of humanity. He was
often horribly cruel to his enemies. But on the whole he was not worse
than the European who brought him degradation; who frequently soaked him
with cheap rum and alcohol, in order more easily to exchange nothing for
valuable furs: who engrafted upon him more and worse vices, who shot him
needlessly, and who reviled him as he sank helpless under the heavy tide
of imposition. Love of home and defence of country are ever extolled as
of the highest merit in the white race; in the American native they were
crimes. From the beginning of the contact the Amerind began to change
for the worse.

  [Illustration: A Pai Ute Family at Home.

   Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Colo. Riv. Exp.]

  [Illustration: A Ute Mountain Home.

   Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.]

The white man blamed all Amerinds for every crime and the Amerind blamed
the white man similarly. Each visited retribution on the other without
discrimination. The antagonism grew and grew. Tribes which at first
received the whites most kindly and were continually cheated were apt
to become bitterest enemies. On the Missouri in 1810 Wilson Price Hunt
asked some Amerinds why they killed white men, to which they answered,
"because they kill us—that man—" pointing to Carson—"killed one of our
brothers last summer." This statement was true. Carson while with the
Arikara had shot, probably for amusement, across the river at a war
party of Sioux. The latter then retaliated by killing three whites.
In this way the mutual antagonism multiplied as the years passed,
just as a snowball increases when it rolls down hill. The native soon
discovered that he must apply himself to his protection, and from
being comparatively peaceful he became intensely warlike, emulating
the example of the Iroquois and Apache. Had he possessed the power of
organising, the story of white encroachment on his domain would have
read differently. As it is, it may be considered a great loss to history
that we have so little of the story from his point of view.

  [Illustration: Village of the Puebloan Type. View in the Moki Town of
   Mishongnavi, Arizona.

   Photograph by U. S. Bu. Eth.]

Before the nineteenth century was half over, the country east of the
Mississippi was entirely appropriated by the whites. The various tribes
that had lived there were absorbed, exterminated, or crowded out; the
same process was to be repeated in the Wilderness. The Iroquois held
their ground in New York and succeeded in exchanging their former
holdings for small reservations; and here was another story of the
white man's perfidy. The Seminole, the Creek, and the Sac-and-Fox
tribes were finally crushed and their remnants removed, with others,
beyond the Mississippi. The general government as a rule tried to deal
justly by the Amerind, yet it has been much censured. Its task was an
impossibility as long as so many white men who came in contact with
the natives were willing to set aside every principle of fair dealing
and treat them with no more consideration than they did the beaver and
the buffalo. They wanted their furs and anything else of commercial
value that they possessed, and no subterfuge was too dishonourable to
practise on them. The matter for surprise is not that the Amerind was
occasionally on the war-path, but that he was not always there. He
received daily lessons in cupidity, cruelty, and dishonour.

Thus far the most exact basis for the classification of these
interesting people has been language. It was some time after the early
intercourse with the natives of the East before the wide divergence in
language was appreciated and all attempts to classify them fell into
confusion. Finally, in 1836, Albert Gallatin began an arrangement by
language which, reorganised by Powell, in 1885-86, has been generally
adopted by ethnologists, and to-day, while not entirely approved, it is
the only method that is satisfactory.

By this system all tribes whose language roots are the same are classed
together no matter how widely separated geographically they might have
been. Notwithstanding the remarkable homogeneity of all the aboriginal
inhabitants of the continent in customs, habits, and organisation,
yet more than sixty separate stock languages were discovered in North
America. Each one of these is taken to represent a "stock" group to
which is given a title derived from Gallatin's first designation or from
the leading tribe in that particular stock, with the addition of "an"
or "ian," and all tribes having similar language roots are classed with
this group or stock. Thus in the Siouan stock, the title is taken from
the leading tribe, the Sioux, and all affiliated languages are brought
under the same heading, as Dakota, Crow, Hidatsa, Iowa, Mandan, etc.,
and in the Athapascan the title is taken from the Athapascas of the far
north, while the Apaches and Navajos of the south are classed under the
same heading, as they speak related languages.[21]

  [Illustration: Umatilla Tipi of Rush Mats on Columbia River.

   From _Lewis & Clark_ by O. D. Wheeler.]

  [Illustration: Amerind Linguistic Map.

   After _Bu. of Eth. Seventh An. Rep._]

It so happened that the Wilderness possessed a greater variety of these
stock groups than any other part of the continent, one portion, that
lying west of the Sierra Nevada, containing an astonishing number of
small groups living contiguously, yet each speaking a totally distinct
language. It was therefore often difficult for the early invaders to
make themselves understood, as well as to understand. Among the Amerinds
themselves a "sign" language existed which was of remote origin and
which was convenient and expressive for intercourse between tribes
speaking radically different tongues. Sometimes a third language served
to convey ideas between tribes or between them and white men, this
third language being one belonging to some widely diffused stock of the
region. Still another language was one which grew up spontaneously,
composed of words from two or more languages as well as of a lot of
words which in one way or another originated themselves, a mongrel
language perfectly understandable but made up of flotsam and jetsam. Of
this class the most widely used and best known was that called Chinook
jargon, originating in the Columbia river region and composed of words
from many different languages, including those of the white man, as well
as words that never existed anywhere else.

Taking language as a basis, we find the Wilderness divided mainly
between two great families, or stocks, which had grown numerous and were
able to spread over a vast extent of country, though each contained a
large number of separate tribes often at war with each other, at least
after the arrival of the whites. These two stocks were the Siouan and
the Shoshonean. Of the first, some leading members were mentioned above;
of the second, the Shoshone, Comanche, Ute, and Moki (or Shinumo) were
representative, in fact comprised almost the entire stock. The Siouan
division, or family, ranged from the banks of the Mississippi westward,
with its lower border stretching diagonally from south-eastern Arkansas
as far as our present Yellowstone Park, north to the upper boundary
of the United States and beyond. They were flanked above by tribes of
another stock, widespread and powerful, north to Hudson Bay and east
of the Mississippi, the Algonquian, represented by the Blackfeet,[22]
Chippewa, Knisteneau (or Cree), and others. South of the Siouan range
came that of the Caddoan, in south-western Arkansas, the eastern half of
Texas, and in Louisiana with a central group in the midst of the Siouan
range, in southern Nebraska, and a northern one also surrounded by the
Siouan people, in North Dakota. The northern was the Arikara (or Ree),
the middle the several sub-tribes of Pawnee, and the southern the Caddo,
Wichita, Kichai, and others. Adjacent to the central Caddoan group,
on the west, was another section of Algonquian stock, the Cheyenne
and Arapaho, and just north of this came the Kiowan, represented
by the tribe from which the stock name comes, the Kiowa. This tribe
was intimately associated with the Comanche, and there was a strong
similarity in language.

  [Illustration: A Puebloan Farmhouse.

   Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.]

  [Illustration: Plenty-Horses, a Cheyenne.

   Photograph by J. K Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.]

West of all these ranged the Shoshonean stock from the middle line
of Texas north-westward almost to the State of Washington, west to
the Sierra Nevada, and south-westward like an inverted U around other
stocks in New Mexico and Arizona, sending a slender arm entirely across
California to the sea. This stock occupied a large part of the territory
once claimed by Spain and Mexico, while the Siouan covered the major
part of what was the Louisiana wilderness. Immediately south of the
country of the Shoshonean tribes lay that of some branches of another
numerous people already mentioned, the Athapascan, whose main body was
far to the north, spreading across the whole extreme north-western part
of the continent through Alaska, almost to the coast, which was occupied
by a narrow fringe of Eskimauan people. These southern Athapascans,
known as Apache and Navajo, were thus a long way from any relatives, but
no people on the continent were better able to look out for themselves,
both being warlike from the first, though this tendency was aggravated
by the impositions of the early whites. The Navajo appear to have been
considerably changed by an admixture of other blood, which may be termed
Puebloan,[23] the term in this case being used not to designate people
with similar language, but with similar culture and social organisation.
The Apache, by his swiftness of action, his mobility, and his general
skill as a predatory warrior, kept the more peaceful tribes in a state
of constant turmoil and terror. At the same time he seems originally
to have received the whites fairly well. In some ways he resembled the
Iroquois, yet he had no approach to their masterly organisation.

Below the Athapascan group of the present New Mexico and Arizona was the
Piman, a peaceful agricultural people, whose main range was in Mexico;
and lying between the Piman and the Shoshonean was the northern part
of the Yuman country, their southern range being the peninsula of Lower

Scattered irregularly through the Athapascan district were the villages
of the sedentary Puebloans, a group made up of tribes speaking different
languages but more or less affiliated by their similarity of habit. They
were often at war with each other. They were house-builders, though that
may be stated with regard to many of the tribes of other stocks. Their
houses, however, were erected, with a view to greater permanency than
any others, of adobe clay, or of stone, for their country was deficient
in game and in forest, and they relied largely, chiefly indeed, upon
their crops of maize. These groups are now well known, particularly
the seven villages of the Moki, that of Zuñi, of Taos, and a number of
others along the Rio Grande. The Moki (or Moquis) as stated above are
classed as Shoshonean.[24] The Zuñi are designated Zuñian, and others
fall under Keresan, from Keres (or Queres), and Tañoan. When considered
otherwise than linguistically, the general term, Puebloan (really
villagers) is useful for reasons explained above. The tribes of this
group, remnants of a once far more numerous people, are some of the most
interesting of all the Amerinds within our borders.

  [Illustration: A Pai Ute Modernised.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

In the middle of Texas was the Tonkawan group, a small remnant, and
at the southern extremity the Karankawan, another small remnant,
and the Coahuiltecan, named from the Mexican state, Coahuila. In
what is now the State of Louisiana were several other remnants, the
Chittimachan, Natchezan, Tonikan, Adaizan, and Attacapan. West of the
Sierra Nevada and extending north to the boundary, was the extraordinary
conglomeration of small stocks, terminating in the wider-spread Salishan
which reached up into British Columbia.

The dwellings of these various tribes had a great deal of variety. It
was popularly supposed for many years that an "Indian" lived only in a
skin tent or a wickiup, or any shiftless kind of a shelter, consequently
when it was discovered that there were some who had lived centuries
ago in rather well constructed houses which were found in ruins, it was
assumed that these people must have been of another race and a superior
one. The fact that tribes were still building and occupying houses
of the same kind, who were only common "Indians," was not for years
permitted to interfere with the romance, but now the "vanished-race"
theories are pretty well abandoned except perhaps by visionary writers
who do not understand the field. The ruins were found in canyons and
valleys where natural-rock _débris_ and a poverty of timber and large
skins almost compel house-building. A vast abundance of gypsiferous clay
furnished another excellent building material, for that climate, and
this was utilised in the South-west where other materials were difficult
to secure. They also rammed this clay mixed with gravel into large
wicker frames which were lifted, after the mass had hardened, to aid
in preparing other blocks on top, so that a sort of clay concrete-block
wall was raised. When the white men first came to the country, a ruin of
one of these large houses called _Casa Grande_ stood in Arizona near the
present town of Florence. No one knows when this structure was erected
or abandoned. It is still standing about as first described by whites.
The government has assumed its care and protection.

  [Illustration: Ruin Called Casa Grande, Arizona.

   Photograph by Cosmos Mindeleff, U. S. Bu. of Eth.]

The Mandan built a large round earth-covered wigwam which was
substantial and comfortable. The Dakota developed the portable tipi. The
Shoshone lived in skin tents and huts of boughs, as did the Comanche.
The tribes of the North-west built strong houses of slabs, often very
long. The tribes of California built of brush and slabs. Each people
constructed a habitation in accordance with the facilities of the
region they occupied, and while house-building may indicate a certain
superiority of social advancement it is no mark of race differentiation.
Tribes of one stock built good houses and lived in mere brush shelters
at the same time.

Some of the occupied villages became of great importance in the early
days of white intrusion, notably Taos, a pueblo on the headwaters of
the Rio Grande. This figured prominently in the events which broke the
Wilderness from the time of Espejo to the acquisition of the region by
the Americans, and is standing to-day.

For subsistence the tribes relied on different things depending on the
nature of the country. The Siouan and other plains people where the
buffalo roamed, lived almost exclusively upon it. The meat was food; the
skins raiment and shelter; the sinew, thread; the robes, beds, and so
on. The Puebloans having few or no buffalo and little game cultivated
maize. Many other tribes also cultivated this grain, particularly
those living along watercourses. In some districts irrigation had to
be resorted to, and the Amerind was equal to the problem. Where shower
waters were insufficient or could not be turned at once amongst the
corn, elaborate and extensive irrigation canals were constructed,
remains of which have been discovered. One of the largest was found by
modern engineers to be so well placed that they followed its course for
some distance with their canal. The Moki still plant their corn with
a sharpened stick and guide the water from every shower through the

These people had solved the problem of agriculture in an arid country,
long before the Spaniard, or the Mormon, or any other foreigner planning
irrigation had ever set foot on this continent.

  [Illustration: South Portion of the Tewa Pueblo of Taos, New Mexico.

   Photograph by U. S. Bu. Eth.]

Their manufactures covered a considerable range. They made clothing and
blankets, of wool, skins, and cotton. They were unsurpassed in basketry;
they made excellent pottery. They originally used as weapons the bow
and arrow, the lance, and various kinds of war clubs. Their beverage was
mainly water, though some knew how to concoct intoxicating drink. Where
the maple tree grew, its sap and syrup were utilised, and they also made
sugar from it. Salt they obtained from briny lakes. Of mining they had
no knowledge whatever, nor did they have metals, excepting, near the
Missouri, an occasional fragment of copper.

Cooking was done in pits previously heated by large fires, or in wicker
jugs by means of hot stones put inside; or it was done in earthenware
pots. Bread, when made of corn, or of grass-seed meal, was baked on
hot stones. Their musical instruments were drums, rattles, flutes, and
whistles. Of ceremonials they had a great many. Sometimes these were
sickening ordeals, like the now famous Sun Dance of the Omaha; or the
Moki Snake Dance, where live rattlesnakes form part of the ritual and
are carried about by the Snake priests, even in their mouths.

Notwithstanding an intermittent and desultory sort of warfare kept
up between tribes of the same stock, as well as of different stocks,
comparatively few were killed in this way before the European came.
Night attacks were seldom made and in day attacks not many at one time
were injured. The ordinary routine was one of peace. It is probable that
in the American Civil War alone more men were killed than ever at one
time in aboriginal days occupied the same area. Almost four thousand
were destroyed at the battle of Shiloh, and in the battles of the
Wilderness fully fifteen thousand. Even proportionately the wars of the
"savages" were mere child's play compared to this. But when the white
man crossed the Mississippi and began to encroach from the east and then
from the west and one tribe was forced back upon another as the wind
beats the combing waves upon a lee shore, matters began to change. A
large infusion of inferior white blood aided this change. Then came the
horse! It was a deficiency suddenly and completely supplied. The warrior
on horseback was quite a different being from the one on foot. The
boundless Plains were circumscribed. And the gun! Another void by this
was so admirably filled that horse and gun and Amerind instantly merged
into one; an indissoluble trio. Henceforth he supplied himself with
an abundance of horses and with the best guns and ammunition he could
get, till at the fearful moment on the Little Big Horn, he was better
armed than the white soldiers sent to overpower him. It is exceedingly
difficult always to view things dispassionately from our antagonist's
standpoint, but when we succeed in doing so we invariably discover that
he has some of the justice and virtue on his side. The Amerind seen in
this way was not half as bad as he has been painted by his conqueror,
who was prone to gloss over and forget his own shortcomings.

  [Illustration: South-western Baskets—Apache, Pima, etc. Navajo
   Blankets behind.

   Photograph by J. B. Lippincott, U. S. Geol. Survey.]



     [18] A substitute word, compounded of the first two syllables of
     American and the first syllable of Indian, adopted by some leading

     [19] I am not now taking theories into account. The theory that
     man has evolved from a lower organism seems to be correct. Here
     reference is made only to absolute facts.

     [20] The domestication of the buffalo by some tribe referred
     to by Gomara is not sufficiently definite to be accepted, and,
     furthermore, if true, could have been only a limited case. In
     Arizona there is some indication that an animal like the vicuna
     was used, but it is very vague.

     [21] For a list of stocks and sub-stocks, and of tribes, classified
     according to language, see _The North Americans of Yesterday_, by
     F. S. Dellenbaugh, Appendix, p. 461. By means of these lists the
     proper places of the majority of tribes can be readily found.

     [22] There was also a Dakota sub-tribe called Blackfeet. In their
     own language they were Sihasapa—a branch of the Tetons.

     [23] Throughout the South-west, in the Colorado and Rio Grande
     River basins, certain tribes of similar culture and village habits
     once lived. These seem to have been of different stocks, exactly
     as the village building tribes of to-day are. Some were probably
     Shoshonean, some Piman, others were allied to the Tañoan and
     Keresan, while still others were of stocks now extinct. For all
     these the term Puebloan is convenient.

     [24] North of the Colorado River are innumerable house ruins
     ascribed by the present Pai Utes (Shoshonean) to the _Shinumo_.
     They also call the Mokis, _Shinumo_, hence Powell applied this term
     to the whole group. The probability is that the Shinumo were all



     Three Conditions of Wilderness Life—Farming in the
     Driest Country—The _Cache_—The Clan, the Unit of the
     Tribe—Hospitality—Totems and Totem Marks—Dress—An Aboriginal
     Geographer—The Winter Life—The War-path, the Scalp-lock, and the
     Scalp-dance—Mourning the Lost Braves—Drifting.

The daily life of these natives of the Wilderness was regulated chiefly
by the food quest. With reference to this quest they existed in three
general states or conditions: hunter, fisher, farmer. Sometimes two,
sometimes all, these conditions were combined at one time. But no
matter which condition a tribe might be living in, nor what language
it might speak, its customs and social organisation were surprisingly
similar to those of all the other tribes. So that we have the picture
of numerous tribes dwelling in houses of widely varying construction,
subsisting on food obtained in radically different ways, and speaking
distinctly different languages, with general habits, customs, and
ceremonials almost identical, yet with the details of the daily routine
regulated largely by the kind of food most easily obtained in their
particular locality. Those in the higher mountains and on the plains
were mostly hunters. The tribes of the plains subsisted principally
on the buffalo, though some few cultivated maize, beans, and squashes
along the Arkansas, the Platte, and the Missouri river bottoms. To these
people of the prairies the horse was the greatest prize. Those living
mainly by fishing were tribes of the Pacific Coast and along the Pacific
river-valleys, like the Columbia, where the salmon run. Most of this
class had small use for the horse; many had for him no use whatever,
doing their entire travelling by canoe, and handling this craft with
unsurpassed dexterity.

  [Illustration: Moki Woman Modelling a Clay Jug.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

Those in the farmer condition were the people of the extremely arid
south-western quarter where large game was scarce, and where crops of
maize and beans, grown with considerable difficulty and labour, were
the principle reliance. With maize as a basis of food supply it was
possible for a tribe to be far more sedentary than when subsistence
was obtained by the chase. Hostile neighbours could be avoided. A whole
tribe could occupy fortifications, like the Pueblo villages for example,
in the midst of some wide valley, near a river or other water supply,
or could retire to some fastness of cliff or mountain, easily defended,
where ample crops could be grown on bottom lands, and where recesses in
cliffs afforded sites for secure and comfortable homes, as well as great
quantities of fallen _débris_ for building purposes. Such were hundreds
of villages scattered over the South-west as far north as the southern
parts of Utah and Colorado; and even perhaps to Salt Lake. There was no
need of sallying forth to the confines of hostile country in search of
food; and, before the coming of the whites placed the gun and horse at
the service of the more predatory tribes, they would not readily risk
an attack on such strongholds.

The cultivation of maize was increasing, except on the immediate Pacific
Coast, where it was not cultivated at all. Even the Pai Utes, who lived
largely on grass seeds and edible plants and roots, had begun to have
small gardens where beans, pumpkins, melons, and maize grew. East of
the Mississippi and south of the Great Lakes enormous quantities of
the great staple of the New World were produced before the white people
arrived. Tribes to the north in the region of Minnesota were beginning
to understand its cultivation, and the importance of having a food
supply under control. In the South-west, for an unknown period, it had
been the mainstay. There it was cultivated by irrigation whereas in the
eastern part of the continent the rainfall was, of course, sufficient.
In the South-west the men did the work in the fields, leaving the
management of the household to the women; even the building of the
houses in fact. But in districts where the products of the soil formed
only a minor part of the subsistence, or where it was mainly or entirely
wild meat, the men for so large a part of their time were engaged in
the pursuit of game that the camp and household duties, as well as what
tending of crops might be necessary, fell to the women. Their labours
were intermittent, and when the men returned from the chase, sometimes
worn out if game were scarce, the women waited upon them just as a white
woman waits on her cross husband when he comes home tired from the shop.

  [Illustration: Earthenware from Moki Region. ½.]

  [Illustration: The Ruins in Canyon de Chelly, Arizona, Called "Casa

   These were Once Connected.

   Photograph by J. K. Hillers. U. S. Geol. Survey.]

Besides the various game animals, and maize, beans, squash, grass seeds,
pine nuts, cactus apples, wild potatoes, agave, and numerous palatable
roots and berries, the dog was largely eaten. Some kinds of young dogs
were said, when well cooked, to be much like pig, but the larger ones
were apt to be coarse and rank. In addition to these numerous kinds of
food, human flesh was occasionally eaten, but only when in the pangs
of starvation: or as a religious ceremony. When no water was to be
had, the plains tribes would kill a buffalo and drink the blood. They
often also ate the entrails of animals raw, particularly those of the
buffalo, which latter delicacy Harmon[25] indulged in and speaks of as
"very palatable." All the Amerinds smoked, and with most tribes every
consultation or council or friendly visit was opened by the tobacco
pipe. Indeed the place of tobacco and the pipe among the natives of
the continent was one of the greatest importance. It was not always
what we call tobacco that was smoked, but frequently the inner bark of
the red willow, the leaves of the manzanita bush, dog-wood bark and
sumach leaves, or a plant resembling garden sage, which according to
Beckwourth,[26] grew wild in the country of the Snakes, but which was
cultivated by the Crows and several other tribes. Most of the Algonquian
tribes grew large quantities of maize, and cooked it with beans and
other things. From them, and their neighbours, we have derived not only
a number of dishes, but their names as well, such as supawn, succotash,
pone, mush, etc.

  [Illustration: Old Mandan House.

   From _Wonderland, 1903_—Northern Pacific Railway.]

  [Illustration: A Young Cocopa.

   Photograph by Delancy Gill.]

Many tribes laid away stores for winter, but these were the more
sedentary, though dried buffalo meat, and pemmican, were accumulated as
far as possible by the tribes living upon the plains. But when the diet
of a people is confined to meat alone, an enormous supply, per capita,
is required for a whole winter, hence some tribes ran out of provisions,
especially when the numbers of buffalo began to diminish, and were in
hard straits before spring came again. The fisher tribes put away great
amounts of dried salmon, but here again was the danger of shortage that
always threatened meat-eaters. The same might be true of people living
on the products of agriculture if the population pressed on the supply,
but with agriculture the returns are so bountiful that the supply was
always adequate among those tribes cultivating the ground, except there
was a failure of crops, which was rare. The Puebloans provided against
this by retaining a considerable extra store from year to year. They
used the lower inside rooms of the village which were much like cellars,
as the village, resembling a pile of huge packing cases, was built over
and around them. Thus they were admirably adapted for storage in that
dry climate. The ears of corn were piled up evenly and neatly one beside
the other. Watermelons were treated in the same way, and were preserved
in perfect condition till the end of February at least. Naturally the
tribes which moved about considerably could not well make such ample
provision for the future, but they often stored food, and other goods
in holes dug in the ground, well concealed. Such storage places were
also used by the whites, and the name _cache_ was applied to this method
by the early French trappers. Where the _cache_ was in dry ground the
contents would remain in good preservation for a long time.

  [Illustration: Rear View of Mandan Village, Showing Burial-Ground.

   Drawing by Catlin, plate 48, vol. i., Catlin's _Eight Years_.
   Reproduction from _Smithsonian Report, 1885_, part ii.]

It is plain that the people of the Wilderness possessed everywhere
an abundant food supply, whether in the arid Southwest, whereat first
glance it would seem no cereal could grow, in the buffalo country, or
in the region of the salmon streams. It was the preservation of these
supplies, over-abundant at certain times, scarce at others, which was
their greatest difficulty.

With us the unit of our social organisation is the family: father,
mother, children. With the Amerind the unit was generally the clan (or
gens) as we call it, a group of several families related on the mother's
side, for descent was usually counted in the female line. The Omahas
and some others had changed to descent in the male line. The clan held
property in common exactly as one of our families does to-day; that is
not all property, but general property and food. There were articles
and objects which were exclusively individual property and did not
belong to the clan any more than certain articles a daughter or a son
may individually possess belong to the parents in one of our families.
Hunting, farming, and such affairs were conducted, as a rule, for the
clan, hence food was clan property free to all members, or for that
matter to almost any one, because in the Amerind village, or camp,
every house was open to the hungry guest. The white man was always
fed as well as the supplies would permit; special stews of dog, or
buffalo, or succotash, were prepared for his special delectation, and
he was expected to eat all given him or take it away. To these people,
therefore, it was a rather painful surprise when, as they began to
unravel the peculiarities of their new acquaintances, they found that
the white man was perfectly willing to accept the boundless hospitality
of the native, but when the latter visited fort or camp, he was received
as a beggar. When the hospitality he expected was not granted, he asked
for it; and this, to a white man, was begging. In dealing with Amerinds
the white man went on the principle of what is yours is mine and what
is mine is my own. Perhaps there were two exceptions to this, the early
French, and the great Hudson Bay Company.

Marriage within the clan was forbidden, therefore a man had to seek
a wife in another clan or another tribe. A violation of this rule, or
of any other moral precept of their code, brought punishment from the
clan of the individual or from the officers of the tribe. Sometimes
this was nothing more than a flogging; sometimes it was death. A man
always retained allegiance to his own clan and the wife to hers, the
children belonging to their mother's clan. As a rule there was no
limit to the number of wives a man could have, though polygamy was
not general. In the Amerind code the _bona fide_ acceptance of a wife
was a marriage, and the husband was expected to assume the duties of a
husband seriously. The white adventurer did not do it. He was quite apt
to abandon his wife as cheerfully as he had taken her.

  [Illustration: A Dakota of the Plains.

   Figures from Photograph by U. S. Government.]

  [Illustration: A Uinta Ute.

   Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.]

The clan had the right to adopt into it any outsider it pleased, and
this right of adoption was frequently exercised. In this manner white,
or other prisoners, or friends, were incorporated into the clan and
therefore into the tribe, taking the place perhaps of some deceased son
or brother, daughter or sister. The adopted men not infrequently rose
to positions of importance, even to that of head chief. These officers
were usually chosen because of personal qualifications and achievements,
but it was not uncommon for the title of ordinary chief to be bestowed
on a visitor as a sort of honorary degree. There were many chiefs of
varying power and importance, mostly military; the office of sachem, a
purely civil position, was more difficult to attain, as it was generally
hereditary within the clan. Because of the law of maternal descent, a
man's son in most tribes could not inherit his father's office. He might
be adopted, however, by the clan.

  [Illustration: Umatilla Woman and Child.

   From _Wonderland, 1904_—Northern Pacific Railway.]

Children were seldom whipped, yet they were carefully trained and were
obedient and respectful. Their parents loved them just as white parents
love their offspring and in later days when the Indian Bureau compelled
the children to attend the agency schools, there was many a heart pang
and copious tears all round at the parting. But the usual theory was
that these people had no human sensibility.

Several families of a clan often occupied a single structure. Each clan
had a sign, a sort of coat of arms, called a totem, to represent it,
and this was often used as a signature. Combined with other pictures it
indicated the occurrence of certain events. It was generally an animal
from which in far past times the clan was supposed to be descended; but
there were also personal totems. The clan took its name from its totem,
Bear, Hawk, etc., and its members frequently held names which indicated
their clan title. The clan controlled its members, settled disputes,
and if one were murdered or committed murder, the clan prescribed or
accepted punishment or settlement as the case might be. It also argued
its case when necessary by means of representatives before the council
of the tribe. To know a tribe well it was important to know the workings
of the clan system, yet this has generally been overlooked by all but
the ethnologists. A tribe was usually spoken of by its members as "the
men" or "the people," and these terms were often understood by white
men to be the names of the tribes, and accordingly were so used.

  [Illustration: Mandan Village on the Missouri, 1832.

   Drawing by Catlin, plate 47. vol. i., Catlin's _Eight Years_.
   Reproduction from _Smithsonian Report, 1885_, part ii.]

  [Illustration: A Group of Crow Chiefs.

   Photograph by U. S. Government about 1875.]

When at peace these people were kind. The Rev. Samuel Parker who was
on the plains at a very early time, referring to some who accompanied
him declares: "They are very kind and manifest their kindness by
anticipating all, and more than all my wants." Harmon, who for nineteen
years was a leading member of the North-west Company, speaking of one
village where he passed several days, is sure he was treated "with more
real politeness than is commonly shown to strangers in the civilised
part of the world."

The general dress of the men was leggins of buckskin resembling the legs
of a pair of white man's trousers, attached to a belt, with frequently
a shirt of the same material, though a great deal of the time there
was no covering for the upper part of the body except a robe or blanket
thrown loosely around the shoulders. The remainder of the costume was a
breech cloth and moccasins of buckskin, the latter with or without hard
soles according to the tribe. In the South-west, particularly after the
Spaniards came, the costume was different. There leggins came only to
the knee, and were made to button, or were attached by a woven garter
twisted around just under the knee. Above there were short trousers, or
rather breeches of cotton. A cotton shirt with a blanket over it in cool
weather, and a cloth _à la turban_ around the head completed the dress.
No matter if an Amerind wears trousers as he often did and does, he
rarely dispenses with the breech cloth. In battle the warrior stripped
completely, though in past times some tribes wore armour of slats, rods,
or tough buffalo hide.

The woman's dress was a loose gown or tunic of buckskin, of woollen or
of cotton fabric, bound at the waist by a girdle, and, when travelling
or in ceremonials, moccasins with leggins attached, the latter buckskin
strips winding round and round the leg. In the house or about the
village or camp the women generally went without any covering on the
feet. The women of some tribes wore only a sort of kilt of bark strips.
The younger children in summer wore no clothing; and in some tribes,
particularly those of the mild South-west, neither men, women, nor
children troubled themselves about covering. The manner of wearing the
hair was always significant; caps and head-dresses were also worn.

In moving camp the plains tribes usually took their whole tent with
them, the poles, before they had the horse, being tied on each side of
their dogs by means of a sort of saddle made for the purpose. Moving
was far easier after the horse arrived, for not only could he pull the
poles of the tent tied to his back, but also upon them he could drag the
children, the tent cover, and the general household goods; furthermore,
the mother could ride on the horse. The _travois_ was, therefore, a
different affair with the horse to drag it than it was with the dog; but
they did not abandon utilising the dogs and they were often harnessed
to light loads on the poles. The horse, then, was not only an essential
in war and the chase, but also in the journeys from one locality to

They knew well their own land and its limits. We sometimes forget this.
Francis La Flesche, an educated Dakota, writes with reference to their

     "The white people speak of the country at this period as a
     wilderness as though it was an empty tract without human interest
     or history. To us Indians it was as clearly defined then as
     it is to-day; we knew the boundaries of tribal lands, those of
     our friends and those of our foes, we were familiar with every
     stream, the contour of every hill, and each peculiar feature of
     the landscape had its tradition. It was our home, the scene of our
     history and we loved it as our country."[27]

Tabbaquena, a head chief of the Comanches whom Gregg interviewed,
drew for him a map, with paper and pencil, and "although the draft
was somewhat rough it bore much to our astonishment, quite a map-like
appearance, with a far more accurate delineation of all the principal
rivers of the plains, the road from Missouri to Santa Fé and the
different Mexican settlements than is to be found in many of the
engraved maps of those regions." Pike and other early explorers might
have saved themselves vast trouble had they employed such a man to
accompany them. This was not always easy, however, for sometimes when
the native was perfectly willing to draw a map, or otherwise describe
a route, nothing could induce him to leave his people, and even if he
did go, he would frequently tire of his job and slip away.

  [Illustration: Granary—Cliffs of Green River.

   Thirty Feet above Ground.

   Photograph by L. H. Johnson.]

In all the history of the Wilderness only one explorer has travelled
where the modern Amerind did not go and that one was Major Powell when
he descended the Colorado. The natives of his time entered the various
canyons here and there, but they never remained in them or navigated
their waters. Long years ago clans lived within their fastnesses and
knew them well, but before the eventful journey of Powell[28] they had
vanished. As winter approached those tribes that had been roving during
the mild season selected for the winter comfortable village sites near
wood and water and prepared for a long stay. Other tribes whose general
village life was more stationary arranged their food supply and provided
for stormy weather. If the shadow of famine did not fall on the camp
time passed pleasantly, the long evenings being devoted to visiting
from tipi (tepee) to tipi, or from house to house, and the crisp air
resounded with merry laughter, shouts, and singing. Games of different
kinds were played, and certain gifted story tellers kept their audiences
nightly in a roar with vivid tales—some true, some made for the occasion
out of whole cloth. The Pueblos practised their ceremonial songs, and
at times the boom of the great drum quivered constantly on the evening
air, when perhaps no other sound was audible. The Pueblo adobe and stone
walls being thick all ordinary sounds were prevented from passing out,
hence, as a rule, evening closed in silently, particularly in winter
when doors were shut against the cold. This was more the case after the
whites came, for before that event there were no doors, the openings
being filled by blankets or skins. The doorways then were much smaller,
to exclude cold air, storm, animals, enemies, and this gave rise to
stories of dwarfs, that have from time to time appeared.

  [Illustration: Interior of a Moki House.

   The women at the back are grinding corn, while those at the right
   are baking bread on a hot slab, in paper like sheets. Above is the

   U. S. Bu. Eth.]

In the villages where the walls were no more than the thickness of the
buffalo-hide covering the tipi poles, the hilarity rang out and made the
locality extremely gay. The popular notion that these people were gloomy
and fierce in daily life is a delusion. They were as happy and full of
larks as children, and probably no people ever more appreciated a joke.
A little thing would sometimes cause great merriment. I remember on
one occasion, a good many years ago, when encamped near Fort Defiance,
I was standing one evening in front of my tent when an old Navajo was
seen approaching who was particularly afraid of a camera. I had in my
hand a small hand camera, and as a joke I ran toward him pointing it
as if to photograph him, although the light had nearly vanished and
a negative could not have been made except by very long exposure. The
Navajo did not know this and much to the amusement of his compatriots
who were standing around to the number of perhaps a score, he began to
dodge about in the wildest fashion, trying to avoid my advance. For some
moments I kept up the play, because they were all having such a jolly
time except the victim; and he did not seem seriously to mind the chase.
Apropos of this subject, Fowler,[29] when crossing the plains met with
an incident, also illustrative of their appreciation of fun. He wore
spectacles and had broken one of the glasses. One day while at a native
settlement, he felt some one steal the spectacles from his eyes and run
away with them. He thought they were lost for good, but presently he
heard a great uproar of shouts and laughter, and then saw the man who
had taken them advancing and leading another with the "specs" on his
face. On closer approach Fowler saw that the led person was blind in the
eye corresponding to the broken glass; and the joker signified that the
"specs" suited his friend much better than they did Fowler. Then amidst
great good humour they were returned to him.

  [Illustration: Sitting Bull.

   From _Wonderland, 1901_—Northern Pacific Railway.]

In some portions of the South-west, cotton was cultivated and woven into
blankets and garments long before the white man came. The Pueblo men did
the weaving in that division; among some tribes the women did it. The
loom was a simple affair, made of a couple of slender logs, or thick
boughs, and several sticks with an arrangement of cords. It is still
in use by the Navajo and the Moki people. Among the Moki the men set up
the loom in the kiva, a sort of club room entirely devoted to the men,
whereas among the Navajo, women usually weave under a flimsy shelter of
boughs. The Navajo builds no substantial house, because he will never
live in a structure in which any one has died. Probably some such idea
retarded many tribes from building more permanently.

  [Illustration: Bellochknahpick—The Bull Dance.

   Mandan Ceremonial.

   Drawing by Catlin, plate 67. vol. i., Catlin's _Eight Years_.
   Reproduction from _Smithsonian Report_, 1885, part ii.]

  [Illustration: Details of Navajo Loom Construction.

   U. S. Bu. Eth.]

It was a sorry day when the trader brought them alcohol. By its use
tribes were degraded, swindled, beggared. Occasionally some energetic
chief would raise an objection, even to the point of a fight with
his people, but it was like a man raising his hand to halt the north
wind. The whites wanted the goods the native had, and they wanted
them for nothing. Alcohol and water were next to nothing. Porcupine
Bear, a Cheyenne, once protested so vigorously that he and a brother
chief came near to mortal combat. He was overruled, and like Rip Van
Winkle, they all agreed not to count that time. Very soon every one was
full of whiskey, not excepting the noble Porcupine Bear himself. The
traders poured tallow into the bottom of the measuring cup so that it
should hold less than the stipulated amount, also putting thumbs and
fingers in to cunningly accomplish the same cheat.

As to population, it is difficult to form an exact estimate. Undoubtedly
in early times the number of natives in the region forming the United
States was exaggerated; the tendency now appears rather to go to the
other extreme. The dwellings having been mostly of perishable materials
there is little to indicate former population outside of the mounds
of the Mississippi valley, and the house ruins of the South-west. The
latter are so numerous as to testify either to residence for an immense
period or to a population of considerable size. It was probably both.
While these village sites were often only repetitions by the same
people at different times, yet there are so many of them that there
must also have been a goodly number of clans and tribes. Whole areas,
like the region lying immediately north of the Colorado River, exhibit
multitudinous remains, but, when white men first went there, only a
few scattered bands of Pai Utes were found, who built nothing but brush

  [Illustration: A Navajo.

   Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.]

  [Illustration: Scalp-Dance of the Sioux.

   Drawing by Catlin, plate 297, vol. ii., Catlin's _Eight Years_.
   Reproduction from _Smithsonian Report, 1885_, part ii.]

  [Illustration: A Group of Dakotas.

   Photograph by U. S. Government about 1875.]

The time when the others expired has never been even approximately
established. It may have been one, two, three, any number of centuries
before our occupation. In that climate a house ruin might endure ages
with hardly a noticeable change. But there are certain points leading
to the belief that some of the depopulating was of sudden occurrence,
and as diseases brought by the Europeans early spread from Mexico, and
as sedentary people closely grouped would suffer even more than tribes
living in open camps, it appears reasonable to assume that smallpox and
kindred diseases ravaged the whole Wilderness soon after the landing of
Cortez, and were particularly disastrous in the South-west. Nothing in
the shape of skeletons would remain to tell the tales of destruction,
because wolves and dogs would devour the bodies and scatter the bones.
As they will dig a body out of a grave and strew the bones far and
wide, dragging one from a house would be simple. When the smallpox
finally swept through the plains tribes, in historical time, they
were wofully reduced in numbers. Many killed themselves to avoid the
lingering horrors. Whole tribes were exterminated, and the wolves and
dogs consumed the putrid carcasses.[30]

  [Illustration: Necklace of Human Fingers.]

Probably there was never a dense population, yet there might have been,
say, three or four hundred thousand all told, in the Wilderness. This,
with perhaps, six or seven hundred thousand east of the Mississippi,
would give a total aboriginal population for the area of the United
States of about a million.[31] The estimate of Major Powell was under
three-quarters of a million. A quarter of a million are left, and they
are not decreasing, for though they are very poor as a rule, owing
to the destruction of their game and other food supplies and to their
having no means of earning money, yet contagion no longer destroys them
as of old, and wars are a thing of the past. They are now, however, a
different people from those occupying the country at the beginning of
the sixteenth century.

To their enemies they were often horribly cruel, to those of their own
hue as well as those who were white. And they learned speedily that the
white man was much the same as themselves in this regard. They no longer
burn victims at the stake, but the white man who, in the earliest time
gave them fearful lessons in this art, still continues it; even within
sight of our temples of justice. Their wars were multiplied by the
compression of their free territory, which was the result of the white
man's arrival, and by the impositions of the newcomers. There was one
locality, a strip lying along the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains,
which appears to have been a sort of No Man's Land, and this was called
the "Hostile Ground," and the "War Road." Any one wandering in this
tract was always in danger of attack from many directions.

If a war party met with failure it would try to recover its prestige by
attacking whatever came in its way, but if it were successful, all but
the enemy it had originally proceeded against were comparatively safe.

A successful band reaching the borders of its home camp would send
a runner in with the announcement, when the people would turn out to
form a triumphal procession, and the braves decked themselves out in
war-bonnets, war-shirts, etc., kept for such parades. One with his face
blackened carried a long pole from which the bloody scalp-trophies
dangled, and these were saluted with shouts of joy. At the same
time they were reviled as enemies. This pole was planted in front of
the lodge of the head chief, where later the scalp-dance and other
ceremonies were performed. Many tribes removed all their hair but
a solitary lock, called the scalp-lock in consequence, left for the
benefit of the enemy. The number of scalps a warrior could boast was
the gauge of his military importance in the tribe. But when the war
party returned in defeat, the camp became a pandemonium of wailing,
and moaning, and gnashing of teeth. Women chopped off fingers by way
of mourning; tore their flesh; and braves also shockingly mutilated
themselves. Then nothing short of a success in war could wash out the

  [Illustration: House Ruin on Green River, Utah.

   Photograph by L. H. Johnson.]

One hardly can believe that a large number of these people once had
their villages and their farms east of the Mississippi, where the
factory and the mowing-machine now hold sway, but in the South-west
wherever we tread we discover some indication of the old population:
a trail, an irrigating ditch, a tree for a ladder, house walls, rock
pictures, etc., and often, far from the tumult of the modern world, we
seem almost to catch the sigh of a voice, or the rustle of a blanket,
in the breeze that whispers through the old piñon tree. On the East
Mesa of the Mokis we appear to command a clear perspective, for the
modern world is not evident. I always seemed there to be far out of it.
Through their windows we can well see into the past and reconstruct the
wilderness. Sitting on the housetop at the day's end, the surf of our
restless civilisation beating against the far horizon, the vanished sun
burnishing with a wondrous spread of gold the whole high vault of the
Arizona sky, we drowsily follow the fading light as it dissolves in a
sea-like mist the plains so far below, till they no longer have being
but float from its firm moorings, the great headland—villages, rocks,
and all—drifting it backward through phantasmal centuries. And out of
the strange houses around us, where the mothers sing their lullabies,
arise the forgotten hosts of other days, with the cry of the chase
and the clash of battle, as if like Don Roderick we had unlocked the
fateful gates of the Forbidden Tower and were about to be overwhelmed.
Suddenly, amidst the turmoil of that ancient throng we discover a
greater commotion. It is the European with his hand of iron, shooting as
he marches, while through the smoke of his gun rises, like the Spectre
of the Brocken, a hideous companion he does not see. It is the dismal
Shadow of Death, smiting right and left; and they walk on together, ever
over corpses.



     [25] _A Journal of Voyages and Travels in the Interior of North
     America_, by Daniel Williams Harmon. A. S. Barnes & Co.

     [26] _The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth._ Harper &

     [27] _The Middle Five._

     [28] For the story of this exploration see _The Romance of the
     Colorado River_, by F. S. Dellenbaugh, and for further information
     on the natives of the Wilderness, see _The North Americans of
     Yesterday_, same author, and _The Indian of To-day_, by George Bird

     [29] _Journal of Jacob Fowler_, edited by Elliott Coues.

     [30] See _Voyages to the Arctic_, by Alexander Mackenzie, vol. i.,
     p. xxxviii., and other early travellers in the West.

     [31] Catlin estimated 16,000,000.



     Lost in the Wilderness—Cabeza de Vaca, Great Medicine Man—The
     Wilderness Traversed—Spanish Slave Hunters—The Northern Mystery—The
     Monk and the Negro—The Great Coronado Expedition—The Settlement of
     New Mexico and the Pueblo Rebellion—California Missions—Escalante
     to Salt Lake Valley.

As the harmless little snow-birds flit before the advance of winter's
desolation, so a few hapless Spaniards cast up by the sea were
forerunners in the Wilderness of the pressing swarms of Europe. These
men were a small remnant of the expedition which Panfilo de Narvaez
in 1527 led with rosy banners for the conquest of Florida, where a
few years before Ponce de Leon, instead of his sought-for waters of
perpetual youth, had found a shroud. Three years had barely passed when
the same grave-garment was enwrapping Narvaez and his band, twining
through one disaster after another, till the lonely, shimmering sea
offered the only pathway from under the dark presence. Then it was
a kingdom for a boat! Yet the staggering band had no tools, nails,
cordage, skill; nothing in fact wherewith to prepare for the combat with
Neptune. But the resolution of despair is great. They gathered spurs,
bridle bits, all the iron they had, and made tools and nails. Spanish
accoutrements were ever elaborate, so they were able to put their boats
firmly together, and with shirts sewed one to another for sails, and
their muscles fortified by the meat of the horses which they had eaten,
whose manes and tails furnished ropes, at last in five large boats they
coasted westward hoping valiantly to sight some camp, or settlement, of
their fellow countrymen who, from the capital of the Aztecs, had been
striving to penetrate the Northern Mystery.[32]

Seven or eight years only, it is true, had passed since this same
luckless leader so ignominiously had failed in his errand from Cuba
to arrest Cortez, but the Spaniards, besides annihilating the Mexican
Confederacy, had founded some settlements towards the north, and it
was these, their knowledge of distance being necessarily hazy, that
the unfortunates expected to reach. After many days of weary toil and
suffering, they passed the mouth of the Mississippi which Pineda, about
twenty years earlier, had discovered and named the Rio de Espiritu
Santo. No Holy Spirit was it to these baffled wayfarers, for its strong
current brought confusion and separation. The boat of Narvaez reached
land, the fate of two is not mentioned, while the remaining two, one
of which was commanded by Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, who had filled
the once important office of treasurer to the expedition, drifted away
together. After several days a storm threw these apart also and each was
driven along haphazard, yet always keeping towards the land. Cabeza's
craft finally beached itself on the wide sandy shores of an island,
called by those who eluded the breakers the island of ill-luck, Malhado.

Here were natives who treated the castaways in a friendly way, and
their fortunes seemed to slightly brighten; it was but a rift in the
cloud. Attempting to proceed, their boat was capsized in the surf, and
disappeared on the wide bosom of the Gulf. After a few days some men
from one of the other boats, which had been thrown on another part of
the island, joined Cabeza's party, raising the total number to forty.
It was now November of 1530, and here begins the remarkable experience
which Cabeza de Vaca afterwards wrote down as well as he could remember
it. The account is vague in its details, giving rise among eminent
students to a number of different opinions, as to Cabeza's exact
route.[33] The island Malhado was either Galveston or some other along
the north coast of the Gulf of Mexico between this and the mouth of the
Mississippi. Bandelier places it at the mouth of the Sabine.

  [Illustration: Alarçon's Ships in the Tidal Bore, Mouth of the
   Colorado, 1540.

   Drawing by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

It was decided to send out a search party, and four men were therefore
dispatched on the hunt for the settlements. Soon after some disease
broke out in the camp which reduced the thirty-six to fifteen. Then
the natives, who were not otherwise unkind, separated these and they
never again all met. When spring once more turned the country green, all
the Spaniards but Cabeza de Vaca and one Lope de Oviedo, who were too
sick to travel, again started westward. Cabeza and Oviedo necessarily
remained with the natives, and in spite of Cabeza's tale of cruelty we
can see that he was not very badly treated, for after awhile he was
allowed to make trading tours into the interior. On these journeys
he saw the "hunchback cows" and learned much about the country, the
first white man to tread that northern soil. In the course of time he
and Oviedo turned their faces westward also and presently learned from
other natives of three men like themselves farther on. Oviedo lacked the
courage to proceed, and he went back to the first natives they had been
with while Cabeza kept on alone and came to the other Spaniards, the
fag-end of the company that had previously started. They were Andreas
Dorantes, Alonso del Castillo Maldonado, and Estevan, an Arab negro.

The Amerinds they were now among did not seem to like the idea of their
departing, but after one or two attempts, the four succeeded in taking
up the broken march for the West. The tribes they met treated them
kindly. In one place a man came with a headache which Castillo cured
by making the sign of the cross and "commending him to God." Many more
came to be healed, each bringing venison in payment, and the Spaniards
found thereby the road to safety and comfort as well as to their desired
goal. Cabeza even claims to have revived the dead; at least he became so
proficient as a "medicine man" that everywhere the natives came to him
in large numbers to be healed. Cabeza was successful, hence his progress
was uninterrupted, but the role of medicine man is sometimes dangerous
to assume. They think that if one is able to cure a single case, that
he can cure all, and if the patient dies his "medicine" is bad. The
reputation of Cabeza grew, till the progress of the four wanderers was
little short of triumphal.

Without presenting further details of this first traverse by white men
of a part of the Wilderness, it may be stated that after passing some
mountains, a beautiful river, some rough dry country, many sorts of
people, and divers languages, through fixed habitations and cultivated
fields, they arrived at a place where the people presented them with
a great many hearts of deer. In consequence they named the spot, Valle
de los Corazones, and it figured conspicuously in the explorations that
were to follow. It was the "entrance to the South Sea," that is, it was
here they first came to waters flowing into the Pacific, _via_ the Gulf
of California; where, in fact, they crossed the great divide of the
Sierra Madre of Mexico. The river they reached was the Yaqui. Here, too,
they beheld the first signal of nearing their countrymen in the shape of
a metallic buckle, of Spanish make, while the natives described white
men with beards, of whom, with good cause, they were much afraid. The
Spaniards were slave hunters. A few days later Cabeza, who with Dorantes
and Maldonado resembled white men no more than did the negro Estevan,
met Spaniards on horseback. They were Captain Alcaraz and several of his
slave-hunting gang. The captain tried to use Cabeza as a decoy, but he
was not successful. Cabeza spread a warning and his Amerind friends made
their escape much to the wrath of the captain, who thereupon treated
them all badly, and prevented their advance. At last, however, the four
were sent on to the settlement of San Miguel de Culiacan, where they
fell in with that brave and sensible officer, Melchior Diaz, and their
troubles were at an end.

These wanderings, so briefly outlined, beginning at the landing on
Malhado, and terminating at Culiacan, covered a space of a little
over five years. The time of the continuous journey toward the Pacific
Coast was about ten months. The Narvaez expedition broke up at the end
of 1530. Cabeza started about August, 1535, for Mexico, and arrived
among the Spaniards early in 1536. His general route was across the
southern part of Texas to the Rio Grande, then perhaps some distance up
that stream, and across to the great central mountain range of Mexico.
Bandelier traces the route up the Conchas and over the pass of Mulatos,
but it may have been, and I believe was, more to the northward.

A brilliant picture was now painted for the Spanish people by the
returned wanderers, particularly by the negro Estevan, who had been
specially active in securing information on the journey, for Cabeza says
he "was in constant conversation with them (the natives), he informed
himself about the ways we wished to take, of the towns that there were,
and concerning the things of which we desired to know."[34] That is,
Estevan practically made himself the guide of the party while the others
attended to the "medicine" business, hence he could tell a longer story
about the "populous towns" of which the people had spoken. Much was made
of these "great" towns where emeralds were dug out of the mountains,
and it all appeared to confirm earlier rumours of Seven Cities of
fabulous wealth somewhere in the midst of the Northern Mystery. The
fate of Narvaez was now forgotten in the intoxicating dream of a country
rivalling the riches of the Aztecs.

There is some confusion as to one or two minor expeditions then sent
northwards; evidently they did not proceed far. But in 1539 Viceroy
Mendoza directed Friar Marcos of Niza to march under the guidance of
Estevan and reconnoitre, with a view of following this reconnaissance
by an elaborate exploration. Marcos had with him a brother friar and a
number of native Mexicans. Just where he went and what he actually saw
is rather uncertain, but he apparently arrived somewhere near or in the
region now Arizona-New Mexico. Estevan had gone ahead and was killed
for his arrogance at the first Pueblo village. Marcos soon had word of
it and beat a precipitate retreat, though he claims to have approached
near enough to view from a hill the wonderful magnificence of the Seven

  [Illustration: Character of the Seven Cities which Friar Marcos so
   glowingly Described.

   Drawing by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

At this time Francis Vasquez de Coronado, an even-tempered gentleman,
but withal a capable one, was governor of the infant province of
New Galicia, and to him came the monk with so wonderful a tale, that
Coronado immediately set out with the enthusiastic prevaricator for
Mexico, and held a secret conference with Mendoza. But instructions
were given to the clear-headed Melchior Diaz to follow back the friar's
trail and verify his statements, and he proceeded north as far as
Chichilticalli before he was obliged to return on account of extreme
cold. He found nothing important. This he reported by letter to Mendoza,
and with his usual good sense, he included a careful description of
the now notorious Seven Cities of Cibola, obtained from natives who had
lived there fifteen or twenty years, and some who had been with Estevan
on his disastrous entrada. The account thus derived was absolutely
truthful and accurate; it was likewise a serious damper on the
enthusiasm of the soldiers of the new expedition, for it became known in
spite of efforts to keep it secret. Marcos again repeated his gorgeous
fabrication and expectation once more rose to the boiling point, for
what was the word of a common officer against that of the distinguished

Under Coronado the army went forward early in 1540, "the most brilliant
company," says Castañeda,[36] "ever collected in the Indies to go in
search of new lands"; and three ships were sent up the coast under
Hernando de Alarçon. When they finally stood aghast before the first
"city" of Cibola worn and famished, many were the curses bestowed on the
imaginative friar, till Coronado, fearing he might be killed, sent him
at the first opportunity back to Mexico. There were no great cities, no
stores of gold, no precious stones; nothing but a common adobe village.
It was easily conquered, and its capture, July 4, 1540, marks the first
battle between Amerinds and Europeans on the soil of the Wilderness,
now the region of Arizona-New Mexico. There was luckily plenty of maize
here, and the hungry Spaniards were sadly in need of it. Though their
dreams received a heavy shock, they soon again expanded with the hope
of better prospects ahead, just as the gambler repeats his risk with
the idea that a turn of luck is sure to retrieve waning fortune.

They heard of other towns called Tusayan (or Tuçano) to the north-west
and men were sent there, one party under Captain Cardenas continuing on
to a great river, the present Colorado, of which the people told, and
these were the first white men to see the magnificent chasm of the now
familiar Grand Canyon.[37] About the same time Alarçon, with his ships,
endeavouring to get into communication with Coronado had discovered and
for some distance explored with small boats the lower part of the same
river, calling it the Rio de Buena Guia. And now Melchior Diaz, with
dispatches and the discredited Friar Marcos, was sent back from Cibola,
and ordered to explore from the valley of the Corazones, wherein was
a small settlement of Spaniards called San Hieronimo, north-westward
to look for Alarçon. This Corazones was evidently the same valley that
Cabeza de Vaca had named.[38] Diaz went across the north-western corner
of Mexico and the south-western corner of Arizona to the Colorado River,
which he reached about eighty miles above its mouth. Alarçon had already
passed down on his return, but Diaz found letters left by him at the
base of a tree, from which he learned the character of the river. He
determined to explore westward, and went four days beyond the river
which he called Rio del Tizon, because the natives carried about with
them firebrands. He did not know the name Alarçon had bestowed. While
in what is now southern California he was seriously hurt by a spear
which he threw at an unruly dog, and after twenty days of suffering he
died, his men carrying him back through every danger, as long as life

While these explorations of the Wilderness were going on under
Coronado's command, he heard of more towns, especially a group, and a
single town of the group, called Tiguex, northerly from Cibola, resting
on the banks of a river. Directing the main army to proceed by the
"regular" road, that is, by the travelled trail, Coronado, with a small
escort, struck out by another route and came to the river below Tiguex
at a group of villages called Tutahaco, and following the river up,
reached Tiguex by that way. The main army by the regular trail passed
a remarkable town on a high cliff, called Acuco, usually identified,
I believe wrongly, with Acoma of to-day. At Tiguex, which was on the
Rio Grande, called by Coronado the "River of Tiguex," somewhere near
the present town of Socorro, probably about fifteen miles below it,
the general learned of still other towns in various directions, for
the valley of this river and the contiguous country was the home of
many house-building Amerinds.[39] One of the important villages called
Cicuye[40] was twenty-five leagues north-east of Tiguex, and when
Coronado went there he met a native from the East whom the soldiers
nicknamed Turk because he resembled one, and this person actuated by
a diabolical object rivalled the Friar Marcos in tales of great cities
and wonderful riches back in his country, which he called Quivira.

Coronado resolved to follow his guidance, so after the people of Tiguex,
who had rebelled at the impudence and cruelty of the Spaniards, had been
subdued, that is, numerously killed, and the severe winter of 1540-41
was over, preparations were made for an eastward journey. Other parties
were sent up and down the river of Tiguex, fifty and eighty leagues
respectively. Finally leaving the river, Coronado with the whole army
proceeded by way of Cicuye toward the realm of lavish wealth the Turk
described, but the Turk was only trying to lure them to destruction on
the wide, arid plains, of Texas, so the route under his lead bore off
to the southward after crossing the Pecos River, till the army was hard
pressed for subsistence. The Turk's trick was discerned, and he was
rewarded by strangulation. Then the main army was sent back to Tiguex by
a direct route, while Coronado with a picked company continued northerly
for a long distance, probably to within a few miles of the Missouri
River, the first white men to traverse this region, unless, which is
not probable, Cabeza de Vaca, or some of the Narvaez party, may have
reached it.

Coronado returned to the main camp at Tiguex with the intention of
planning further eastern explorations for the next year, but in a
tilting bout being nearly killed by a fall from his horse, and with a
growing conviction that little more was to be gained by a longer stay,
he decided to abandon all exploration at this point, and lead his forces
back to Culiacan.

Every one was disappointed; the army turned its back on the Wilderness,
so pregnant with great possibilities, with a reluctance akin to
that which a confirmed toper might feel on being obliged to replace
the cork before draining the last drop. But Coronado was right. He
had accomplished a remarkable exploit, and it was time to go back.
The country had been shown to have no ready wealth, it could not
then be settled, and its general topography had been discovered. He
displayed good judgment and fine resolution in adhering to his decision
despite the pleadings of his officers, and the scowls of the rank and
file. Toward the latter part of 1542 they were again in the Spanish
settlements, and the army disbanded. Mendoza is said by Castañeda to
have received Coronado with great coolness, but this is doubtful.

The Seven Cities of Cibola, the first permanent villages met with in the
Wilderness, have been positively identified by many eminent scholars
with the modern district of Zuñi, but it is a peculiar and persistent
error. Tiguex was near Socorro, and Cibola was southerly from it, so
we must look for Cibola not at Zuñi on the headwaters of the Little
Colorado, which is northerly, but on those of the Gila, in south-western
New Mexico.[41]

Many native Mexicans remained at Tiguex and several at Cibola. Others
stopped at still other places. Friar Juan de Padilla and a lay brother,
Luis de Escalona, also desired to remain, the first going to Quivira,
the second to Cicuye, and Coronado sent an escort as far as Cicuye with
them and their companions, who were native Mexicans, a Portuguese, and
two negroes, one of whom had his wife and children. Some sheep, mules,
and a horse were also left with them. It has been stated that there
was a third friar, but this appears to be an error. The Friar Juan de
la Cruz mentioned in an old letter was perhaps only another name for
the lay brother Luis, for neither Castañeda, Jaramillo, nor the letter,
mentions more than two friars. Both were soon killed.

The next entrance into New Mexico was by three friars, Rodriguez,[42]
Lopez, and Santa Maria, in 1581, escorted by an officer named
Chamuscado, with eight soldiers. They went at least as far as Tiguex,
where Lopez, and perhaps Rodriguez, was killed. The friars of this
same order (Franciscan), fearing trouble, sent out a relief party
under Friar Beltran and with this went Antonio de Espejo, a daring and
wealthy citizen of Mexico. The departure was made November 10, 1582,
the route leading northward to the Rio Grande and the country they
called New Mexico. Following up the river, which they spoke of as the
Rio del Norte, passing after a while through a number of permanent
villages, "very well built," with estufas (kivas) in most of them, and
seeing others at a distance, they arrived at the Tiguex group. In one
of these called Poala, the friars had been killed. It will be noticed
that there were a number of villages below Tiguex. These were probably
the Tutahaco of Coronado's journey. Six leagues up the river from Tiguex
they found a province called Quires, and fourteen leagues farther, on
a small tributary (the Puerco) they came to Cunames. Then another five
or six leagues north-west were seven villages of the Ameies people; and
about fifteen leagues west of this was the pueblo of Acoma. Thus it is
perfectly clear that Espejo travelled from Tiguex _continually northward
and north-westward_ to reach Acoma. If we start assuming Bernalillo to
be Tiguex[43] it throws Acoma in the latitude of Taos which of course
is out of the question. Yet the scholars of to-day persist is locating
Tiguex at Bernalillo, many miles out of Espejo's inward route. For the
locations of these villages see map on page 115.

  [Illustration: New Mexico, 1540 to 1630.

   This map is the result of more than ten years' study of the subject.
   It is entirely at variance with the locations as accepted by students
   and writers up to the present. Tiguex heretofore has been placed at
   Bernalillo, whereas it was far south of that point, as shown above.

   Drawing by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

From Acoma he went on west to Zuñi, probably the first white man ever to
set foot there, and he found at that place three of the Mexican natives
who had remained in the country as noted above. This fact has been made
much of, too much, in establishing Zuñi as the site of Cibola, even to
the extent of nullifying the testimony from Espejo's route and other
equally valuable data.[44] A considerable number of these Mexicans had
stopped at Tiguex and other places, and it is not to be supposed that
they were petrified in their tracks. Espejo continued westward from
Zuñi, about to the San Francisco Mountains, but he did not see the
great Colorado. Returning to Zuñi he struck out for the upper waters of
the Rio Grande, reaching it sixty leagues above his Quires villages.
Returning to the latter, he took an easterly course to Hubates, then
north to the Tamos, and east again to the Pecos River which he followed
out of the country, naming it the Rio de las Vacas, because of the large
herds of buffalo he saw.[45]

Still nothing had been done in the way of permanent settlements.
But this was now to come. Fifteen years later, in 1598, the famous
expedition of the bold and wealthy Juan de Oñate, who had been appointed
governor, made its way up the Rio Grande, a long and elaborate train.
Travelling through many villages he finally established the settlement
of San Gabriel, at the native village called San Juan, north of the
present Santa Fé. Next to St. Augustine (1565), this, now marked by the
village of Chamita, is the oldest European town within the limits of the
United States. Six years later, with thirty soldiers and two padres, he
crossed New Mexico and Arizona, by way of Zuñi; the Moki towns; a stream
he called Colorado, now the Little Colorado; skirting the San Francisco
mountains; to the great Colorado at the mouth of Bill Williams Fork. He
called the Colorado the Rio Grande de Esperanza, and descended to its
mouth, where he stood January 28, 1605, three full centuries ago.

The same year, on his return, he founded Santa Fé, later went out across
the plains toward the Missouri, and was generally active and efficient.
Every effort was made to organise the country, and though the padres
worked earnestly and fearlessly, there was much dissatisfaction, which
had begun with the treatment the Puebloans received from the captains
of Coronado's expedition. The latent fires smouldered. A native of Taos
began to organise an opposition, and in 1680 he had united about all the
Puebloans, who, on signal, began a war of extermination. The Spaniards
were speedily overwhelmed and driven from the country. Had the Puebloans
been able to continue their league the re-occupation of New Mexico would
have been long delayed, but they were not accustomed to fighting in
concert, hence when General Vargas appeared with a conquering force in
1692 the rebellion collapsed like a house of cards. It was their last

Although Spain laid numberless restrictions on exploration and
settlement in the endeavour to compel large tribute to the royal
coffers, the opening of the next century saw a number of settlements
flourishing in New Mexico. Missions were established with greater
permanence, the ruins of the old ones bestowing an air of long European
occupation on the new land. Villages were settled by Spaniards and
their families, cattle, and sheep were brought in larger numbers, and
agriculture was developed on a greater scale, so that at last the life
of Europe became rooted in this foreign soil. Each governor during
his term ruled much at his own pleasure, being so far from the central
power, and they went usually on the principle of making hay while the
sun shines. The regions away from the Rio Grande were left alone as a
rule, though expeditions from time to time went on various errands: to
punish the Apaches or other predatory tribes; or, perhaps, to oppose
the progress of the French from the eastward. About 1720, one under
Villazur, Governor Cossio's lieutenant, was sent out on the plains to
the Pawnee villages, for what purpose is not exactly clear, but it
seems to have been with an idea of enlisting this tribe against the
French. Almost the entire force was massacred, only a few escaping to
carry the news to Santa Fé. The Spaniards blamed the French for inciting
the natives to this act, and as such action was quite common always by
French, Spaniards, and English alike, it is not improbable.

By this time a number of Spanish settlements were established in Texas
and there was intermittent communication.

  [Illustration: Church and Mission of San Xavier del Bac, Arizona.

   Mission Founded 1699. The Church Here Shown was Finished in 1797.]

The year Coronado returned Cabrillo coasted north on the Pacific,
touching here and there along what is now California, and died at
the Santa Barbara Islands, the command then falling to Ferrelo, who
explored as far as what is now the southern line of Oregon. The famous
English pirate, Drake, thirty-seven years later, with his vessel
filled with Spanish plunder, sailed north from the west coast of Mexico
endeavouring to find a water passage to the Atlantic. He repaired his
ship in a bay, and to-day, just north of the Golden Gate, a small bay
is known as Drake's Bay. Another thirteen years and a Greek, Juan de
Fuca, discovered the strait which is now known by his name, as well as
the great arm of the sea called Puget's Sound. Four years after this
Vizcaino was sent with three vessels to explore the northern coast, but
he did not then go beyond the Gulf of California.[46]

Then Philip III. came to the throne and adopted more vigorous measures
than his predecessor. Vizcaino was again sent forth, in 1602, with a
command to make a close examination of the coast, and this expedition
had fruitful results in breaking the Wilderness in that direction.
Vizcaino entered the harbour of San Diego, which had earlier been
visited by Cabrillo. Here he heard accounts of the New Mexican
settlements from the natives. Then he sailed past the Santa Barbara
Islands, turned Cape Concepcion, which he named, and made a general
examination, covering the same course as Cabrillo, which convinced him
that the land was fertile and a good place for colonies. He finally
obtained permission to organise and settle the region, but died
before he could execute his plans. Many years then rolled away with
no attempt to open the rich Californian lands. It was not till 1697
that any settlement was made, and this was in Lower California, on the
east side, and was called Loreto, the beginning of Friar Salvatierra's
Jesuit missions, in which enterprises he was assisted by friars Kino,
Piccolo, Ugarte, and others, who, with great labour, extending over
a period of sixty years, founded and maintained sixteen missionary
settlements, all on the east side of the peninsula and none in Upper or
Alta California. Kino had established in Sonora, in 1687, the mission of
Dolores, and from this place he passed back and forth to the missions
of Lower California, learning the topography of the region around the
mouth of the Colorado and making, in 1701, a fairly accurate map of the
head of the Gulf. He was the first white man to see the now famous Pima
ruins, called Casa Grande, a huge adobe mass of thick walls built in
prehistoric times.

  [Illustration: On the Yuma Desert.

   Character of the Country around the Head of the Gulf of California.

   Photograph by Delancy Gill.]

  [Illustration: Church of the Mission San Carlos de Monterey.

   Mission Founded 1770.

   Photograph by C. C. Pierce & Co.]

The Jesuit order was at length superseded, 1767, by the Franciscan,
whose members, patient, earnest workers in their cause, at once began
efforts to plant missions in Alta California, and in the spring of
1769 they proceeded from La Paz, on the west shore of the Gulf of
California, with cattle, sheep, and horses to San Diego, sending ships
around with supplies. They arrived on May 14th and found two vessels
already in the harbour, so that the settlement was immediately begun.
It was the first in this portion of the Wilderness. A second party was
to establish itself at the Bay of Monterey, but missing the way came to
San Francisco Bay instead, then returned to Monterey, and finally to
San Diego. The natives were hostile, food grew scarce, and starvation
threatened, but a vessel, which had been sent back for supplies, came in
the nick of time. The prosperity of California began with this event,
March 10, 1770. Other settlers followed, cattle multiplied, vines and
fruit trees bore abundantly, till, before the eventful year of 1776,
the California missions were forever out of reach of the bony grasp of
starvation. By the close of the decade eight had been founded from San
Diego to San Francisco, and before the end of the century nine more.[47]
Each consisted of a church, storehouses, workshops, dwellings, and a
fort, usually arranged in a square. All these structures were at first
extremely simple, but as time passed the friars exhibited their artistic
taste in the construction of really admirable specimens of architecture.
Some of these are still standing and will bear out this assertion. There
were in California four presidios, or military posts, in addition to
the forces at the missions, at San Diego, Monterey, Santa Barbara, and
San Francisco.

  [Illustration: Glen Canyon, Colorado River.

   This Shows the Nature of the Colorado where Escalante Crossed in 1776.
   The Surface on Each Side is Barren Sandstone.

   Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Colo. Riv. Exp.]

The missions of the Rio Grande and those of California possessed no
route for overland communication. Two monks of the Franciscan order,
in trying to establish such a route, established for themselves
imperishable fame. They were Garces and Escalante. Not far from
where Tucson now stands a mission had been founded by Kino, whom
Humboldt calls the "astronomer of Ingolstadt." This was San Xavier
del Bac. Franciscans were occupying the place, and there Garces made
headquarters, accomplishing five journeys from that point. The presidio,
or military post, of Tubac was about thirty miles south of Bac, and
from that post soldiers kept watch on the natives of the region. Garces
reached Bac in June, 1768, and made two preliminary explorations before
the end of 1770. In 1771 he reached the Colorado over the same trail
that Kino had followed long before, but the Franciscans seemed to have
no record of this nor of Oñate's trail; at least they did not profit by
these earlier explorations. In 1774, with Captain Anza, Garces made the
trip across the Colorado through to the mission of San Gabriel, near
the site of the present town of Los Angeles.

In the winter of 1775-76 Garces again went with Anza, who was bound for
San Francisco Bay, there to found a mission, to the Colorado, where he
stopped for a time, then went on to San Gabriel. Returning to the Mohave
country he struck eastward, June 4, 1776, on his celebrated entrada,[48]
with no companions but the natives along the route, and on July 2d
reached Oraibi, only to be there treated with supreme contempt. On the
4th he was driven from the town, and he returned to the mission of Bac
by way of the Colorado River.

Escalante was at this moment making preparations for his traverse to
the San Gabriel Mission. On July 29th he started _north_, absurd as it
may now appear to us who know the whole geography. Crossing western
Colorado, over Green River, which he called Buenaventura, near the
mouth of White River, he mounted the Wasatch Range by the Uinta and
its branches, and entered Salt Lake valley, probably by what is now
known as Spanish Fork. After viewing Lake Timpanogos (Utah Lake), he
turned southward, followed down the western edge of the great mountains
extending north and south along the central line of Utah, about through
where Fillmore, Beaver, and Parowan now stand, to the Virgen River at
about Toquerville. Here the season indicating the approach of winter,
it was decided to abandon the attempt to reach San Gabriel, and strike
eastward for the Moki Towns, where Escalante previously had been. He was
not aware of the tremendous obstacles, in the nature of deep canyons,
which intervened. After a vast amount of effort he crossed, not the
Grand Canyon, as has sometimes been stated, but the lower end of Glen
Canyon, at a point about thirty-five miles above what is now Lee Ferry.
The place is still known as the Crossing of the Fathers. From here there
was a trail to the Moki Towns, and their anxiety soon came to an end.

The route Garces travelled from the west to the Moki Towns became no
highway; indeed, for years was not travelled at all, nor had Escalante's
anything in its favour so far as reaching California was concerned. For
half a century longer the New Mexican and Californian missions remained
about as far apart as ever. Those in California waxed rich and had
little cause to desire the world to come to them. When it did come it
was the beginning of their end.

The Spaniards were as brave a people as ever lived. They had now firmly
established themselves in Texas, in New Mexico, and in California, and
their claims on the basis of first exploration covered a vast area. In
every direction they opposed the entrance of other nationalities. The
lands were forced to pay tribute to Spain; nothing was left for local
government, and these methods, the antithesis of home rule, were the
undoing of this noble race.



     [32] A valuable, handy volume on the early doings of the Spaniards
     is _Pioneer Spaniards in North America_, by William Henry Johnson.
     See also _The Discovery of America_, by John Fiske.

     [33] See _Relation of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca_, translation
     by Buckingham Smith. _Contributions to the History of the
     South-western Portion of the U. S._, by A. F. Bandelier. "Alvar
     Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca," by Brownie Ponton and Bates H. McFarland,
     in the _Quarterly_ of the Texas State Historical Society (January,

     [34] Buckingham Smith, p. 102.

     [35] Castañeda asserts that Marcos was sixty leagues from the towns
     when he received news of the death of Estevan, and that he did not
     go a step nearer. See _The Journey of Coronado_, by George Parker
     Winship, p. 8. Barnes & Co. edition.

     [36] See the narratives of Castañeda and Jaramillo in _The Journey
     of Coronado_, by George Parker Winship. Barnes & Co. edition.

     [37] For an account of the explorations of the Colorado, see _The
     Romance of the Colorado River_, by F. S. Dellenbaugh. Topographical
     description, Chapter III.

     [38] An indication that Corazones was farther north than the region
     of the pass of Mulatos, and therefore that Cabeza's route was also
     farther north than Bandelier believes. It would also indicate that
     Estevan led the way back over their old trail.

     [39] See Chapters IV. and V.

     [40] Cicuye is identified with the present ruins of Pecos near
     Santa Fé, but like most of the accepted identifications it is not
     correct. Cicuye was farther south. See also Bandelier on the _Ruins
     of the Pueblo of Pecos_, papers of the Archæological Institute of
     America, American Series I.

     [41] Some years ago, in a _Bulletin of the American Geographical
     Society_ (1897), I published my views on this subject. Since then
     I have succeeded in making the matter somewhat clearer, especially
     as to the site of Tiguex, and gave my ideas before the meeting of
     the International Congress of Americanists, 13th Session, New York,
     1902. Simpson, before me, located Tiguex below the mouth of the
     Puerco, and it can be nowhere else.

     [42] Also given "Ruiz" and "Ruyz."

     [43] The site assigned for Tiguex by Bandelier is at Bernalillo,
     but I consider it an impossible location.

     [44] Benavides, in his residence in the country, went over the
     same route as Espejo, and his itinerary tallies with Espejo's from
     Tiguex to Acoma. Thus Tiguex falls below the Puerco by evidence
     separated by more than forty years.

     [45] It has been stated by some historians that Santa Fé was
     founded in 1582, but it is a mistake.

     [46] See Robert Greenhow's admirable _History of Oregon and
     California_, and the history by H. H. Bancroft, for details on

     [47] San Diego, 1769; San Luis Rey de Francia, 1798; San Juan
     Capistrano, 1776; San Gabriel, 1771; San Fernando, 1797; Santa
     Barbara, 1786; La Purissima Concepcion, 1787; San Luis Obispo,
     1772; San Miguel, 1797; Soledad, 1791; San Antonio de Padua, 1771;
     San Carlos de Monterey, 1770; San Juan Bautista, 1797; Santa Cruz,
     1794; Santa Clara, 1777; San Francisco, 1776; San José, 1797.
     In the next century three more were added: Santa Inez, 1804; San
     Rafael, 1817; San Francisco de Solano de Sonoma, 1820.

     [48] See _Garces_, by Elliott Coues.



     Soto and the Mississippi—The Gate to the Wilderness—The
     _Voyageur_—Champlain to Mackinaw—Pandemonium of Wars—Down
     the Mississippi to Soto's Grave—Louisiana—La Salle and His
     Death—_Coureurs de Bois_—First Sight of the Northern Rockies—Where
     Rolls the Oregon—The American Revolution.

While Coronado was striving from the direction of Mexico to reach
the mirage-like cities of Quivira, which the deceitful Turk asserted
were somewhere eastward of the Rio Grande, and in search of which he
arrived in some locality not many miles from the present site of Kansas
City,[49] another Spaniard, whose name is better known, not for greater
deeds, but because the country he traversed is more familiar, and
because of his romantic burial at night beneath the turbid flood he had
been second to discover, was marching and fighting towards the great
river so permanently linked with his name. This was Hernando de Soto,
who, in 1539, had landed with a large force at Tampa Bay for the purpose
of conquering and appropriating to his heart's desire all of Florida,
a realm comprising then the whole continent east of the River of Palms,
now the Rio Grande. His cruelties to the natives were frightful, and as
he wandered he left a trail of mingled Spanish and native blood, which
at length led him, in 1541, to the Mississippi, where he crossed some
distance above the mouth of the Arkansas. Near Tampa he had captured a
white man, a survivor of the Narvaez party, who had been preserved among
the natives by the intercession of a chief's daughter, and this Juan
Ortiz should have been a reminder of the fate of Narvaez, a fate largely
due to imprudence, bad management, and a disregard for the rights of
natives; but it seems to have conveyed no warning.

Continuing his harsh career into the Wilderness as far as what is now
central Arkansas, he turned south and passed the winter of 1541-42 in
north-western Louisiana, or south-western Arkansas. Coronado spent this
same winter at Tiguex, on the Rio Grande, where the inhabitants declared
the Spaniards had no regard for friendship or their pledged word. In
the spring Soto went down to the mouth of Red River. There his health
failed. He died, and his followers, to prevent the natives from finding
his grave, buried him in the deep water of the river. The command fell
to Moscoso de Alvarado, who now led the company again westward, hoping
to come to Spanish settlements, but when he arrived in Texas at the
upper part of Trinity River he abandoned the attempt and returned to
the Mississippi.

He had probably been within less than two hundred miles of the place
where Coronado, about the same time, sent his army back. They had
rumours of the presence of Coronado, but the nature of the country was
so forbidding they feared to proceed. Moscoso was even more brutal than
Soto. He punished natives by cutting off their noses and their right
hands; or, by another method not unusual with the early Spaniards,
setting hungry dogs on a victim to tear him to pieces before their
eyes. At last this remnant of the expedition, that had started with
high hopes, succeeded in building boats with which they descended the
Mississippi and coasted westward, reaching the province of Panuco, in
north-eastern Mexico. A great deal of misery and death had been brought
to the people of the new land, but, aside from ground for an additional
Spanish claim, little more had been accomplished by this than by the
Narvaez expedition.

  [Illustration: Barriers of Adamant—Mission Range.

   Photograph by R. H. Chapman, U. S. Geol. Survey.]

Although the Spaniards opposed vigorously the coming to the New World of
any other people, New Spain soon found a rival in New France, and then
in New England. Cortez had barely finished the overthrow of the Aztecs
before Verrazano, for the French King, cruised along the Atlantic coast
from Hatteras northward to where French fishermen already had been, and
where Cartier in 1534, ten years later, discovered the great island we
call Newfoundland and his Gulf of St. Lawrence. The next year he sailed
up the great river, to which he gave the same name, and thereby opened
the real gate to our Wilderness; for it was by this route, and not by
the south, that the best early entrance was offered, on account of the
numerous closely connected lakes and waterways of various kinds. Travel
in a new country is always easier by boat than by any other method, for,
if there are plenty of waterways, a canoe and its cargo can be carried
from the head of one stream, or lake, to the next nearest one, and so
a practically continuous passage effected with quantities of goods,
which otherwise could not be transported without a large number of
pack-animals or waggons, and pack-animals frequently need a way cleared
for them, while a waggon in a new land is often impossible. So by these
waterways, numerously ramifying from the mouth of the St. Lawrence into
the vast western Unknown, the Frenchmen, with the beautiful birch-bark
canoe of the Amerind, whose skill they also speedily acquired, entered
the Wilderness with a sailor's light-heartedness, singing their gay
chansons as they paddled along; songs with little sense but much rhythm,
like all the ditties sailors use for expediting their labours, which,
like rowing or paddling, require to be accomplished in unison. As
New France developed into Canada the _Voyageur_ became a familiar and
distinct character; a creation of the New World. He was as competent
with a canoe as was his Spanish brother, the _vaquero_, with the horse.
We meet him constantly in the Wilderness, and all the waterways leading
to it, his airy verses echoing through the forest till the sombre pine
trees seemed more lightly to wave their drooping branches; or dying
across limitless stretches of prairie, in conflict, perhaps, with the
stranger notes of some Amerindian chant.

By these songs the _voyageurs_ united the strokes of their oars
or paddles, and they were often responsive, like the sailor-songs
on shipboard, between one party and the other; the steersman and
the rowers, or the forward and the stern oarsmen. One stanza of a
_voyageur's_ song will serve to give their character:

     "Derrière chéz nous, il y a un etang,[50]
         Ye, ye, ment.
     Trois canards s'en vont baignans,
     Tous du lóng de la rivière,
       Legèrement ma bergère,
         Legerment ye ment."


     "Behind our house there is a pond,
         Fal lal de ra.
     There came three ducks to swim thereon;
     All along the river clear,
       Lightly my shepherdess dear,
         Lightly, fal de ra."

Cartier opened the way as far as Hochelaga, now the site of Montreal,
which was soon to become the very centre of all commerce with the
Wilderness. Attempts were made by the French to found settlements down
the coast, and one, on St. John's River, in Florida, seemed to have some
life in it till the Spaniards entrenched themselves at St. Augustine,
and from there crushed the French fort and the French power in that
quarter for all time. This St. Augustine of the Spaniards was the first
permanent settlement of Europeans within the limits of the United States
(1565), antedating by forty years Oñate's founding of his first village
at San Juan, New Mexico, now marked, as previously mentioned, by the
little town of Chamita.

About the time that Oñate was organising New Mexico there came over to
the north-east coast one Sieur de Monts, who established Port Royal for
France in a region named Acadia, lying between the Lower St. Lawrence
and the Atlantic, a title later restricted to the portion now called
Nova Scotia, and immortalised in Longfellow's poem, _Evangeline_. But
it was not till the illustrious Champlain, afterwards so justly famous,
founded Quebec, in 1608, that France really closed her grip on the
north-eastern part of the continent; a grip that was later to be broken
for ever by the British. Having permanently settled Quebec, Champlain,
with his _voyageurs_, extended his travels westward by watercourses and
lakes as far as the Straits of Mackinaw, founding many trading-posts and
missions, and marking the first practicable highway to the Wilderness.
He was efficiently supported in his efforts by monks of the Jesuit and
Franciscan orders, brethren of those who were labouring diligently in
the south-west, and who, though their energetic and sincere labours to
Christianise the natives amounted to no more than a puff-ball tossed
against the side of a battleship, performed a great and indispensable
work in this breaking of the Wilderness.

  [Illustration: A Reception Committee.

   Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.]

The British also began to turn their attention to the New World,
and after several explorations along the coast—Raleigh's attempt at
settlement in what is now North Carolina; Davis's exploration in the
Far North, where his name still remains to designate the strait he
discovered—they finally founded on James River their first permanent
settlement in 1607, two years after the establishment of Santa Fé, New
Mexico. To this they gave the name Jamestown, and from it as a centre
they expanded their power. The French were pushing out at the North;
the Spaniards controlled the South and West. Then a fourth nation
appeared—the Dutch—who settled at what is now New York in 1614, five
years after Hudson discovered the river now bearing his name to mark
the event. Not long after this Hudson found for England the immense bay
to which his name was given, and where his mutinous crew turned him,
with some of his adherents, adrift on the icy sea. Never was he heard
from again. Then the _Mayflower_ came, freighted heavily with new and
forceful ideas and a hardy company, who entered by Plymouth Rock; so
that by 1625 all the forces that were to battle for the mastery of North
America had established their footings, and with the various native
tribes, who opposed their encroachment and their cruelty, they soon
turned the land into a pandemonium. Almost daily the natives were given
exhibitions of treachery, brutality, butchery, on the part of these
newcomers among themselves, even while the good priests held aloft the
crucifix and repeated, "Thou shalt not!" Is it a wonder the Amerind
refused to believe? He was quick to perceive that, except the priests,
the one sole object of all these warring people was pecuniary advantage.
This, indeed, was rendered imperative by the European system of life.

As a rule the French were the most humane, the most just; they treated
the natives more as if they might be human beings with sensitiveness
and intelligence. William Penn, and his followers among the English, and
the Hudson Bay Company, also dealt justly with them, but in the eyes of
the others the Amerind was a beast of the forest to be exterminated.
The French sent their missionaries and traders far to the West and
before long had acquired a hold on the continent equal to that of
the Spaniards; a hold which it then seemed impossible should ever be
lessened. Raddison, the French trader, is said to have been on the head
of the Mississippi as early as 1660.

Marquette and Joliet, the former a priest, the latter a trader, were
sent by Frontenac, in 1673, to search for a route across the Wilderness
to the Pacific by way of a great river, of which much was told by the
natives. The river indicated was doubtless the Columbia. Proceeding from
Michigan they finally came at the mouth of the Wisconsin to the river
forming the eastern boundary of the vaster Wilderness, the Mississippi,
called by Marquette Conception, and down it they went, instead of up,
as they should have gone to get on the track to the Pacific, their
birch-bark canoes gliding swiftly along, while the unfathomed waters
for the first time heard the song of the _Voyageur_. Down they went
to Soto's burial-place. They were encroaching on the claims of the
Spaniards, but boundaries then were as nebulous as the Milky Way, and
the sword was the instrument of survey by which all lines were drawn.
Their flag was finally carried through to the mouth of the Mississippi
by that splendid character Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle,[51] a
Frenchman whose qualities shine ever undimmed by the roll of fading
centuries. With Tonty and Hennepin he came through the Great Lakes, and,
leaving these two men behind, reached with his party the Mississippi
at the mouth of the Illinois, and proceeding down it finally, in
1682, standing at the delta beside a great claim-post, he proclaimed
the jurisdiction of Louis the Great (XIV.) over all this country of

     "the seas, harbours, ports, bays, adjacent straits, and all
     nations, peoples, provinces, cities, towns, villages, mines,
     minerals, fisheries, streams, and rivers, within the extent of
     said Louisiana, from the mouth of the great river St. Louis,
     otherwise called the Ohio, ... as also along the river Colbert or
     Mississippi, and the rivers which discharge themselves thereinto,
     from its source beyond the country of the Nadouessioux ... as
     far as the mouth of the sea, or Gulf of Mexico, and also to the
     mouth of the river of Palms, upon the assurance we have from the
     natives of these countries, that we are the first Europeans who
     have descended or ascended the said river Colbert."

They had forgotten Pineda and the unfortunate Soto and Moscoso, to say
nothing of the still more unfortunate Narvaez, who was wrecked at the
river's entrance. This claim certainly was broad; it covered almost

La Salle had a magnificent dream of developing this enormous region for
his King, and proceeding to France he came back with vessels laden with
supplies and colonists. But they missed the mouth of the river. Then a
series of disasters left the leader stranded, as the Narvaez survivors
had been, on the coast of Texas. La Salle, of all men, surely deserved
more generous treatment from Fortune. But worse was to follow. They
struck out for the north-east to reach the French settlements. La Salle
was ambushed and shot March 18, 1687, by a villainous member of the
company, leagued with other assassins, and his body stripped and thrown
to the wolves. But La Salle needed no gorgeous funeral train, no costly
sepulchre to carry through the ages to come his illustrious name.

One of the assassin band, he who served as a decoy, was a youth of
sixteen named l'Archeveque, who later arrived in New Mexico, lived a
highly respected life there, and was eventually killed at the Pawnee
village with Villazur.[52] L'Archeveque, with four others from the
dismembered La Salle expedition, three young men and a girl, were
found among the Tejas, two years after La Salle's murder, by Alonzo
de Leon, a Spaniard who came up into Texas from Coahuila, one of the
northern provinces of Mexico. He ransomed all and sent them to Mexico.
Three years later, 1692, the Spaniards organised a settlement at San
Antonio, and henceforth the French and Spaniards began in a hostile way
to encounter each other on these wide frontiers. Iberville, in 1699,
started near the mouth of the Mississippi the first permanent French
settlement, and the French then rapidly spread along that river and its
branches, and when the eighteenth century was fairly under way they had
explored the country immediately along the Mississippi and the regions
between it and Montreal; they had pushed far out into the North-west,
even to the banks of the Saskatchewan. Indeed, a Frenchman is said to
have reached Hudson Bay in 1656. All through these regions were beaver,
bison, deer, panthers, and numerous other fur-bearing animals. The
trapping of these and trading for them with the natives formed the chief
incentive of the Frenchmen, just as the search for imaginary mines and
fabulous cities actuated the Spaniards. The pursuit of the fur business
offered a life of wild freedom, particularly fascinating to many
Frenchmen, who fraternised with the natives and were able peacefully
to travel from tribe to tribe, exchanging European wares for furs and
other property the Amerinds had. The Amerinds welcomed these pedlars,
for they wanted the goods they brought; and numbers of them ranged the
forests, finally being collectively called _Coureurs de Bois_. They have
been described as a kind of outlaw, but they were not exactly that.
Their lives, knowing no restriction but their own consciences, highly
elastic like almost all the consciences of that time, and perhaps this,
were not always models of propriety, but they were in general probably
little worse than the throat-cutting gentlemen who composed a large
part of the several samples of the European nations which were striving
to murder each other, and incidentally the natives, for the purpose of
acquiring sole possession of everything in sight. In the perusal of the
history of the development of this continent it seems almost ludicrous
to describe the natives particularly as the savages. One could fill
a library with volumes detailing the murderous brutality of the white
race, not only in dealing with the natives, but with each other. The
native was hardly more than a good second in rapine and butchery, even
when he was employed by one side or the other to raise slaughter to a
fine art.

  [Illustration: In the Heart of the Wilderness—Southern Utah.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

In 1669 the British formed a settlement in the shape of a fur-trading
post on the coast of Hudson Bay. This was the first of a series of
establishments founded by "The Governor and Company of Adventurers of
England Trading into Hudson's Bay," a company which, because of its
masterly control, wise management, general fairness to the natives,
and complete efficiency, was highly successful and of wide and
long-continued influence.

  [Illustration: Great Falls of the Missouri.

   From _The Trail of Lewis and Clark_. O. D. Wheeler.]

As the eighteenth century opened, the French seemed to be in the
lead. They claimed and controlled Canada and the greater part of the
Mississippi valley, and by 1710 there were many French colonies and
posts on the banks of the Mississippi. Eight years later Bienville
founded New Orleans, and two after that Antoine Crozat received from
the King a grant of the privilege of exclusive trade in Louisiana,
a privilege which he relinquished in 1717, when it was taken by the
Compagnie d'Orient, or, as it also was called, Law's Mississippi
Company. It was so held for fifteen years, when it was governed as
a French province. By 1722 the French had established a fort on the
Missouri called Orleans, about two hundred and fifty miles above the
mouth, by some authorities said to have been the result of the Spanish
expedition under Villazur, which was destroyed, according to some
reports, in an attempt to annihilate the Missouris, who were friendly
to the French. But the Spaniards claimed that the French instigated
the attack upon their 1720 expedition to the Platte; and the French,
it appears, claimed that the Spanish were striving to wipe out their

There were now open into the interior two great water highways, one by
the St. Lawrence, the other by the Mississippi-Missouri. Transportation
was almost exclusively by boat, hence the waterways were seldom departed
from for any great distance, and the immense tract lying west of the
Missouri and upper Mississippi was still an unknown country. From time
to time rumours were repeated of a huge river which flowed towards the
Sea of the West, but the traders did not always heed the tales of the
natives. As early as 1716 there was a definite statement that "towards
the source (of the Mississippi) there is in the highlands a river that
leads to the western ocean." Whether some Frenchman had made the journey
or not is unknown, but it is not improbable that a daring _coureur de
bois_ had slipped along from tribe to tribe and finally arrived at the

In 1728 there was a trader at Lake Nipigon—Sieur de la Verendrye, a
Frenchman, to whom the natives told such positive tales about this great
river flowing to the Sea of the West, that he determined to explore
it.[53] He laid his plans before Beauharnois, then Governor of Canada,
who was favourably impressed by the story, and also by a map which
Verendrye's Amerind guide had drawn for him. An expedition of fifty
men was fitted out, which left Montreal in 1731 under the command of
Verendrye's sons and nephew. The party seem not to have moved directly
for the river they intended to examine, but spent a number of years
exploring, trading, and trapping in the North-west country. Finally, in
1738, they built an advance post, Fort La Reine, on the Assiniboine,
whence they continued explorations north and south. In the latter
direction they ascended the Souris, or Mouse, River, and at length
arrived in the country of the Mandans, on the Missouri, at the great
bend to the south, in what is now North Dakota, antedating in the region
Lewis and Clark by over threescore years. This was in 1738. Again in
1742 the company arrived at the Missouri under the command of the eldest
son and his brother, passed the Yellowstone River, and on January 1,
1743, came in sight of the Rocky Mountains, perhaps the Big Horn range,
probably the first white men to see them from this direction; that is,
north of about the 38th parallel, where the Spaniards had been. They
climbed these mountains, and appear to have proceeded westward, perhaps
as far as Wind River, where they remained some time in the country of
the Snakes, hearing of another river farther south called Karoskiou,
probably the head of the Colorado, now named Green River. They were then
within about two hundred miles of the point reached, twenty-three years
later, by Escalante, and not much farther from the locality on Grand
River arrived at in 1765 by Don Juan Maria de Ribera.

Owing to a war between the Snakes and a tribe to the southward named
Arcs, they were unable to go on and returned to the upper Missouri in
May, 1743, somewhere erecting a stone monument to commemorate their
entrance into the region. Having done this they went to the Saskatchewan
valley by way of their Fort La Reine. Jealousy of their success and
changes in the governorship of Canada resulted in the overthrow of the
Verendryes, but Jonquire later, coming to the head of the government,
determined to profit by their investigations and planned two expeditions
to the Pacific, one over the course Verendrye had pursued, and the other
by the waters of the Saskatchewan. These appear to have had little
success, yet some of the men reached the Rocky Mountains, and were
there in 1753. The war with England then prevented further organised
explorations by the French. Several accounts of the existence of a
large river beginning at the head of the Missouri and flowing west to
the Pacific had been given by the Amerinds, as already noted, Dupratz
having heard one from a native of the Yazoo country.[54] This man said
he had himself ascended the Missouri to its source and there found
this other river, which he followed for some distance, wars preventing
him from going through to the ocean into which he was told it entered.
Several maps of about 1750 gave a supposed course of this river, which
was called the Great River of the West. Jonathan Carver[55] also told
of this stream, called the Oregon, in his book describing the travels
he made in 1766-68 into the region of the upper Mississippi; but he
did not go there.[56] The Dane, Bering, under Russian patronage, in
1741, had marked out a path to the New World from a totally different
direction from any taken by the other nations; he came from the West,
from Kamtchatka, by the far northern route. The Russians followed and
began to explore down the North-west coast.

  [Illustration: Great Fountain Geyser—Yellowstone Park.

   From _Wonderland, 1901_—Northern Pacific Railway.]

Having triumphed over France, Great Britain in 1763 acquired the
whole of Canada, all of Louisiana east of the Mississippi except New
Orleans, and the Spanish claims in Florida. They now controlled the
entire continent east of the Mississippi, the Dutch having long before
surrendered. France published the next year a secret cession two years
before of all Louisiana west of the Mississippi to Spain, and Spain
obtaining New Orleans also in 1769, France was thrown completely off
the continent. In 1764, at the time France announced the cession to
Spain, La Clede founded St. Louis on the site where it now stands, a
settlement that henceforth became the departing point for the great
Wilderness. Great Britain renounced all claim to lands south-west of
the Mississippi, and the vast territory of North America was now divided
between Great Britain, Spain, and Russia, the latter on the north-west,
Spain on the south-west, and Great Britain on the east. Spain was
endeavouring to clinch its hold on the Californian coast and the regions
to northward, and several vessels were sent out in that direction. One
of these, commanded by Bruno Heceta, returning from more northern shores
on the evening of August 17, 1775, came to a great bay where a current
was discovered setting out from the land with such power that Heceta
thought he had found either some great river or some connection with
another sea. The Strait of Fuca was then supposed to join the Atlantic,
under the old title of the fabled Strait of Anian, and he also thought
he might be at the mouth of this, although his reckoning did not agree
with that of Fuca. In reality he had discovered thus vaguely the mouth
of the River of the West, now the Columbia. He called the place the
Bahia de la Asuncion, but later charts mark it the Inlet of Heceta,
while the supposed river is put down as Rio de San Roque. Aguilar, who
commanded one of Vizcaino's ships in 1603, went north of Cape Mendocino
to the mouth of a great river, which he could not enter on account of
the current. This was probably the Columbia. Thus from sea and land
the existence of a large river in this quarter began to be understood.
Owing to the line of fierce white-caps formed by the tides breaking on
the great bar, extending across the mouth of this river, even now, as
one views the entrance from the deck of his approaching ship, after
government execution of a large amount of admirable engineering, it
presents a most impracticable looking channel, the white foam appearing
to form a continuous line. At low water, with a sea running, the place
is still one of difficult passage, and reminds of Gray, the bold sailor
who first steered through it. Heceta, however, did not hesitate from
timidity, he was a Spaniard, but his officers dissuaded him from making
an attempt to enter on account of their unfit condition.

Once across the bar, the broad bay and river-mouth offer easy
navigation, and it is a beautiful voyage, though a short one, up to
the site of the fine, prosperous American city which now stands at this
gateway, where the Far West opens into the Far East.

As the last quarter of the eighteenth century fairly developed, an event
took place which perhaps, influenced the destinies of man more than
any other of modern times. Garces and Escalante had barely completed
their entradas before the guns of the American Revolution had for ever
shattered the fetters of a new people on the Atlantic seaboard, where a
youthful giant sprang into being, a portent for Spain of great danger.
The Spaniards posted their sentinels facing that way.



     [49] Some years ago, Col. John Reid found on his farm, six
     miles west of Lexington, Mo., and two miles from the river, a
     silver-plated halberd, together with some old French and Spanish
     coins. The articles were six feet below the surface, and were
     exposed by the cutting of a creek. Later owned by Mr. Jo. A. Wilson
     of Lexington. This halberd does not indicate Coronado's presence,
     but it is interesting in this connection. The French coins would
     suggest a later time—dates not known.

     [50] _Travels in the Interior of America_, John Bradbury, edition
     of 1817, p. 12.

     [51] See _La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West_, by Francis

     [52] See _The Expedition of Pedro de Villazur_, by A. F. Bandelier,
     _Papers of the Archæological Institute of America, American Series

     [53] _Sieur de la Verendrye and His Sons_, etc., by Rev. E. D.
     Neill, in _Contributions, Montana Historical Society_, vol. i., p.
     267. See also _Report on Canadian Archives_, Douglas Brymner, and
     Thwaite's _Rocky Mountain Exploration_, p. 27 _et seq._

     [54] Among the papers of James Stuart, who was long resident in
     that region, was found a memorandum referring to some monument
     "twenty feet in diameter—on river bluffs—round and run to
     point—spaces between boulders filled with green grass and weeds."
     _Contributions, Historical Society of Montana_, vol. i., p. 272.

     [55] See Greenhow's _History of Oregon and California_, p. 140,
     _et seq._, second ed.

     [56] _Travels throughout the Interior Parts of North America in
     1766-8_, by Jonathan Carver. The descriptions of native tribes
     contained in this book are, according to Greenhow, not original,
     but mainly translations from Lahontan. _Greenhow_, p. 144. second



     The United States Borders the Wilderness—American Ships to
     the Pacific Coast—The North-West Company—Mackenzie Spans the
     Continent—Meares and Vancouver Baffled by Breakers—Captain Robert
     Gray, Victor—The Columbia at Last—The Louisiana Purchase a Pig in a
     Poke, and a Boundless Wilderness—Claims All Round to the Centre—The
     Perfidious Napoleon—The Spanish Sentinel Steps Back.

Spain had good reason to turn a watchful eye on the people of the
Atlantic seaboard. No sooner was the war for independence triumphantly
concluded than they began to look intently toward the vast Wilderness
that made up the bulk of the continent, a region so little understood,
and the object of so many uncertain, conflicting, and ill-founded
claims. Russia was beginning to assert claims from the north-west,
Spain had acquired the rights and claims of France, and, with her own,
wanted everything west of the Mississippi, while Great Britain advanced
from the north-east. The middle road was open to the Americans. The new
nation managed its affairs with great skill. Though Spain and France
combined to obstruct the westward movement of the young country, and
particularly to prevent it from securing any territory whatever near the
mouth of the Mississippi, so as to shut it off from free navigation,
the treaty of 1783 gave the United States all the country east of the
great river and south of the Great Lakes to the mouth of the Yazoo.
Notwithstanding opposition, the new Government positively held a huge
area, and was next-door neighbour to the delta of the Mississippi as
well as upon the threshold of the great undefined Wilderness, known as
Louisiana, bordering the Father of Waters on the west.

This immense extension of their domain gave a fresh impulse to American
exploration and settlement. They loved the wild woods and came over the
crest of the Alleghanies in large numbers, erecting their log dwellings
here, there, and everywhere, till it was not long before the fertile
region between the Mississippi and the eastern mountains was filling
with settlements.

  [Illustration: Summits of the Backbone.

   Gray's Peak, 14,341 feet. Torrey's Peak, 14,336 feet.

   Photograph by U. S. Geol. Survey.]

Many of these people were trappers and hunters. The fur trade was yearly
becoming a greater business; hundreds, despite danger or privation, were
eager to pursue wherever it might lead. The pressure of civilised life
with its rigid financial demands was, and is, so intense that whenever
a channel of escape opens, the flow through it is as natural as that
of water through a puncture in the bottom of the kettle. There were
large profits to be made in furs, though it was usually the organiser
and business manager who reaped the full rewards. The Pacific coast
offered in this line brilliant prospects, and American vessels pushed
around Cape Horn and sailed up the western shores to secure a share of
the trade of that region. Spain, Great Britain, and Russia were also
active there in the fur business, as well as in that of "claiming." The
Americans then had no claims in that quarter.

The year following the agreement on the western boundary of the United
States, 1784, found a number of Montreal merchants organising with the
determination of participating in the rich returns of the fur trade; a
business where a penny whistle was traded for a gold dollar. These men
of Montreal formed an association which they entitled the North-west
Company, consolidating with it a number of small rival concerns which
for some years had been operating separately, and often disastrously,
for they were frequently at war. The North-west Company intended to
occupy the country beyond Lake Superior and oppose there the increasing
power of the Hudson Bay Company. One of the men taken into this
partnership was Alexander Mackenzie. He was the man for the hour. He
proceeded to the far shores of the Saskatchewan, where posts had been
established beyond those of the Verendryes and earlier Frenchmen, whose
former presence was now marked only by the names they had applied to
the natural features of the country. But though the Verendryes were
forgotten, the _Voyageur_ was still a chief factor in travel and in
trapping operations, and the _chansons_ yet echoed through the forests
of that wild landscape, where, in the words of Butler,[57]

     "there are rivers whose single lengths roll through twice a
     thousand miles of shoreland; prairies over which a rider can steer
     for months without resting his gaze on aught save the dim verge of
     the ever-shifting horizon; mountains rent by rivers, ice-topped,
     glacier seared, impassable; forests whose sombre pines darken a
     region half as large as Europe; sterile, treeless wilds, whose
     400,000 square miles lie spread in awful desolation.... In summer,
     a land of sound, a land echoing with the voices of birds, the
     ripple of running water, the mournful music of the waving pine
     branch; in winter, a land of silence, a land hushed to its inmost
     depths by the weight of ice, the thick falling snow, the intense
     rigour of a merciless cold."

This was the country the trapper first entered on his way to the
Wilderness we are specially considering; here where the _Voyageur_
received some of the experience that made him so valuable in this kind
of work, the _Voyageur_ whom Harmon elaborately describes[58] as lively,
fickle, cheerful in privation, talkative, thoughtless, unrevengeful,
not brave, deceitful, smooth, polite, dishonest, unveracious, generous,
ungrateful, obedient, and unfaithful. Yet he was a man who served the
time admirably, who braved many dangers, whose labours helped more
than those of any other single element to open the pathways of the

By 1778 the British had founded a trading-post within forty miles of
Lake Athabasca, and ten years after one on the shore of Lake Athabasca
itself. This was named Fort Chepewyan, and historically is of great
prominence, as it was the headquarters of Alexander Mackenzie for
eight years, and was his starting-point on both the expeditions which
are recorded among the remarkable exploits of the modern world.[59]
The North-west Company was making systematic war upon the Hudson Bay
Company, and in order to gain advantage for his association Mackenzie
undertook the two expeditions, which practically solved the geographical
problems of the North-west and determined the impossibility of the
existence of any north-west passage. In 1789 he descended, as far as its
discharge into the Arctic Ocean, the river that now bears his name, but
he was not the first to reach the Arctic overland, for Samuel Hearne,
of the Hudson Bay Company, eighteen years before, had touched the shore
some miles east of the Mackenzie, having first discovered Great Slave

These journeys proved beyond question that the Straits of Anian, which
had prominently figured on maps up to this time, were a myth. Cook, who
had been along the north-west coast, had expressed strong doubts of the
existence of any waterway between the Atlantic and Pacific. Mackenzie's
other journey was of equal, if not greater, importance. It was in 1793
that the start was made, and he followed up Peace River till, by means
of the chasm it cleaves in the great chain to free its waters for
their descent to the Mackenzie, he passed entirely through the Rocky
Mountains, and with admirable determination and perseverance reached the
shore of the Pacific just north of Queen Charlotte Sound, completing the
first traverse on record of the North American continent above Mexico.
One river, that he followed down for some distance, which was called by
the natives Tacoutche Tesse, he thought was the head of the Columbia,
which had obtained this name the year before. The Tacoutche Tesse,
however, was not the Columbia, as was some years later discovered, but
the river now called Fraser.

Navigators had been at work minutely examining the Pacific coast of the
Wilderness,—La Perouse, Dixon, Meares, and others. Although Meares, for
Great Britain, in 1788, searched for the Rio de San Roque as laid down
on Spanish charts, according to Heceta's observations, and although
he actually entered the bay where it disembogues, he departed without
finding it, because the breakers were clearly seen by him to extend
entirely across the shore end of the inlet. In consequence he applied to
the place the title of Deception Bay, and the prominent headland just
north of it he called by the name it still bears, Cape Disappointment.
He declared positively that there was no such river as the San Roque,
which illustrates the ease with which mistakes are made, even by men
of intelligence. It was a fortunate error for the United States, as now
neither the Spanish, who were still clinging to the northern coasts, nor
the British, who were opposing them, had obtained any right of discovery
in this great river. No captain as yet had possessed the insight, or the
courage, or the resources, to dash through the formidable line of fierce
combers and open the mouth of the Columbia to the world. But its day was
soon to arrive. The same year that Meares in disappointment turned his
prow away from the entrance, an American merchant captain, Robert Gray,
of Boston, in his trading vessel, the _Washington_, had nearly foundered
in trying to force the passage. After this Gray exchanged ships with
Kendrick, a captain in the service of the same company, and in the
_Columbia_ made a trip to China and then home. Kendrick, meanwhile, with
the _Washington_, put into the Strait of Fuca and pretty well examined
this body of water, which Gray before him had entered to the distance
of fifty miles.

  [Illustration: Mouth of the Columbia from Astoria.

   Cape Disappointment Left Distance.

   From _The Trail of Lewis and Clark_. O. D. Wheeler.]

After a while, 1792, Gray came back to the north-west coast in the
_Columbia_ and met at the Strait of Fuca the great English navigator
Vancouver, who had been sent to make charts of the coast, a work which
he carried out so admirably that it has been the basis for all charts
ever since. Vancouver had already been in Deception Bay before meeting
Gray, so that when the latter described the place he had tried to enter
with the _Washington_, and stated his belief in the existence of a large
river there, a belief perhaps increased by the statements of Jonathan
Carver, he refused to believe. Vancouver had seen the breakers extending
"two or three miles into the ocean," and though he noticed that the
sea there changed to river water he thought it only from some minor
stream, and did not consider the subject of any importance. So, like
Meares, he had turned his back upon it, and now he went on to survey
Puget Sound. Gray, however, was of a different mind, and he determined
to return to the place to explore. It almost seems, indeed, that Fate
had appointed this discovery for him. When he arrived there he did not
hesitate, but prepared his ship for the passage, and at eight A.M. May
11, 1792, he ran in "east-north-east between the breakers, having from
five to seven fathoms of water. When we were over the bar we found this
to be a large river of fresh water, up which we steered." Thus, in spite
of everything and with no effort or desire to do it, the United States
had acquired by right of discovery a claim on this far-away country.
The matter, which at the time was little thought of, proved afterwards
of considerable value. When Gray sailed out of the river, which he was
able to accomplish only after several attempts, he gave to the river the
name of his ship—Columbia. For some years the name of Oregon, by which
Carver had described it as he heard the account from the natives, was
also applied, as well as the other title—River of the West,—but all at
length gave way before the name bestowed by the discoverer, whose action
in running the bar was all the more praiseworthy since other skilful
navigators had failed to fathom the secret of Deception Bay.

The following year Mackenzie arrived on the coast, just after Vancouver
had passed north in pursuing his excellent survey. Thus little by
little the white man was permanently closing in on the great central
Wilderness. In 1792-93 Todd, a Scotchman with a special grant from
Spain, made several journeys from St. Louis up the Missouri, and Fidler,
in the employ of the North-west Company, travelled from Fort Buckingham
on the Saskatchewan south-west to the foot of the Rocky Mountains and
down through regions drained by the Missouri. Dorion, afterwards with
Lewis and Clark, had lived with the Sioux since 1784 or earlier, and
there were many others like him.

Trading-posts were established here and there on the Missouri; Pawnee
House,[60] or Trudeau's House in 1796-97, near the site of Fort Randall,
was occupied by that trader, and a year or two earlier Fort Charles
was built six miles below Omaha. Trappers and traders were constantly
pushing out into the Wilderness. St. Louis was developing from a mere
village to a town of importance, and some of the characters intimately
identified, a few years later, with the development of the region were
already there, notably the famous Manuel Lisa, a Spaniard, shrewd,
daring, and intelligent, speaking with difficulty French and English,
who made many enemies, and who feared no man. His name is a part of the
history of the breaking of the Wilderness. As the eighteenth century
drew to a close this Wilderness had been completely circumnavigated. Two
and a half centuries had now gone by since Coronado made his celebrated
journey. Ships had passed along the western confines; trappers had
penetrated here and there across the eastern part; Escalante had made
his entrance north almost to Salt Lake; yet the Wilderness remained the
Wilderness still.

Events were now to occur that would affect the Wilderness more than
anything which up to this time had taken place. Spain in 1800 secretly
transferred to France the great region called Louisiana, the Spaniards
to remain in possession till such time as it pleased France to assume
direction of the territory. About two years passed before this transfer
was published, and meanwhile, though Napoleon had contemplated putting a
large army there, circumstances interfered. Having had an agreement with
the United States by which the latter were permitted to use New Orleans
as a port of deposit, Spain reversed this, and the relations between
these countries were thenceforward not the pleasantest. Spain declined
to renew this privilege on the ground that the country belonged to
France and she had no right to do it. Thereupon the American Government
endeavoured to purchase the lands on the east at the mouth of the river,
West Florida and New Orleans, and Napoleon, evidently discovering that
he would be unable to carry out his plans with regard to Louisiana,
and notwithstanding his solemn pledge to Spain that he would never
part with it, offered the whole to the United States. The offer was
accepted, and the sum of fifteen million dollars was finally agreed
upon as the purchase price. Communication was slow; events were rapid;
so that Lussat, who had been sent as French Governor to New Orleans,
to accept the territory from Spain, received instructions that, instead
of holding it, he was to transfer it to the Americans. No one was more
surprised or chagrined than the French representative. Spain protested
that the transfer was not in conformity with the French agreement, but
it availed nothing, and the Spaniards at first were inclined to refuse
to give up the land. But on the 30th of November, 1803, Louisiana was
formally surrendered by Spain to France and twenty days later France
gave possession to the United States. Next to the Revolutionary War, the
acquisition of this vast region was the most important occurrence in the
life of the Americans. Yet it was a veritable "pig in a poke" which they
bought, for not only were its bounds undetermined, except on the east,
where it met the Republic, but the character of the domain, for the most
part, as is evident from the preceding pages, was entirely unknown.
Yet by this purchase the mouth of the Mississippi was permanently
secured to the American people, and this was an object of paramount
importance; the nature of the Wilderness was secondary. On the part of
the Americans there had been a growing impulse to investigate the great
wild realm that so invitingly rolled away from their very feet, and had
the purchase not been consummated it is probable they would nevertheless
soon have passed over into the forbidden land.[61] A vast amount of
future difficulty and war, for it takes as little to start a disastrous
war among the whites as ever it did among the Amerinds, was permanently

The acquisition, indeed, was a boundless area. The very first thing
to be accomplished was to gain some knowledge of its limits and
possibilities. As for limits, it had, as noted, but vague ones, yet
on all maps showing the territory purchased at this time the lines
delimiting it, which were arrived at only after years of diplomatic
discussion, are presented as though they had existence at the moment of
purchase and had been measured off like a town lot. As originally ceded
by France to Spain and again by Spain to France there were no defined
limits whatever other than the Mississippi River on the east, though
France claimed to the Rio Grande. The United States acquired the same
hazy demarkation. The map on page 154 shows in the dotted portion what
the claims were at the time of purchase, in 1803, as well as the defined
boundaries that eventually were established.


The Spanish claims ran up the western side of the continent
indefinitely, and thence eastward indefinitely. Great Britain considered
as belonging to her everything west, south, and north of Winnipeg Lake
indefinitely, and everything east, north, and south from Nootka Sound
indefinitely. Russia thought that the continent from Bering Strait down
to the Columbia River and eastward indefinitely belonged to her, while
the United States on their part believed the Louisiana they had taken
off Napoleon's hands extended to the Rio Grande on the south-west; and
on the west and north-west, and on the north as well, to an undefined
distance. The task was now to fit these indefinite bounds against each
other, and it was a task that consumed years of diplomacy. In pursuance
of this design, President Jefferson projected an expedition which was
to traverse the continent where no white men as yet had penetrated—the
region of the Columbia. It was destined to take a first place among the
explorations of the New World, and to weld into one the names of two
admirable men, and this indelibly into the fabric of American history.

The Spanish sentinel had challenged, but the challenge was unheeded.
He was obliged to step back; and other backward steps were in store for



     [57] _The Wild Northland_, Sir William Francis Butler. Barnes

     [58] _Journal of Voyages and Travels_, Daniel Williams Harmon.
     Barnes & Co. edition.

     [59] _Voyages through North America_, Alexander Mackenzie. Barnes
     & Co. edition.

     [60] Fur-trading establishments were called forts or houses, the
     latter term being more particularly used in the more northern
     regions, though fort was employed there also. An excellent
     impression of the life at one of these posts may be obtained from
     Stewart Edward White's novel, _Conjuror's House_.

     [61] Several expeditions, indeed, had been proposed: George Rogers
     Clark in 1783; John Ledyard from Paris to Kamtchatka, thence to
     Nootka Sound, thence across the continent to the United States,
     1784; and Michaux referred to in the next chapter. These amounted
     to nothing.



     Jefferson's Hobby—Two Noblemen—An Indefinite Transaction—Expedition
     to the Wilderness—Fort Mandan—The Roche Jaune and the First
     View of the Great Range—The Long-Lost Sister—Depths of the
     Unknown—Starvation on the Trail—Music of the Breakers—Fort
     Clatsop—The Return—Medicine Men Again—Two Natives Shot—Premature
     Death of the Captain.

The mighty Wilderness, which like a tennis-ball had been tossed back
and forth between the European kings, was of particular interest to one
of the foremost statesmen of the new Republic, Thomas Jefferson, who
pondered on its mysteries and on ways of fathoming their fascinating
depths. As early as 1792 he had proposed to the American Philosophical
Society the raising of a subscription to send a small party to the
Pacific by way of the Missouri, across the "Stony Mountains" and by
the nearest river to the sea. A very young man, Meriwether Lewis by
name, eighteen at the time, asked for the commission, but it was given
to a French botanist, Andre Michaux, who was also eager to see the Far
West, and who volunteered his services. The execution of the plan was
frustrated by the French Minister, who, as Michaux was in the employ of
the French Government, directed his path another way.

When Jefferson was elected President of the United States, in 1801, his
mind, prepared therefore, turned more intently toward the problematical
region bordering the American domain on the west. He now had for private
secretary the same Meriwether Lewis who had desired to search the
Western wilds nine years earlier. Lewis had risen to captain[62] in the
army and had not lost interest in the exploration he had been unable to
undertake before, so when Jefferson in 1803 sent a confidential message
to Congress dealing with the subject of trading-posts for the natives
of the sparsely settled country and beyond, and suggested an exploring
expedition across the Wilderness, Lewis knew all about it, and applied
immediately for the leadership. He was not yet twenty-nine, but his
character was well formed. Jefferson had learned it thoroughly in the
two years he had filled the position of secretary and says he was

     "of courage undaunted; possessing a firmness and perseverance
     of purpose which nothing but impossibilities could divert from
     its direction; careful as a father of those committed to his
     charge, yet steady in the maintenance of order and discipline;
     intimate with the Indian character, customs, and principles;
     habituated to the hunting life[63]; guarded, by exact observation
     of the vegetables and animals of his own country, against losing
     time in the description of objects already possessed; honest,
     disinterested, liberal, of sound understanding, and a fidelity to
     truth so scrupulous, that whatever he should report would be as
     certain as if seen by ourselves: with all these qualifications, as
     if selected and implanted by nature in one body for this express
     purpose, I could have no hesitation in confiding the enterprise to

Congress approving the plan, Lewis was appointed chief, and no better
man for the undertaking could have been found.[64]

Lewis selected as his first assistant, and to act as leader in case of
his own disability or death, William Clark, four years his senior, and
a brother of George Rogers Clark, who had captured Kaskaskia, Cahokia,
and the Illinois country, and otherwise distinguished himself. Strangely
enough, in his mental and moral qualities William Clark was almost a
duplicate of Meriwether Lewis. Throughout the whole of the hazardous,
difficult, toilsome journey that was now begun, the two men were most
devoted friends, Lewis having not the slightest fear that Clark would
receive too much credit, and neither having the least jealousy of the
other; quite in contrast with some expeditions of later years, where
the leader must be all in all. The result was that the world to-day
exalts all the more this noble commander-in-chief because his broad
generosity forever linked with his, almost as a single name, that of
his subordinate officer, so that the great undertaking is not the Lewis,
but the Lewis and Clark, expedition. Clark was to have a commission as
captain, but when it came it proved to be merely lieutenant. He took
it, never grumbled, and, when he returned, gave the commission back.

As far as the head of the Missouri apparently they would traverse no
absolutely new ground, for as has been noted the Frenchmen had been
from the Mandan villages to the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains,
and from the French-Spanish settlement of St. Louis numbers of trappers
and traders had gone to the Mandan country, while the chief road to
that region had long been from the north-east by way of the lakes,
and the Assiniboine where the British fur companies had established
trading-posts. From these points their traders reached the natives
of the upper Missouri and Mississippi, which territory the British
claimed as their own. Charles Chaboillez, one of the chief factors
of the North-west Company, was in charge of Montagne à la Basse,
situated on the Assiniboine probably about where the Verendryes' Fort
la Reine had been. From here he and other traders often went to the
Mandan country to deal with various natives who made that region a
rendezvous. He had proposed to Daniel Harmon that they should make a
journey from the Mandan towns west to the Rocky Mountains,[65] over the
course the Mandans "pursued every spring to meet and trade with another
tribe ... which resides on the other side of the Rocky Mountain."
This expedition was never undertaken, but it indicates the degree of
familiarity possessed by the Mandans with the Western country, and shows
how the earlier Frenchmen found their way out at least as far as the
Yellowstone, already known as the Roche Jaune, a name which in itself is
a suggestion of early French visitors to the great falls of that stream
where the gorgeous yellow colouring is so remarkable. Peter Fidler,
another of the British fur traders, had been down from the Saskatchewan
through the area drained by the headwaters of the Missouri. A trader
named Cruzatte had a post in 1802 at a point two miles above old Council
Bluffs, so that all through this eastern portion of the Wilderness white
men had scatteringly penetrated. The French had been on the Saskatchewan
before the eighteenth century was half over, and ten years before the
American purchase of Louisiana Mackenzie had crossed to the Pacific by
way of Peace River Pass. But beyond the Rocky Mountains no one appears
to have been away from the coast besides Escalante coming up from Santa
Fé to Utah Lake, and Mackenzie from Fort Chepewyan to the shore of the
Pacific at King Island (lat. 52° N.), so that the region Lewis and Clark
designed to enter beyond the mountains was absolutely unknown territory,
outside of the Amerinds themselves.

  [Illustration: Mount Hood—From Cloud Cap Inn.

   From _Wonderland, 1903_—Northern Pacific Railway.]

Captain Lewis was ready to start on this traverse before the official
transfer of the Louisiana region from France to the United States had
been made. His plan was to go to La Charette, the farthest French
settlement up the Missouri, a few miles above St. Louis, and there
spend the winter of 1803-04, the season being so far advanced that it
was not considered advisable to make the final start till spring opened
again and they would have a chance to go as far as possible before
another winter began. But the Spanish officers there objected to Lewis's
entering the territory and a camp was made on the American side of the
river, about opposite the mouth of the Missouri. The purpose of the
expedition was communicated to the foreign ministers, and passports
obtained from France and Great Britain. Spain was particularly jealous
of this movement or any other which led to crossing the Mississippi, and
had opposed the right of the United States by the Louisiana Purchase
to anything more than the region around New Orleans and the mouth of
the Mississippi; they resented Napoleon's selling even that. Hence
Spain looked upon the upper country as still hers. The situation,
considering the indefinite character of the whole transaction, was
full of disagreeable possibilities. Perhaps this was Napoleon's
intention. Therefore Jefferson in his instructions to Captain Lewis
particularly says: "If a superior force, authorised or unauthorised,
by a nation, should be arrayed against your further passage, and
inflexibly determined to arrest it, you must decline its further pursuit
and return." The British fur companies, jealous of each other, were
still more jealous of encroachments on their trading grounds and their
attitude toward the expedition was uncertain.

On the 30th of April, 1803, the treaty with France ceding Louisiana was
consummated, and on June 20th Lewis's instructions were signed and he
departed for La Charette by way of Pittsburg and the Ohio.[66] Congress
ratified the purchase on October 17th the same year. Travelling was
mainly by water in those days, and that seems to be the reason why Lewis
stuck to boat travelling when horses would have been so much easier
across the western prairies. They were permitted to return by sea, if
necessary and possible, and Lewis carried letters of credit which would
have obtained money for him in any port, or on any ship, the world
round. The object of the exploration as announced was to find a waterway
across the continent, but Jefferson doubtless had more in view than
such a diplomatic statement would imply. Intercourse with natives, he
particularly directed, should be friendly and conciliatory.

With forty-two men and three boats Lewis and Clark left their winter
quarters on May 14, 1804, and proceeded up the Missouri, passing the
village of St. Charles, with a French Canadian population of 450, and
a little above it a small group of American farmers. On the 25th they
passed La Charette, the last settlement, and were then fairly under way.
Two rafts were met June 12th, on one of which was a trapper named Dorion
who had been for more than twenty years among the Sioux. They engaged
him to go with the party and this increased the number to forty-five
all told. There were nine young men from Kentucky, fourteen American
soldiers who had volunteered, a French interpreter, a French hunter, and
a negro belonging to Clark. All but the negro were enlisted as privates
and drew pay from the Government. Besides these there were a corporal
and six soldiers, who were to turn back at the Mandan towns, and nine
_voyageurs_. One boat was fifty-five feet long, drawing three feet of
water, with a square sail and twenty-two oars, and was armed with a
swivel at the bow. There was a deck of ten feet at the bow and stern,
while the middle was covered with lockers which could be raised to form
a breastwork. The other boats were open, one having six and the other
seven oars. Two horses were taken along the bank. Had they abandoned the
boat idea and taken to horses they might have gone to the mouth of the
Columbia while they were going to the Mandan towns, but they did not
know how great a bend the Missouri makes. They pushed steadily up the
river, meeting many natives and having friendly relations with them, and
the last of October arrived at the Mandan towns, having consumed five
and a half months in making the ascent.

As soon as a proper place was found they felled trees and built
houses for the winter, calling the place Fort Mandan. The Mandans were
perfectly familiar with white men, as has been noted, and were mainly
peaceable. Lewis found here one of the British traders, McCracken,
and by him sent a note to the chief of his home post, Chaboillez,
also enclosing a copy of his British passport. This apparently was to
avoid friction with the fur companies, and it indicates the uncertain
condition of the claim of the United States to the territory he intended
to traverse. Lewis evidently concluded a month later that he was quite
within American territory, for he forbade Laroche,[67] another British
trader, from presenting medals and flags to the natives. Up to this time
the expedition had lost but one man. Sergeant Floyd, who died near where
Sioux City now stands, and he was the only man who was lost on the whole
expedition. Nor were any seriously injured but Captain Lewis, who was
accidentally shot in the thigh by one of his men who had poor eyesight
and took him for an elk. This occurred on the return not far above
the mouth of the Musselshell, and Lewis was well before they reached
St. Louis. The freedom from needless accident is strong proof of the
judgment which Lewis and Clark used in the management of the party, for
disasters are usually the result of wrong decisions.

The winter at Fort Mandan passed pleasantly. Corn and other supplies
were bought from the natives, and there was plenty of game. About
the middle of December, a trapper named Haney arrived from Montagne
à la Basse with a note from Chaboillez, in reply to the one sent by
Lewis to him. He offered to render any service in his power. Later
the trader Laroche came again, desiring to go with the expedition,
but Lewis declined his proposition. Laroche had previously planned
a journey in that direction which he had not carried out. They had
other visitors, among them McKenzie, one of the principal North-west
men. The intercourse with the people of the North-west Company was
entirely amicable, and there was no friction except for a brief time,
when they tried to prevent the interpreter from continuing in Lewis and
Clark's service, and took steps to prejudice the natives. This was not
sanctioned, however, by Chaboillez or McKenzie.

On Sunday the 7th of April, 1805, all being ready, the party again took
up its line of travel up the river. It now numbered thirty-two, the
others having been sent back. The interpreters were Drewyer (Drouillard)
and Chaboneau, both Frenchmen. Chaboneau took with him one of his three
Amerind wives, one who had a small child. This woman Lewis and Clark
hoped to utilise as an interpreter among the Snake tribe, to whom she
belonged, having been taken captive by another tribe and finally sold
to Chaboneau. Her name was Sacajawea, and she was of great assistance,
notwithstanding the encumbrance of the child. After eight days they
passed what they called Chaboneau Creek and Sunday Island. Chaboneau
had once encamped on this creek. "Beyond this no white men had ever
been but two Frenchmen," says the journal. One of these, Lapage, was
with them, and he could not tell exactly how far he had gone, as they
had lost their way. But Captain Lewis does not explain, if this were
correct, how the Roche Jaune came to have its name before he reached it,
a name which could have been applied only by some one who understood the
conditions near its head. Yet farther on he states that this river "had
been known to the French as the Roche Jaune, or as we have called it the
Yellowstone." Proceeding up the Missouri they came to the "Musselshell,"
which is stated to have been so called by the Minitarees. The name
then seems to have been a native word and has no connection with the
shells of mussels! All through this region they saw large numbers of
trees which had been cut down by beaver, and as they proceeded the
beaver were thick everywhere. Buffalo were plentiful, and there was no
dearth of fresh meat of all kinds. Sometimes they had to take sticks
to drive the buffalo out of the way. There was one kind of game that
was troublesome—the huge bears, both white (grizzly) and brown. If it
be remembered that the guns of the party were muzzle-loaders, that the
ammunition was loose powder and ball, that the firing apparatus was the
old flint-lock, with priming-pan, it will be seen that it was no small
hazard to face these ferocious bears. On one occasion six of the men,
all good hunters, at the same moment attacked one of the huge brown
bears, and though the bullets all took effect they were obliged to fly
to the river, where two escaped in a canoe, while the others hid in
bushes and fired repeatedly. The only effect of this was to enrage the
animal still more till the four hunters were glad to leap down the steep
bank twenty feet into the river, whither the bear pursued them and was
within a few feet of one when a good shot from the shore hit him in
the head and at last killed him. Eight balls had passed in different
directions through him.

  [Illustration: Canyon of the Gates of the Mountains.

   From _The Trail of Lewis and Clark_, by O. D. Wheeler.]

On May 26th, from the summit of a hill, Captain Lewis had the first
sight of the Rocky Mountains, which seemed to be about fifty miles away.
This was from a few miles below Judith River, and the mountains seen
were probably the Belt range. They were not the first to see the Rocky
Mountains. The French and the Spaniards had been to them farther south.
They were surrounded by immense quantities of game from here on to the
sources of the Missouri, and their larder was always full of dainties.
The river was 150 to 250 yards wide, and they had no difficulty in
ascending. There were many signs of the aboriginal owners of the soil,
particularly old lodges. This was the country of the Minitarees, who
had described it to the leaders. It seems singular that they did not
secure two or three of these Amerinds as guides. Had they done so, they
would have been spared a good deal of labour and considerable delay. As
they toiled up the Missouri they came at length to a point where it was
difficult to tell which of two branches to take—that is, which was the
real Missouri,—but they finally made a correct decision, and, naming the
northern branch Maria's River, continued up the left or southern stream,
when they soon arrived at the Great Falls. Had Fidler come down as far
as this it would seem that he would have discovered these falls and
would have described them, hence as he seems not to have mentioned them
it is probable that he did not come much below the branches of Maria's
River, and that Lewis and Clark were now in the untrodden Wilderness,
untrodden by whites with the possible exception of the Verendryes or
some other Frenchman of that period.

A portage eighteen miles long was imperative to surmount the falls, and
it was rendered more difficult by extremely hot summer weather. A large
cottonwood, the only one of the proper diameter within miles, was felled
for the purpose of sawing from its trunk wheels with which to make a
carriage for transporting the canoes. Sacajawea had been seriously ill
since leaving Maria's River and it was fortunate for the party that she
recovered, a happy event largely assisted by draughts from some sulphur
springs found here. Here too she, together with Captain Clark, his
negro, and her husband, was nearly lost by the flood from a cloudburst,
having encamped in a deep, dry ravine. Even to this day people have not
learned to avoid camping in the Great West, in the bottoms of ravines
and washes which in a few minutes may become filled by roaring torrents.

  [Illustration: Junction of the Madison and Jefferson. The Madison at
   Left, the Jefferson at the Right Centre.

   From _The Trail of Lewis and Clark_, O. D. Wheeler.]

From the head of the falls they took a fresh start, with an additional
canoe that was built there. Throughout this locality they heard the
strange booming sounds which are a feature of the region and have not
been explained. It was not long before they were confronted by three
forks of almost equal dimensions, and they were puzzled as to which was
the proper one to choose, the easiest to arrive at the head of some
Pacific slope river. While considering the matter they bestowed the
names of Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin upon them in the order named
from west to east. At last they concluded to ascend the Jefferson,
and in this they made no mistake. They pushed up towards its source,
following Beaverhead branch, Horse Prairie Creek, and Trail Creek, and
on August 12, 1805, Captain Lewis, who had gone somewhat in advance,
came, in Lemhi Pass, to the final rill of the Missouri and soon stood
beside another brook that swept westward to swell the flood of the
Columbia, the first white man to surmount the Backbone of the Continent
between Peace River, far to the north, and New Mexico, far to the south.
He looked out upon an absolutely unknown portion of the Wilderness,—an
area many times that of Spain, which still claimed it. Escalante had
been from Santa Fé to Salt Lake valley, but west and north of his route,
to the head of Fraser River, no white man had ever penetrated.

  [Illustration: The Dalles of the Columbia.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

Still advancing before the main body, he met with some stragglers from
and then a band of Shoshones, some of whom he had been anxious to meet
for the purpose of securing information, for while we speak of the
country as unknown, it was, as before noted, only so to white men.
The natives knew it perfectly. From these people he borrowed horses
and prevailed on the chief to return to the main party with him, a
proceeding the chief was doubtful about, for never before having seen
white men (though the Lewis and Clark party were so tanned they might
have passed for natives) he was fearful of some treachery. On meeting
the party, the chief discovered that Sacajawea was his sister, who
in childhood had been stolen by the Minitarees. The whole band were
overjoyed at seeing this woman whom they had never expected to meet
again. Proceeding to the camp of these people, a halt was made while
Captain Clark explored in advance down this Lemhi branch and Salmon
River into which it flowed. The Shoshones had told them that the country
below in this direction was too rough to travel far in any manner, and
Clark found out the exactness of this information and returned. With
guides from the Shoshone band they then proceeded down the Lemhi branch
and over to North Fork which they mounted, thence cutting their way
across the range and descending to Ross's Hole on the head of Bitter
Root River. This stream they followed down to the mouth of Lolo Creek,
where they made a camp called Traveller's Rest. Once more starting on
their westward way, they climbed the Bitter Root range again along Lolo
Creek, through Lolo Pass, to the head of the Clearwater middle fork,
which they called by its Amerind name, Kooskooskie. Passing westerly
between this fork and the north fork of the Clearwater, they finally
reached a place at the mouth of the north fork whence the natives said
they could descend in canoes, therefore they stopped here from September
26 to October 7, 1805, to build some. They were now nearer sea level
than at any time since passing Council Bluffs, for the Wilderness is
generally above two thousand feet.

The natives were kind and obliging, and though provisions had been
alarmingly scarce since leaving the Missouri, they managed to secure
enough of one kind or another, roots, dried salmon, horse meat, dogs,
and fish, to keep themselves alive. Descending in their canoes the
Clearwater, they entered Snake River, or, as they called it, Lewis
River, a junction marked to-day by a thriving town named Lewiston in
honour of the captain. From this point they had a noble river all the
way to the end, broken by rapids, some of which were so fierce they
were forced to make portages. As one sails down on the bosom of the
Snake to-day and looks up at its towering walls, close and precipitous,
with each bend a hazy mystery to the new voyager, he sympathises with
these first explorers who followed its torrent to the sea. They soon
entered the Columbia, sweeping down on its tremendous reaches, sighting
magnificent peaks, and finally reaching the mouth where Robert Gray
had cleaved the long line of breakers, thirteen years before. At that
time, too, Broughton, one of Vancouver's officers, Gray having broken
the way, stemmed the current of the Columbia for about eighty miles,
to Point Vancouver, near the mouth of the Willamet. It was on November
7th that they came in sight of the ocean and listened to the music of
the breakers, that had deceived so many excellent navigators; a sound
full of delight to these men, for it announced the triumph of the

Winter quarters were established on the south side at a place not far
above the mouth of the river and three miles up a small stream called
the Netul. The camp was thirty-five feet above high tide, two hundred
yards from the creek, and seven miles east of the sea. Houses were built
in a tall pine grove and the village was named Fort Clatsop, after the
neighbouring tribe. For some time they had been subjected to constant
rain, for the coast hereabouts is a wet one, totally unlike the region
they had passed through on the Missouri, which is very dry. The food
question continued to be the chief one. Their diet consisted of pounded
fish varied by wapatoo roots, and some elk-meat. No serious illness
occurred. Every man was buoyed up by a desire to make the expedition
a success, and with every undertaking of this kind success ultimately
depends on the spirit of the men. The winter wore away and they managed
to evade starvation.

  [Illustration: Snake River below Lewiston. On Lewis and Clark's Trail.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

One writer refers to the story that a Boston brig put in to the mouth of
the river in November or December of this year, but it seems that this
story has some error in it, for if the brig had come its captain would
have been after furs, and the natives would have known of the visit,
and surely would have mentioned it to the explorers. As they did not,
it seems that there must be an error in date and that the visit of the
brig was the following year, when her captain obtained papers from the
natives telling of Lewis and Clark's stay.

On the 23d of March, 1806, they turned their backs on Fort Clatsop
and the Western Ocean and retraced their course up the Columbia. Like
Cabeza de Vaca they had acquired fame as healers and their services
were in demand as medicine-men, a fortunate circumstance, for they now
had hardly anything to trade. Even their clothes were made of skins. By
means of eye-water and other simple remedies they were able to purchase
an occasional horse, a few dogs, and roots and fish. The generosity
of one chief was greater than any white man would have been likely
to offer, for he told them to help themselves to his horses without
remuneration. At length they surmounted the Lolo Pass again and dropped
down on the eastern slope of the Bitter Root range to Traveller's Rest.
Here Lewis turned up one of the eastern forks of Clark River and crossed
to the Missouri by a more direct route, while Clark followed the Bitter
Root again, and at its head crossed to the stream they had followed out,
and descended to where the canoes had been left. With these, a party
under Ordway was sent down the river, and Clark with the rest went from
the three forks to the head of the Yellowstone. Building canoes at a
point a day or two down this river, they descended it to the Missouri,
waiting for Lewis to come to them, a little below the mouth.

Meanwhile the latter had gone up Maria's River and in that locality
occurred the only fatal encounter with natives of the whole journey.
With several men he was on a side trip when they met a small party of
Blackfeet. All camped together. Before the whites were awake in the
early morning, the Amerinds attempted to run off with the guns. This
move was detected by the guard, who gave the alarm and pursued the
one who had his gun. In the scuffle for the possession of this, Reuben
Fields stabbed the Blackfoot through the heart and the man instantly
dropped dead. With a pistol Lewis, who had been at once awakened,
pursued others, who had his gun, but being unable to overtake them,
he fired, striking one in the abdomen. Whether this man died or not is
unknown, but he lived long enough to return the shot, the ball passing
close to Lewis's head. The Blackfeet had also driven off the horses,
but all but one were recovered, while for that one the enemy left four
of their own. Thus the white men for the moment were victorious. It was
an unfortunate episode, and evidently an unavoidable one. It served to
enrage the Blackfeet, and turn them violently against the whites. It
was not far from here that Cruzatte blindly mistook Lewis for the elk
and put a bullet into his thigh.

  [Illustration: Route of Lewis and Clark from Maria's River to
   Traveller's Rest and Return.

   From _The Trail of Lewis and Clark_, by O. D. Wheeler.]

They passed the camp of two white trappers, Dickson (or Dixon) and
Hancock, the first white men they had seen since leaving Fort Mandan.
These men had come out from Illinois to trap and trade, the forerunners
of a host of others eager to make nature yield them a quick fortune.
They had seen Clark the day before and this news was welcome to Lewis,
for Ordway, with the boats, having also come safely down, the party
was soon reunited. At Mandan they found their old quarters had been
accidentally burned. White traders were frequently met below this,
for the conditions had materially changed in the more than two years
the explorers had been gone. Among these men was Auguste Choteau, a
noted man in that region; and McClellan, a former army officer, who
was planning a journey to Santa Fé with some Pawnee and Otoe chiefs, to
exchange merchandise for the barrels of gold and silver the Spaniards
were thought to possess. The gold quest of the Conquistadores was to
be renewed, though now it was the Spaniards who occupied the Seven
Cities of Cibola. This trade, as we shall see, developed to considerable

Lewis and Clark reached St. Louis on September 23, 1806, and were in
Washington the middle of February, 1807. Lewis was made governor of
Louisiana, Clark was raised to general of militia of the same district
as well as agent for the numerous tribes within its area. All were given
grants of 320 acres of land and double pay. Lewis died September, 1809,
on a journey from St. Louis to Washington. Thus he did not live to see
even the beginning of the wonderful development that occurred in the
Wilderness where he had so masterfully driven the entering wedge.


     [62] He was made a captain at twenty-three.

     [63] At eight years Lewis was a "coon" hunter.

     [64] See: _Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition_,
     edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites; _Lewis and Clark_, Biddle edition,
     edited by Elliott Coues; _Lewis and Clark's Journals_, Biddle
     edition, reprint, Barnes & Co.; _The Trail of Lewis and Clark_, O.
     D. Wheeler.

     [65] _Journal of Voyages_, Barnes edition, p. 106.

     [66] $2500 were appropriated by Congress for the Lewis and Clark

     [67] This was La Roque of the N.-W. Co.



     The Metropolis of the Far Wilderness—James Pursley Arrives—Pike
     up the Mississippi and Across the Plains—A Spanish War
     Party—A Breastwork to Mark the Site of Pueblo—Polar Weather
     and No Clothing—Pike Sees the Grand Peak—San Luis Valley—The
     Americans Captured by Diplomacy—Pursley Finds Gold—Malgares, the
     Gentleman—The Pike Party Sent Home.

The settlements on the Rio Grande had now been continuously occupied by
the Spaniards for more than a century. To some extent the surrounding
country had been explored in every direction, and a desultory trade
was carried on with the various Amerind tribes, particularly with those
of the plains and the northern region, from all of whom they obtained
furs in exchange for articles of European make, exactly as the British
were doing in the Far North, and the Americans in the East. They were
therefore known far and wide, even to tribes which did not directly deal
with them. Santa Fé at this period, 1805, may therefore be regarded
as the metropolis of the vaster Wilderness. It had a population of
about 4500, with two churches, and covered about a mile of ground in
length, a distance which was longitudinally divided by three streets.
Agriculture was practised by means of irrigation, a system which
natives had operated ages before. By it, an abundance of maize, melons,
beans, peppers, squashes, peaches, grapes, etc., were produced, and
as there were also plenty of sheep and cattle, life on the Rio Grande
in New Mexico was by no means severe, indeed it had a kind of _dolce
far niente_ quality that clings round it still. The routes from the
eastward to reach this elysium were not unknown, and would more often
have been travelled had it not been for the restrictions of the Spanish

One route across Texas passed through the town of San Antonio, with a
population of about two thousand, and in Texas there were at that time
besides the people of San Antonio about five thousand others, a mixture
of Spanish creoles, some French, some Americans, and a few civilised
natives. Another road was by way of Red River, and still another, the
least known, by way of the Arkansas. At Lemhi Pass, Lewis and Clark
had heard from a Ute of these towns about twenty days' journey to
the south, and at Council Bluffs others had stated that Santa Fé was
twenty-five days' journey from there. One white man, McClellan, was
planning a tour to Santa Fé about the time of Lewis and Clark's return,
and it is said that certain Mallet brothers with six others, before the
end of the eighteenth century, went up from St. Louis and struck from
the Missouri to the Rio Grande settlements. One Baptiste LaLande, in
the employ of Morrison, an American merchant, had gone there in 1804
with goods to trade, but had never returned, for he found the country
attractive and himself out of reach of his employer. All merchandise
for the Rio Grande settlements was brought by a long, difficult road
from Mexico, and prices were enormous by the time the goods arrived
at Santa Fé. The government and the governor too had to have their
bonus. The Americans knew of these conditions, and hence early began
to speculate on the possibility of transporting merchandise overland
from St. Louis to compete. As the governor and the government were
everything in that region, and permission to trade, to trap, or merely
to enter or leave the land had to be first obtained from the autocratic
head, going to Santa Fé to trade and entering or approaching the Spanish
domain in any way were not trifling matters; more particularly as the
point at which American jurisdiction ended and that of Spain began
was as uncertain as the point where the north wind ceased to blow. Few
Americans therefore had attempted it. The first to make the entry did
so almost involuntarily. He was a man from Kentucky, James Pursley, who
was trapping in the region west of St. Louis in 1802—before the purchase
of Louisiana by the United States.

Like so many of the Americans of that time brought up to the frontier
life, he was perfectly familiar with every danger, and with all the
peculiarities of the Amerind character; and he was of dauntless courage
and limitless perseverance. Nothing ever baulked this type of man,
of whom Daniel Boone was a fine specimen. Battered and thrust down by
fortune till it would seem impossible for anything human to rise above
the circumstances, they mastered them as if merely remounting a mustang
from which they had momentarily been unseated. So it was that Pursley
ploughed his way to Santa Fé with no original intention of going there.
Some of the Kansa tribe having stolen the horses of his party, Pursley
happened to see his own being ridden by one of that tribe to water.
Without a moment's hesitation, Pursley pursued him, and discovering
that he could not get the horse, ripped open the animal's bowels with
his hunting knife. The Kansa thereupon tried to shoot him, but the gun
missed fire, and Pursley, with the knife, chased the man into the camp,
where he was unable to get him because he hid in a tent surrounded by
women and children. Other white men were there at the moment and saw
the whole thing. The chiefs of the tribe were so much astonished and
delighted at Pursley's courage that they caused all the horses to be
returned to him.

  [Illustration: New Mexican Cart.

   Drawing by Julian Scott.

   From _Bulletin of the Eleventh Census_.]

He and his partners then went back to their cache intending to take
their goods to St. Louis, but a second time their horses were stolen.
Thereupon they built a canoe and sailed down the Osage, but when near
its mouth they were capsized, and with the exception of their arms and
ammunition, lost everything they possessed. Just at this disheartening
moment along came a barge bound for the upper Missouri. Pursley joined
this company, and arriving in the Mandan country, he was sent on an
expedition to trade with some Paducas and Kiowas. They were all driven
by Sioux into the mountains at the head of the Platte. The natives
with whom they were, some two thousand in number, desired to trade
with the Spaniards, but not knowing how they might be received, they
finally sent Pursley with his white men, and two of their own kind, to
Santa Fé to interview Governor Allencaster. The latter not objecting to
their trading, the two Amerinds returned with that information to their
waiting brethren, while Pursley and his men, having been rather dubious
about ever arriving again among whites, were quite content to remain
in the Spanish towns. They arrived in June, 1805, and Pursley took up
the practice of his trade of carpenter, earning considerable money by
it. He had been in the habit of making his own gunpowder in Kentucky,
and tried doing it here, but on his operations being discovered he came
near being hung. He was forbidden to write, but was told he could have
a passport whenever he wanted it, though they exacted security that he
would not leave without permission.

Another man, whose name was soon to be written for all time upon the
face of this particular region, was at this moment preparing for the
first of two important undertakings.

  [Illustration: A Rocky Mountain Torrent.

   Photograph by J. K. Hillers, U. S. Geol. Survey.]

The uncertainty of the sources of the Mississippi and of the northern
boundary of Louisiana impelled the astute Jefferson to arrange for
other explorations in that quarter before the return of Lewis and
Clark. For this work a young, brave, and capable officer, Lieutenant
Zebulon Montgomery Pike, was chosen.[68] He proceeded to St. Louis,
and in August, 1805, with a keel boat seventy feet long, and a crew of
one sergeant, two corporals, and seventeen privates, provisioned for
four months, started to explore the Father of Waters to its uppermost
rill. The Amerinds of this region had a great dread of the Americans,
considering them quarrelsome and warlike, hence they would often go
out of the way to avoid a meeting. Yet Pike was generally well received
and one influential chief gave him a special peace pipe to show to the
Sioux above as a sort of passport. It was a request to have him treated
with friendship and respect. At one of the villages this friendship and
respect were indicated by a salute from the guns of a party on shore.
The guns were loaded with ball and, inasmuch as their owners were drunk,
they tried to see how near the boat they could strike without actually
hitting it. Notwithstanding their undesirable condition, Pike presented
them later with several gallons of rum, an action which seems hardly
pardonable in a government officer, yet this issuing to the natives of
intoxicants was common among all officers, traders, and all managers of
fur companies. They knew its diabolical effect, as well as its debasing
and generally demoralising quality, yet they all did it. Of course
the ordinary fur trader desired to intoxicate the natives in order to
overreach them, and traded whiskey, or rather alcohol and water, for
their goods because in this way he made a profit of several hundred per
cent. The great fur companies each used it in their trade because the
others did; but with the officers of the United States Army there was
no excuse for employing this means of gaining the Amerind favour.

The expedition mounted the river without any serious drawback, and
the boats, increased to four all told, were Pike's pride, for he
exclaims on one occasion: "Our four boats under full sail, their flags
streaming before the wind, were altogether a prospect so variegated and
romantic that a man may scarce expect to enjoy such a one but twice or
thrice in the course of his life." They sailed across Lake Pepin with
violins playing, and other music, and altogether seemed to enjoy their
voyage. In this region Jonathan Carver was supposed to have travelled
in 1766-68, and since that time the fur traders from the north and
north-east had operated all over it. When Lewis and Clark were at their
Fort Mandan, a man named Haney visited the place, and they obtained from
him "much geographical information with regard to the country between
the Missouri and Mississippi and the various tribes of Sioux who inhabit
it." Pike found there a number of agents and trappers belonging to the
British fur companies and protested against their occupying the country.
Everything was amicable between them, and after a winter spent in the
region Pike returned, by the river, to St. Louis, the last of April,
1806, about the time that Lewis and Clark were toiling up the Columbia
on their return.

A little more than two months before Lewis and Clark arrived at St.
Louis, Pike was again on the march, this time with his steps directed
toward the mighty peak which now bears his name, and which afterwards
evolved itself into the famous motto of the caravans, "Pike's peak or
bust." It was July 15, 1806, when he made his start on this traverse
of the plains and mountains, apparently with no information as to the
route, with no guides, and with no proper equipment. Of course he had
no intention of blundering around the high mountains in dead of winter,
but it was an impossibility for any party to accomplish the journey out
to the head of Red River and back before cold weather should set in,
therefore, with all the uncertainty, they should have been provided with
winter clothing, but they had nothing of the kind. I should say they had
hardly enough of anything for even a summer campaign. However, where
ignorance is bliss, preliminary suffering is avoided. He was directed
to escort a number of rescued Amerind captives back to their tribe,
and with these he left St. Louis. The whole party consisted of one
lieutenant, one surgeon, one sergeant, two corporals, sixteen privates,
one interpreter, and fifty-one natives of all ages. Up the Missouri,
which somebody has styled the "Mother of Floods,"[69] in two boats,
they worked their way for six weeks to the Osage River. Here the boats
were sold for a hundred dollars and horses were purchased with which to

The Spaniards on this expedition kept a jealous eye, as indeed they
did on any party from the United States into the region beyond the
Missouri.[70] A strong force in fact had been sent to intercept Pike.
This had gone as far as the Sabine, and then northerly to the Republican
fork, the very place where Pike soon after arrived and found the trail
of his prospective captors. The relations of the United States and Spain
were much strained owing to the Louisiana transaction. The Spaniards
were endeavouring to limit Louisiana as much as possible, while on the
other hand the claims of the United States were as broad as the most
liberal conception of the extent of Louisiana could formulate, and as
Louisiana never had possessed any real demarkation it is easy to see how
far apart the two countries on this subject were. In the region farther
down the river, in the Texas and Orleans districts, the situation was
precarious. While Pike was fitting out, information of his intentions
was forwarded by Spanish agents to their Government. The large armed
force whose trail Pike had now fallen upon was the result. According to
Pike, who afterwards learned all about it from its commander, Malgares,
it had three objects: first, to descend Red River, and if Pike was met
to turn him back; second, to explore the country to the Missouri; third,
to visit a number of the native tribes, make them presents, and renew
the chain of ancient friendship between "his most catholic majesty
and the red people." Furthermore, the commanding officer had orders
to compel all parties in this country to retire to the acknowledged
territory of the United States, or to make prisoners of them and take
them to New Mexico. So the position of Spain with regard to the region
lying along the Missouri River was entirely plain.

It was fortunate that they did not meet with Pike till he was worn out
by exposure and famine, for he certainly would have given battle. But
Malgares, who was a man of "large fortune, generous, well educated, with
a high sense of honour," was later under different circumstances very
kind to Pike, and to the surgeon, Dr. Robinson, so that both became much
attached to him.

On his march he gathered in every American trader and trapper he found
and some of these he sent to Nachitoches, a Spanish post in Texas, where
Pike afterwards found them existing in abject poverty. The army was
made up of one hundred dragoons from the province of Biscay, who had
fitted out on reaching Santa Fé, and were there joined by five hundred
mounted militia, equipped for six months. Each man led two horses and a
mule, making in all over two thousand head of stock. Down Red River they
had gone some 233 miles, before turning to the north-east to reach the
Arkansas, where Malgares left 240 of his men with the worn-out stock,
while with the rest he kept on to the village of the Pawnee Republic,
on the Republican fork of the Kansas River, where he held councils
with various tribes of Pawnees. It was about here that the unfortunate
Villazur party met its sad fate in 1720, and the recollection of
that affair now produced in the Spanish soldiers a desire rather to
revenge the treachery against Villazur by destroying the Pawnees, than
to promote the repairing of the slender links of the ancient amity
chain. In addition to this they seem to have grown discontented. These
considerations and the lame condition of the stock prevented Malgares
from advancing farther or from waiting to intercept Pike, and he was
obliged to take the back track; a lucky thing for the small American
party. By October he was in Santa Fé, where his militia disbanded, but
he remained there with the regular troops. He was well out of Pike's
way, as it was the end of September before the American party came upon
the trail of the Spaniards on the Republican fork.

  [Illustration: A Glade for the Weary. Altitude 8000 Feet.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

This was probably the region that Coronado reached in his eastward march
two and a half centuries earlier—and it was little different from what
it was at that time.

Pike immediately demanded from the Pawnees the Spanish flag which
Malgares had given them in token of their allegiance to the Spanish
king, and he presented them instead with a flag of the United States;
but he finally returned the Spanish flag on condition that it should not
be displayed during his stay. The Pawnee chief on his part urged Pike
to turn back, and admitted that he had agreed with the Spaniards to stop
him, but the American officer, whatever faults he may have had, was not
of a temper to be easily stopped, and probably the Pawnee chief observed
this, for he made no attempt to prevent the expedition from proceeding.
He told a good deal about the Spanish visit which Pike recorded, but
these papers and all others were taken from him later. Here they heard
the pleasant news of the safe return of Lewis and Clark, and doubtless
Pike looked forward to an equally brilliant accomplishment. But he
had to deal with an additional factor or obstacle, the Spaniards, and
consequently, as he persisted in putting his head in the lion's mouth,
it closed upon him. Lewis and Clark had certain other advantages in
threading the unknown Wilderness; the natives there had not yet been
deceived, swindled, and unjustly shot, and the British had no force in
that quarter to interrupt their progress even if such a desire had been
present in the British mind: the Spaniards were even more handicapped.
Pike, on the other hand, was on a sort of highway, where the Spaniards
had already been searching for him. After delivering his wards at their
home camp, he kept on his westward way, following the trail of Malgares,
where it was not obliterated by the bison herds, reaching the Arkansas,
and then pursuing a course up that stream. On October 28th, Lieutenant
Wilkinson was sent back with letters. His party descended the Arkansas
with two boats, one a skin canoe, in which he embarked with three
soldiers and an Osage, and a wooden canoe with the baggage, manned by
another soldier and an Osage, while one more soldier walked along the

Pike's plan was to follow up the Arkansas as far as the mountains
or as the Comanches, and then go south to Red River, returning home
by this stream.[71] Had he not deviated from this plan it is likely
that his expedition would have been able to return without serious
suffering, but he departed from it when he reached the mountains, there
turning north to find Red River, instead of south as he had intended.
On November 15th, as they were pushing along on the wide plain, he
thought he detected the suggestion of the great range, and half an hour
later the splendid line of peaks came in full view. Then "the Mexican
mountains were cheered three times," but had they realised the amount
of suffering and misery they were to endure amidst those enticing forms,
these cheers instead would have been tears, bitter tears. They were now
filled with the idea of arriving the next day at the foot of the long
line of billowy enchantment, but the following night they seemed no
nearer than before. They here, however, had plenty to eat, and feasted
on marrow bones, for enormous herds of buffalo encompassed them. They
had the wisdom to dry a large supply of the meat to carry along; but it
ought to have been far larger. On the 22d a war party of Grand Pawnees
was encountered, and Pike was fearful of a clash, which indeed was
always imminent in the region they had now entered, extending along
the eastern base of the mountains and termed later the "War Road," or
"Hostile Ground," because it seemed to be a sort of lawless area, where
every tribe felt at liberty to attack anything that came in its way.
There were sixty of the Pawnees and only sixteen of the Americans, so
that the battle would have been uneven, half of the Pawnees being armed
with guns. But they had a powwow, and the Amerinds asked for corn,
ammunition, blankets, etc. Pike gave them presents and invited them to
smoke and eat,—an invitation which was accepted, and the relations were
not unpleasant till the Americans began to pack up, when the Pawnees
took to stealing what they could. Thereupon Pike announced to them that
he would kill the next one who touched the baggage, which had the proper
effect, and each party continued on its own way.

On the 24th of November they arrived at the "Grand Fork"—that is, at
about the place where Pueblo, Colorado, now stands. Here they made
a sort of fort, or as Pike calls it a "breastwork," of logs for the
protection of the main body which Pike designed to leave here while he,
with three of his men, should scout up the North Fork, or Fontaine qui
Bouille. This was the first establishment of any kind by Americans, near
the site of Pueblo, or in any part of Colorado.

In thirty-four miles Pike reached the foot of the mountains and climbed
to the summit of one where the snow was middle deep. The cold was
intense, and the party suffered greatly, as they were not clothed for
winter. In fact they could hardly be said to be clothed at all, for they
had only overalls and no socks. Expeditions in fitting out are inclined
to go to extremes. They either show an absurd contempt for equipment
and neglect essentials, or they load themselves down with luxuries.[72]
In breaking the Wilderness the majority of parties were inadequately
supplied, especially with food. Pike's was a good sample of this lack
of foresight. Lewis and Clark fall somewhat in the same category, but
they had good luck. From the summit on which Pike stood he could see
the "Grand Peak" about fifteen miles away, the same which afterwards
was given his name, and to-day is one of the most celebrated mountains
in the world, because it is not only high and beautiful, but for many
years stood an emblem of the danger and privation endured by those who
entered within the radius of its shining top.

  [Illustration: Pike's Peak through the Gateway of the Garden of the Gods.

   (Pike Got his View of it from a Mountain to the Left, not Seen.)

   Photograph by C. C. Pierce & Co.]

Returning to the main camp where the men were suffering from lack of
clothing and blankets, Pike led the way, not south to the headwaters of
Red River, but on up the Arkansas. Just what his idea was is difficult
to comprehend. They had bad weather, a great deal of snow, and severe
cold. Under the circumstances, the only sensible thing to have done,
was to find a good place for a camp, and from that point reconnoitre
thoroughly before making the next move. This would have spared them an
immense amount of hardship, and it seems to me what sound judgment would
have directed. Had they done this, they would have found the trails
leading toward the Spanish settlements and the heads of the Canadian
and Red rivers. But, instead, they went blunderingly on, entirely
unprepared for winter in any climate, yet deliberately climbing to
heights where they would be in that of the North Pole. They finally
found themselves on the head of the South Platte. Here they saw signs
of a large party they thought was that of Malgares, but it was natives.
Then their troubles increased, mainly because they had no suspicion of
where they ought to go and were unprepared for going anywhere. They
blindly followed the Platte for a day or two and then concluded to
strike south-west to find Red River. The result was they got on the head
of the Arkansas again. They had neither clothing, blankets, nor shoes.
Had they encamped in the beginning at the foot of the mountains, they
might have provided themselves abundantly with all three. At length they
made a sled to carry the baggage, and after a while divided into eight
parties, all travelling at different rates.

Pike now saw that he was not on Red River at all, but he believed he
had seen the headwaters of "La Platte, the Arkansaw, and the Pierre
Jaune," and here perhaps is a solution of the object of his aimless
wandering. He wanted to make some great discovery. He was correct on
the designation of his first two rivers, but not on the third, for the
Roche Jaune which he meant, in English the Yellowstone, takes its rise
at least three hundred miles north of his position. After a great deal
of wearisome travel, and suffering from cold and famine, they arrived
at the same spot where they had encamped on December 10th, at the
mouth of what is now Currant Creek above Cañon City. A week later Pike
decided to build a fort here for the protection of the baggage, and
leave the interpreter and one other to guard it, while with packs on
their backs all the rest were to strike out afresh across the mountain
for Red River. On the 14th of January, 1807, they started. Each carried
forty-five pounds and some provisions, making with his arms a load of
about seventy pounds, no very easy weight to carry continuously, day
after day. Proceeding southward through Wet Mountain valley they finally
came to the head of the Huerfano, and then saw the great White Mountain,
or Blanca Peak.[73] Nine of the men now frosted their feet, and on
the 20th, three days after, two were in such a condition they could
not proceed, and on the 22d they were left behind in as comfortable
circumstances as were possible. All the provisions, except enough for
one meal, were left with them. Food had been a scarcer thing than ever
with the party, and a day or two before, Pike was so exhausted that he
nearly swooned.

At last, on the 28th of January, they stumbled on a trail leading down
the "White Mountains" (Sierra Blanca), a trail which had been worked by
men and had hieroglyphs cut on trees. This was through Mosca Pass, 9700
feet altitude, and following it westward they soon saw the Rio Grande
flowing southward, and thought at last they had found the object of
their search. But more disappointments were in preparation. They were
now in San Luis valley after an immense amount of misery and exhaustion
which were entirely unnecessary. Had they sensibly reconnoitred from
their breastwork at the Pueblo site, they would have discovered the
Pueblo-Ute-Spanish trails across the mountains to San Luis valley, by
way of Veta and of Sangre de Cristo passes. They could also have found
the headwaters of the Canadian, and those of Red River. They need not
have suffered for food or clothing, and they would have saved time, and
perhaps have avoided the Spaniards, if Pike really intended to do so.

Here they shot deer and supplied themselves with meat, and on a large
west branch, Rio Conejos, a fort was built about five miles from the
junction, on the north bank. This was thirty-six feet square, of heavy
logs, twelve feet high, protected at the top by sharp stakes slanting
over for about thirty inches. Around this they made a moat four feet
wide, filled with water. It is evident that Pike saw here signs of
Spaniards, and expected trouble even though he supposed he was on
Red River and considered himself within American territory.[74] The
Spaniards did not so consider Red River, as is entirely clear from the
expedition of Malgares. No matter where they found Pike, they intended
to turn him back or take him prisoner. The doctor, Robinson, left
the party now and continued on to Santa Fé, his pretext for entering
being Morrison's claim against the dishonest LaLande, Morrison having
requested him to settle the matter.

Some men were now sent back to bring in those left behind, but poor
Sparks and Dougherty, the ones who had frozen their feet, could not
travel; they sent instead, to prove it, bones they had taken out.
On the 26th, two Frenchmen visited the fort with information that a
detachment of Spanish soldiers was coming to protect the Americans from
an attack by the Utes. A few days before this a Spanish dragoon with
a Pueblo had come, and the following day, the 17th of February, they
went away. They had been sent out on the arrival at Santa Fé of Dr.
Robinson. The body that was now approaching was therefore aware of the
situation and accordingly acted with great diplomacy. Pike considered it
deception, as indeed it was, but in the end this method was better for
all concerned than a cold demand for surrender. Fifty dragoons and fifty
mounted militia appeared under command of Don Ignacio Salleto, who was
politeness itself. He was very careful not to ruffle Pike's pride. They
had breakfast and then Don Ignacio put in operation his diplomacy. He
said: "Señor, the Governor of New Mexico being informed you had missed
your route, ordered me to offer you in his name mules, horses, money,
or whatever you may stand in need of to conduct you to the head of Red
River, as from Santa Fé to where it is sometimes navigable is eight
days' journey, and we have guides and the routes of traders to conduct

"What," exclaimed Pike, "is not this Red River?"

"No, Señor, the Rio del Norte."

Pike immediately ordered his flag to be taken down, for he considered
he had committed trespass. From the Spanish point of view he had been a
trespasser ever since he left the Missouri, and had he been on Red River
it would have made no difference to them. As soon as he consented to go
to Santa Fé to visit the governor, Don Ignacio ordered his men to supply
the Americans with blankets and provisions, and from this time on they
were comfortably fed again. The next day Pike discovered the agreeable
Don Ignacio writing a letter addressed to the Governor, thus proving
that he was not himself going on with Pike, and that the whole American
company were really under arrest. They would not have been able to
resist, anyhow, in their destitute condition. It was too late to change
circumstances, so Pike went with the escort down the river. On the road
at one of the villages Baptiste LaLande tried to play the spy upon them,
but did not succeed. Arriving at Santa Fé, Governor Allencaster treated
Pike politely, but he never swerved from his purpose of securing all
of Pike's papers to send to headquarters. The conversation with the
Governor was carried on in French, a language which neither appears to
have wielded fluently.

"You came to reconnoitre our country?" said the Governor.

"I marched to reconnoitre my own," said Pike.

"In what character are you?" asked the Governor.

  [Illustration: Vegetation of the South-West.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

"In my proper character, an officer of the United States Army," replied

Here he met Pursley, who had been nearly two years in Santa Fé, and who
told him he had found gold on the head of the Platte, and had carried
some of it about with him in his shot pouch for months, till he believed
he would never again reach civilisation and threw it away. This is
the first American mention of gold existing in that region. He told
the Spaniards about it, and they wanted him to show the way, but he
concluded it was on American territory, and also that such a discovery
might interfere with his leaving the country. Copper mining was going
on in New Mexico at a place down the river below Socorro.

All the Americans were treated well at Santa Fé, and presently were
sent under escort to headquarters of General Salcedo, at Chihuahua. The
commander of the troop was Malgares, the same who had made the fruitless
tour to the Pawnee country to intercept Pike. The journey to Chihuahua
was most agreeable, for Pike and Dr. Robinson had become well acquainted
at Santa Fé with Malgares and had found him a delightful personality.
Robinson says, "He was a gentleman, a soldier, and one of the most
gallant men you ever knew," consequently, excepting the fact that they
were prisoners, the route southward, in the splendid sunny air of New
Mexico and Old, was agreeable enough. The Americans were everywhere well
received by persons in authority, and there was nothing to complain of
in this respect.

General Salcedo was as polite as Allencaster, and, though he considered
the invasion "an offence of magnitude," on full consideration it was
decided to return the Americans to their own country. Accordingly, they
were sent back by way of San Antonio and Nachitoches.

Geographically, Pike's expedition added little to American knowledge of
the Wilderness, yet it served to make clearer the conditions existing
between the Missouri and the foot of the mountains. Politically it
emphasised the claims of the United States in that direction, but much
remained to be adjusted before anything definite could come out of the


     [68] Pike was later captain, then major, then general. He was
     killed at York, Upper Canada, in the War of 1812. He was about the
     age of Meriwether Lewis.

     [69] Charles Joseph Latrobe, a companion of Washington Irving on
     the plains. He wrote _The Rambler in North America_.

     [70] About this time the Marquis Casa Calvo had given an American,
     Dunbar, permission to explore the Red River and Wichita country.

     [71] Coues suggests that Pike was really bound for Santa Fé and
     fully intended to allow himself to be captured. It is possible that
     he had some secret compact with General Wilkinson and Aaron Burr.

     [72] I find that the majority of men object to having an
     over-abundance of provisions, even of the staple sort. It
     seems often to be considered a sort of cowardice to provide for
     unforeseen food emergencies, yet these are the very ones which
     wreck expeditions. Some one compact staple should always be carried
     in extravagant quantity, and there are ways of doing it.

     [73] See the frontispiece. They came down into the valley behind
     the left-hand peak. The exact route from Wet Mountain valley to the
     Rio Grande is uncertain, also the pass. See Coues on these points.

     [74] Coues pertinently asks, if Pike thought himself on Red River,
     why did he cross it into acknowledged Spanish territory and there
     build his fort. Robinson also knew he was near Santa Fé.



     A Race for Life—Colter Wins—The Missouri Fur Company—The
     American Fur Company—The Pacific Fur Company—A Great Project
     Foredoomed—Disaster at the Columbia Bar—The Destruction of the
     _Tonquin_—Hunt Starts for the Columbia Overland—The _Voyageurs_
     Baulked—The Caldron Linn—Dog Steak at a Premium—Misery and
     Danger—Success at Last.

The fine profits obtained by the British fur companies, combined with
the information of the enormous numbers of beaver existing in the
Rocky Mountains, brought back by Lewis and Clark and the trappers who
had followed at their heels, gave a sudden impetus to the movement of
Americans into the new Louisiana acquisition. The expedition of Pike had
marked the trail to Santa Fé and indicated possibilities of profitable
overland trade with New Mexico when the Spanish Government should modify
its restrictions. Notwithstanding, therefore, that nobody knew just
where Spanish territory began and where that of the United States ended,
American hunters and trappers crossed into the Wilderness by scores.
Even the sparsely settled districts of the Ohio valley proved irksome to
them, and in the lead was the veteran Daniel Boone, who with fourscore
years upon him turned his back upon the land he had done so much to win,
and settled at La Charette, the French village beyond St. Louis.

And St. Louis, half Spanish, half French, had now become part American.
Being the point of departure for all parts of the Wilderness, even
the region of the upper Missouri, to which attention was now mainly
directed, it began every day to increase in size and importance. Maxent,
La Clede, and Company were operating from this point before the cession
to the United States, and so was the artful and slippery Manuel Lisa,
who was believed to have no liking for Americans, or for any other
competitors, and who, justly or unjustly, was looked upon with suspicion
by every trapper who ventured up the river. Lisa annually sent trading
parties in that direction, and in 1807 he made the journey himself.
Perhaps he was no worse than the other traders, every one of whom was
striving to thwart the success of rivals. He was about thirty-five years
old, and in cunning and business intrigue a match for the keenest. In
these respects he was the opposite of another noted character of the
time, Auguste Choteau, a French creole, whose integrity and agreeable
personality made him as much liked as Lisa was mistrusted. On Lisa's
trip up the river he seems to have had with him the trapper Potts, who
had been one of the Lewis and Clark party; and later he employed another
of that party, Colter, who had obtained his release from Lewis on the
return trip when they met Dixon and Hancock.

  [Illustration: Canyon of the Yellowstone from Grand View.

   From _Wonderland, 1903_—Northern Pacific Railway.]

Colter and Potts were sent trapping in the Blackfoot country. These
people were in a revengeful mood because of the fatal encounter with
Lewis on Maria's River, and Colter and Potts were on the alert to elude
them, but they were discovered. As they pushed their canoe into the
stream, an arrow struck Potts. He then fired and killed a man. Instantly
he was riddled by arrows. Colter made no resistance. He was taken on
shore and stripped. They thought of setting him up as a target, but
the chief gave him a chance for his life, which indicates that they
were not in so ferocious a temper as has been assumed, for had they
been bent on blood atonement for the deaths on Maria's River they would
have given Colter no chance at all. They were willing to make a game
of it. The chance that was given was to lead the captive out on the
prairie, about four hundred yards in advance of the band, and let him
go to save himself if he could. They did not shoot at him. It was to
be a pure test of speed. Colter ran fast, for he was a good runner and
life was the prize. Only one pursuer gained. He drew nearer and nearer.
Colter stopped, turned round, and threw up his hands. The blood, owing
to his severe exertion, had flowed from his nostrils and covered his
body, making a startling spectacle. The Blackfoot, surprised, tried to
halt and throw his spear, but exhausted, he fell, breaking the spear
as he went down. Colter thrust the sharp point into the man's heart,
and rushed on for Jefferson River. This he reached while the Blackfeet
stopped at their fallen comrade, and plunging in he swam to an island,
dived under a large pile of driftwood, and raised his head above water
amidst the sticks. The pursuers mounted the pile and ranged, the whole
island all day long, but it did not occur to them to dive in the search.
Night fell. All grew quiet. Colter swam gently down a long distance,
and then started for Lisa's fort, where, after seven days' hard travel
and exposure, he arrived.

Lisa went back to St. Louis the next year, 1808, but Colter remained
till 1810. He passed through the geyser region of the Yellowstone,
and is said to have been the first white man to go there. Inasmuch,
however, as the Yellowstone was named before Lewis and Clark made their
journey, and by Frenchmen, it seems probable that these same Frenchmen
had visited the geyser region. They certainly were at the great canyon,
for, as before noted, they would not otherwise have applied the name
Yellowstone. Colter, therefore, more exactly may be said to have been
the first American in the geyser basin. When he arrived at St. Louis
again, he met there the English naturalist Bradbury, who printed the
story of his race for life in the book he wrote, from which it has been
transcribed many times. As it was a famous incident, I venture to give
it again in a much condensed form.[75]

About this time Henry, one of Lisa's trappers, being obliged to abandon
his post at the three forks, because of the hostility of the Blackfeet,
passed over to the headwaters of the Snake and built a trading-post
there, the very first establishment by an American on the Pacific
slope, excepting Fort Clatsop, of Lewis and Clark, at the mouth of the
Columbia. This fort of Henry's was built about three years later than
the one Fraser founded for the North-west Company near latitude 54.

  [Illustration: A Mansion of the Wilderness.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

The shrewd Lisa perceived that power was necessary in the fur business
to secure the greatest profit, and as this required combination, he
established, in the winter of 1808-09, the Missouri Fur Company, with
William Morrison as one of the partners. At almost the same moment,
a keen business man of New York, John Jacob Astor, obtained a charter
from the State of New York for the American Fur Company. Encountering
the rivalry of the Mackinaw Company, he arranged with some of the
members of the North-west Company to buy it out, and they obtained
possession in 1811. Meanwhile, the possibilities of the North-west and
the region traversed by Lewis and Clark appealed to Astor's business
sense, and in 1810 he organised another company to operate from the
mouth of the Columbia, called the Pacific Fur Company. His plan was to
establish a line of trading-posts along the Missouri and Columbia to
the Pacific, where, at the mouth of the Columbia, a chief station was to
be maintained, to receive furs and distribute supplies. An annual ship
was to keep this post in touch with New York. The scheme was entirely
feasible, but in the execution of it every circumstance appeared
to conspire for defeat. Some enterprises float easily across every
obstacle, while others seem to create barriers which grow to enormous

When Fraser established his post west of the Rocky Mountains in
1806, it was intended that he should move down and explore all the
country to the southward. Later another party was dispatched under
David Thompson especially to forestall Astor's people at the mouth of
the Columbia. Astor, himself, endeavoured to conciliate the British
companies by offering them a third interest in his Pacific Company,
but they declined. He next engaged a number of North-west men for his
enterprise, to gain the advantage of their experience, but in this he
seems to have made a mistake. As Great Britain and the United States
were on the verge of war, it would have been better if the concern had
been made purely American. In prominent positions there were only two
citizens of the Republic: Wilson Price Hunt, of New Jersey, chief agent;
and Jonathan Thorn, a lieutenant of the United States Navy, on leave to
command the first supply ship, the _Tonquin_, a vessel doomed to strange
destruction. The new company organised on June 23, 1810, Astor holding
one half of the hundred shares, while the other half was distributed
among the several partners. Hunt was to go overland and remain at the
chief station five years.[76]

Some of the partners were to go by the _Tonquin_. These were all British
subjects, Scotchmen. There were, besides, mechanics, and thirteen
_voyageurs_, the latter coming down from Canada in a birch-bark canoe
by way of Lake Champlain and the Hudson, singing gaily as they came.
Could they have foreseen the future, the song would have died in their
throats. Of all the expeditions ever set on foot, this one, perhaps,
met with the most continuous disaster. Although well planned, the Fates
appeared to be opposed in this direction to Astor's success. The British
had an eye on it and intended to baulk it if they could. For one thing
they meant to stop the _Tonquin_ and impress the _voyageurs_, which they
thought would cripple the enterprise. The _Constitution_, the ship soon
to make its name forever famous, was sent for some distance as a convoy,
but nothing happened except that the _voyageurs_ became seasick, and the
foreign partners and Captain Thorn failed to harmonise. Thorn looked
upon them with suspicion, and did not conceal his opinion that they
were working against the company's interests. He particularly disliked
McDougall who was next to Hunt in authority.

Thorn was a capable officer on the high seas, and he sailed the
_Tonquin_ successfully from the starting day, September 10, 1810, to
that on which he arrived at the mouth of the Columbia, March 22, 1811.
Then he seems to have lost his caution. Instead of lying off to wait
for favourable weather to run the breakers, he immediately ordered chief
mate Fox, a seaman, John Martin, and three _voyageurs_, notwithstanding
Fox's protest and that of the partners, to reconnoitre the entrance in
a small boat. They were never seen again. The wind abating, two days
later the ship anchored under Cape Disappointment. Search was made for
the missing men, but with no result. The _Tonquin_ then approached the
bar, but the captain was afraid to run through, and sent the second mate
in the pinnace to pilot the way. He was nearly lost. Another attempt
was made, but the ship struck on the bar repeatedly, and the waves
broke over her. The pinnace, which had again attempted to pilot, was
swept away with five men on board, while the ship, in great danger of
complete wreck, came to anchor in seven fathoms. At last they got under
Cape Disappointment once more, and were safe. On searching the coast
for the lost men of the pinnace, only two were found. Thus eight lives
were sacrificed to the bull-headedness of this crusty captain. It was
a full measure of what was in store for the ill-fated enterprise. Had
Thorn used a small amount of common sense, he could have passed the bar
without losing a man.

At length the _Tonquin_ was inside, and after much wrangling between the
captain and the foreign partners, a settlement was begun on what they
called Point George. To this the name Astoria was given in honour of the
head of the company. When the supplies had been landed, the _Tonquin_
went up the coast to trade, with McKay to direct. Against the advice of
the interpreter, a native from down the coast, they anchored in Neweetee
Bay on the southern end of Vancouver Island. McKay went ashore and
was well received, for six natives were held on board as hostages. The
people of this bay had a bad reputation, which perhaps means that they
saw through the game of the traders. Great numbers came the following
morning to trade and as they sought high prices, doubtless one per cent.
of real value, Thorn grew angry and threw the chief overboard. When
McKay returned, the interpreter urged immediate departure, but Thorn
scorned his advice. Astor had particularly instructed not to allow many
natives on board at one time, but this was ignored. Next morning they
came again with their furs; canoe after canoe arrived till the deck was
thronged. The captain saw indications of trouble. He ordered men aloft
to make sail while others weighed anchor. The natives were eager to
trade, especially for knives, and they quickly obtained a great many,
so that when the command was given to clear ship, they uttered a yell
and fell upon the unprepared crew.

  [Illustration: Sawmill Geyser, Yellowstone Park.

   From _Wonderland, 1904_—Northern Pacific Railway.]

Thorn fought desperately, for he was no coward, and though he had only
a clasp knife, he killed several before a blow from behind laid him
low forever. Four of the men aloft succeeded in gaining the cabin alive
and speedily cleared the deck with the muskets that were there. All the
rest of the day the natives kept off. The ship's clerk, Lewis, was one
of the first struck, and he had fallen down the hatchway with a serious
wound. He recovered sufficiently to discuss the situation with the four
other survivors. The latter would not attempt to sail the ship, as they
thought they could not get her out of the bay, so they put off in the
night in one of the boats. Lewis, it is said, declined to go on account
of his wound, thinking he would die soon anyhow. He therefore made a
plan for revenge. He arranged the powder so that he could instantly
explode it, and when the fair morning sun again shone on the bay he
stood on the deck and beckoned to some natives to come aboard. As he was
the only one to be seen, they finally climbed up the _Tonquin's_ sides.
The decks were presently again thickly crowded, all eager to secure the
rich prizes. At this moment Lewis executed his intention. The waters of
the bay were strewn with wreckage intermingled with dead and dying. A
hundred or more were annihilated and another grewsome tale was added to
the long list describing the intercourse between the opposing factions
for the mastery of the Wilderness. The four men were prevented from
leaving the bay by stress of weather, and took refuge in a cove for
shelter, where they were captured and taken back to the village. They
were sacrificed with every cruelty known to the enraged natives. Thus
ended the first trading venture of the Pacific Fur Company.

Before the _Tonquin_ left Astoria, the party arrived from the upper
Columbia under command of David Thompson of the North-west Company,—the
expedition designed to forestall the American settlement at this point,
but it was a little too late. Thompson had accomplished the first
descent of the Columbia above Snake River. He was well received by
his compatriots, especially by McDougall, who was in charge pending
Hunt's arrival. McDougall did not conceal his devotion to the British
Crown, and it was this which so exasperated Captain Thorn. Thompson
finally left, returning by the road he had come. He was astronomer and
geographer of the North-west Company, and made notes that are of great

  [Illustration: The Deadly Rattler.

   From _The Mystic Mid-Region_ by A. J. Burdick.

   Photograph by C. C. Pierce & Co.]

Meanwhile Hunt was bravely setting in motion a second train of
disasters. With Donald McKenzie, another of the foreign partners, he
went in June, 1810, to Montreal, the great fur-trading centre, and
secured canoes and _voyageurs_ for the overland journey. The party
proceeded by way of the Ottawa River, Mackinaw, Green Bay, Fox River,
the Wisconsin, and the Mississippi to St. Louis, the route that had
been the first from the east into the Mississippi Wilderness, and
which had been a highway ever since. Lisa's Missouri Fur Company
was at this time fitting out an expedition to go in search of Henry,
who, as already mentioned, had been driven from his station at the
forks of the Missouri, and Lisa was in doubt as to his whereabouts.
The Spaniard looked with disfavour on the new rival, but this was no
more than all the fur traders were in the habit of doing. He did what
he could to check the enterprise without open hostility, but Hunt's
plans progressed, nevertheless, and he soon had his affairs in order.
Bradbury, an English naturalist, had been for some time making St. Louis
headquarters, and was desirous of going up the Missouri for specimens.
Hunt at once cordially invited him and another English naturalist,
Nuttall, to accompany him as far as they wished to go. Bradbury
afterwards wrote the book which is now so well known, and which throws a
valuable side-light on the starting of Hunt's party. He also tells much
about the natives, of whom he remarks, "No people on earth discharge
the duties of hospitality with more cordial good-will."

On the 21st of October, 1810, Hunt left St. Louis with the intention of
wintering not far up the river, and in the spring following the trail
of Lewis and Clark to the mouth of the Columbia. He had three boats,
two being barges, and the third a "keel" boat. The winter camp was made
at the mouth of the Nadowa, where several new men joined the ranks,
notwithstanding that it was considered a rather desperate venture.
About the end of April, 1811, all being ready, the party started up the
muddy Missouri with four boats, one of which mounted a swivel and two
howitzers. The number of persons in the company now amounted to sixty,
almost too many for success. Forty of these were Canadian _voyageurs_,
who, while exceedingly useful in their sphere of boatmen, were not
so serviceable away from their craft, just as a good sailor is out of
his element on horseback. But in those days no fur trader thought of
travelling without them, and the North-west and Hudson Bay Companies
employed them by hundreds. The rivers west of the Rocky Mountains,
however, were entirely different from those flowing from the eastern
slopes. Had Hunt been aware of this, he would have sent his forty
_voyageurs_ back, before crossing the mountains, where their peculiar
abilities were of less advantage. Indeed, had it not been for the idea
of utilising them, it is likely that the story of this traverse would
have been less painful.

  [Illustration: Shoshone Falls, Idaho, from South Side, Below.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

Little trouble was experienced from natives, although the latter had now
been shot and cheated for a sufficient time to render them dangerous.
Alexander Carson, now with Hunt, was the man who had shot a Sioux
not long before, just to try his skill. Some tribes, too, wished to
injure others by preventing traders from reaching them, thus compelling
manufactured articles to pass through their own hands, whereby they
made a profit. This was a cause of some difficulty. In addition, the
rival fur companies used means, honourable and dishonourable, to injure
each other, and they sometimes had serious battles. They would also
incite against newcomers natives with whom they had traded, and this
was a frequent source of disaster. Two men with Hunt, Ramsay Crooks
and McClellan, believed that Lisa in this way had induced the Sioux a
couple of years before, to thwart their plans, and McClellan was still
incensed to such a degree that he declared he would shoot Lisa on sight.
As the latter diplomatic gentleman was also bound up the river a few
days behind Hunt, and had sent word that he would like to travel with
him to strengthen both parties, the outlook was precarious. The whole
party were suspicious of Lisa's motives, and Hunt endeavoured to keep
in advance. His chief interpreter, Pierre Dorion, a son of the Dorion
who had gone with Lewis and Clark for a time, had been in Lisa's employ,
and there was a fierce disagreement between them as to certain large
amounts of whiskey which Dorion had imbibed, and which Lisa had modestly
charged against him at ten dollars a quart. The Spaniard had a barge
manned by twenty expert boatmen, and he knew the river. It was therefore
only a few days before he overtook the Hunt party. With him was Henry
Brackenridge, who later wrote a valuable book, and this man with
Bradbury and Nuttall laboured as peace preservers, and though Dorion
and Lisa had a dramatic scene, with McClellan ever ready to exterminate
the perfidious Lisa on the spot, there was no bloodshed. To make matters
worse, Lisa used towards Hunt an expression that roused his ire, so that
for a day or two the rival crews barely spoke. At last, however, the
Hunt people decided that Lisa was bent on no immediate mischief, and
amicable relations were established.

Arriving at an Arikara village, some distance below the Mandan towns,
Hunt began preparations to leave the river and strike across the
country, thus abandoning the trail of Lewis and Clark. He was induced
to take this step by three trappers he had met and employed, Robinson,
Hoback, and Rizner, who had been in the country at the head of the
Missouri. The change was a good one, and had Hunt dispensed with the
_voyageurs_ at this point, he would have clung to his horses all the
way, which would have saved much time and suffering, but he took the
boatmen along, though he exchanged the boats with Lisa for horses, of
which the latter had a supply at his fort at the Mandan towns. Thither
Crooks and Bradbury went to bring them down. Meanwhile the _voyageurs_
fraternised with the Arikaras and were particularly devoted to the
women, whose temporary favours were readily purchased. Bradbury says:
"Travellers who have been acquainted with savages have remarked that
they are either very liberal of their women to strangers or extremely
jealous. In this species of liberality no nation can be exceeded by the
Arikaras, who flocked down every evening with their wives, sisters, and
daughters, each anxious to meet with a market for them." And yet if a
white man adopted regular relations they expected him to continue them,
and not abandon his wife as was so often done. Their code was a peculiar

  [Illustration: Shoshone Falls, Snake River, Idaho, from Below.

   Sketch by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

Bradbury and Nuttall here left the Hunt party and returned, while on the
18th of July, 1811, the Astorians, having also said good-bye to Lisa,
who had been of more service than detriment, turned their faces toward
the Backbone of the Continent. A man named Rose was engaged, with the
expectation that he would be serviceable in the Crow country, as he
had been a good deal with that tribe, but Hunt discovered indications
of treachery, and was glad on reaching the Crows to pay Rose off and
let him depart. Crossing the Black Hills, and the Bighorn Mountains,
they kept up the Bighorn to Wind River, and on the 14th of September
camped at a place where a large fork came down from the Wind River
Mountains. It will be noticed that mountains and streams were already
named, showing that white men had frequently been in this region. In
fact, the trappers with Hunt knew it pretty well, and told him that if
he followed up Wind River and crossed a single mountain range he would
be on the headwaters of the Columbia, but game being scarce, he decided
to go to another stream which they said flowed to the south of west
beyond the Wind River range. This was Spanish River, now the Green, the
upper continuation of the Colorado. They found a beaten trail leading
that way and followed it over some very high ground whence the trappers
pointed out the Three Tetons. These magnificent peaks Hunt called the
Pilot Knobs! They were hailed with joy, for they marked the end of the
first stage of the journey, but had the party been able to look ahead
their joy would have collapsed in tears. Descending into Green River
Valley, afterwards famous as the place of rendezvous for trappers, they
found it delightful, with grassy glades and plenty of buffalo, as well
as other game.

This was a crucial point for Hunt. Had he decided to stick to his
horses till he was sure of the navigation, the party would have escaped
much misery, but instead of camping here, amidst plenty of game, till
the path could be reconnoitred, he stopped only five days to lay in a
supply of buffalo meat and then went on. Winter with rapid strides was
approaching, yet they would have gained time by tarrying here, with
scouts thrown ahead. But they moved without knowing what to expect.
Hoback had been on the headwaters of the Snake and he led them by way
of a small stream they called Hoback's River to a large branch. This,
because of its rapid and fierce current, was named Mad River. The
_voyageurs_ were tired enough of horses, and were eager to sail down
on this impetuous tide, so, without even scouting beforehand, trees
were felled to make canoes. Several men were then sent down the stream,
but before they returned two Snakes came along and informed them that
navigation was impossible. When the men came back they gave the same
report. Here was a chance to find out much concerning the region before
them, but no attempt seems to have been made. Robinson, Hoback, and
Rizner, who had been with Henry, of the Missouri Company, now advised
going to Henry's post, to which the Snakes were quite willing to guide
them. After four days' travel they reached it amid a flurry of snow.

  [Illustration: Shoshone Falls, Snake River, Idaho, from Above, South

   Photograph by G. K. Gilbert.]

Henry had gone, but they were glad to occupy the deserted cabins. The
stream they were now on was large and swift, probably the main Snake
River, and the fatal canoe idea cropped up again.[78] Timber was felled
and boats soon completed. One advantage of travelling with horses Hunt
seems now to have lost sight of: they can always be consumed as food.
But Hunt decided to leave them here, and to establish the first of the
trading-posts. The two Snakes were hired to look after their welfare.
Four trappers had been dropped to begin work on Mad River, and now five
more were left at this place to go into the mountains.

Fifteen canoes having been completed, the expedition pushed off on
October 16th, and swept rapidly down the stream all unknown. For some
fifty miles affairs went well. Then the river began to plunge among
rocks, two canoes were swamped, one of them smashed, and a large portion
of the cargoes swept away. They continued with great labour, and on
the 28th met with a sad disaster. The canoe of Ramsay Crooks struck
a rock in one of the rapids and was capsized. Four men, including
Crooks, managed to save themselves, but the fifth, Clappine, an expert
_Voyageur_, was dashed away in the torrent and lost. This was at the
beginning of a very bad stretch of river, hemmed in for miles by high
cliffs of several hundred feet, so foaming and torrential that they
named it the Caldron Linn. The country was excessively barren. The
provisions had dwindled to no more than five days' supply. The situation
was desperate. In these straits it was decided to split up into small
parties, which should set out in different directions, the idea being
that it would be easier thus to obtain subsistence. One party went down
the river, Crooks with five others started back toward Fort Henry to
get the horses, and another under McKenzie went north.

  [Illustration: Boat Made of Framework of Sticks Covered with Bison- or
   Horse-hide. Frequently Used in Early Days of the West.

   From The _Trail of Lewis and Clark_ by O. D. Wheeler.]

With Hunt there remained thirty-four persons, three being Dorion's squaw
and her two children, aged two and four. Like Sacajawea, on the Lewis
and Clark expedition, she was a sturdy and uncomplaining traveller,
resourceful and resolute. The goods were cached at Caldron Linn, which
consumed three days, and then Crooks and his men came back discouraged
about reaching the place where the horses had been left. Without these,
and with no chance of using the river, progress toward the mouth of the
Columbia would be slow. They were not only breaking the Wilderness, but
they were doing it in the hardest possible way. Hunt followed the stream
for a time and then on the advice of some natives he led the party
across the desert country to the northward. As one to-day, even under
favourable circumstances, rides over the wide waste of lava-covered
plain lying north of the Snake, he cannot fail to be impressed by the
sweep of giant snowy ranges that encircle the horizon. To Hunt, these
gleaming barriers must have presented a deeply sinister aspect. His
party was on the verge of starvation, when they arrived at a little
river where there was a Shoshone camp. Here some fish and a couple of
dogs were bought, enough to give them a supper. They also secured a
couple of horses, and then went on. At last they tried to leave the
river, but returned to it again after severe climbing through deep snow,
and next day met Crooks and his men on the point of starvation coming up
stream. Hunt had traded for a couple more horses with some Shoshones,
and one of these he now killed, making a hasty canoe out of the skin
with which to send Crooks some of the meat. Crooks came over in the
boat, and reported that his party had been reduced to some soles of old
moccasins for food. Hunt now decided to go back up the river in search
of a Snake camp, where they might barter for more horses and dogs, but a
new difficulty appeared. Crooks and one other were so feeble they could
not travel. The party wished to leave them but Hunt refused to do this.
Five stayed with him and the rest left. The stock of provisions finally
dwindled to three beaver skins, and taking one of these Hunt at last
pushed on to overtake those who had gone in order that he might persuade
Dorion, who now had the only horse, a bony creature, to sacrifice it
for the benefit of Crooks. But Dorion pleaded for the animal and they
went ahead a little farther, when they surprised a Snake camp, where a
number of horses were grazing. The natives ran, and the whites seized
five of the horses and soon were devouring one, while a messenger was
hurried back to Crooks with some of the meat on another.

Some of Crooks's party were across the river in a starving condition
and could see and hear distinctly. When Crooks came he sent meat over
to them, and one _Voyageur_ jumped wildly into the frail skin canoe to
return. When he came near the shore, the sight of the roasting meat
caused him to deliriously clap his hands and dance, which operation
upset the canoe and the poor fellow disappeared in the furious current.
The boatman was saved with difficulty. John Day, who had been one of the
strongest, was now a mere skeleton, barely able to walk, and all were
extremely emaciated. About December 15th, they arrived at a little creek
which they had crossed on the 26th of November, and here discovered a
dozen Shoshone lodges, and on up the stream were more. Hunt traded for
a couple of horses, a dog, and some dried fish and roots. From these
natives he tried to secure a guide, but they urged him to remain with
them, though at last one consented to go for large pay.

On December 21st they went down the creek to Snake River, and down this
a short distance in search of some rafts. These were not found and two
horses were killed to make a canoe out of their skins. The river was
full of floating ice, and the frail canoe gave them much trouble, but
on December 23d, breaking the shore ice, they succeeded in crossing.
Crooks's party were waiting for them, and they all moved forward
together, under the guidance of the native and two of his companions.
The _voyageurs_ were happy to say farewell to this perilous stream, so
unlike any they had ever seen before.

The ground was snow covered, the weather stormy, but fortified by a
meal of horse meat once in twenty-four hours, they moved on toward the
Blue Mountains, a superb range which one sees well from the railway now
crossing the north-east corner of Oregon about on the trail that Hunt
was following. On the 29th, Pierre Dorion was made a father, and his
squaw had three children in place of the two she had thus far dragged
through all the difficulties. Dorion's horse now came into full service
for the transportation of this increased family. One of the _voyageurs_,
La Bonte, here gave out, and had to take to another horse which had
been packed, Hunt himself carrying the load. This La Bonte seems to be
the same that Ruxton[79] afterwards wrote about. On the last day of
the year they came to a wide valley without snow and here camped for
New Year's Day, 1812, and as much revelry as possible was indulged in.
Some Shoshone tipis being nearby, they did not lack for dog and horse
steaks, and began to feel in better mood. They finally crossed the Blue
Mountains and descended into the valley of the Umatilla, where there was
no snow, and the weather was mild, for they were approaching sea level.
Dorion's infant now died, but there was no halt on this account. All
pressed on, encouraged by sights of deer and of horse tracks, till they
came to a large camp of Sciatogas, or Tushepaws, where there was plenty
of everything they needed, with at least two thousand horses grazing on
the hills. Hunt was now but two days' march from the Columbia. Horses
were cheap and the men ate their fill, though these Amerinds did not eat
horses or dogs. Proceeding they came at last to the Columbia, having
occupied six months in traversing the Wilderness from the Arikara
village. Had they stuck to their horses, they might have done it in
four. Part of this wide stretch had been entirely unknown to white men,
and Hunt's expedition, therefore, as an American exploration, ranks
second to that of Lewis and Clark, while in its bearing on the future of
that great unclaimed region then known as Oregon, it stands on an equal
footing. It was also the third traverse of the North American continent
above Mexico; and it was the beginning of the Oregon Trail.

Keeping down the north bank they began to hear news of the Astoria
establishment, and then of the loss of the _Tonquin_. The people by the
way were well posted on these matters, although they had no newspaper.
Purchasing canoes, the Hunt party ran down on the current, and on
February 15, 1812, they came in sight of Astoria, the goal they had so
long and so strenuously struggled to reach. McKenzie was already there,
having beaten Hunt by a full month. All the chief men of the party,
except Crooks, were now once more together. It therefore seemed that
the Astoria enterprise was about to bloom into success, but more trouble
was in store for it.



     [75] For the full account see Bradbury, _Travels_, etc., original
     edition, page 17, footnote.

     [76] For full details of this undertaking see Washington Irving's

     [77] See _New Light on the Early History of the Greater
     North-West_, by Dr. Elliott Coues.

     [78] I have not seen the original journal of Hunt. Irving, not
     knowing the country, does not always make the trail perfectly

     [79] _Life in the Far West._ G. F. A. Ruxton.



     Eastward from Astoria—The War of 1812 on a Business Basis in
     Oregon—Astoria Becomes Fort George—The Pacific Fur Company
     Expires—Louisiana Delimited at Last—The Expedition of Major
     Long—A Steamboat on the Missouri—The First Man on Pike's Peak—The
     Elusive Red River Refuses to be Explored—Closing on the Inner
     Wilderness—The Spanish Sentinel Turns Mexican.

The Astoria establishment was now in good order. There seemed to be
no reason why Astor's project at last should not move on to success.
Several trading-posts were founded in the upper Columbia valley, and to
further develop the situation, Hunt, in the supply ship _Beaver_, which
had duly arrived in May, 1812, sailed north along the coast. This was
in accordance with another part of the plan whereby arrangements had
been made with the Russians for supplying their North American trading
posts with merchandise and transporting their peltry. The chief of the
Russian company was the famous Baranof, a man of domineering power
and iron purpose. His home was in the celebrated Baranof Castle, at
New Archangel, now Sitka, a castle that saw grog flow like water, and
where a teetotaler met with no toleration. The castle, a massive log
structure, was accidentally burned only a few years ago. Hunt withstood
as well as he could the power of Baranof's potations, and succeeded in
adjusting his business satisfactorily.

Before he left Astoria, he sent Robert Stuart, a young Scotchman of
integrity, good judgment, and sincere devotion to the company, back
overland on June 29th, with messages for Astor, and this journey
deserves more space than it is possible to give it here, for Stuart
traversed new ground a part of the way, and so may be recorded among
the first Wilderness breakers.[80] With him went McClellan, Ramsay
Crooks, John Day, Ben Jones, Andri Vallar, and Francis Le Clerc. Crooks
and John Day, after having reluctantly been left behind by Hunt, had
finally arrived at Astoria in a desperate condition, from which Crooks
recovered, but Day's health was permanently destroyed and, his mind
giving way, Stuart was obliged to send him back to Astoria, where he
died the next year. His memory endures in the name of a river in Idaho,
as well as in his connection with the second great traverse of the
continent within the limits of the United States. The Stuart party on
its eastward way followed the Columbia and the Snake, meeting opposition
from some natives and assistance from others. They also encountered
near the head of the Snake some of the hunters who had been left to
trap and trade. These men were in a sorry plight, having met with
various disasters and also with robbery at the hands of hostile bands
of natives. At Caldron Linn they found that six of the caches had been
robbed by natives under the guidance of three _voyageurs_ of the Hunt
party who had remained behind and finally had taken up their residence
among some Shoshones. Fitting out several of the men from the three
remaining caches, Stuart left them to once more try their fortunes, and
directed his course on to the East. After a good deal of difficulty,
the 17th of October found him crossing one of the branches of the Green.
Food was limited, and finding no buffalo here the men were at the last
notch. Francis Le Clerc insisted that lots should be cast, as it was
better for one to die than for all, but Stuart threatened to shoot him
on the spot for the suggestion. Food was soon after obtained and the
party saved from extinction.

  [Illustration: On the Virgin River, Southern Utah, near where Escalante
   Went in 1776. Pine Valley Mountain in Distance.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

Crossing over to the head of the North Platte, which they did not know
at the time, they descended its wide valley for a long distance, and
then made a permanent camp for the winter, November 2d, where there
was abundant game. A visit from a war party of Arapahos caused them to
abandon the place and seek another, where the remainder of the winter
was passed comfortably without interruption, and in the early spring
they continued down the Platte, meeting in April with an Otoe who told
them of the war between the United States and Great Britain. Within a
few miles of the Missouri they bought a canoe from a trader and then
sailed down, arriving at St. Louis April 30th, 1813, ten months after
their departure from Astoria. Their horses had all been stolen on the
way by the natives, which not only caused delay, but deprived them of a
permanent food supply, and was one cause of their descent to the brink
of collapse.

As soon as the news of the war reached the North-west Company, orders
were issued for a party to proceed to Astoria to oust the Americans.
This detachment under McTavish and La Roque reached the place in a
famishing condition, but as McDougall, one of their countrymen, was in
charge, Hunt being absent, they were cordially received. For various
reasons Hunt's return was delayed, the next annual supply ship, the
_Lark_, failed to come, having been wrecked on the way, and altogether
the project was again deeply overshadowed. McDougall negotiated a sale
with the North-west representatives, and when the British man-of-war
_Raccoon_, on December 1, 1813, arrived to capture the American post,
all the disgusted captain could do was to substitute the British for
the American flag, as, of course, he had no power to molest property of
the North-west Company. He re-named the place Fort George, and sailed
away, without the rich prize money he had anticipated. When Hunt, who
had been back and again gone off to secure a ship for the removal of his
company's property, once more arrived on February 28, 1814, he found the
place a North-west Company post with McDougall in charge. He accepted
drafts on Montreal for the settlement of the account of the Pacific Fur
Company, and this part of the War of 1812 was thus a purely business
transaction. It would be cheaper if all wars could be settled on the
same basis.

McDougall has been roundly denounced for selling out in this manner.
Astor himself considered it disgraceful. But it is probable that in
the end, this procedure was the best, and there is nothing to indicate
that McDougall acted in bad faith. The Astoria enterprise was ended.
It had been well planned, but circumstances were against it. It did not
expire in a blaze of glory to make the close romantic, but merged into
the North-west Company as one day melts into another, and for years
thereafter this company was the dominant power of the whole region. But
while the scheme as a fur-trading venture had failed, as a part of the
history of breaking the Wilderness it takes a front place. Had those in
authority then fully appreciated the importance of the proceedings of
the Pacific Fur Company to the future of the United States, they would
have bent their energies to its successful promotion instead of taking
but a languid interest. Nevertheless the bearing of the disastrous
operations of the Pacific Fur Company on the boundary of Louisiana and
the claims of the United States in the Oregon country was of the first

When the treaty concluding the war was signed, December 24, 1814, it
stipulated that all territory and all places taken from either party,
with a few exceptions, were to be restored, and on this basis, though
the Oregon country was not mentioned, the United States claimed Astoria.
But the British, while finally agreeing to yield the post, although
they claimed it had never been booty of war, refused to allow any right
of possession of the region to go with it, asserting that Astoria had
merely been established in British territory. Captain Biddle in the
United States ship _Ontario_ took formal possession August 9, 1818, and
somewhat later J. B. Prevost went there on the British ship _Blossom_
and received the actual transfer as agent for the United States. Great
Britain was firm in its claim for the mouth of the Columbia and as no
settlement could be reached it was agreed, October 20, 1818, that for
a period of ten years the whole region eastward to the Rocky Mountains
should remain free and open to both nations. East of the Rocky Mountains
the forty-ninth parallel was at the same time adopted as the division
between Louisiana and British territory, an adjustment which had nearly
been arrived at eleven years earlier.

  [Illustration: An Arizona Thistle.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

The Spaniards now once more came forward with their claim to all Pacific
territory up to the fifty-fifth degree, while Russia demanded everything
down to the fifty-first. The United States yielded nothing in this
direction, and, still claiming Texas to the Rio Grande as a part of the
Louisiana Purchase, was finally able, in February, 1819, to negotiate
a treaty with Spain whereby that country ceded Florida, and its rights
north of latitude forty-two, in the Oregon region, for the claims of
the United States to Texas. Spain desired to extend its boundary to
the Mississippi, but in this did not succeed. The line between all
Spanish territory and Louisiana was also definitely fixed, and the
Louisiana Purchase now had limits for the first time, except on the
west between the forty-second parallel and the forty-ninth, and no line
could be drawn here till the United States and Great Britain settled
their difference over the Oregon region. These various agreements
delimited Louisiana as it is usually given on maps, except north from
the forty-second parallel, where there never was a boundary, except that
the Rocky Mountains were temporarily recognised as the eastern limit
of the disputed region. The lines of Louisiana on the west followed the
Sabine River to latitude thirty-two, thence north to Red River and west
along it to the one hundredth meridian, thence north on this to the
Arkansas, and west on the Arkansas to its source, thence due north to
the forty-second parallel. See map on page 154, in which the dotted part
shows the original state of the claims. All north of the forty-second
parallel claimed by Spain fell to the United States. These claims in
themselves were not very strong, except as to original discovery on the
coast, but, united to those acquired from France, from Gray's discovery,
from Lewis and Clark's exploration, from the Astoria establishment and
its subsidiary posts, and from the journey of Wilson Price Hunt, they
presented a better title to the region than any other nation could show.

Pike had reported the country he traversed to be no more than a barren
desert, and it was his opinion that it would be a permanent and an
effectual barrier to the western movement of the Americans. This
discouraging view, together with the War of 1812, retarded for several
years operations in the Wilderness on the part of Americans. The British
companies, however, were constantly active, the North-west holding all
the country west of the Rocky Mountains and a large part east of them.
Trappers operated along the Missouri and its tributaries, some few
entered the mountains, and the energetic Lisa was particularly active
in pushing his trade. In 1813 he was made sub-agent for all tribes on
the Missouri above the Kansas River, with instructions to prevent them
from going over to the British. He seems to have been a useful man in
many ways, and Brackenridge, who was with him for a considerable time,
has given a glowing picture of his enterprise and bold energy. He made
his last voyage in 1820, and died August 12th within the limits of the
present St. Louis.

In order to gain further knowledge of the vast western possessions,
another expedition was sent out by the Government in 1819 under Major
Long, to go to the Rocky Mountains by way of the Platte and return by
Red River. This party left St. Louis on June 21st, with the advantage
of a steamboat.[81] Fulton's experiments having achieved success
in 1807, steam propulsion had been extensively introduced for river
navigation and had brought a great change in transportation facilities.
Long's steamer, the _Western Engineer_, proved to be even better than
was expected, and they made their way up the Missouri easily against
the strong current, where by the old method of towing the keel boats,
enormous labour was involved. It was also a source of great interest to
the natives. The region was rapidly settling along the Missouri east
of the mouth of the Kansas so that supplies were there much easier
to obtain than formerly, and altogether the new order of things made
progress for Major Long quicker than that of any of his predecessors.
By September 17th, he had arrived at Fort Lisa and went into winter
quarters near Council Bluffs, naming the place Engineer Cantonment.
Long, himself, went East again from here by way of St. Louis, returning
on the 28th of May, 1820. Lieutenant Graham then took the steamboat
back, while Long mounted his party on horses for the trip across the
plains. There were twenty-eight horses and mules, one for each man,
and eight for carrying packs. The absurdity of having only eight pack
animals for a party of twenty men starting on a long exploring tour far
from any base of supplies, seems not to have struck any of the party,
not even Major Long. It was the same old story over again, inadequate
preparation, a story, too, that was often to be repeated in the future.
For such a party there should have been no fewer than twenty pack
animals, and thirty would have been nearer the right number. The list of
supplies was equally absurd. There was no flour, and only five hundred
pounds of biscuit, one hundred and fifty pounds of pork, and three
bushels of parched cornmeal, twenty-five pounds of coffee, and thirty
of sugar.

  [Illustration: A Full Larder.

   From _Wonderland _, 1904—Northern Pacific Railway.]

They left Engineer Cantonment on June 6, 1820. The chief members of
the party were, besides Major Long, Captain J. R. Bell, T. Say, and Dr.
Edwin James,[82] the last afterwards writing the account of the journey
from the note-books of the leading members, and at one place mentioning
the inadequate outfit. They were well received at a village of the
Pawnees, and the chief said, "You must have long hearts to undertake
such a journey with so weak a force, hearts that would reach from the
earth to the heavens." He urged them not to go on, but of course no
heed was paid to this. They passed other Pawnee villages along the
Platte, and went up the Loup Fork, to the Grand Pawnee village, then
across from the Loup Fork to the main Platte again, and followed that
stream up to the junction of its two great branches. Here they chose
the south branch, and on the 30th of June had their first glimpse of
the mountains lying like clouds on the horizon and gradually developing
till their snowy summits were plainly seen, especially a prominent peak
since named after Long. This first view of the great range is always
thrilling, and as one sights the heavy masses lying so mysteriously soft
in the clear light, he remembers the exclamation of the good bishop, who
as he stepped in this region off a railway train, deeply breathed the
sparkling air and fervently cried, "Well! I have never been out-of-doors

They had expected to celebrate the Fourth of July on some cool summit,
but on that day the peaks were still far distant and they were forced
to content themselves with an extra pint of maize and a small portion
of whiskey, on the common plain. Provisions were alternately scarce and
plenty according to locality and the success of the hunters; sometimes
buffalo hump-ribs, tongues, and marrow bones were abundant; again there
was starvation diet. At last, on the 10th, they were before the great
Backbone, with Pike's "highest peak" in full view from a hill. On the
12th they camped on the Fontaine qui Bouille near the present site of
Colorado City, and Dr. James, with four men started out to climb the
great peak. Two of the men were left at the base to care for the horses,
while the others went on. About noon they came to the Boiling Spring,
the present well-known soda spring of Manitou, which gives name to the
stream of which it forms a source.[83] This beautiful spring was of
great interest to James and they had their lunch beside it. Through its
crystal waters could be seen on the bottom the offerings of beads and
trinkets by the Amerinds.

Before this no attempt to climb the mountain had ever been successful,
but as in many other similar matters, no serious effort seems ever
before to have been made. The night of the 13th, James and his two
companions spent in a most uncomfortable place, and on the next morning
started early with the hope of making the round journey before dark.
About noon, timber line, 11,720 feet, was reached, and by four o'clock
they stood on the mighty summit, 14,108 feet above the sea, and 8000
above the plains, and could see on the east the prairie ocean melting
into the limitless distance, while on the other hand spread away a
broad chaos of peaks, canyons, valleys, fading into the depths of the
unknown Wilderness. Vast clouds of grasshoppers were flying over the
peak, sometimes so dense as almost to obscure the light. After about
half an hour on the majestic summit, now reached by a prosaic railway,
the descent began. Losing their course, they failed to reach the camp of
the previous night, and were forced to sleep out with no food or shelter
or comfort of any kind; not after all so awful as it sounds. As soon as
light came in the morning they continued, and reached their camp only
to find it ablaze; the fire had spread and consumed everything except a
few scraps of food, on which they greedily breakfasted. A heavy bison
and Amerind trail passed the Boiling Spring going into the mountains.
This is now a road to South Park.

Long rightly named this peak after James, and it should have retained
the name of the man first to surmount it, but geographical names are
sometimes singularly acquired, and so the peak which Pike saw from some
miles away, and was not the first to see, received his name without his
intention, or that of any one else. Indeed, no one can tell just how it
came to be called after Pike, except that it simply grew; and Frémont
finally put it on record.

Leaving Boiling Spring Creek, as the Long party called it, translating
the original French name, they struck south-west on July 16th, to the
"Arkansa," thus properly pronouncing (Arkansaw), and also correctly
writing it. The river takes its name from the Arkansa tribe, and how
it came to be designated by the plural is another of the curiosities of
geographic nomenclature. They looked for Pike's "blockhouse," but could
not find a trace of anything resembling work of white men, which is not
strange when we remember that what Pike built on or near the site of
Pueblo, was an extremely rude affair and not a house at all. Some of
the Long party went up the river to the deep canyon by which it cuts a
passage through the mountains, where Pike had already been, and where
to-day the railway follows the torrent out of the tangled rock masses
to the plain.

On July 19th they turned east down the Arkansas. Two parties were then
formed. One under Bell was to explore the Arkansas to Fort Smith, and
there await the others, who under Long's own command were to travel
south in search of the sources of Red River, with the intention of
descending that stream. Their guide all the time had been Joseph Bijeau,
who knew the country between the Arkansas and the Platte perfectly,
but that below the Arkansas he was not familiar with. He had often been
in the Rocky Mountains for some distance and gave a description of the
region, so far as he knew it, which was correct.

On the 24th of July the parties separated. The thermometer stood at
100° in the shade, when there was any, and the water being either
bad or lacking entirely, the journey south from the Arkansas was not
exhilarating. Wood was also scarce or absent, and fires had to be made
of "buffalo chips." They then followed up the Purgatoire and finally
passed to the head of another stream which they concluded must be Red
River. They crossed more than twenty well-beaten parallel trails, and
though they did not know it then, they were within a few miles of the
Metropolis of the Far Wilderness, Santa Fé, and could easily have gone
there by this road, had they so desired. There was suffering for food,
but from time to time this was relieved by the killing of a wild horse,
a buffalo, or some other game. On August 9th they met a large band of
"Kaskaias," who, while not exactly hostile, were not hospitable, and it
was with difficulty that any food was obtained from them. Water they
carried in paunches of bison, and in camp hung them on tripods. Long
did not discover from these people, strangely enough, that the river
he was following was not Red River, as he supposed, but the Canadian,
and it was not till they had consumed seven weeks and travelled down
the valley of the stream 796 miles, that on September 10th they came to
the Arkansas and learned their error. Two days later they met a trader,
Robert Glen, the first white man seen since the 6th of the preceding
June. He gave them coffee, biscuit, and some other supplies, and told of
the safe arrival at Fort Smith of the other division of the expedition.
Fort Smith, which they soon reached, was on the Arkansas just below
the Poteau, and had been established by Major Long in 1817. He was now
again on familiar ground, and nothing of note remains to be mentioned
concerning his expedition.

Red River seemed to evade the American explorer. Pike had failed to
find it; Long now had a similar disappointment, due to the same cause as
Pike's, neglect to reconnoitre properly before proceeding; and in 1806
Captain Sparks, attempting to explore westward from its mouth, met with
a greatly superior Spanish force and was compelled to retire.

  [Illustration: Standing Rocks, Common in the Wilderness.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

From the Arkansas to the northern border of the United States the
country was now fairly understood, the Columbia was no longer a mystery,
Garces and other Spaniards had traversed Arizona, New Mexico had long
been flourishing, the California Missions were quietly growing rich,
and the unbroken Wilderness was narrowing approximately to the region
between the thirty-sixth and the forty-second parallels and the Sierra
Nevada and the Rocky Mountains. Not that all outside of these bounds was
well known, for it was far from it, but it could no longer be regarded
as Wilderness absolute, while the area above outlined, except for the
entrada of Escalante, was a blank. It was all the property of Spain,
hence Americans had no right to enter, but when the War of 1812 was
well disposed of hunters began again to pour into the Wilderness, and
Long's expedition seemed to mark the beginning of another important
attack upon the mountain fastnesses, where the beaver by thousands
and tens of thousands were enjoying a busy life and holding forth
unwittingly an alluring bait that was now to induce a great invasion of
Spanish territory notwithstanding the challenge of the sentinel. Spain's
hold, too, on her Mexican possessions was loosening. Iturbide in 1821
proclaimed Mexican independence, and the next year Santa Aña unfurled
the flag of the Republic. For some time Mexico had her full attention
occupied with internal affairs.



     [80] Recently a manuscript diary of Robert Stuart's was discovered,
     and a typewritten copy of it has been added to the New York Public

     [81] _Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky
     Mountains in 1819-20_, compiled by Edwin James from the notes of
     Major Long, Mr. Say, and other gentlemen of the party.

     [82] James took the place of Dr. Baldwin, who had become ill and
     remained behind at the village of Franklin, where he died on August
     31, 1819. Dr. James came out in the spring of 1820 with Major Long.

     [83] Dr. Coues states in his _Pike's Journal_ that the proper name
     for this stream, as applied by Frémont, is _Fontaine qui Bouit_,
     but as it was named before Frémont's time from the celebrated
     "boiling" springs, Dr. Coues's statement is an error.



     The Wilderness Breaker—Lisa Closes his Account—General Ashley
     Takes a Hand—The Religious Jedediah—Green River Valley—What
     a White Bear could Do—Ashley Navigates Red Canyon of Green
     River—Discovery of Salt Lake—Ashley Retires Rich—The Rocky Mountain
     Fur Company—Sylvester and James O. Pattie—Pattie's Journey in the
     Valley of the Colorado—The Great Circuit of Jedediah Smith.

As the third decade of the nineteenth century came in, the trappers
and traders began more than ever to long for the conquest of the
great mountain Wilderness, whose solemn front, ending the wide rolling
plain, reared its craggy barriers with soothing outlines tantalisingly
suggestive of wealth and wonder easily accessible behind. The hardships
of the explorers to the mouth of the Columbia passed unheeded, for
the men who now came to match nerve and muscle against the entrenched
mystery were in their natural element when battling with danger and
difficulty in the uplifting air, and, like the eagle sailing high,
were never more at home than when pushing their daring tread into
some virgin valley, where falling waters broke the calm and fostered
multitudes of beaver, where game bounded from every nook and glade, and
the rich bunch-grass fattened their patient horses. Here with traps, a
good rifle, and plenty of ammunition, notwithstanding encounters with
the native striving to preserve his happy hunting-grounds, their lives
were full of pleasure and that resolute and healthy vigour which comes
to the intelligent man alert to protect life and limb. They appeared
to have been born for this particular operation of breaking the final
strongholds of the Wilderness.

  [Illustration: In the Mountain Wilderness—Vulture Peak.

   Photograph by R. H. Chapman, U. S. Geol. Survey.]

The whole western region, being at a greater elevation than two thousand
feet, the air is extremely invigorating. This desirable quality, with
the absence of continuous rains from the larger part, renders it an
ideal country for living in the open. Even in dead of winter the dry
air causes the cold to be more easily borne than the same degree in
moister regions. Those who have never tried it can hardly appreciate
the pleasure of winter living out-of-doors; nor can they realise the
alluring interest of unknown country, where now and then from some
splendid height the wide encircling problem is viewed for leagues,
or till merged in the haze of distant sky. Perchance a film of smoke
steals up from some blue, deep glen to mark the presence of dwellers in
the wilds. Toward evening the night mists draw earth and sky together,
and the mountain billows seem interminable and impossible. Another sun
lights the mystery, and the stranger gropes on expecting surprises at
every step.

  [Illustration: Before Sunrise.

   From _Wonderland _, 1904, Northern Pacific Railway.]

The extreme hardship that sometimes was endured was frequently due to
wrong decisions or inadequate outfit; or from going ahead too fast.
The born mountaineer and explorer, however, meets with few setbacks
because he does not know a setback when he sees it. He fits into the
Wilderness without effort, and drifts across it as summer clouds cleave
a tranquil sky. Many of the American trappers of this period had been
reared to life in the woods of the East; the rifle was their childhood's
toy. Through sheer love of adventure they were impelled to the wider
Wilderness, and quickly adjusted themselves to new conditions. They
could have been anywhere readily distinguished. With compact muscles
and solid frame, partners of fresh air, exercise, and simple fare, they
had a clear, wide gaze, flinching before neither man nor beast; and
unfailing nerve that often whipped prospective disaster to success.

The routine of the frontier and especially of the deeper Wilderness
precluded any great lapse from physical excellence. When a man was
alive he was generally well. Indeed, the average American trapper
had a constitution that seemed invincible. Besides this his moral
fibre was usually excellent. His word was good, his dealings with his
fellows honourable. Money he cared less for than freedom. Cheerfully
he risked his life for another. The code of law was unwritten, but it
was well understood; punishment for serious offences was swift and
certain. Crimes against white men were proportionately less than in
a modern city; but when it came to dealings and intercourse with the
Amerind conscience was paralysed. They also rated his blood at about
the price of water, and out of this, for them and for the nation, came
deep and lasting trouble. But, on the whole, they were a class to be
much admired; some of their names, like Bridger and Kit Carson, are
imperishably woven into history and literature; others, like Jedediah
Smith, are to the general reader unknown.

  [Illustration: Green River Valley.

   Photograph by C. R. Savage.]

This period opens with the death of the dominant figure of the Missouri
River trade from the beginning of the century, especially from the date
of the Louisiana Purchase, Manuel Lisa, who made his last voyage in
1820 and then closed the epoch, and his own earthly account, forever.
He may have had all the faults charged against him, but nevertheless
he seems not to have committed any grave offence, and he possessed
commanding ability, so that his life appears to balance well. In a
letter to General Clark, Superintendent of the Western Tribes, resigning
the position of sub agent, which he had held for three years—1814 to
1817,—he explains his influence over the natives by his fair dealing and
by his kindness to them. He gave them pumpkin, potato, and other seed;
his blacksmiths worked for them without charge; he lent them traps,
and his forts were the refuge of the old and feeble. He was the most
active man of his period. But the beginning of this decade saw another
active man come to the top, the man who started the actual breaking
of the Rocky Mountain Wilderness, and who, with his employees and the
"free" trappers and freebooters who followed their lead, soon penetrated
the secret places of Mexican territory. This was William H. Ashley, a
brigadier-general of militia in Missouri, the first lieutenant-governor,
and later twice a member of Congress from the newly created State.
He was a Virginian who came to St. Louis in 1802, the year before the
transfer of Louisiana. He was then twenty-four, a man of education, of
great executive ability, and of unfaltering courage. He was forty-eight
when the third decade of the century opened, with which his name is so
closely associated that it might almost be called the Ashley decade.
Not that he was the first to cross the mountain barrier into Mexican
territory, for Etienne Provost (Provo) had gone to Salt Lake in the
very first year, and there were others, of whom little or no record is
preserved. Samuel Adams Ruddock, in 1821, went from Council Bluffs to
Santa Fé and thence north, apparently about on the line of Escalante's
old trail, to Salt Lake valley, performing a memorable journey, but
Ashley was the master organiser who dealt the obstinate Wilderness its
death-blow, battering a permanent breach that was quickly widened. In
1822 he built a fort on the Yellowstone. With twenty-eight men, the
following year, he started to make his first attack on the frontal
mountains. The Arikaras by this time had more than ever determined to
obstruct the entrance of the whites into their territory and sharply
repelled the company, killing fourteen of the party and wounding ten.
Such an overwhelming defeat would have completely vanquished many
leaders, but Ashley, who had a large investment in this venture, did
not falter, and next year, 1824, when the time came to move on he was
ready, and they marched to success.

With him were a number of men soon to become celebrated in Wilderness
breaking, among them Andrew Henry, who had crossed the Continental
Divide to Snake River as early as 1809; Fitzpatrick, William Sublette,
Green, after whom Green River is supposed to have been named; Jim
Bridger, then a youth of nineteen; and the extremely religious as well
as unflinching trapper, Jedediah Smith, one of the boldest, strongest,
most skilful, and altogether admirable characters of the time, a
veritable knight in buckskin, whose career was a continual romance.
Andrew Henry, who, as mentioned, had long before explored and trapped
in the country, in connection with Lisa and the Missouri Fur Company, at
the time when he established the fort on the head of Snake River, which
Wilson Price Hunt visited and temporarily occupied, had then discovered
South Pass, a discovery which has been erroneously awarded to others of
a later time. Of course, even he only followed an Amerind trail. Ashley
led his band up the North Platte, about on the track of Robert Stuart's
eastward journey from Astoria of 1812-13, named the Sweetwater Branch,
and passed over to Green River Valley, an inviting basin surrounded by
high mountains, the Wind River range on the north, and on the south the
point where the Green, then commonly called the Colorado, Spanish River,
or the Seedskedee, enters the Uinta range by Flaming Gorge, the first
of the thousand miles of canyons now celebrated, which enclose the river
and, together with the rush of descending waters, make travelling by it
hazardous. This Green River Valley was adopted as the rendezvous—that
is, the point where all the trapping parties, separating to pursue the
hunt for rich beaver streams, should again meet the following year to
deliver pelts for shipment to St. Louis. The locality for a long time
afterward was the central meeting-place for mountain men and was known
far and wide.

Many of the trappers and traders of the early days wrote or dictated
books, and there is consequently a large amount of literature bearing
on the subject, but others, like Ashley, whose story would to-day be
invaluable, apparently recorded little. Yet some journals may still come
to light, for it was not long ago that Coues discovered and printed that
of Jacob Fowler, who, in 1821-22, went across to Santa Fé in company
with Hugh Glenn.[84] Fowler and Glenn built the first real house on or
near the site of Pueblo, Colorado, and occupied it for about a month.
Then they went on to Taos and Santa Fé. Glenn had a permit from the
Mexican authorities to trap and trade in their territory. The route was
over the Sangre de Cristo Pass by the regular trail, for many years
travelled by Spaniards, who inherited it from the natives. It passed
down to Trinchera Valley, in San Luis Park, where the sketch was made
which forms the frontispiece to this volume.

Fowler and his companions met with difficulties from Spaniards, from
lack of food, from Amerinds, and from bears. The "white bear," or
grizzly, at that time was numerous everywhere, and the guns of the
hunters being small-bore, muzzle-loading flint-locks, they were of
small service in a battle with one of these impervious monsters. The
cry of "white bear" was almost as alarming as that of "Indians." On
one occasion a bear ran for shelter into a dense thicket of ten or
twenty acres near camp, where Glenn and four others pursued him. As is
usual with them, the bear kept quiet till the men were directly upon
him, when he rose and attacked Lewis Dawson. Glenn's gun missed fire,
but a dog worrying the animal Dawson was able to get away, though only
momentarily, for the ponderous beast was again quickly upon him. Glenn's
gun missed a second time. Dawson ran up a tree, but the bear caught
him by the leg and pulled him down. Meanwhile Glenn, in another tree,
sharpened his gun flint, reprimed his piece, and put a ball into the
enemy. Several others now coming up also shot and the bear was killed.
But Dawson was badly hurt. He was helped to camp, where, in Fowler's
own words and spelling,

     "His wounds Ware Examined—it appears His Head Was In the Bares
     mouth at least twice—and that when the monster give the Crush that
     Was to mash the mans Head it being two large for the Span of His
     Mouth the Head Sliped out only the teeth Cutting the Skin to the
     bone Where Ever the touched it—so that the skin of the Head Was
     Cut from about the Ears to the top in Several derections—all of
     Which Wounds Ware Sewed up as Well as Cold be don by men In our

  [Illustration: Arrow Weed in the Yuma Country.

   Photograph by Delancy Gill.]

Dawson declared he had heard his skull break, but as he was cheerful
this was supposed to be imagination, yet on the second day he grew
delirious, and then a hole, supposed before to be slight, was found to
be so deep that the brain was oozing out. The man died on the third
day and was buried, of course, on the spot. They were all sorry, but
there was no time for lamentations, nor necessity for them. The bear
was skinned, the oil tried out, Dawson's effects sold to his companions,
and the party proceeded, having painted another picture of the risk of
breaking the Wilderness with a flint-lock gun. The disaster, however,
like many another, was the result of rashness,—in this case the plunging
into a thicket where a grizzly lay concealed.

A noted trapper and scout, belonging to what may be termed the
freebooter class, of which Edward Rose was another but worse example,
was James P. Beckwourth, who years afterward, 1854-55, dictated a
somewhat bombastic but highly interesting story of his adventures,
from which we learn something about Ashley, in whose employ he was for
several years.[85] Beckwourth was a mulatto, part French, and Parkman
describes him,[86] from hearsay, as "a ruffian of the worst stamp,
bloody and treacherous, without honour or honesty," a rather extreme
and apparently unjust description. He performed valuable services at
times, and, while wild and reckless, seems to have possessed a fair
amount of honour and honesty. He knew the Amerinds well, particularly
the Crows, in which nation he became a chief, and he declares the
natives knew that the whites cheated them; an important point in judging
the course of the various tribes. He was young when he first went with
Ashley—twenty-six,—but was one of the most active men in the party—at
least from his own story. At this time Ashley's main camp was placed at
or near the lower end of Green River Valley, and the General determined,
1825, to descend the river through the canyon to search for fresh beaver
ground. It has been stated that he intended returning to St. Louis by
this route, thinking the Colorado (Green) discharged into the Gulf of
Mexico, but this is disproved by the fact that he did not take his fur
packs along. He was merely searching for more beaver. The boats were
rude affairs made of buffalo hides and were not at all adequate to
the demands of the fierce current, which carries one along with great
impetuosity. Just below the camp was some rapid water called "Green
River Suck," and this was probably at the mouth of Henry's Fork, where
the river first breaks into the rocks of the Uinta Mountains, extending
across its path, forming Flaming Gorge and other canyons. For several
miles below this the canyons are short and not difficult to get in or
out of, then Red Canyon suddenly closes in and for twenty-five miles
the bounding rocks are high, steep, red sandstone, reaching at the
highest twenty-five hundred feet for a long distance, while the water is
torrential. Ashley's was the first attempt to navigate the upper waters
of the Colorado, a reckless procedure with such boats, for they had no
idea what might be encountered. The stream falls about 450 feet before
emerging into Brown's Park, or "Hole," as it was originally named, after
Brown, a trapper who once lived there. From the term "Hole" some writers
have been misled into supposing that this is a very dangerous part of
the river, and that it was there that Ashley met his great danger; but,
on the contrary, the Hole is one of the few openings, or wide valleys,
on the Colorado, and the river meanders through it quite tamely, with
level banks and cottonwood groves. Therefore it was between the foot
of Green River Valley and this Hole, now Brown's Park, that Ashley lost
two of his boats, risked his life in the rapids, and nearly starved to
death. Some have laid his trail through the Canyon of Lodore, but this
follows Brown's Park, where escape is easy.

  [Illustration: Red Canyon of Green River.

   Length 25 miles. Walls 1800 to 2500 feet high. Average width of water
   250 feet. Ashley was the first white man to pass through this gorge.]

The men grew weak and disheartened, and after six days without food they
reached the limit of endurance. They proposed drawing lots, according to
Beckwourth, to see which one should die to create food for the others.
But Ashley implored them to postpone this hideous alternative at least
another twenty-four hours, and meanwhile led them rapidly forward in the
hope of coming to the end of the gorge. This fortunately they did, and
came out into Brown's Hole to find Provost camped there with abundant
provisions and horses. With him they went across the mountains to Salt
Lake, and thence back to the rendezvous.

  [Illustration: Ashley, 1825]

Owing to frequent battles between the Hudson Bay Company and the
North-west Company, both of which operated mainly north of the 42d
parallel west of the Rocky Mountains, and north of the 49th east of
them, these companies in 1821 were merged under the Hudson Bay title.
Astoria had been abandoned and their chief fort in the Columbia region
was Vancouver, just above the mouth of the Willamet. Their trappers
ranged the whole northern country, and at Salt Lake Ashley met one of
their chief men, Peter Skeen Ogden, with a large quantity of furs which
he succeeded in buying at rates that much pleased him, especially as
he was now heavily in debt. With these he returned to the rendezvous,
where soon the trappers came in with splendid packs of furs, which,
could they be safely delivered in St. Louis, would immediately retrieve
the General's fortune and enlarge it.

  [Illustration: Ashley Fall, Red Canyon, Green River.

   Ashley's name was found on right on the picture on one of the huge
   fallen rocks, about at the top of the old dead tree.]

The fact of his entrance into Red Canyon and the date are recorded,
apparently by Ashley's own hand, "Ashley, 1825," on a large rock on
the left bank of the river, over a sharp drop in the water, in the
upper portion of the canyon. Of this I made a copy in 1871 and append
a reproduction. The rapid, or fall, at this point is named after the
bold General, Ashley Fall. The account of the canyon trip is from
Beckwourth, to whom the General told it. I have never seen any other. I
cannot understand why they did not climb out, which could have been done
in many places; and the heights abounded in game. Perhaps the reason
was that, constantly expecting the end of the gorge, they went on till
hunger caused the high walls to seem unscalable; or perhaps they were
not in such desperate straits for food as Beckwourth declares.

His rich cargo of pelts Ashley took to St. Louis by way of the
Yellowstone and the Missouri, building boats for the purpose. On the
way he met General Atkinson, an old friend, who had been sent by the
Government up the Missouri for the purpose of driving out Hudson Bay
trappers. These did not then much intrude into that region, so his task
was a light one. Ashley reached St. Louis at last with the furs and
from being in debt became rich. He treated his men handsomely, putting
them up at the best hotel with _carte blanche_ as to orders, paid wages
in full, and for faithful service gave each a present of three hundred
dollars and a suit of clothes. Ashley thus was more successful with his
enterprise than Lord Selkirk was with one he embarked in to settle the
Red River country in what is now Manitoba. He obtained in 1811 a large
grant there, but the North-west Company opposed him, not desiring to
see the country civilised, and finally after battles and bloodshed the
colony collapsed.

The year following his very successful return, Ashley, 1826, went
again to the mountains, taking a six-pounder with him all the way to
Utah Lake, then called Ashley's Lake, where he built a fort. His men
had ramified in every direction, busily trapping during his absence.
It was in the winter of 1824-25 that Bridger, to decide a bet between
two comrades as to where Bear River emptied, was selected to trace the
stream from their camp in Cache Valley, to find out. Thus he came to
Salt Lake and tasted its waters. The report he took back to the camp
caused the men to believe that this salt water was an arm of the sea, an
idea which was not dispelled till the spring of 1826, when four of the
men circumnavigated it in a skin canoe, searching for beaver streams.
Robert Campbell, who was in Cache Valley when the party came back, is
firm in awarding the honour of discovering Salt Lake to Bridger, but
as Provost had been in that neighbourhood as early as 1820 he may have
seen the lake before Bridger, and it has been asserted that he did.

The treatment of the natives was often abominable, and each year the
breach between whites and Amerinds widened. Clarke, of the Astoria
enterprise, had hung a Nez Perce in full view of his comrades because
he stole a silver mug, and it was such treatment as this, and the
shooting of them for "fun," that convinced them they must eternally
fight the white man's advance. They therefore adopted various methods.
One favourite exploit was to run away with horses, to accomplish which
they would sometimes pretend friendship. These incidents were sudden and
startling. Beckwourth relates this one: "We encamped that night, keeping
a strong guard, and saw all round us, as far as the eye could extend,
numerous signal fires." At daylight operations began. The cry went up:

     "The ropes are cut! Shoot them down! Rifles began to crack, and
     six of the Indians fell, five of whom were instantly scalped (for
     scalps are taken off with greater ease while the bodies are warm),
     and the remaining Indian having crawled into the river after
     receiving his wound, his scalp was lost. One of their chiefs was
     among the slain. He was shot in our camp before he had time to make
     his retreat."

The Blackfeet were always hostile to everybody, white or red, and the
Arapahos and Sioux were apt to be. Some tribes were friendly most of
the time; others were friendly all the time.

Beckwourth describes numerous bloody engagements, especially when he was
a chief among the Crows, but doubtless these accounts must be somewhat
discounted. Once he and Sublette dragged a wounded Amerind away from the
enemy's lines, although the desperate fellow clung to the grass and made
it a difficult task. They placed him for execution before one of their
own men, who had been wounded, in order that this man might have the
satisfaction of killing one of the hated race. "But," says Beckwourth,
"the poor fellow had not strength sufficient to perforate the Indian's
skin with his knife, and we were obliged to perform the job ourselves."

Ashley finally sold out his interest to Sublette, Fitzpatrick, and
others, who made up the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, and himself
returned to St. Louis to settle down and enjoy the large income now
his from the success of his energy and judgment. He never went to
the mountains again. He had "handsome grounds" about his house, and
enclosed within them one or two of the ancient mounds which then were
common on the site of St. Louis. At this time in St. Louis there was a
variety of architecture. There were broad, steep-roofed stone houses
of the French; tall stuccoed dwellings with tiers "of open corridors
above them, like a once showy but half-defaced galleon in a fleet of
battered frigates,"—the houses of the Spaniards; and the "clipper-built
brick houses of the Americans—light as a Baltimore schooner and pert
as a Connecticut smack." The population was seven or eight thousand,
extremely varied with plenty of trappers and frontiersmen, who "think
as much of an Indian encounter as a New York blood does of a spree with
a watchman."

Ashley was a popular man in every way and was twice elected to Congress
from his State. Beckwourth relates the parting incidents when Ashley
left his men in the mountains: "We were all sorry to part with the
General.... There was always something encouraging in his manner; no
difficulty dejected him; kind and generous in his disposition, he was
loved equally by all.... He left the camp amid deafening cheers from the
whole crowd." The Rocky Mountain Fur Company prospered under Sublette
and Fitzpatrick, though the enormous returns of the first years could
not again be secured. As every company had from forty or fifty to
several hundred men constantly at work, the beaver ranks were rapidly
thinned, and profits correspondingly diminished.

  [Illustration: Lower Falls of the Yellowstone.

   From _Wonderland _, 1901, Northern Pacific Railway.]

The Blackfeet were the greatest scourge to the region, occupying toward
the country around the headwaters of the Missouri something the same
relation that the Iroquois did to the Ohio valley, and the Apaches
to the New Mexican territory. Sometimes they were met in the most
unexpected way, as in the case of a trapper named Clyburn, who with one
companion was on his way to the rendezvous of his company with the furs
of a whole season. As they turned through some timber to cross a stream
they rode squarely into a Blackfoot camp. Escape was impossible. Clyburn
did not waver for a second, but rode calmly to the head chief's tipi,
where he proclaimed himself a friend who wished to pass the night under
his protection. The chief received them coldly, ordered his women to
unpack the horses, and demanded from the men an account of themselves,
also how they dare intrude on his hunting-ground. These questions were
evaded and the men tried to swallow some of the food placed before
them, though they felt little like eating. Clyburn overheard the chief
say they must be killed. He told his mate and instructed him to watch
closely and follow every move he made. When it grew nearly dark and the
warriors were somewhat off their guard, Clyburn suddenly broke for the
river, a hundred yards off, with his companion beside him. There were
wild yells, shots, confusion. Clyburn swam the stream, hid beneath a
shelving bank, and when the search was abandoned looked about for the
other man. He was nowhere to be found and was never heard of again.
Clyburn succeeded in reaching the rendezvous, where he refitted and once
more went to the beaver grounds. He had engaged for five years, and when
his time was up he started for the East. Going to hunt where the river
made a large bend, he missed the boat, and as they never waited for
any one he was alone on the plains and struck out on foot for Council
Bluffs, a thousand miles away, where he finally arrived with barely
strength enough to creep on all fours. These men never gave up. Never
did their nerve give way, never did they admit defeat; it might crush
them, but as long as a heart throb remained they fought against it.
Death alone could check their efforts to retrieve a desperate situation.
Two fine examples of the highest type of the Wilderness breaker were
a father and son by the name of Pattie. Sylvester, the father, was
about forty-four, who had moved to Missouri from that State famous for
great hunters,—Kentucky. He was familiar with frontier warfare, having
served as lieutenant in the army against Amerind foes. Courageous and
intelligent beyond the average, he was held in high esteem. The death of
his wife induced a species of melancholia, and on the advice of friends
he sold his property and fitted out, in 1824, a trapping expedition to
divert his mind. Distributing his children among relatives, he yielded
to the pleadings of his son, James O., then about twenty, and added him
to his party. His goal was the upper Missouri, the region then most
talked about, but on arriving at Council Bluffs with his men and ten
horses loaded with materials for a trapping and trading campaign, the
commanding officer of the post refused him permission to proceed as he
had no license, not having known that one would be required.

He was not to be easily thwarted. The Santa Fé trade was growing and
he decided to turn his course in that direction. Selling his extra
arms he bought more goods for this trade, and then joined one Pratte,
whom they had met on the way to Council Bluffs, and who was preparing
for the Santa Fé journey. Sylvester Pattie was elected to command the
combined parties, many of the men having served as rangers under him.
There were 116 all told, with several hundred horses and mules. Pattie
conducted the affairs of the caravan methodically and skilfully and
they went up the Platte without any drawbacks. The Pawnees welcomed
them cordially, even affectionately, and their intercourse would have
been altogether agreeable had not a war party come in at a village
of Pawnee Loups having with it a child captive, whose mother had been
killed and scalped. This harrowing spectacle of the unfortunate little
redskin probably brought Pattie's own children more vividly before him,
and he offered to buy the boy, but the Pawnees prepared to burn him as
a part of their victory celebration. The chief was unreasonably greedy
in negotiating to spare the child, so the Pattie outfit decided to take
the little prisoner away by force. The thongs binding him, over which
the flesh had swelled till they were not visible, were removed, and he
was sent to their camp. With arms in readiness, Pattie told the chief
they meant to keep the boy. He asked if they thought they could do it,
to which Pattie replied that they would or every man would die in the
attempt. "Save your powder and lead to kill buffaloes and your enemies,"
the chief said, and accepted the offer of goods. The incident is worth
relating as it shows the temper of the Patties, and many other trappers,
who would lightly risk their lives and all their possessions to save an
unfortunate little Amerind child.

One day farther on they met with some other natives. The little boy was
playing about the camp as usual when the attention of the white men was
suddenly attracted by loud screams and cries.

     "Looking up we saw our little boy in the arms of an Indian whose
     neck he was closely clasping, as the Indian pressed him to his
     bosom, kissing him and crying at the same time. As we moved towards
     the spot, the Indian approached us still holding the child in
     his arms; and falling on his knees made us a long speech which we
     understood only through his signs."

This was the father of the boy.

White bears were met and one of their men was "literally torn to pieces"
by one and died five days after. Pattie counted in one day 220 of these
grizzlies. A few days farther on they witnessed a great battle between
Comanches and Iotans. "The discharge of their firearms and the clashing
of their different weapons, together with their war yell and the shrieks
of the wounded and dying, were fit accompaniments to the savage actors
and scene. The contest lasted about fifteen minutes,"—the Comanches
being vanquished.

At last they arrived at San Fernandez de Taos and then at Santa Fé,
which had a population of about five thousand.

  [Illustration: On the Gila River, Arizona.

   This is the place chosen for the San Carlos Irrigation Dam.

   Photograph by J. B. Lippincott.]

With some trouble they obtained permission to trap on the Gila, "a
river," says Pattie, "never before explored by white people." They soon
came into the country of the Apaches, and one of the men was killed
in an advance party. When the Patties came to the point they saw the
remains. "They had cut him in quarters after the fashion of butchers.
His head with the hat on was stuck on a stake." It was full of arrows.

After considerable manœuvring around New Mexico, James O. Pattie again
went trapping down the Gila and its branches to the Colorado River in
1826. Up the Colorado he went to the Grand Canyon, the first American
apparently to see it, then across country not far from the great gorge,
probably on the north, till they came to Grand River, Colorado, and
in April, 1827, they crossed the Continental Divide to the head of
the Platte near Long's Peak, whence they proceeded to the Yellowstone,
terminating there a remarkable traverse of this part of the Wilderness.
Pattie then went back to Santa Fé, where his father had remained, and
once more started out, going to the Colorado, where they trapped beaver
down to the mouth, intending to go this way to the Spanish settlements,
which they thought existed there. Encountering the great tidal bore they
were nearly wrecked.[87] They finally struck across for the California
missions, suffering greatly for water, and reached St. Catherine's
in 1828. Here they were arrested and Pattie the elder at length died
in prison. James O., with great difficulty after long captivity,
succeeded in freeing himself and returned to his home by way of Mexico,
arriving far poorer than when he started with such rosy hopes and his
father's strong support. The book which he published is one of the most
interesting in the whole range of this literature.[88] Had he chosen to
remain in the Wilderness there is no doubt that he would have become
one of the most famous of trappers, but the death of his father took
the romance out of the life and he cared no longer for adventure.

William Becknell, in 1824, went far west of Santa Fé, and in August
of the same year William Huddart, with fourteen men, went from Taos to
Green River, and in so calling the stream used the term for the first
time on record. Green seems to have been a denizen of Green River
Valley before 1820. They probably followed the old Escalante trail
approximately. A battle with Arapahos finally compelled Huddart to
return to Taos with a part of the company, the others having previously
gone north along Green River.

The afterwards celebrated Christopher (Kit) Carson now appears on the
scene in New Mexico, 1826, only seventeen years old, but full of that
courage, energy, and good judgment which finally placed his name at
the top of the list of Wilderness breakers. 1826 was a fruitful year in
exploration. Lieutenant Hardy of the British navy came up the Gulf of
California in a schooner and entered the Colorado for some distance.

Pattie, the first American to see the Grand Canyon, so far as I can
ascertain, had in a general way explored the Colorado from its mouth to
the head of its Grand River branch. He had not been able to enter the
deep canyons, but he had seen them from above, and had ascertained the
character of the great river which for the distance from at least White
River to the mouth of the Rio Virgin remained unbroken wilderness for
more than forty years longer, the last portion to be vanquished.[89]
Pattie's name has been little known in this connection, and his
extraordinary journey has not received the recognition it deserves, for
it actually holds a place alongside the achievements of great explorers.
The same year, 1826, that Pattie made the successful traverse from the
mouth of the Gila to the Yellowstone by way of the Colorado and Grand
rivers, Jedediah Smith started from Salt Lake with fifteen men and,
proceeding south to Utah Lake, thence went southwesterly about on the
same trail apparently that Escalante had followed in 1776, till he came
to the Virgin River, which he called Adams in honour of the President.
He followed it down to its junction with the Seedskedee or Colorado.
The Seedskedee or Green River was also known as the Colorado, hence when
Smith speaks of the Seedskedee in this region his meaning is perfectly

  [Illustration: Headwaters of Virgin River.

   Named Adams River by Jedediah Smith in 1826.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

The Mohaves were kind to him and provided food and horses with which he
went on to the Mission of San Gabriel in California, the first American
on record to go there. He spent the winter trapping, and early in May,
1827, tried to cross the range, probably near the head of the Merced,
without success. Another attempt on the 20th of the same month, with
two men, seven horses, and two mules, occupied eight days and, with
the loss of one mule and two horses, they came down on the eastern
flank. In twenty days they were again at Salt Lake. Chittenden thinks
they crossed near Sonora Pass. On July 13th of the same year Smith
returned to California by his former route down the Virgin. This time
the Mojaves, prompted by Spaniards it is said, set upon his party as
they were crossing the Colorado, killing ten of his men and capturing
everything. Smith at last reached the Spanish settlements where he was
thrown into prison. In November he was allowed to go on condition that
he would leave Mexican territory. He had left the bulk of his party
behind in California, and now brought them together again. He led his
men to San Francisco and thence up to the Columbia, meeting with success
in trapping all the way. Finally he had accumulated furs worth about
twenty thousand dollars and prepared to take them back to Salt Lake. He
camped in the Shasta country one night on the south bank of the Umpqua.
The Shastas seemed to be entirely friendly and Smith was apparently
thrown off his guard. They hung about camp, and in the morning when
Smith was on a raft searching for a fording-place for the pack animals,
having with him a little Englishman and one of the natives, the latter
suddenly seized Smith's gun and jumped into the water. At this moment
a wild commotion at the camp indicated an attack there. Smith quickly
shot the Shasta with the Englishman's gun, and knowing it would be death
to return now to the camp made for the opposite shore and at length
succeeded in reaching Fort Vancouver, the North-west-Hudson Bay post on
the Columbia at the mouth of the Willamette,—the fort which had taken
the place of Astoria, or, more correctly, of Fort George. Besides the
Englishman who was with him, only two of his men escaped, Black and
Turner, the latter having killed four Shastas with a half-burnt stick
which he snatched from the camp-fire at the moment of attack. They were
well received at the British fort, and everything was done that was
possible to relieve their unfortunate situation. A party was sent to
punish the Shastas according to the Hudson Bay Company policy, and the
furs and goods were recovered. Sir George Simpson, in charge, offered to
send Smith with his furs to London the next summer in the supply ship,
but Smith preferred to sell out to Simpson on the spot and in March,
1829, made his way across by way of Snake River toward the rendezvous.
Sublette about this time sent out a party to look for him, and they came
together in Pierre's Hole. The journey back to Salt Lake from here was
easy after what Smith had accomplished. He had executed two circuits
around the remaining Unknown; journeys that must ever stand in the front
rank with those of Lewis and Clark, Wilson Price Hunt, Robert Stuart,
and James O. Pattie, in the breaking of the Wilderness.


     [84] _The Journal of Jacob Fowler_, edited by Elliott Coues, with

     [85] _The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth_, written
     from his own dictation by T. D. Bonner. Chittenden says he became
     Beck_wourth_ only when this book was written—before that being
     plain Beck_with_, but men are often called for years by wrong
     names, and Beckwourth is no more distinguished than Beckwith.

     [86] Inman, _The Santa Fé Trail_, says the Bents, Carson, and
     Maxwell, whom he knew, spoke well of Beckwourth. He also says his
     honesty was unquestioned, and that he was a born leader.

     [87] For further details of this part of Pattie's journey see _The
     Romance of the Colorado River_, by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     [88] _The Personal Narrative of James O. Pattie of Kentucky_,
     edited by Timothy Flint.

     [89] Ashley went through Red Canyon and another party later through
     the Canyon of Lodore. Below this there is no record of successful
     passage till 1869.

     [90] Chittenden thinks Smith later changed the name Adams to Virgin
     after Thomas Virgin of his party. It may, however, be a corruption
     of Le Verkin, a name which survives in one of the branches.



     A Brood of Wilderness Breakers—Kit Carson the Dauntless—Campbell,
     1827, Santa Fé to San Diego—Becknell and the Santa Fé Trail—Wheel
     Tracks in the Wilderness—The Knight in Buckskin Dies—Pegleg
     Smith the Horse Trader—The Apache Turns Forever against the
     American—New Mexico the Dreamland—Wolfskill Breaks a Trail to
     the Pacific—Bonneville, Captain Courteous; and Wyeth, Leader
     Hopeful—Bonneville Forgets a Duty.

The Mexicans were restless over the advent of the numerous Americans who
now appeared in their settled valley, which, for more than a century and
a half, had lain completely isolated from the outer world, a lone child
of the Wilderness, a sort of dreamland where one day was like another
day, and where years rolled into decades, even centuries, without any
one knowing it. The Americans, quick, sharp, bluff, energetic, startled
these slow people, yet the officials tried to impose on them. Trapping
was permitted because the Mexicans did not know how to do it, but
after the American had reaped a harvest it was not easy to get away
with it, for by some flimsy subterfuge the furs might be confiscated
and the trapper on a pretext thrown into prison, as in the case of the
Patties in California. Nevertheless the American trapping operations
quickly extended over all the New Mexican territory as well as over
the region north of the forty-second parallel, still undetermined as
to ownership. British mainly operated there. The ten years agreed upon
in 1818 between Great Britain and the United States as to this tract
expired without their being able to come to an understanding, and the
agreement was renewed for a second ten years. Russia came to terms
on her southern and eastern boundary, making treaties with the United
States and Great Britain, the one with the latter establishing in 1825
the lines of Alaska that were inherited in 1867 by the United States,
and only definitely settled in 1903. Matters relating to the Mexican
country and to the Oregon region remained therefore for another decade
without political change.

  [Illustration: Prairie Dogs.

   From _Wonderland _, 1901. Northern Pacific Railway.]

The American trappers were not, however, deterred in the slightest
degree by boundaries, or diplomacy, or the attempted impositions of
the Mexican officials. They plunged, more actively than ever, into
their pursuit of the unfortunate beaver, no matter where it led so long
as they had rifle in hand, and incidentally they were performing the
whole world a service by swinging open the gates of the Wilderness.
Kit Carson, one soon to become familiar with almost every part of the
vast region, began his exploits in New Mexico in 1826, at the age of
seventeen. A whole brood of these remarkable characters appear to have
been born at one particular period, as if planned expressly to be thrown
at the beginning of their manhood into the vast Wilderness, to reduce
it for travel by less dauntless spirits. Carson joined a party of these
men to trap down the Gila and its branches in 1828, having spent the
winter of 1826-27 at San Fernandez de Taos learning Spanish, so that
he was able to converse with the Mexicans here and in California where
they went trapping on the Sacramento, finally reaching Santa Fé again,
where their furs were sold and the party disbanded. Carson was alert,
cool, honourable, exact, with that abounding self-confidence that led
him to balk at nothing, and, though so young, move rapidly to the lead.
I knew a man of this type, who was so certain that nothing serious could
possibly happen to him that he was perfectly nonchalant in every danger,
but his eye was always alert, his movements quick as a tiger's, and his
aim unflinching and sure.

One incident will serve to show this confidence and quickness of Carson.
While on Green River an Amerind stole six horses belonging to the trader
Robideau, who had employed him. Carson and a Ute pursued. The Ute's
horse gave out and he would not continue on foot, so Carson went on
alone thirty miles farther, and came up with the culprit. The thief saw
him and rushed for shelter, but Carson fired so skilfully from his horse
moving at full speed that he killed the wretch at once. His reputation
for skill and daring had spread before he was fairly of age. He fell in
with Fitzpatrick, Bridger, Sublette, Smith, and all the rest of the now
famous coterie of mountain men who so brilliantly adorned this epoch in
the Wilderness, and his career was filled with deeds of wild daring.[91]
He engaged one winter to hunt for the men at Fort Davy Crockett, founded
in Brown's Hole, and he then became familiar with the course of Green
River in that vicinity, though he seems never to have cared to attempt
the navigation of its impetuous torrent. The great rendezvous in Green
River Valley also saw him often and he described it. At the selected

     "for the rendezvous, in the space of two or three miles upon either
     side of the river, the bottom spreads out in a broad prairie, and
     the luxuriant growth of grass, with the country open all about it,
     made the spot desirable for a large encampment.... A scattered
     growth of fine old trees furnishes shade at every camp, and
     immediately about the great tent they afford protection from the
     sun to parties of card players, or a 'Grocery Stand' at which the
     principal article of sale is 'whiskey by the glass,' and perhaps
     further on is a _monte_ table, parties from several Indian tribes,
     and the pioneer of semi-civilisation—the backwoodsman—has come in
     with his traps, a few bags of flour, and possibly some cheese and
     butter, and the never-failing cask of whiskey."[92]

  [Illustration: On the Yuma Desert. A Dying Horse.

   Photograph by Delancy Gill.]

At such a place the trapper, who had led for a whole year his lonely
life in the mountains, ran riot for a brief time, as a sailor will after
a long voyage; and then he vanished again into the wilds.

Richard Campbell in 1827, with thirty-five men and a pack train,
travelled from Santa Fé to San Diego by way of Zuñi, and this part of
the continent at last began to be understood. Intercourse between St.
Louis and Santa Fé was gradually growing in permanence and importance.
Although McKnight, Chambers, Baird, and others had ventured to Santa Fé
to trade as early as 1812, the conditions were unfavourable. They were
seized as spies and thrown into jail at Chihuahua, where they remained
for nine years. Their goods were confiscated. When Iturbide finally
succeeded, they were liberated. Glenn and Fowler met them at Taos at
the time they arrived.

William Becknell went out in 1821 to trade with the Comanches, but
falling in with some Mexican rangers, they persuaded him to go to Santa
Fé, where he sold out at prices which netted splendid profits.

In 1822, a man named Cooper with his sons also made the traverse of the
plains with a party of about fifteen, arriving at Taos with $5000 worth
of goods; and Becknell a month later with thirty men came again with
another $5000 worth. He took a more direct route than had been followed
before, and his party had a fearful time, nearly dying of thirst in the
barren dry region along the Cimarron, a river they were quite near and
did not know it. At last when they were on the point of expiring, and
some had actually cut off their mules' ears to drink the blood that
would flow, they discovered a buffalo fresh from the river bank, its
sides distended with water. It was instantly killed and the water it
contained saved the party,—a new use for the animal.

This was the real beginning of the famous Santa Fé Trail by which the
great annual caravans found their way back and forth between Franklin,
on the Missouri, 150 miles west of St. Louis, and the New Mexican
capital. Independence finally became the eastern terminal. Gregg has
written an admirable account of the Trail, and all who read it will
acknowledge their indebtedness for the accuracy, interest, and general
excellence of this contribution to Southwestern history.

In 1824, an effort was made to use waggons. A party which had
twenty-five wheeled vehicles besides pack-animals, transporting all
together about $30,000 worth of merchandise, started and arrived
successfully. By government order J. C. Brown then, 1825-27, with chain
and compass surveyed the road from Fort Osage to Taos. The natives gave
little trouble in the early days of the trail, and Gregg says the great
hostility which afterwards developed was partly due to the brutality
of the whites in killing natives, whether they had done wrong or not.
Instead of mules, oxen were later largely employed. As far as Council
Grove the traders usually travelled in detached parties, but there the
caravan was made up with some attempt at military form. A captain was
always elected, but he had little real control. Gregg crossed in 1831
with a caravan which had nearly one hundred waggons, drawn by mules and
oxen in about equal proportions. The value of the goods was $200,000.
The party had two cannon, a four- and a six-pounder, for cannon were
considered highly desirable for this work at that time. There were
two hundred men organized in four divisions. A constant guard was set
and all precautions taken to prevent surprise. In Gregg's caravan were
several Spanish women who had, with their family, been banished in 1829.
The ban having been removed, they were now returning home. They appear
to have been the first European women ever to cross the Wilderness from
this direction.

The caravans, so far as possible, always proceeded with order and
regularity, and it is an illuminating fact that all parties in the
Wilderness which had such organisation and systematic movement met with
very little trouble. Ashley was another example of this. Everything
with him was admirably systematised. Each man knew exactly what he
had to do as to the horses and everything else. At night the animals
were tethered with a strong rope, attached to a stake two feet long,
expressly made for this and fortified with an iron band at the top and
an iron point. His party was divided into three or four sections with
his most confidential men in command, and the sections were subdivided
into messes under reliable men. When they went into camp, the position
of each mess was assigned, and they arranged their baggage, saddles,
etc., as a breastwork in case of attack in the night. The stock were
watered and turned over to the horse guard who kept them on good grass
nearby till sunset, when each man brought in the horses under his care,
put on a stronger halter, set his stakes, and otherwise prepared the
animals for a comfortable night. Guard was set regularly, of course,
and in the early morning, if in dangerous country, two men mounted and
scouted the neighbourhood before any others were permitted to leave the
breastworks. On the march, scouts were constantly thrown ahead, on the
sides, and to the rear. No enemy could surprise Ashley's parties, and
they were also enabled to cover ground rapidly.

     "In this way [says Ashley] I have marched parties of men the
     whole way from St. Louis to the vicinity of Grand Lake, which is
     situated about 150 miles down the waters of the Pacific Ocean, in
     seventy-eight days. In the month of March, 1827, I fitted out a
     party of sixty men, mounted a piece of artillery (a four-pounder)
     on a carriage which was drawn by two mules; the party marched to
     or near the Grand Salt Lake beyond the Rocky Mountains, remained
     there one month, stopped on the way back fifteen days, and returned
     to Lexington in the western part of Missouri in September, where
     the party was met with everything necessary for another outfit,
     and did return (using the same horses and mules) to the mountains
     by the last of November in the same year."

This proves what good planning and proper organisation will do. Had
Wilson Price Hunt been as scientific and as cautious as Ashley, his
great traverse would have been exempt from the harrowing disasters
which followed it so relentlessly. From that day to this, suffering and
failure have more often been due to contempt for adequate preparation
than to any other single cause.

The caravans of the Santa Fé Trail, also, moved with considerable
regularity and order, but their make-up was more heterogeneous and
there was no dominating control. Where there were many waggons, they
marched in three or four parallel columns, "but in broken lines, often
at intervals of many rods between." At night they were arranged in a
quadrangle with a gap left at the rear corner as an entrance for the
animals, which after grazing for a few hours were shut up in this corral
of waggons. One of the difficulties was the stampede. This frequently
started from some slight cause. The oxen, even if yoked, dashed at
headlong speed across the plain, with the mules and horses intermingled.
Oxen when frightened were the most difficult to control and did not
recover their calm as speedily as horses and mules.

Mules were the most advantageous, but were also the most expensive. They
possessed one characteristic which was useful as well as peculiar. They
could detect the presence or the approach of an Amerind long before
it could be learned in any other way, but I have seldom seen this
peculiarity noted. It was indicated by a restlessness, a pricking up of
the ears, and a general alertness as of a dog approaching game. When I
have been riding a mule in the mountains, I have often been apprised of
the approach of natives in this way, before I noticed any other sign. I
am satisfied that no Amerind could ever approach on the windward a mule
not accustomed to them, without being discovered. It used to afford us
amusement when an Amerind guide tried to mount a mule, and we sometimes
were forced to hold the animal securely till he could get on. With usual
mule perversity, once the native was in the saddle the scene calmed,
only to be repeated when he tried mounting again.

A cry of "Indians!" set the caravan in commotion, and amidst great
excitement all prepared for defence. If the party were a large one it
was seldom troubled, hence all who wished to cross combined, forming an
annual caravan for mutual protection which went out and back at fixed
periods, but sometimes small parties ran the risk of crossing alone.

  [Illustration: An Old Beaver Haunt.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

In the winter of 1832-33, twelve men with their baggage and about
$10,000 in specie left New Mexico for the States. They met a large
body of Comanches and Kiowas, who approached one by one and in small
bodies till they were all beside the travellers, who began to move
on. A man named Pratt, trying to herd in two mules, was shot. A battle
then opened. The white men made a breastwork of their packs and fought
desperately for thirty-six hours, when they made an effort to escape
in the night. The owners of the money told all to help themselves, and
what could not be carried was buried in the sand, where the Comanches
afterwards found it. The men stole away as quietly as possible in
the darkness. Five went west and at last reached a Creek village near
the Arkansas where they were kindly received. Only two of the others
succeeded in getting out of the Wilderness.

It was on the Santa Fé Trail in 1831 that the famous Jedediah Smith
finally lost his life. With his partners, Jackson and Sublette, he had
gone into the Santa Fé trade and was on his way to that capital. In
his remarkable career he had escaped many dangers, and he was still
a very young man, but his hour was approaching. He started for Santa
Fé over the general route, but after leaving the Arkansas became lost
among the multitudinous buffalo trails. Gregg says: "He was one of the
most undaunted spirits that ever traversed the Rocky Mountains, and
if one half of what has been told of him be true ... he would surely
be entitled to one of the most exalted seats in the Olympus of Prairie
Mythology." There was something highly dramatic in the lonely simplicity
of this dauntless trapper's death amidst a wide barren waste, at the
hands of the race he had so often successfully opposed and eluded. He
set off alone to find water for his party in the dreary expanse of the
Cimarron desert, when on mounting a hill he perceived what appeared to
be a small river. It was the sandy bed of the deceptive Cimarron. Smith
scooped out a basin in the moist sand and waited for the water to fill
it, unconscious of a band of Comanches lurking near. As he stooped to
drink, an arrow pierced him. With the indomitable tenacity and power
that so often had carried him through danger, he returned the fire and
two or three of the enemy paid with their lives the penalty of bringing
the gallant knight in buckskin to the ground. The picture was exactly
the composition one would expect to find surrounding the last hour of
this eminent and characteristic breaker of the Wilderness. His task
was done. Beside the treacherous Cimarron his bones are forgotten, but
his splendid fearlessness, his even justice, and his bold enterprise in
cleaving the silent mysteries have consecrated the sands that drank his
blood and dedicated the Wilderness to a lofty future.

  [Illustration: The Heart of the Sierra.

   Photograph by Watkins.]

He had a brother, Thomas L. Smith, equally energetic and fearless, but
who lacked the refined moral tone of Jedediah. He was widely known in
the Wilderness, though more after the manner of Rose and Beckwourth.
"Pegleg" Smith was his ordinary title because one leg had been cut
off below the knee. It had been so badly hurt in a battle that under
Pegleg's direction an Amerind companion amputated it with a hunting
knife and a keyhole saw. A wooden leg was then substituted. This did not
materially interfere with Pegleg's peculiar business, stealing horses
from the Mexicans and Californians, and trading horses, for he was in
the saddle a great deal and that was home to him. His operations had
a wide range. On one raid he succeeded with the aid of Beckwourth and
a band of Amerinds in getting out of California by the southern route
with about three thousand head; but, after the United States acquired
the Mexican territories, he gave up his raids as he would not operate
against his own countrymen.

The frontiersmen—trappers, hunters, and traders—had little respect for
the Mexicans, and the treatment which the cupidity of the officials led
them to bestow on trappers who came into their power tended to widen
the breach. All along the line, therefore, fires of resentment were
smouldering which before long were to break into flame and consume the
Mexican power in this quarter.

Gregg, who was nine years among them, said of the Mexicans[93]:

     "They have no stability except in artifice; no profundity except
     for intrigue; qualities for which they have acquired an unenviable
     celebrity. Systematically cringing and subservient while out of
     power, as soon as the august mantle of authority falls upon their
     shoulders, there are but little bounds to their arrogance and
     vindictiveness of spirit."

The Wilderness breaker had no fear whatever of these people, but much
contempt for them. A few trappers were generally a match for half an
army of Mexicans. Milton Sublette, a well-known trapper, brother of
William Sublette, while in New Mexico with Ewing Young, had his furs,
which he had concealed, seized and confiscated. The packs being damp
were spread out to dry, and Sublette recognised some unquestionably
belonging to him. Before the eyes of the whole garrison he carried these

     "and concealed both them and his own person in a house opposite.
     The entire military force was immediately put in requisition and a
     general search made for the offender and his prize—but in vain ...
     the troops seemed to have as little desire to find Sublette as the
     latter had of being found; for his character was too well known to
     leave room for hope that his capture could be effected without a
     great deal of trouble."

The governor, Armijo, "raved and threatened—had some cannon pointed
at the house—declaring he would batter it down—but all to no purpose."
Sublette finally got away with the furs.

For amusements, Santa Fé occupied itself largely with bull-baiting,
cock-fighting, dancing, and gambling. A considerable trade was carried
on with the Apaches, war materials and whiskey being exchanged for mules
and other property stolen from settlements to southward. The Sonoran
Government issued a proclamation declaring all booty that might be taken
from savages to belong to the captors, which led a party of foreigners
under the lead of an American to visit a large camp of about fifty
warriors with their families. Among these was Juan José, a famous chief
who had been educated at Chihuahua, and who had harassed the Mexicans
terribly. José was willing to either fight or trade,

     "but on being assured that it was a trading party a friendly
     interview was immediately established. A small field-piece which
     had been concealed was loaded with chain and canister and held in
     readiness. The warriors were then invited to the white men's camp
     to receive a present of flour which was placed within range of the
     cannon. While the Apaches were dividing this they were fired on and
     a number were killed. The remainder were then attacked, and about
     twenty slain, including José and other chiefs. Those who escaped
     became afterwards their own avengers in a manner which proved
     terribly disastrous to another party of Americans who happened at
     the same time to be trapping on the Rio Gila not far distant. They
     massacred every one—about fifteen."[94]

  [Illustration: A Rose of New Mexico.

   Photograph by C. C. Pierce & Co.]

From this time forth the Apaches became the open, deadly foe of all
Americans as they had previously been of the Mexicans. It became all
round a war of extermination which ended only when General Crook, many
years later, finally captured the last famous warrior, Geronimo. The
Apache has been much reviled, and he certainly was a terror and made
that portion of the Wilderness a dangerous place for Mexicans and
Americans, yet, estimated judicially, he seems to have had some right
on his side, and he was not more cruel or treacherous than the whites.
He went under eventually because of the overpowering numbers of his
opponents, but, considering all the circumstances, it is doubtful if
any people ever made a braver or more determined stand against their
acknowledged enemies and oppressors than did the Apaches.

Gold mines were now worked in New Mexico, _El Real de Dolores_, the
chief one, turning out about $75,000 a year between 1832-35. It was
opened in 1828. The gold was washed out in wooden bowls. No foreigners
were allowed to work mines, but, as noted, they were permitted to trap
because the Mexicans did not know how to do this. Besides, the governor
would often confiscate the results of the trapper's labours, and this
was an easy way of making money. Silver mines had been only slightly
worked in earlier days and not at all for a century. The copper mines
near Socorro were the most successful in the country, at least till the
gold mines began to be opened.

Everything was primitive. Sawed lumber was unknown. The buildings were
mainly of adobe. Vehicles were _carretas_ (carts) with wheels hewn out
of a cottonwood log, with an additional segment pinned on each edge and
dressed into an irregular circle (see page 177), and required three or
four yokes of oxen to draw them. Ploughs were no more than a log with
a branch left on for a handle and a sharp stick attached for a share.
Agriculture was correspondingly primitive in its returns, yet, thanks to
irrigation, there was generally an abundance of what was needed. Sheep
were bred in enormous numbers, as many as two hundred thousand to five
hundred thousand being driven to market in one year. Horses and cattle
were also numerous, and the skill of the _vaquero_, or herder, in riding
and throwing the lasso was unsurpassed. No horse was too fractious to
ride, and he could catch an animal by any limb he chose.

A favourite article of diet was the _tortillas_, made of corn boiled in
water with a little lime till soft enough for the skin to come off. Then
it was ground to a paste on the _metate_ a flat stone, and formed into a
thin cake, which was spread on a sheet of iron or copper, called a comal
(_comalli_), and placed over the fire, where it baked in two or three
minutes. A sort of thin mush called _atole_ was a favourite drink, and
there were also wine, and a sort of strong liquor called _aguardiente_
or _ratafia_ (Taos lightning). Taken all in all the American trapper did
not have such a bad time in New Mexico after it left the hands of Spain,
so far as the people were concerned, and had they despised the Mexicans
less, matters would have been pleasanter, though, as Gregg says, the
government was whimsical and oppressive, as much, however, to Mexicans
as to Americans.

  [Illustration: On the Gila.

   Photograph by J. B. Lippincott.]

A high tariff was laid on goods from the United States, though it was
generally compromised on the Mexican frontier. When Governor Armijo,
however, came in he imposed a tax of $500 on every waggon, no matter
what its size or contents. The result was that waggons grew to the
limit in proportions, and Armijo was obliged to go back to _ad valorem_
assessments. Between the Missouri River and the mountains there were no
settlements then, above Texas.

Thomas Forsyth, who had long experience among the people of the
Wilderness, said he thought that in most misunderstandings the fault was
with the white people. He told of a young agent on the Missouri River
who cut off the ears of a half-breed because, when drunk, he had spoken
disrespectfully of the Americans. Another agent on the Mississippi
turned out of the guard-house an innocent Indian to others, his enemies,
who butchered him in the presence of the whole garrison. Forsyth
remarks, also: "In my intercourse with the Indians for the last forty
years I never found that coercive measures ever had any good effect
with them, but that conciliatory measures always tended to produce every
purpose required."

The intercourse between the tribes of the Wilderness and the whites was
rapidly increasing, and this period—1830 to 1840—saw many hard conflicts
and much bloodshed, some of it, at least, entirely unnecessary. The
whites came with the firm belief that every native was an enemy, and
they sometimes took the precaution to shoot first and apologise, if at
all, afterwards.

Trappers and traders were now operating over all the Wilderness
excepting the portion which at present forms the central part of the
State of Nevada. As yet this had not been traversed by any but Jedediah
Smith for it was generally barren and streamless, with no beaver. Of
course, much of the remainder was still unexplored, yet the general
character was understood. Books on the fur trade are apt to give so
little account of the trapping operations in the South-west that the
reader obtains the impression that there was nothing done there, but
while no large company operated, bands of trappers for years ranged
the Gila and its tributaries, the lower Colorado, the Virgin, the Rio
Grande, the Sevier, and other streams in the south-western country where
beaver abounded and where some rich hauls were made, sometimes to be
confiscated by the Mexican officials or lost through the difficulties
of travel in that country.

William Wolfskill and a party of trappers in 1830 opened a route to
California, going north from Santa Fé across the head of the San Juan,
across Grand River, and Green River, the latter in what is now Gunnison
Valley, thence across the Wasatch to the western base, and south along
that through Mountain Meadows and across the Beaver Dam mountains.
Thence it followed down the Virgin River almost to the Colorado, where
it struck across the desert to Los Angeles. For many years afterwards
this was used and in time came to be known as "the Old Spanish Trail."
I have never been able to understand why this northern route was taken
when a much easier one existed by way of Zuñi and the Moki region. To
go north at all necessitated going as far as Gunnison Valley on account
of the deep canyons. The advantage of the mountains was certain water
and wood and grass, but this advantage was offset by the southern Nevada
region which is as barren as anything in Arizona, and in the latter
country the Colorado Plateau with its magnificent forest would have
afforded a beautiful resting-place. Wolfskill afterwards settled at Los
Angeles and planted a vineyard which became famous. Bell[95] says he
was a hero: "A man of indomitable will, industry, and self-denial; an
American pioneer hero; one who succeeds in all he undertakes, and is
always to be trusted. He died in 1866, leaving a very large fortune."

  [Illustration: Captain Bonneville.

   A General when this was taken, long after his trapping career.

   Photograph from Montana Historical Society.]

The trappers and traders who entered the field in this fourth decade of
the century were so numerous that a very large volume would be required
to even sketch over their exploits. There was one, however, who,
because of his connection with the army and of his extensive though not
financially successful operations, must ever be prominently identified
with this particular epoch in the breaking of the Wilderness. This was
Bonneville, a captain in the American Army who had leave of absence to
conduct a fur-trading venture. Chittenden[96] is rather severe on the
genial captain, and says: "After all it will not be far wrong to say
that the greatest service which Captain Bonneville rendered his country
was by falling into the hands of Washington Irving." Unquestionably
Irving made the exploits of Bonneville tell to their full value, yet
while admitting that Bonneville was not scientific, that he improperly
overstayed his leave, and perhaps even more, he remains nevertheless
an extraordinary figure in the breaking of the Wilderness, and he
punctuated the explorations of a long period together with other
striking characters like Ashley and Frémont. As Lewis and Clark gave
the seal to the first decade of the century in this field, Lisa to
the second, Ashley to the third, so Bonneville gave it to the fourth,
and Frémont to the fifth. Irving's brilliant narrative may have done
much to distinguish Bonneville, and place his name ahead of Sublette,
Fitzpatrick, and others as a dominating note, but that does not detract
from his skill at manœuvring in the Wilderness. Chittenden further says:

     "As the manager of an expedition and as a popular leader Bonneville
     was a distinct success. Had his function been that of conducting a
     party through the country, he might have rivalled Lewis and Clark
     in the skill with which he could accomplish it. He managed his men
     with great judgment, ... he remained three years in the mountains
     without the loss of a single life where the men were in any wise
     under his personal control."

It is rather unfortunate that he did not make exploration the basis of
his operations.

Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bonneville was of French birth and graduated
from West Point in 1819 at the age of twenty-three. His family and La
Fayette were friends, and the General took young Bonneville back to
France, where he lived in the La Fayette household for several years. On
returning to the United States he was assigned to duty on the frontier
and there conceived the idea of getting rich in the fur business.
Granted leave of absence from August, 1831, till October, 1833, he
organised an expedition with the aid of Alfred Seton, who had been at
Astoria when that enterprise as an American venture went to pieces,
but whose faith in the fur trade was nevertheless very great. He and
his associates provided the funds and Bonneville was able to start in
May, 1832, some eight months of his leave already gone. He had 110 men
and twenty waggons drawn by horses and mules. His chief assistants were
Walker and Cerré, both well-known mountain men of great experience. Both
had been among the earliest to cross to Santa Fé.

Bonneville's waggons were not the first to enter the great Wilderness.
Becknell used waggons on the Santa Fé route at least seven years
earlier. Ashley took his wheeled cannon to Utah Lake in 1826, and
Sublette and Company had already taken waggons to Wind River. Bonneville
was the first to take them to Green River.

His route was up the Platte and the Sweetwater branch, over South Pass
to Green River Valley, preserving military discipline all the way and
meeting with no serious difficulty. Five miles above Horse Creek on
Green River he built his first trading fort of the common pattern, a
square stockade with bastions at diagonal corners. Little use was made
of it and it soon acquired the title of Fort Nonsense.

The competition for furs was rapidly growing more intense, for the
hundreds of skilful trappers who had now been ranging the beaver grounds
for a decade or more had perceptibly thinned them down. Each company
therefore threw every possible obstacle in the way of newcomers, as well
as of their older rivals. Bonneville felt the effects of this condition.
Some traders also had their native clients under such control that they
would not deal with any one else. Bonneville once thought he could drive
a trade with a tribe where their British visitor was short of goods,
but they would not deal with him at all.

Another man whose name is prominent at this time was Nathaniel J. Wyeth
of Boston, a man of fine character and hopeful disposition, but with no
experience in Wilderness life. All of his men were likewise innocent
of frontier knowledge. Before leaving Boston they had attracted much
attention by camping on an island in order to harden themselves for
the Wilderness! At Independence, Missouri, he was fortunate enough to
fall in with William Sublette and Robert Campbell, who were taking a
train of supplies out to the rendezvous. Wyeth therefore travelled with
them. He now had eighteen men, six having given up at Independence. He
had provided himself with waggons which could be converted into boats,
but at St. Louis, understanding that waggons could not be used, he sold
them and took to packs. He reached Pierre's Hole July 8, 1832, while
Bonneville came to Green River on the 27th of the same month, Wyeth
having passed him on the way.

Wyeth was desirous of reaching the Pacific coast early and did not
linger anywhere. He, with the Sublette party, had had a slight brush
with natives on Green River. In Pierre's Hole they were to add to that
experience. A band of Blackfeet having been treacherously fired on by
the whites, war began and all the trappers turned out to take part in
it. The battle was to the advantage of the whites, who were the larger
force and were armed with guns while the Amerinds had mostly bows. In
the night the Blackfeet made their escape, and this battle of Pierre's
Hole, about which much has been written, was over. It was enough for
seven of Wyeth's men, who now determined to return to civilisation. They
started back and five days later, in Jackson's Hole, were attacked by a
band of Blackfeet. One of the men, More, became demoralised with fright
and stood still till the enemy came and killed him. Two others, Foy
and Stephens, trying to get to More, were also shot, Foy dying on the
spot and Stephens several days later. The others succeeded in reaching
the camp of Milton Sublette, who had been shot in the shoulder in the
Pierre's Hole affair. As soon as he felt able to travel he started with
Campbell for St. Louis, and Wyeth's men accompanied them. They met with
no further difficulty. The Blackfeet all fell back into Green River
Valley, but did not molest Bonneville.

  [Illustration: "Old Faithful" Geyser, Yellowstone Park.

   From _Wonderland _, 1901—Northern Pacific Railway.]

The Captain presently decided to proceed to the head of Salmon River
to pitch his winter camp. Here among the friendly Nez Perces he and
his followers passed a pleasant season. Parties were sent in various
directions, and in the spring Bonneville went out on the plains of
Snake River. On the 13th of July, 1833, he was back again in Green
River Valley, and here he met the bands of trappers he had sent out the
previous autumn. Their success had been small. The valley was lively
with the returning trappers, not only of Bonneville, but of the American
Fur Company and the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, both having rendezvous
three or four miles from Bonneville. The intercourse of the various
camps was friendly and agreeable and the valley was for two or three
months, during the off season of trapping, a very gay place.

There was no danger of a hostile tribe attacking so large a body
of whites, hence life at the time of the rendezvous was free from
this fear. Another unusual and singular one came up however. A mad
wolf entered one of the camps and bit several, some of whom died of
hydrophobia. Mad wolves are rare, but there seems to be no doubt of
their occurrence. In recent years the young son of a man in southern
Utah, while camping out with another boy, was bitten in the night by
one of these animals, and shortly afterwards died in great agony.

Wyeth had travelled down Snake River, across the Blue Mountains, and
then down the Columbia to Fort Vancouver, making the first continuous
trip on record from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the record trip was
all that he had to show for his investment and his exertions. Then he
turned round, heading once more for Boston, to form a company for the
prosecution of the salmon fishing. He was a man of elastic hopes, and
prepared to go again to the Pacific.

Bonneville, meanwhile, seemed not to notice that it was about time for
him either to return to his post or to apply for an extension of his
leave. He ignored the situation entirely. His packs of furs were sent
east, but the Captain sent no word to headquarters, and on his own
responsibility remained a trapper in the Wilderness.



     [91] There are several biographies of Carson.

     [92] Burdette's _Life of Kit Carson_.

     [93] _Commerce of the Prairies._

     [94] Gregg, _Commerce of the Prairies_.

     [95] _Reminiscences of a Ranger._

     [96] _History of the American Fur Trade_—an admirable work.
     He criticises Bancroft for speaking of Irving's book as _The
     Adventures of Captain Bonneville_, but this was the title of the
     edition of 1849.



     Bonneville Dropped from the Army—Indian Shooters—The Mythical
     Rio Buenaventura—Bonneville Twice to the Columbia—Wyeth
     Again—The Oregon Trail—The Big Thunder Canoe—A Wilderness
     Whiskey Still—Missionaries to Oregon—The North-West Boundary
     Settlement—Decline of the Beaver—Through the Canyon of Lodore on
     the Ice—Frémont, the Scientific Pathfinder—The Spanish Sentinel
     Turned to the Wall—Fortune's Blindfold.

After forwarding his meagre collection of furs, Bonneville prepared to
try his luck in the Wilderness once more. Although his orders were to
avail himself of every opportunity of informing the War Department of
his position and progress, he gave this matter no attention whatever,
and without an extension of leave plunged into another year's trapping
and trading as lightly as if army orders and obligations had no
existence. His furlough he had obtained ostensibly for exploration, but,
of course, it is clear, his real object was the fur trade; exploration
was not even a secondary consideration. Had he met with Ashley's success
he might have ignored the War Department entirely. As it was, he ignored
it for the time being, and making no report, he was dropped from the

Meanwhile, some of his plans were being executed and there was prospect
of a good harvest. He sent one large party under his first assistant
Walker, to California, though the Captain afterwards claimed the great
object of this expedition was the exploration of Salt Lake, upon which
he said his heart had been set. Walker has consequently been severely
censured for disobeying his instructions, but Chittenden declares the
Salt Lake project was an afterthought, and he seems to be right. "If
this ambitious explorer [Bonneville] were really so absorbed in his
desire to learn all about the great Salt Lake, how happened it that
he remained three years in the country and passed repeatedly within
fifty or a hundred miles of the lake but never went to see it?" he
inquires. Salt Lake was then well known, it was easy to reach, and
there was absolutely no reason why Bonneville himself should not have
gone there and explored it if he really had its examination at heart.
The conclusion is inevitable that at the time he did not consider it a
matter of great importance; yet he may have intended Walker to explore
it on the way to California.

  [Illustration: Elk in Winter.

   From _Wonderland _—Northern Pacific Railway.]

At any rate, Walker, with his forty men, started July 24, 1833, and,
after suffering somewhat from thirst in the region west of the lake,
abandoned it for pastures new, and falling upon the head of Mary's,
or Ogden's, River, now the Humboldt, of which he must of course have
had some previous information, he followed its more inviting valley,
and there pursued a career toward California which emulated the Forty
Thieves in the stirring story of _Ali Baba_. They were in the country
of the "Shoshokoes," some of whom took the liberty of appropriating
certain traps. One trapper who so suffered, declared he would kill
the first native he saw, innocent or guilty. He soon came upon two who
were fishing and instantly shot one and threw the body into the river.
This crime naturally caused the party to feel that they might expect
retaliation, and hence when a few days later they saw a large body of
the natives around them, they believed a battle was at hand. Thirty-two
of Walker's men thereupon surrounded about eighty of the supposed enemy
and shot them mercilessly down, leaving thirty-nine dead on the field.
"The remainder," says Leonard, who was one of the shooters, "were
overwhelmed with dismay, running into the high grass in every direction,
howling in the most lamentable manner." Farther on, Nidiver, another of
the trappers, noticing two natives running accidentally towards him and
away from Walker, supposed they had committed some crime, and shot both
with one ball.

Such was the mad progress of this triumphal band. Similar work was
being accomplished in other directions. It was about this time that the
afterwards famous mountain man Joe Meek came to the Wilderness. One day
he shot a "Digger" who was prowling about a stream where Meek had some
traps. Wyeth, who was with the party, asked why he had shot the man.

"To keep him from stealing traps," replied Meek.

"Had he stolen any?" inquired Wyeth.

"No," said Meek, "but he looked as if he war going to."

There were some men who seemed to take pleasure in shooting natives
without any reason. Captain Bidwell[97] called these "Indian shooters."
"One of the Indian shooters," he writes, "seeing an Indian on the
opposite bank of the river swam over, carrying a butcher knife in his
mouth.... The Indian ran. The man with the knife crippled him with a
stone and then killed him.... Another Indian followed later. One of the
Indian killers hid and shot him." Another time a man missed his bridle.
He swore an Indian had stolen it. "He fired at an Indian who stood by
a tree one hundred yards or so distant. The Indian fell back into the
brush and the other Indians in sight fled in terror." The bridle was
found later under some blankets in camp.

  [Illustration: In the Sierra Nevada.

   On the Merced—Yosemite Valley. Walker, 1833, was probably the First
   White Man Here.

   Copyright, C. C. Pierce & Co.]

Walker passed the sink of the Humboldt and then struck into the Sierra
Nevada. It took twenty-three days to cross and they suffered for food,
seventeen horses being used up for this purpose and seventeen others
being absolutely lost. There was no game and they finally were reduced
to almost nothing and were glad to get a basket of acorns which a
frightened native dropped. Arriving at last on the western edge they
met with rocks so steep that it was with difficulty they were able to
descend. Here they killed three deer and a bear and began to find a
less inhospitable region, although at one place they were obliged to
lower the horses by ropes over a long slope of loose rocks. On October
30, 1833, they reached the foot of the range and appear to have passed
through the now famous Yosemite Valley, perhaps the first white men to
enter it.

They were soon in Monterey where they found the people so agreeable that
they had the jolliest kind of a winter. The season passed, however,
and the time to go back came. Reluctantly they started in February,
1834, went up the San Joaquin valley with native guides, and crossed
the Sierra at a more southern point than the outward passage; by Sonora
Pass, Chittenden believes, and he is doubtless correct. Then they worked
north-east till they came to their outward trail. On the way they had
further amusement killing natives, whom they hunted down as a species
of rare game. Several Mexicans in this sport exhibited their skill at
horsemanship and lassoing by charging at full speed and throwing the
rope over the necks of the terrified runners. The noose tightening, the
victims were dragged and strangled to death. Some of the men joined a
party under a trapper named Fraeb, who hunted in the mountains of what
is now Colorado, and they ranged from the Gila to North and Middle
Parks. Walker went to the rendezvous on Bear River to settle his affairs
with Bonneville.

Walker had made a trip similar to Jedediah Smith's, but with a smaller
circuit, and it was now certain that the river Buenaventura, which
heretofore had been vaguely supposed to flow from Salt Lake or from
near it, to the Pacific, was a myth. Bonneville, in a letter written
long afterwards, claims this as one of the great results geographically
of his expedition, yet he condemns Walker for not having explored Salt
Lake, a much easier task and one which, to a certain extent, had already
been accomplished though not placed on record.

Captain Bonneville himself, when he had arranged his permanent camp the
previous autumn on the Portneuf, a branch of the Snake in south-eastern
Idaho, set out December 25, 1833, with only three companions to visit
the Columbia River region. Crossing the barren valley of Snake River
about on the route which by this time may be called the usual one, for
besides Hunt and Stuart, and recently Wyeth, the Hudson Bay Company men
often passed that way—the Oregon Trail in fact,—through a thick layer
of snow, he arrived at last, without any unpleasant encounter with the
bands of Amerinds he met, in the valley of the Grande Ronde, on the
eastern foot of the splendid Blue Mountains. This fair basin was free
from snow, and was obviously the place from which to make an extensive
and thorough reconnaissance before attempting to cross the Blue range,
whose mighty summits lay between him and the Columbia. But instead
of doing this Bonneville wandered on and presently was back on Snake
River amid a wild array of rocks and canyons, where, after desperate
ventures, he was forced to fall back. He tried to surmount the range
and failed. Farther back they tried again and butted their way across
with the usual starvation and fatigue incident to advancing without
proper investigation. At last they floundered down to a tributary of the
Snake where a solitary Nez Perce was encountered who speedily led them
to the camp of his friendly tribe. Here their troubles for the moment
were over, and Bonneville gained the chief's high favour by curing his
daughter of an illness by means of a dose of gunpowder dissolved in
water. On March 4th they reached the Columbia at Fort Walla Walla, a
post of the Hudson Bay Company, which, in the Columbia River region,
had entire control of the trade, as Bonneville, as well as Wyeth, soon
discovered. Pambrune, the agent, was cordial and treated them well
as long as they were in a measure his guests, but when they wanted
provisions with which to return he declined to sell any, on the ground
that it was not fair to his company to encourage competing traders.

He advised them to return in company with one of his men about to cross
the Blue range by the regular trail on a visit to the upper tribes of
the Nez Perces, but Bonneville declined and once more butted his way
haphazard across the great ridges, arriving at last on the Snake after
much unnecessary privation. At one point a horse approached too near
an icy precipice, and sliding down more than two thousand feet was
literally dashed to pieces, as they found on going to the spot to secure
the carcass for food. By May 12, 1834, he was again at the Portneuf,
where he found his camp removed to the Blackfoot River not far away.

  [Illustration: A Wilderness Waggon Road.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

Not satisfied with this trip to the Columbia, Bonneville again started
for that river on July 3, 1834, with twenty-three men. He had not been
on the way a week, before he received word that the indefatigable Wyeth
was at his heels, also bound for the lower Columbia. About the same
time a Hudson Bay Company party appeared, so the prospects for company
were too good to suit the objects of the Captain. The Oregon Trail was
rapidly becoming popular in spite of its hardships, and perhaps Wyeth's
enthusiasm did as much as any other single factor to advertise this
great road to the Oregon country.

Wyeth was again on his way to put into execution his vast scheme
to combine fur trading with salmon fishing, for the benefit of his
"Columbia River Fishing and Trading Company." He had with him sixty
men, veterans of the mountains many of them, and two naturalists,
Thomas Nuttall, the same who had gone up the Missouri with Hunt, and J.
K. Townshend, an ornithologist. There were also several missionaries
under Jason and Daniel Lee. Wyeth had made a contract the previous
year to bring out a quantity of goods for the Rocky Mountain Company,
but the managers repudiated their obligation. When he arrived on the
Portneuf he built a trading-post to utilise these goods, and called it
Fort Hall. A flag, made of unbleached sheeting, red flannel, and some
blue patches, was raised above the fort, and twelve men well armed were
installed there. Wyeth reached the Columbia in good order, and there
made another post on Wapatoo Island, but though his ideas were practical
and deserved success, he met with disasters and the Hudson Bay people
had such complete control of the whole Oregon country that, while his
personal relations with them were cordial, he finally gave up, sold
out, and returned to Fort Hall, which he also sold to the Hudson Bay
Company. Thence by way of Taos and the Arkansas, he went back to Boston,
arriving home in the autumn of 1836. He had conducted all his affairs
with admirable skill, intelligence, and perseverance, but in business
the Hudson Bay Company was a rock, and he was crushed against it.

Bonneville went on down the Snake and over the Blue range to Fort Walla
Walla, being much impeded in the mountains by a vast conflagration which
made the air dark with smoke and added a new danger to the difficulties
of the great mountains in his path. But his efforts to start trade on
the Columbia were foredoomed to failure by the power of the Hudson Bay
Company. This company had revived old Astoria in 1830, they had Fort
Vancouver, Fort Walla Walla, and others, covering every branch of the
trade, and the natives were loyal. Bonneville found it impossible to
buy anywhere the simplest articles or food of any kind. The Hudson Bay
Company was tolerably fair and just with the Amerind and he appreciated
this kind of treatment. At Fort Walla Walla Bonneville's effort to
buy food met with the same repulse from the manager as on the former
occasion. He therefore could but retrace his steps to Bear River Valley
where he passed the winter of 1834-35.

In the summer of 1835 he met his parties on Wind River and, adjusting
the accounts, started for the settlements, where he arrived on August
22d, his great enterprise over with very meagre results to show. As a
trading venture it was a dire failure. As a geographical exploration it
had little that was new to present. The maps Bonneville made were partly
copied from Gallatin and others. Yet when all that is against him is
admitted, he remains a dominating figure of the time, a high light in
the picture of breaking the Wilderness. His name, which he applied to
Salt Lake, has by geologists been given, as mentioned, to the ancient
sea which once lashed the Rocky Mountains with its waves, so that in
geology, in geography, in history, and in literature, it is permanently

"As a soldier by education and profession," says Chittenden, "Captain
Bonneville committed an unpardonable breach of discipline in overstaying
his leave of absence. It was more than a simple lapse of duty, it was an
act of ingratitude to his superiors, considering their great indulgence
in granting him so long a leave." By special order of President Jackson
he was finally reinstated. He served in the Seminole and in the Mexican
wars and was made Brevet Brigadier-General. He bought a farm at Fort
Smith, Arkansas, and there, after 1865, ended his days, dying June 12,
1878, at the ripe age of eighty-two.

  [Illustration: Steamer "Yellowstone" Ascending the Missouri in 1833.

   From _Travels_, etc., 1832-3-4, by Maximilian, Prince of Wied, 1843.

   From _Wonderland _, 1904—Northern Pacific Railway.]

The year after Bonneville went out to the mountains (1833), a
distinguished foreigner, Maximilian, Prince of Wied, made the journey up
the Missouri[98] with Kenneth McKenzie, on the steamboat _Yellowstone_
to Fort Pierre and thence to Fort Union on the new _Assiniboine_. The
_Yellowstone_ was a boat with the distinction of having been the first
steamboat to go above Council Bluffs. In 1831 she was taken to Fort
Tecumseh, a little above where Pierre, South Dakota, now stands (named
from Fort Pierre, which was named for Pierre Chouteau, Jr.), and in
1832 went as far as the mouth of the Yellowstone. On board at this time
was Catlin, the artist whose paintings of Amerinds and whose extensive
travels through the Wilderness have made him forever famous.[99] The
natives called the boat the "Big Thunder Canoe," and the "Big Medicine
Canoe with Eyes." It was an object of wonder with them for a time, but
they soon accepted in a matter-of-fact way the new things the whites
brought to them. The steamboat on the Missouri was a great boon to
the traders and fur companies as it enabled goods to be taken into the
North-west with far greater ease and consequently at less price. There
was much rivalry among the companies as heretofore. New ones were formed
and the competition was great. All sorts of methods were adopted, many
of them questionable, often dishonourable, to secure advantage. As
whiskey was prohibited by the Government, and a rigid examination was
made of every ascending boat, there were many schemes for smuggling it;
for every trader used it, if he could, in his dealings with the natives.
It was the most profitable medium of exchange, and by means of it a
tribe could be literally skinned for a song. The traders were there to
take every advantage of the natives, and, except the Hudson Bay Company,
they hesitated at nothing that would bring them money. They would have
been perfectly willing to exterminate the whole Amerind population in
twenty-four hours if they could have done it with great profit. In other
words, their sole care was to fleece the native for a company's benefit.
The beaver by 1835 were beginning to be alarmingly scarce and attention
was turned more and more to buffalo robes and other furs, but there was
yet much money to be made in this field.

McKenzie set up a whiskey still at Fort Union, to get ahead of the
inspectors. Ramsay Crooks, who had long been prominent in the American
Fur Company, opposed the scheme, fearing trouble with the Government,
and he was right, but it was put in operation. Wyeth and Cerré, passing
Fort Union, learned of it and reported to the Government, and William
Clark, of Lewis and Clark, who was still superintendent for the Western
tribes, was instructed to stop it. The matter was finally allowed to
pass without punishment, but it came near bringing the American Fur
Company to disaster. The persistence with which the respectable fur
companies forced whiskey into the Wilderness and debauched the tribes
there, in spite of every effort of the Government to prevent it, is a
permanent disgrace to these companies and to their managers, every one
of whom, from chief down, knew that the wealth they were accumulating
by it was largely a swindle, and meant the impoverishment and wrecking
of the people of the Wilderness. It was bad enough to charge the
poor natives outrageous prices for cheap articles, but deliberately
to intoxicate them for profit can never be considered anything but
dishonour for every man, high and low, who permitted it to go on without
hindrance or protest, or who abetted it, and received the money from
such base sources.

Famous travellers now went for a turn in the Wilderness, though most of
them contented themselves with the part east of the Rocky Mountains.
Among these was Washington Irving, in 1832, with several congenial
spirits, one of whom was Charles Latrobe, an Englishman, who wrote an
interesting book. This adventure of Irving was of value afterwards when
he came to write _Astoria_ and _Bonneville_, albeit it was brief. He saw
the buffalo, however, and, as described, experienced the excitement of
the chase. Francis Parkman, at a later time, followed Irving's example,
and then gathered notes for his _Oregon Trail_.

Various American and English sportsmen also sought this fascinating
field, but this volume is too small to record the doings of the great
numbers who now began to swarm into the Wilderness. Many of them have
written valuable books which may be found in all good libraries.[100]

The missionaries began to turn more attention to the Oregon country,
and in 1836 Samuel Parker was sent by the Presbyterians to that region.
He took with him a medical man, Doctor Marcus Whitman, and these two
were practically the breakers of the Oregon Trail for the gentler side
of civilisation. They went out as far as the Black Hills under the
guidance of the veteran trapper Fontenelle, a man as widely known as
Fitzpatrick, Sublette, or any of the other prominent mountain men of
the time. Fitzpatrick himself escorted them on to Green River. Whitman
was able to give medical attention to many of those in the Wilderness,
and he seems to have been the first American doctor, or indeed the first
doctor of any nationality, who ventured there. In Green River Valley he
took from the back of Bridger an iron arrow-head, which had been there
three years. It was the custom of the mountaineers to do their own
surgery. Sometimes it was successful, as in the case of Pegleg Smith,
sometimes the patient did not survive the camp operation more than a day
or two. Sometimes they let "well enough alone," as in Bridger's case,
who allowed the arrow-head to remain. No anæsthetic was thought of at
that time, and Whitman performed the operation under the admiring gaze
of a crowd of natives and whites, while Bridger never winced. Another
arrow-head was taken from under the shoulder of a hunter, where it had
been for two and a half years.

Whitman became so much interested in the missionary side of the
prospective Oregon work that he returned from Green River to secure
more help, leaving Parker to continue. Parker says of the trappers:
"Their demoralising influence with the Indians has been lamentable, and
they have imposed upon them in all the ways that sinful propensity can
dictate. It is said they have sold them packs of cards at high prices,
calling them the Bible."

Of the rendezvous he remarks:

     "These days are the climax of the hunter's happiness.... A
     hunter who goes technically by the name of the great bully of the
     mountains mounted his horse with a loaded rifle and challenged any
     Frenchman, American, Spaniard, or Dutchman, to fight him in single
     combat. Kit Carson, an American, told him if he wished to die he
     would accept the challenge. Shunar defied him. Carson mounted his
     horse and with a loaded pistol rushed into close contact, and both
     almost at the same instant fired. Carson's ball entered Shunar's
     hand, came out at the wrist, and passed through the arm above the
     elbow. Shunar's ball passed over the head of Carson, and while
     he went for another pistol Shunar begged that his life might be
     spared. Such scenes, sometimes from passion and sometimes for
     amusement, make the pastime of their wild and wandering life."

  [Illustration: Before the Sawmill Comes.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

Parker reached Oregon safely, while Whitman was making the eastward
journey. On reaching New England, Whitman, who was only thirty-two,
married. With his wife and another newly married couple, the Reverend
H. H. Spalding and wife, he set out once more for Oregon, with the
settlement of which his name was now to become forever associated, even
to the extent of being called the "Saviour of Oregon."[101] It must be
remembered that the British Hudson Bay Company still maintained almost
complete control of the Oregon country, notwithstanding the provision
made by the two Governments that the region was to be free to both
nations. It was free nominally, but, as has been seen in the case of
Bonneville and in that of Wyeth, as well as other Americans, the freedom
was a mere form. American trappers could pass through the country
without direct molestation, but it was an impossibility for them to
accomplish anything there. As the fifth decade of the century opened,
the question of boundary so long left in the air became pressing. The
time set for adjustment had arrived. It was particularly in relation
to this that it is said Whitman made a winter journey to Washington by
way of Santa Fé in 1842-43. During his absence the natives grew more
insolent. Mrs. Whitman was obliged to flee to the Methodist mission
for protection. The natives were also suspicious of the missionaries:
the latter often held themselves superior to the trappers who would
have been their best friends; and the Hudson Bay Company continued its
opposition to American settlement. A troublous condition all round was
the result. A horrible massacre by the Cayuses finally took place at
the Whitman mission, November 28, 1847, eleven years after the Doctor
began his enthusiastic work for Oregon. Doctor and Mrs. Whitman with
many others were most cruelly murdered, some of the chief criminals
being those whom they had often befriended.

Doctor McLoughlin, the Hudson Bay Company governor, while refusing aid
to Americans, came to have much sympathy for, and was later accused
by the managers of the great corporation of having promoted, American
settlement. He was even charged an enormous sum as damages the Company
had suffered in consequence of the course of action of which he was
accused. He resigned, settled himself in Oregon, and eventually became
an American citizen. The British desired an adjustment of the boundary
by following the course of the Columbia River, but this was not accepted
by the United States, and it was not till 1848 that the line was
placed permanently where it now is; a continuation of the line on the
forty-ninth parallel, which had been adopted east of the mountains long

  [Illustration: The Great or Lower Fall of the Yellowstone.

   From _Wonderland _, 1904.—Northern Pacific Railway.]

One of the trappers intimately connected with the development of Oregon
was Joe Meek, who had ranged the Wilderness for many years. He was
possessed of a full share of the qualities which abounded in men like
Jedediah Smith, Sublette, Bridger, and others of that type, and was
seldom taken unawares. One anecdote will exhibit his temper and at
the same time present a picture of the dangerous circumstances which
sometimes surrounded such men and over which they triumphed. Meek was
captured by a party of Crows in the Yellowstone country. His captors
numbered 187 men, nine boys, and three women. Meek calmly counted them
while they were discussing his case. At last the chief, called "The
Bold," said to him: "I have known the whites for a long time and I know
them to be great liars, deserving death, but if you will tell the truth
you shall live. Tell me where are the whites you belong to; and what is
your captain's name." Meek replied that his captain was Bridger, and to
an inquiry as to the number of men Bridger had, he answered forty, which
was a lie, as Bridger had six times that number. The Bold laughed and
said: "We will make them poor, and you shall live, but they shall die."
For four days they travelled to attack Bridger, and Meek was forced to
do the menial work of the camp under the ridicule of the squaws.

     "On the afternoon of the fourth day," he says, "the spies, who war
     in advance, looking out from a high hill, made a sign to the main
     party. In a moment all sat down. I war as well up in Indian signs
     as they war; and I knew they had discovered white men. What war
     worse, I knew that they would soon discover that I had been lying
     to them. All I had to do then war to trust to luck. Soon we came to
     the top of the hill which overlooked the Yellowstone, from which I
     could see the plains below extending as far as the eye could reach,
     and about three miles off, the camp of my friends. My heart beat
     double quick about that time and I once in a while put my hand to
     my head, to feel if my scalp war thar. While I war watching our
     camp, I discovered that the horse guard had seen us, for I knew the
     sign he would make if he discovered Indians. I thought the camp a
     splendid sight that evening. It made a powerful show to me, who did
     not expect ever to see it after that day. And it war a fine sight
     anyhow from the hill where I stood. About two hundred and fifty
     men, and women and children in great numbers, and about a thousand
     horses and mules. Then the beautiful plain and the sinking sun;
     and the herds of buffalo that could not be numbered; and the cedar
     hills covered with elk,—I never saw so fine a sight as that looked
     to me then! When I turned my eyes on that savage Crow band, and
     saw the chief standing with his hand on his mouth,[102] lost in
     amazement, and beheld the warriors' tomahawks and spears glittering
     in the sun, my heart was very little. Directly the chief turned to
     me with a horrible scowl. Said he: 'I promised that you should live
     if you told the truth; but you have told me a great lie.' Then the
     warriors gathered round with their tomahawks in their hands."

  [Illustration: Jim Bridger in his Latter Days.

   Photograph from Montana Historical Society.]

Bridger's horse guard now approached to drive in the horses. The Crow
chief ordered Meek to tell him to come up, but instead Meek shouted for
him to keep away and to tell Bridger to try to treat with them. In a
little while Bridger came on a large white horse to within three hundred
yards and asked for a council. Little Gun, the second chief, finally was
ordered to go and smoke with Bridger, while the whole band prepared for
war. When Little Gun and Bridger were within about a hundred yards of
each other they halted and stripped, according to Crow rules, proceeding
the remaining distance in a nude state, to kiss and embrace. Meanwhile
five of Bridger's men crept along in a dry ravine and were able to cut
off Little Gun from his friends. Now there was a great commotion among
the Crows. At this moment about a hundred of Bridger's men came up and
he called to Meek to propose an exchange of himself for Little Gun. To
this the chief sullenly consented, remarking that he could not afford to
give a chief for one white dog's scalp. Meek thereupon was allowed to go
toward his friends as Little Gun approached his, and in a few moments
the exchange was accomplished. That same evening, the head chief with
forty of his men visited Bridger's camp and made a treaty of peace to
endure three months, in order that they might join together to fight the
Blackfeet. They gave Meek his mule, gun, and beaver packs, and told him
his name should henceforth be Shiam Shaspusia, as he could outlie the

The growing scarcity of beaver toward the end of the thirties threw
many trappers out of work. The fur companies disbanded, and the men were
left in the mountains not knowing what to do. They therefore scattered
in small bands in search of profit and adventure. Meek was in Brown's
Hole in the winter, about this time, at Fort Davy Crockett. It will
be remembered that Ashley had come through Flaming Gorge, etc., and
Red Canyon from Green River Valley, and went out to Salt Lake from
Brown's Hole. Meek joined a party to go down on the ice through the
next canyon, now called Lodore. The entrance to this gorge is very
abrupt and magnificent, the rocks rising suddenly and sheer to a height
of over two thousand feet, forming a monster gateway which can be seen
for miles out in the valley. Into this gateway, Meek and his companions
entered, doubtless the first whites ever to go far within the solemn
chasm. He says they travelled nearly a hundred miles down this "awful
canyon without finding but one place where they could have come out,
and left it at last at the mouth of the Uintee." That is, they went
through Lodore, about twenty-one miles, Echo Park, one mile, Whirlpool
Canyon, about fifteen miles, Island Park, nine miles, and Split
Mountain Canyon, eight miles, or in all a distance through canyons of
about fifty-four miles. The remainder of their journey was in the open
Wonsits Valley. The place where they thought they could have come out
was Island Park, which is a small valley enclosed on the west only by
slopes of the Uintas. There are also other places but more difficult.
About ten years later a party attempted the descent in boats through
this particular series of canyons and was wrecked in Lodore. The descent
in Lodore is 420 feet, and, in the distance that the Meek party went
on the ice, about 750 feet. A band of Catholic missionaries, according
to Farnham,[103] attempted the descent of the Colorado, presumably from
the point where the trail to Los Angeles crossed Grand or Green River.
They were never heard of again. The name "Julien—1836" is cut in three
places on the canyon walls, one in what is called Labyrinth Canyon,
one near the foot of Cataract Canyon, and another near the head of the
same canyon. So far as the records known to me go, the canyons below
Lodore remained absolute wilderness till 1869, unless this Julien passed
through Cataract, as is suggested by the occurrence of his name.

  [Illustration: Green River from Green River Valley to Wonsits Valley.

   The Uinta range extends across from left to right. The canyons through
   its eastern flank are shown by the very dark portions. Brown's Park
   lies between two series. The first, or upper, series was traversed
   in 1825 by Ashley; the second, by Meek and party on the ice in 1838;
   partially by an unknown band about 1850; and all of the canyons finally
   by Powell in 1869, clear down to the Virgin River.]

A trapper made famous by Ruxton's romantic account[104] of his doings
was La Bonté. The Arapahos having killed four trappers and run off with
La Bonté's animals, he and his partner, Killbuck, were after them. They
discovered the camp where the scalps of the trappers were stuck on
a spear in the centre of the circle. While spying out the situation,
one of the mules perceived them and gave forth a whinny. La Bonté and
Killbuck immediately fired killing two Arapahos, whereupon the three
survivors rushed upon them with loud yells. The trappers, "drawing their
pistols, charged at once, and although the bows twanged and the three
arrows struck their mark, on they rushed, discharging their pistols at
close quarters. La Bonté threw his empty one at the head of an Indian
who was pulling his second arrow to its head at a yard's distance, drew
his knife at the same moment and made at him. But the Indian broke and
ran, followed by his surviving companion; and as soon as Killbuck could
ram home another ball he sent a shot flying after them as they scrambled
up the mountain side, leaving, in their fright and hurry, their bows
and shields on the ground."

La Bonté now pulled an arrow out of his arm, while Killbuck took his
whetstone from the little sheath on his belt and put an edge on his
knife. Then, examining the first body to see if any life remained, and
finding the man dead, he proceeded to the business of scalping.

     "Seizing with his left hand the long braided lock on the centre of
     the Indian's head, he passed the point edge of his keen butcher
     knife round the parting, turning it at the same time under the
     skin to separate the scalp from the skull, then with a quick,
     sudden jerk of his hand he removed it entirely from the head, and
     giving the reeking trophy a wring upon the grass to free it from
     the blood, he coolly hitched it under his belt and proceeded to
     the next; but seeing La Bonté operating upon this, he sought the
     third, who lay some little distance from the others. This one was
     still alive, a pistol ball having passed through his body without
     touching a vital spot.... Thrusting his knife for mercy's sake into
     the bosom of the Indian, he likewise tore the scalp lock from his
     head and placed it with the other."

  [Illustration: Snow-bound in the Wilderness—1875.

   Pencil sketch on the spot by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

Killbuck up to this moment had been walking about with an arrow through
his thigh. The point being near the surface on the other side, he pushed
it entirely through, and cut the head off below the barb, after which
he could pull the shaft out. A tourniquet of buckskin soon stopped the
bleeding, and he "brought in his old mule, lavishing many a caress and
most comical terms of endearment upon the faithful companion of his
wanderings." After a hasty meal on the venison which the Amerinds had
been cooking, they hurried away from the locality to a camp of Utes.
The latter were enemies of the Arapahos, and when La Bonté told them
the Arapahos were coming the whole village was speedily in commotion:
the squaws began to lament and tear their hair; the warriors, to paint
and arm themselves. A band of a hundred soon left for the field, and
La Bonté and Killbuck would have gone too, but the chiefs forbade this,
as their wounds were stiff and painful and they were well worn out. So
buffalo robes were placed in a warm roomy lodge and they were left to
rest and recuperate.

On the Mexican frontier trouble had for some time been brewing
concerning the status of Texas in the Mexican political arrangement.
The Texans, who were now mainly Americans, having followed the lead of
Austin, desired to have Texas a sovereign Mexican state, but a military
government was proposed by the Mexicans and a revolt occurred in 1835,
which resulted in a proclamation of entire independence, March 2, 1836.
The Texans triumphed the same year under Houston at the battle of San
Jacinto. The western boundary was laid without any just reason along
the Rio Grande from its mouth to the source and thence due north to the
forty-second parallel; but the Mexicans refused to consider any line
beyond the Nueces River, when the independence of Texas was finally
allowed. Therefore the boundary on the Rio Grande never having been
agreed to by the owner of the soil, Mexico, it has no rightful place on
any map. It never had any existence, and as it is usually given without
qualification on historical maps, it is entirely misleading.

  [Illustration: Canyon of Lodore—Green River.

   The first on record to go through this and the canyons immediately
   below it—that is, from Brown's Park to Wonsits Valley—was Joe Meek,
   and a party of trappers, on the ice in the winter of 1838-39.

   Photograph by E. O. Beaman, U. S. Colo. Riv. Exp.]

In the troublous times which now for a period fell upon the Wilderness,
a new figure comes to the front and dominates the epoch with a force
that resulted in attaching his name to it forever and at the same time
in rousing a great amount of opposition and condemnation. This was John
C. Frémont, called the Pathfinder, though, as the reader perceives
from the preceding pages, the main paths had long before been found.
Nevertheless, Frémont was the first of his kind—the first to follow
paths for the sake of the paths themselves—the first to record them
properly—the first who looked at the Wilderness beyond the peaks of
the Rockies with sole reference to the geographical problems that might
lie there—the first to pay attention to the botany and geology. He has
been ridiculed for likening himself when looking down on Salt Lake,
to Balboa but the injustice of this is apparent when we find that he
did not compare himself to the Spanish explorer, but merely said he
was "doubtful if the followers of Balboa felt more enthusiasm" when
they saw the Pacific for the first time. Frémont, as a lieutenant, and
about twenty-five, began his work with Nicollet on the Mississippi and
the Missouri in 1838-40. In Washington he met Senator Benton; and also
his daughter, Jessie, whom he married in 1841. In 1842 he was selected
to explore the region of South Pass and on this journey he climbed
the peak named for him,—the highest of the Wind River Mountains. In
1843 he was out again, remaining fourteen months, with a large party
of frontiersmen. He made a third journey in 1845-47, resigning from
the army on his return. His fourth, last, and disastrous trip was in
1848. In his several expeditions he went to Oregon by the Bear River,
Fort Hall, and Snake River route; to Klamath and Pyramid lakes; to San
Joaquin Valley; to southern California; back over the Jedediah Smith
(outward) trail from Salt Lake; crossed the Rocky Mountains and Green
River from Utah Lake, and so back and forth in a number of directions.

  [Illustration: A Chance Meeting.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

In 1845 Texas was admitted into the Union as a State. President Polk,
on what ground is not apparent, agreed with the Texans that the western
limit of their domain was certainly the Rio Grande. He might as well
then and there have agreed that it was the Pacific. General Taylor was
ordered to occupy the region west of the Nueces and he pushed on to the
Rio Grande. There was nothing left for the Mexicans to do but fight, and
this they accordingly did. Scott was ordered with his army to Mexico,
Kearney to New Mexico and California. Santa Fé was easily captured in
1846, and the navy speedily took the California coast towns. Frémont
being in California engaged actively in the insurrection there, and was
much censured for what he did. The Mexicans were vanquished. In 1848 a
treaty was entered into between them and the United States, by which
in consideration of $15,000,000, and the United States assuming all
claims, New Mexico and California were ceded to the Americans—that is,
all below the forty-second parallel to the Gila and the Rio Grande. The
latter river now was admitted to be the western boundary of Texas; a
boundary afterwards adjusted with the Federal Government. The Mexicans
were left with nothing north of the Gila; the British with nothing south
of the forty-ninth parallel, west of the Mississippi. The immense area
which once had formed the basis of so many broad and indefinite claims
was now held by a nation which had no being when the European countries
began their wrangling over this splendid domain. From Atlantic to
Pacific, from the Lake of the Woods to the Rio Grande, one power was in
control, and that power the very youngest in all the world. The American
nation had secured for itself the most fertile, most diversified, and
altogether the finest and richest area on the entire globe. The Spanish
sentinel had been turned with his face to the wall; the British sentinel
was equally overwhelmed; the natives were cheerfully poisoned with cheap
whiskey; and it was now only a question of settlement and communication
between the widely separated parts of the Republic.

The beaver was gone. Buffalo robes formed the bulk of the fur trade.
Even the buffalo were diminishing in numbers. It seemed as if little
incentive remained to lead people to brave the discomforts and dangers
of the western Wilderness. It appeared as if the young Republic for
centuries to come would have a wilderness on its hands.

But under the very feet of the trapper struggling to earn his small
wage by exterminating the beaver, rich metals were hidden; and Fortune
was almost ready to remove the blindfold, and lure the next set of
Wilderness breakers into the field.



     [97] _Early California Reminiscences_, by General John Bidwell, in
     _Out West Magazine_, March, 1904, p. 286.

     [98] _Travels in the Interior of North America_, by Maximilian,
     Prince of Wied, translated from the German by H. Evans Lloyd.

     [99] See Catlin's _Eight Years_.

     [100] In the works of H. H. Bancroft may be found lists of books
     on the Wilderness.

     [101] _How Marcus Whitman Saved Oregon_, by O. W. Nixon. It is
     now stated that the importance ascribed to Whitman's labours is
     exaggerated, and that he had little to do with "saving" Oregon.

     [102] The method of expressing astonishment was to cover the mouth
     with one hand.

     [103] _Travels in the Great Western Prairies_, etc., by Thomas J.

     [104] _Life in the Far West_, by George Frederick Ruxton.



     Free Distribution of Frémont's Reports—Latter Day Saints—Murder
     of a Prophet—Brigham Young Guides Saints to the Wilderness—The
     State of Deseret—California the Golden—Massacre at Mountain
     Meadows—Old Jacob, the Mormon Leatherstocking—Steam on the Lower
     Colorado—Old Jacob Finds the Crossing of the Fathers—Circumtouring
     the Grand Canyon—Solitudes of the Colorado—Last of the Wilderness
     Problems—Powell Solves it by Masterful Courage—The Iron Trail—The
     End and the Beginning.

The reports Frémont made of his several expeditions were so striking and
so important that Congress ordered thousands of copies to be printed
for free distribution. They formed the beginning of the long series
of invaluable volumes the Government since that day has so wisely and
so lavishly published. First to present drawings of new plants and
fossils as well as to give accurate details of geography, they serve
to mark Frémont as the scientific Pathfinder. Botanical specimens
were classified by Torrey; paleontological by Hall, and comment on the
excellence of their work is unnecessary. Altogether these expeditions
of Frémont began a new period in Wilderness exploration—the period of
scientific examination. He has been much criticised, but it was he who
broke the way for the numerous Government expeditions which followed
and which reflect much credit on the intelligence and generosity of
Congress. Few governments have ever fostered the scientific spirit
with a better grace or to so full an extent, and Frémont was partly
responsible for this commendable attitude. Through his enthusiastic
labours the Far West began to be more clearly understood than ever
before. He took no pessimistic view of the resources of the Wilderness
as Pike and Long had done, but was rather inclined to the other side.
It seems notable that he should so commandingly have stepped into the
vast field at a moment coincident with the collapse of beaver trapping
as a business; an industry which, as we have seen, was responsible for
the breaking of all the main trails of the Wilderness, and for searching
out every important secret save that of the hidden fury of the Colorado.
Not only had the beaver been practically exterminated, but the bison was
on the decline.[105] Those beyond the mountains suffered nearly to the
point of annihilation in the exceptionally heavy snows of the winter of

The Great Salt Lake, enshrined in the snowy mountains and resembling the
Dead Sea of Palestine, strongly appealed to the imagination of a new
sect which was to have a great effect on the Wilderness, a sect which
in 1830 began its development, and notwithstanding vigorous and often
bloody opposition or possibly because of it, augmented steadily its
power. Those who adopted this new creed were commonly called Mormons
though they designated themselves as "The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints." The cult, like others which have prospered, was
originated by a very poor and rather despised individual, Joseph Smith,
near Palmyra, New York. By his followers, Smith was believed to possess
supernatural powers as a seer and prophet. He had political ambition
also, for in 1844, he "published an address to the people of the United
States on the powers and policy of the general government and offered
himself as a candidate for the office of President." Out of his visions
and inspirations grew the now famous _Book of Mormon_, purporting to
relate the history of the original people of the Western World, the
Amerinds, or "Indians," descendants by its authority of some of those
who were dispersed and lost to history by the confusion of tongues at
the Tower of Babel. In Mormon belief it supplements the Holy Bible,
which they hold to be the history of the Eastern World as well as the
Divinely inspired Word. Thus they have the Bible, the _Book of Mormon_,
the _Book of Doctrine and Covenants_ and a book of guidance called
_Pearl of Great Price_. First success was due to Sidney Rigdon.

After a number of migrations in search of the proper spot whereon
to found the New Jerusalem, the Mormons were attracted by reports of
the Great Salt Lake, lying in Mexican territory, and in some degree
duplicating the topography of the Holy Land. Having much difficulty with
their neighbours, they were desirous of isolating themselves, and to
them the region of the Salt Sea of the Wilderness seemed the promised
land. Their Prophet Joseph had been murdered in cold blood, June 27,
1844, in Carthage jail, whither he had been taken from his Mormon
town of Nauvoo, Illinois, having there, on the advice of the Governor,
surrendered himself for trial on charges preferred by his opponents.
The Mormons resolved then to move bodily to the valley of the American
Dead Sea, wild and forbidding though it seemed. A thousand miles of
separation from their antagonists, by what was then believed to be
irreclaimable desert, was a condition they desired and doubtless they
believed that once established on that foreign soil behind a barrier of
mountain ranges, they would there be able to develop their institutions
unmolested. No mind then foresaw the rapid exploration and settlement
of the Wilderness which has taken place.

Brigham Young, the new leader who succeeded Smith, was possessed of
unusual executive ability and clear judgment, though with a limited
school education. But no amount of book knowledge could have replaced
the qualities with which he was born. Possessing such a commander; with
a martyred prophet in the background; with "persecution" unlimited;
the Mormons were equipped for sectarian as well as for civil progress.
Add to all this the suggestion of the Holy Land found in the country of
their choice, and the State of Deseret, as they wished to call it, was
in a position to appeal strongly to those who were looking for salvation
in some new form.[106]

  [Illustration: A Mormon Sorghum Mill and Evaporating Pans.

   Photograph by F. S Dellenbaugh.]

  [Illustration: A Setback.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

It was not till July, 1847, they were able in numbers to reach the Salt
Lake, and doubtless the dry, barren, region appeared discouraging. But
Brigham Young, who followed a little later, had not begun this move
blindly. His astute mind had shown him that irrigation by means of
the mountain torrents would transform into gardens the arid plains,
exactly as had been done in that dreamland of the Wilderness, the Rio
Grande Valley. At first the devotees of the Mormon faith had a severe
time, starvation was close to their thresholds, but perseverance,
grit, and industry gradually conquered the antagonism of nature and
the once forbidding valley was presently offering the Latter Day Saints
abundance; Salt Lake City became a centre of order and prosperity. Other
portions from this as a base were brought under cultivation and the soil
was rendered prolific. It must be acknowledged that these people were
Wilderness breakers of high quality. They not only broke it, but they
kept it broken; and instead of the gin mill and the gambling hell, as
corner stones of their progress, and as examples to the natives of white
men's superiority, they planted orchards, gardens, farms, schoolhouses,
and peaceful homes.[107] There is to-day, no part of the United States
where human life is safer than in the land of the Mormons; no place
where there is less lawlessness. A people who have accomplished so
much that is good, who have endured danger, privation, and suffering,
who have withstood the obloquy of more powerful sects, have in them
much that is commendable; they deserve more than abuse, they deserve
admiration, no matter what may have been their shortcomings in the
earlier stages of their career.

The fortunes of the Mexican War, which the Mormons helped to decide
for the American arms, as far as they were able, soon threw them again
within the jurisdiction of the United States, and eventually, in place
of their desired State of Deseret, Congress established the Territory
of Utah, and made Brigham Young first governor, an appointment which
should never have been made if the Mormons were as bad a people as by
some was maintained. By it the Government really sanctioned the Mormon

Besides the Mormons other sects pushed into the Wilderness. The
Methodists and Presbyterians were early in Oregon, the first under the
Lees and the second under Whitman. The Catholics also began missionary
work in that quarter, and their chief worker was Father De Smet, whose
name is forever welded into the history of the Wilderness, by his
earnest labours for one thing, but more particularly by his careful
observation and the records which he made of all he saw. He went
everywhere in the northern parts of the Wilderness, always welcome,
always doing good, and never in danger. More ought to be related here
concerning his career, but the limits of this volume prevent.

Meanwhile the settlers in California startled the sleepy atmosphere of
the old Mission _régime_; yet the region was so inaccessible from the
East that few ventured to go there. But Fortune was holding something
in reserve. A blindfold was on all eyes; no one could see the future
indicated by the discovery of gold near San Fernando Mission. It had
been washed out as early as 1841, but only in a small way, and it was
not till one day in 1849, when nuggets were found in repairing a mill
race on Sutter's ranch at the mouth of the American River, that the
blindfold was dropped and the people saw. In a general way this was
the end of what may be termed the Frémont period and the beginning of
another, which was to have a tremendous influence upon the destinies
of the Wilderness. Emigrants crossed the oceans; they crossed the
Wilderness; they came from round the globe by thousands and by thousands
again, to wash from the golden soil of California their everlasting
fortunes. It became a stampede.

There were two routes from the East. One, the northern, by the Oregon
Trail, and the other, the southern, by way of the Santa Fé Trail, both
starting from Westport, now Kansas City. A few years before they had
started from Independence, some miles farther east. The Oregon Trail
was followed as far as Fort Bridger,[108] a post established by the
famous trapper of that name, on Ham's Fork in Green River Valley, 1843,
and also as far as the great bend of Bear River, when the immigrants
made for Salt Lake and thence by way of the Humboldt to and over the
Sierras; or south about on the trail of Escalante and Jedediah Smith,
till it struck the old Wolfskill (Spanish) Trail, which was then
followed down the west side of the Wasatch Range to the Mountain Meadows
on the head of the Santa Clara, across the Beaver Dam Mountains, down
the Virgin nearly to the Colorado, and then across southern California.
From Santa Fé two routes were open; one by way of the Gila and the
other northward over Wolfskill's trail, the "Old Spanish Trail," to
Green River at Gunnison Valley, and then across the mountains to join
the other trail coming down from Salt Lake not far from the present
town of Nephi. The northern route by the Humboldt was the one most
travelled. The interesting incidents connected with these trails and the
California gold rush would fill a volume. There were battles, scalpings,
starvation, captivity, and privations of all kinds. Sometimes a whole
family was destroyed at one blow, as in the case of Oatman, who had
ventured on without company. He was attacked by Apaches on the Gila,
the slaughter being speedy and, as the murderers thought, complete,
excepting two daughters, whom they sold to the Mohaves. A son, however,
recovered sufficiently to escape. One of the daughters died; the other
was discovered five years later by Henry Grinell, and was bought by him
from her Mohave owners and sent to her brother in Los Angeles.[109]

Another affair which stirred the outer world a few years after this,
1857, was the "Mountain Meadows Massacre." Just at this moment, owing
to a quarrel between the Federal Government and Brigham Young, a small
army under Colonel Albert Sydney Johnston, famous later as a Confederate
leader, was sent in a half-hearted and futile way against the Mormons.
This move was a great error on the part of the authorities, and it
hardly appears as if they were in earnest. Either a well-equipped,
powerful army should have been sent that could have reduced the Mormons
if they had done anything deserving such treatment, which appears not to
have been the fact, or they should have been dealt with by arbitration
and argument as free-born citizens of the United States. The army
operations were a ridiculous fiasco, but nevertheless gave the Mormons
ground for the assertions that they were invincible. A caravan of one
hundred and fifty people from the Arkansas-Missouri region was now on
its way from Salt Lake to California by the southern trail. Between
people from that region and the Mormons there had always been bitter
feeling, and it was now aggravated by the presence of the threatening
army and by contemptuous taunts which the immigrants are said to have
freely spread along their route, accompanied by vile epithets. It is
also said that they stole fowls and other property and abused those who
remonstrated. The result was that when they reached Mountain Meadows,
where they intended, as was the custom, to rest before starting on the
more difficult journey beyond, they were attacked by a number of natives
and Mormon fanatics. The attack was a local matter and had no authority
then or afterwards from the officials of the Church. The immigrants
were well armed and made a good fight, believing the attacking party to
be natives all. When the Mormon participants appeared on the scene and
told the Gentiles if they would lay down their arms the Mormons would
guarantee safe exit from the valley, they accepted the proposition as
an honourable one; they were anxious to spare their wives and children
further exposure. They went forth, therefore, in confidence, but as
they neared the south end of the valley the miscreants, as treacherous
as the lowest savage, violated without compunction their pledge. The
immigrants were coolly butchered, for they were now helpless. Only a
few little children were spared, and John D. Lee, the leader of the
Mormon villains, perpetrated, according to account, crimes unspeakable
in connection with murder of the most cold-blooded character.

  [Illustration: In Council.

   General Sherman Third from Left of White Group.

   Photograph from United States Government.]

A pile of stones was reared on the spot where the bodies were buried,
and as one looks down upon it to-day from the waggon-road, which runs
somewhat farther up the slope than at that time, the grim spectres of
Death and Dishonour appear still to hover above the scene of blood;
where savages were put to shame in an exhibition of terrible depravity.
A dismal pall seems to pervade the once pure valley and doubtless
always will. At the north end the cutting of floods in the stream-bed
has destroyed a large part of the tillable soil, and springs that once
flowed abundantly have disappeared. Several houses stand there, but
they have a forlorn and dilapidated appearance. The hand of Fate has
laid a blight on the place, and it will yet be many a long year before
that awful tragedy will not live again as the traveller passes over the
fatal road. No Mormon I have ever met thought for a moment of excusing
the action of the fanatics who led the massacre. On the contrary, it
has always been unequivocally condemned.

Even Lee was at least ashamed of the part he played, and he tried to
persuade me in 1872 that he was innocent, that he attempted to prevent
the crime, and that he had wept when he found it was to be done. Yet
immediately after the event he admitted to other Mormons that he had
taken part. He was "cut off" from the Church and for years lived an
outlawed life in the most inaccessible places, but he was caught and,
in 1877, executed at the scene of his hideous deed. The massacre was
most unlucky for the Mormons, as the world refused to believe that it
was not secretly sanctioned. Unfortunately for the poor immigrants one
man who probably could have saved them, and who certainly would have
tried desperately to do it, was absent from his home at the Meadows at
that time, being on his way to Salt Lake. This was Jacob Hamblin, the
Leatherstocking of Utah, or "Old Jacob," as he was familiarly called
when I knew him some fourteen years after the massacre. On another
occasion when a fanatic, stationed on the Muddy to assist immigrants,
concluded to kill a man, and said to Jacob, "This man must go up," Jacob
answered, "If he does I go up first, mark that," and the man went free
and never knew his danger; for it would have been a reckless nature that
would have dared to oppose the wrath of Old Jacob.

Had he been at Mountain Meadows on that awful day he would have saved
the immigrants or would have died with them.

Old Jacob was a remarkable character, and must hold a place in the
annals of the Wilderness beside Jedediah Smith, Bridger, the Sublettes,
and the rest of that gallant band. But he differed in one respect from
every one of them; he sought no pecuniary gain, working for the good
of his chosen people, always poor and seeming to have no ambition for
riches. Honest, slow and low of speech, keen of perception, quick of
action, and with admirable poise and judgment, Old Jacob was one of the
heroes of the Wilderness, and one of the last of his kind. Long ago I
tried to persuade him to tell me for publication the story of his life,
but he then intended to write it himself. Afterwards it was brought out
by the Church in the "Faith Promoting Series."[110]

In 1855 the Mormons had progressed far enough into the southern
Wilderness to settle on the Santa Clara near the Virgin, and in 1861
they founded St. George, now the principal town of that wide region.
They also settled at Grafton and several other places up the Virgin
which winds its way through a series of bounding cliffs that rival those
of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.[111]

As yet few white men since Escalante, in 1776, had crossed the great
canyon barrier of the Colorado between the mouth of the Virgin and
Gunnison Valley on Green River, a distance of about six hundred miles as
the river runs. Escalante had hunted out the fording-place of the Utes,
some miles above the mouth of the Paria, the only place in all that
stretch where fording is possible even at the lowest stage of water,
which occurs in the autumn and winter. The trapper, Richard Campbell,
as early as 1840, perhaps as early as 1827, knew of the Crossing of the
Fathers, as it was called because of Escalante's venture, and he also
knew that a trail from Zuñi went there, but whether he had crossed is
not clear. James O. Pattie had travelled along near the canyon edge for
a considerable distance and finally reached Grand River, but his route
is obscure, for his narrative gives few details of this important part
of his remarkable journey from the mouth of the Gila to the head of the
Yellowstone in 1826. When the Mormons reached southern Utah the whole
length of the Green and Colorado from Green River Valley to the mouth
of the Virgin was mainly unbroken Wilderness, only the extreme upper
portion having been entered by trappers and the lower part, except the
crossing of a few persons at the Escalante ford, was a complete blank.
Ashley had made no record of what he saw in Red Canyon, and his voyage
there was forgotten. Meek's trip through Lodore on the ice was likewise
forgotten, and several other futile attempts to solve the mystery of the
Colorado were vague memories in the minds of the trapper fraternity.
Bridger and Carson had been near the upper canyons from time to time,
and once Bridger attempted to explore the Green by following along the
land, but soon gave it up for lack of water. He and his companions could
see the river, but they could not get down to it. E. L. Berthoud, the
engineer, in 1861 also made an attempt, but gave it up after one day for
the same reason. There was, indeed, only one way to fathom the secrets
of this river, and that was to start above with good boats and go down
on the tide; but as yet no man had appeared with sufficient nerve and
good judgment to make a successful attempt at it.

In 1861 Berthoud and Bridger explored a road from Denver to Salt Lake
by way of Middle Park, crossing the Green near the mouth of the Uinta.
This road was for the Overland Stage Company. Owing to the Civil War the
project was abandoned, but a regiment of California volunteers marched
this way from Salt Lake to Denver. The distance was 413 miles;[112] and
there was small record of the features of the Wilderness through which
the road ran. From the mouth of the Colorado at the Gulf of California
up to within a short distance of Fort Yuma Lieutenant Derby, of the
Topographical Engineers, made an examination in 1851, and later that
same year George A. Johnson came to the mouth with supplies for Yuma,
constructing there some flatboats for the purpose of transporting the
cargo to the fort. The Gila at this time was the southern boundary
in this quarter of the United States, but complications having arisen
over an ill-defined portion of the line a new treaty was negotiated by
Gadsden in 1853, by which, for a consideration of ten million dollars
paid to Mexico, the boundary was placed where it is now. The mouth
of the Colorado was not included, though navigation privileges were
granted. The mouth of the river is of no value to Mexico and ought to
be purchased by the United States, although the difficulty of navigation
renders it of comparatively small importance.

In order to arrive at the Yuma post, situated at the mouth of the Gila,
a steamer adapted to this kind of navigation was brought by sea from San
Francisco by Turnbull. This was to ply between the fort and the Gulf at
the mouth of the Colorado. She was named _Uncle Sam_, and it was only a
few months before she struck a snag and went to the bottom. The power of
the river, the immense quantity of sediment brought down and shiftingly
deposited by every slack current, the earthquakes, and the fierce tidal
bore, rendered navigation anything but easy. Turnbull gave up, but
Johnson took the contract for transporting the fort supplies from the
Gulf and soon had a new steamer in service, the _General Jesup_. This
was followed by a second, the _Colorado_, one hundred and twenty feet
long. Johnson became familiar with every bar and current and for years
continued skilfully to operate his boats. He knew the history of that
locality as perhaps no other man could know it.[113]

  [Illustration: The Steamboat "Explorer" in which Lieutenant Ives, in
   1858, Ascended the Colorado to the Foot of Black Canyon.

   Sketch by H. B. Mollhausen.]

In 1851 Sitgreaves reconnoitred the country about on the trail of
Garces, and in 1854 Whipple, also for the Government, explored along
the 35th parallel. The mighty gorges carved through the great plateau
prohibited north and south travel, for they were well-nigh impossible
to cross except at the one or two places mentioned. A mountain range
of equal length and of the greatest magnitude would not have offered
so tremendous an obstacle. In 1857 E. F. Beale surveyed a waggon-road
along the 35th parallel for the Government, and Johnson, in his steamer,
the _General Jesup_, went up from Yuma early in January, 1858, to
ferry Beale across on his return from California. Before meeting Beale,
Johnson pushed his steamer experimentally on up the river to the head
of Black Canyon, the highest point attainable by steamers under the
most favourable conditions. He did this to expressly anticipate the
exploration planned by Lieutenant Ives, of the Topographical Engineers,
who, the month before, December, 1857, had landed at the mouth of
the river with sections of a steamboat, _The Explorer_, built in
Philadelphia, with which he intended to find the head of navigation and
also map the river. Ives conducted this survey with skill and accuracy,
and while Johnson's manœuvre took from him the distinction of first
ascent, nevertheless he remains the first explorer of the river in this
region. He went to the foot of Black Canyon with his steamer and thence
to the head of Black Canyon with a small boat. He visited the Grand
Canyon at the mouth of Diamond Creek, the Havasupai Canyon, and also
the Moki Towns. His report is a model of graceful diction, but many of
the illustrations are preposterous. In 1866 Captain Rodgers took the
steamer _Esmeralda_, ninety-seven feet long, drawing three and a half
feet of water, up to Callville, not far below the mouth of the Virgin.

The Mormons were desirous of opening a road to communicate with the
region east and south of the Colorado, especially that the "Lamanites"
might be able to come from there and receive endowments in the temple
of St. George according to prophecy. Brigham Young directed Jacob
Hamblin to undertake this journey, and in the autumn of 1857 went with
a party under the guidance of a native to the Ute Ford, or Crossing
of the Fathers, where Escalante had broken the way eighty-one years
before. Successfully traversing this difficult passage, possible only
at a very low stage of water, he and his eleven companions reached the
Moki Towns in safety. Nearly every autumn after this saw Jacob wending
his way to the same region, but not always without disaster. In 1860
the party was turned back south of the river and one of their number,
young Smith, killed by the Navajos. In 1862 Jacob tried another route
to reach the same locality, going to the Colorado by way of the Grand
Wash, south-westerly from St. George. At the river they built a boat and
safely passed over. Then they went south and east below the great chasm
to the San Francisco Mountains, suffering greatly for water in that arid
region. Crossing the Little Colorado they finally arrived at the towns
of the Mokis. But on the return Jacob followed his original route by
way of the Crossing of the Fathers, and was thus the first white man to
circumtour the Grand Canyon. The next year he went again by the Grand
Wash trail, touched at Havasupai Canyon, and arrived once more among the
friendly Mokis, three of whom had accompanied him back to Utah on the
last trip. On this 1863 journey he was accompanied by Lewis Greeley, a
nephew of Horace Greeley, who had come down from Salt Lake with letters
from Brigham Young. It was not till six years later that a crossing was
made at the mouth of the Paria, now Lee Ferry, still the chief, I might
almost say, the only available crossing between Grand Wash and Gunnison
Valley. Jacob Hamblin was the first to go that way. The river is deep
and a raft or boat is necessary to transport goods.

In seeking a hiding-place John D. Lee found this point desirable and
settled there early in 1872, building a log cabin and cultivating some
ground. He began the ferry by helping several persons across the river,
the first being J. H. Beadle, who had written a severe denunciation of
him. Lee told me he discovered Beadle's identity, but I have forgotten
exactly how. Lee called the place "Lonely Dell," and it was a name well
applied, for the precipices of naked rock rose high on every side, and
about a hundred miles separated the locality from Kanab, the nearest
settlement of any consequence.

  [Illustration: Where the Wilderness Lingers.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

Though the canyons of the Colorado had now been crossed midway of
the great six-hundred-mile stretch, and farther north near Green
River Valley had far back in the century been penetrated to a limited
extent, almost nothing was actually known about them. Even at the most
favourable points approach to the brink was extremely difficult, and
descent to the water generally impossible. On each side the country was
for many miles forbidding wilderness, for the journeys of the trappers,
where they had penetrated, had left no impression. It was as if no white
man had ever looked upon it. They were thus the final great problem
of the Wilderness. A stout heart was required to launch forth into
their unfathomed mystery, particularly as by this time numerous tales
of underground channels, fearful cataracts, and chasms impossible of
passage, went the rounds of the camp-fires. For a time the Civil War
withdrew attention from Western exploration, but when it was ended one
of the officers, who had gone through the weary four years, and who
wore in consequence an armless right sleeve, turned his attention once
more to his scientific studies, and finally found himself, in 1867,
exploring in the Parks of Colorado. Here he learned of the wonderful
and forbidding canyons of the great river, saw some of the minor
tributary gorges, and also met and employed a rare mountaineer, Jack
Sumner, also a veteran of the Civil War. Sumner says he suggested to
Powell the descent of the canyons. At any rate, Powell became enthused
with a desire to explore this remnant of the original Wilderness, and
Sumner was a more than willing companion in the scheme. Organising an
expedition Powell started from Green River Station, Wyoming, in the same
valley where the early trappers had so often made their rendezvous, and
which had also been the resting-place for the California pioneers. He
was a geologist and his experienced eye and quick judgment doubtless
soon disclosed to him the probable nature of the interior of the
canyons; the probability that no insurmountable obstacle existed to
prevent his triumphant descent through the whole series. But while he
believed the canyon mystery could be solved he went at it with no spirit
of bravado. With him it was serious, scientific business, solely for
the purpose of determining the geologic and geographic character of the
mighty gorges in which the river lost itself. As the difference between
the altitude of Green River Station and that of the mouth of the Rio
Virgin was known to be some five thousand feet, there was clearly room
for realisation of all the fantastic tales of the mountaineers.

  [Illustration: Running the Colorado.

   Drawing by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

On May 29, 1869, with four staunch boats built in Chicago, manned by
nine men besides Powell, the party set forth on the swift current from
Green River, Wyoming. They were soon deep in the fastnesses of the
canyon wilderness where the plunging river roared defiance. As has
before been mentioned Ashley had passed through Red Canyon, one of the
first of the great gorges. Meek in winter on the ice had gone through
Lodore and the gorges just below it, and a party of trappers had been
wrecked in Lodore in attempting the descent. The latter made their way
to Salt Lake, where they worked on the temple which the Mormons had
begun. This canyon of Lodore had disaster in store for Powell too. One
of the boats was wrecked, though fortunately not a man was injured;
but the accident produced trouble, as Powell blamed some of the men for
blundering, and they blamed him for failing to signal in time.

When they reached Wonsits Valley one of the men, Goodman, who was in
the wreck, decided that he had had enough of this river and made his
way across country to the Uinta Agency. The precipices soon closed in
again to form the ninety-seven miles of the Canyon of Desolation,[114]
immediately followed by thirty-six miles now called Gray Canyon before
an opening occurred. This opening was Gunnison Valley, through which
Wolfskill in 1830 had led the way, breaking the "Spanish Trail" to
California. It is from this point downward for six hundred miles that no
opening occurs in the cliffs that bound the river. They become higher or
lower, slightly farther apart or nearer together, and there are lateral
canyons and minor breaks, of course, but there is no valley along the
river, and in places for miles on either side the surface of the country
is only barren sandstone. The cliffs reach altitudes of three, four, and
five thousand feet above the water of the river. In these great depths
men are as completely shut away from the world as if they were in the
very bowels of the globe.

  [Illustration: Upper Part of Marble Canyon—Colorado River.

   This gorge merges into the Grand Canyon at the mouth of the Little
   Colorado. The length of both together is about 300 miles. The first
   to travel this distance were Powell and his men, 1869.]

After passing through Labyrinth and Stillwater canyons the Powell party
found themselves at the mouth of Grand River, which entered the main
stream in a canyon thirteen hundred feet deep, and they were at the same
time in the head of another great gorge, later named Cataract Canyon.
Any one who follows their trail will admit the appropriateness of this
title. The length is forty-one miles, the walls reach an altitude of
twenty-seven hundred feet at the highest, and in some of the bends are
so straight as to give an impression of overhanging the spectator's
head as he peers aloft from his boat to the sky so far above. At least
that was the impression I received. The verticality of the rocks was
greater to my eye here than at any other point. For some distance the
declivity of the river bed is the sharpest on the whole course, and
this with the narrowness of the canyon began to disturb Powell and lead
him to fear that some of the stories of impassable falls might be true.
Fortunately no insurmountable obstruction was encountered, and they
swept triumphantly on through Narrow Canyon and Glen Canyon to the head
of Marble, the real beginning of the greatest gorge of all, at the point
where Jacob Hamblin crossed a month or two later in the same year, and
which to-day is known as Lee Ferry.

Now there was before the party the greatest continuous chasm on the
globe, Marble-Grand, almost three hundred miles in length as the river
flows. Here they met with the hardest work and greatest danger. They
became worn out; food grew scarce, for accidents and wetting had reduced
too rapidly the original supply. Then it seemed as if they could not
proceed, and the men who had been wrecked in Lodore were not reconciled.
Another joined them and, discontented, the three refused to attempt a
particularly bad rapid. They climbed to the plateau and were killed
by the natives not far from Mount Dellenbaugh. The others, nerving
themselves for a desperate struggle, passed the bad place, swept on
through more, and emerged triumphant the next day, at noon, August 29,
1869, at the mouth of the Grand Wash, and the end of the Grand Canyon.
The victory was won—the last problem of the Wilderness was broken!

From this point down the river was known. Jacob Hamblin with several
others had passed from here by boat to Callville, and thence to the sea
Ives had explored as already noted.

It was a dramatic triumph over the angry and rock-walled stream which
for three hundred and twenty-nine years, since the Spanish captain,
Cardenas, first looked into the deeps of the Grand Canyon, had defied
mankind. Powell and his men were nearly exhausted by starvation-diet
and exposure, but the exhilaration of success sustained them, and help
was near. Brigham Young, hearing rumours of disaster to the expedition,
had sent instructions to some Mormons at the mouth of the Virgin to keep
a sharp watch for wreckage and to render any assistance possible, and
also for extra food to be taken there. The day after emerging from the
great gorge they came to these men, Asa and his two sons, and enjoyed
abundance of food and the sight once more of friendly faces from the
outer world. The following day Bishop Leithead and two or three other
Mormons arrived in a waggon with more supplies, including some fine
melons, and the explorers were treated with every kindness.

Powell left the river here, but Jack Sumner and the others, except
Walter Powell, went on down by river to Yuma where Sumner and Andrew
Hall wintered, going the next year to the Gulf, the first and, so far as
I have heard, the only human beings ever to accomplish the entire voyage
from Green River Valley to tidewater. Sumner was a born trapper, hunter,
and prospector, and at last accounts was still roaming the mountains
engaged in these pursuits, another of those extraordinary characters
that belong to the original Wilderness and will never live again. He
knew Bridger, Baker, Carson, and others intimately and had met Frémont
and Bonneville.[115]

When Powell, with his brother Walter, arrived at St. George he went
immediately to the post-office eager to get the mail he had directed to
be sent to this point.

"By whose authority," indignantly exclaimed the postmaster, "do you come
here asking for Major Powell's mail—Major Powell is dead."

"By the best authority in the world," returned the Major. "I am Major

"But Major Powell is dead," reiterated the official. Something then
about the ragged, haggard man shook his confidence. He said: "What
evidence have you?"

  [Illustration: The Grand Canyon Region.]

"This," replied the Major, holding up the empty sleeve. "I left this
arm at Shiloh." He got the mail.

Powell would hardly have been able so speedily and successfully
to accomplish this feat had it not been for an event which was
contemporaneous,—the construction of a transcontinental railway. This
enabled him easily to place strong boats and supplies on the banks of
Green River. His great voyage, which marks the end of the Wilderness,
and the completion of the railway, marking the beginning of an entirely
new epoch, occurred the same year. The rivers of the Wilderness were not
available for practical transportation. Those east of the Backbone were
circuitous and for the most part too shallow for boats of much draft;
those west were torrential. Hence the necessity of the Iron Trail. In
the search for the best route for such a trail to bind the Hudson to
the Golden Gate a great many admirable surveys were made. Every one of
the expeditions was profoundly interesting and intimately connected with
Wilderness breaking, but it is not practicable here to describe them.

The route finally selected was up the Platte, across Green River
Valley, to Salt Lake, down the Humboldt, and over the Sierra Nevada
to Sacramento and San Francisco. The idea of putting a railway through
the Wilderness was early conceived, but owing to numerous obstacles and
difficulties as to route to be followed and as to finances, although the
numerous surveys were made, nothing definite was done. As far back as
1850 Senator Benton, of Missouri, introduced a bill authorising portions
of road to be constructed with gaps where it was supposed a line was
not possible. In 1853 Congress appropriated $150,000 for six surveys
to be executed by the War Department. The next year $190,000 more were
appropriated for three additional surveys. It is thus apparent that
Congress appreciated the importance of a line through the Wilderness
which should bring the Pacific Coast with its now rapidly developing
interests closer to the seat of Government. In the dissension which
began to rend the country concerning the slavery question and State
rights, there was danger of secession in that direction as well as
at the South. The military importance of such a railway was beyond
discussion. General Sherman, who knew the conditions thoroughly and had
gone in 1846 to California, declared the Government could well afford
to build the whole line and would make money by the operation, as it
was indispensable for the transportation of troops and supplies.

  [Illustration: The Thousand Mile Tree.

   A hemlock 1000 miles from Omaha.

   Photograph by C. R. Savage.]

In July, 1862, Congress, though burdened with the terrific war problem,
passed the Pacific Railway Bill authorising the construction of a
continuous line from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. Two
private companies were then formed to build this line—the Union Pacific
for the eastern part and the Central Pacific for the western. These
companies were to receive Government aid as follows: 1. A free right
of way 400 feet wide. 2. An issue of Government bonds amounting to one
half the cost of the road. 3. An absolute gift of ten alternate sections
of land per mile (12,800 acres) on each side of the line. 4. Privilege
of using coal, iron, etc., from the region through which building
operations extended. 5. To receive on completion of continuous sections
of 20 miles the bonds of the United States as follows: A. Between the
Missouri River and eastern base of mountains, about 650 miles, $16,000
a mile. B. Across the Rocky Mountains, 150 miles, $48,000 a mile. C.
Across the Great Basin, $32,000 a mile. D. Across the Sierra Nevada, 150
miles, $48,000 a mile. E. To San Francisco, about 120 miles, $16,000 a

  [Illustration: Secret Town Trestle.

   1000 feet long. Maximum height, 90 feet.

   Photograph by C. R. Savage.]

The Government also obliged itself to extinguish the title of Amerinds
to all lands donated. The State of California assumed the interest for
twenty years on $1,500,000 of the Central Pacific bonds, assistance
estimated as the equivalent of $3,000,000 in gold. San Francisco gave
$400,000 and Sacramento donated 30 acres of land. The aggregate of
land given to the two companies was ten million acres. Thus it seems
that the Government practically paid for the whole line. It would
have been better if it had built the road without the intervention of
the companies. About two miles a day was made in track building, then
considered rapid work. The chief contractor was J. S. Casement, and
William Dodge was chief engineer. The workmen lived in trains which were
pushed ahead as fast as the road advanced and were supplied with plenty
of rifles and ammunition for protection against the Sioux and other
roaming tribes. These hovered about like vultures, choosing opportune
moments for attack. The assistant engineer, P. T. Browne, with his
party, was fired on sixty miles west of North Platte. They fought for
about two hours against seventy-five natives. Browne was killed.

Sometimes the Amerinds destroyed the track, captured trains, killed
engineers, firemen, brakemen, and telegraph linemen. They also would
destroy the telegraph line and carry off the wire. In fact, they were a
constant terror and menace. But when denouncing them nobody remembers
the swindles perpetrated on them in former years, nor the bad whiskey
which impoverished them and brutalised them and won their furs for
a bagatelle. Their attitude was largely the result of the earlier
treatment they had received from the whites, as well as of all the bad
white blood which had been infused into the tribes. One of the worst
affairs was the Plum Creek massacre. William Thompson, an Englishman,
a telegraph man, was sent out with a party of five to hunt up a break.
They started about nine o'clock one evening and when they reached the
place a pile of ties was discovered on the track for the purpose of
wrecking a supply train nearly due. Barely had this discovery been made
when Thompson and his men were attacked by the enemy. They fired back
and then ran. One of the natives on a horse pursued Thompson, shot him
through the arm, and then knocked him down with a clubbed rifle. Next
he stabbed him in the neck to finish him, and immediately began the
operation of removing Thompson's scalp. As Thompson was far from dead
the prospect was not agreeable, but a movement would have brought death.
His only chance was to keep quiet and let the work go on, and he was
able to do this notwithstanding the pain. But when the scalp was jerked
loose he thought his whole head was off, and then felt as if a red-hot
iron had been passed over his crown.

  [Illustration: Snow Sheds in the Sierra.

   Photograph by C. R. Savage.]

The native tucked the scalp in his belt and mounting rode hastily away,
but in doing so dropped the scalp and its owner picked it up. Thompson
was obliged to remain quiet while the band piled more ties on the track.
Presently he heard the distant rumble of the train. It was impossible to
do anything to prevent the wreck. In a few moments the cars were piled
in a heap. The engineer and fireman were shot and scalped; the train was
ransacked by the light of a huge fire. A barrel of whiskey was opened
and all got drunk. When daybreak came they set the whole wreck on fire
and gleefully danced around it. When they were finally gone from the
scene Thompson crawled away and at length reached Willow Island station,
where a rescuing party found him. People came from all around to see his
ghastly baldness. He was taken to a hotel where a doctor dressed his
wound. "In a pail of water was his scalp, about nine inches in length
and four in width, somewhat resembling a drowned rat as it floated
curled up on the water." Such were the incidents due to the wild tribes
which constantly harassed the builders of this iron trail.

  [Illustration: Adobe Ruins of Green River—Union Pacific Terminus.

   Photograph, 1871, by E. O. Beaman, U. S. Colo. Riv. Exp.]

  [Illustration: Scene before Driving the Last Spike—Promontory Point,
   Utah, May 10, 1869.

   John Duff in front, immediately beneath engine. Sidney Dillon at his
   left. The Reverend Doctor Todd asking a blessing.

   Photograph by C. R. Savage for the Union Pacific Railway.]

But these savages were little worse than those who composed a large
part of the population of each terminus. They had different methods,
that was all. Whiskey flowed free and drunkenness was, as usual with
our European race, the great recreation. Gambling dives and grog shops
made up a large part of the mushroom town that grew up at each official
end of the track. All manner of people, like birds of prey, flocked to
these places to secure a share of the money paid to the workers, who
were numbered by thousands. Some buildings were fairly substantial, but
there were many that were merely board sides with a canvas roof. Others
were "dugouts," that is, holes in the ground roofed over with sticks and
earth; in a side hill if possible. There were large numbers of tents.
Where there were vertical clay banks along a dry water course, or a
stream, these were burrowed into near the top, a square chamber being
made seven or eight feet long, five or six high, and four or five deep,
the outer side being closed by a blanket or canvas hung from the upper
edge. Rents were high and any shelter at all was valuable.

  [Illustration: The Ames Monument—Union Pacific Railway.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]

From time to time, as progress of the line demanded, the official
terminus was moved on. From Grand Island it jumped to North Platte,
then to Julesburg, then to Cheyenne, and so on, in some cases leaving
a permanent town of considerable proportions behind. In the case of
Cheyenne a city of five thousand sprang out of nothing, and there were
three newspapers; but in some instances the advance left behind only
a wreck looking as if a tornado had swept that way. Remnants of old
clothes, boards, straw, broken furniture, thousands of tin cans, empty
bottles, etc., strewed the ground in all directions. At Green River
a number of adobe houses were built, the ruins of which were still
standing at the time of my first visit to that locality in 1871. Even
two or three miles up the track I found dugouts and a large amount
of wreckage to remind one of the late "prosperity." The life at these
places had all the most vicious qualities of our civilization, and few
of its good ones. There were no policemen, and the state of disorder
may be imagined. It was a feverish nightmare of horrors, in striking
contrast to the sobriety of the life the Mormons brought to the

  [Illustration: Driving the Last Spike, 3.05 P.M., New York Time, May
   10, 1869.

   Locomotive "Jupiter" of the Central Pacific, and "119" of the Union
   Pacific, about to meet when last spike is driven.

   Photograph by C. R. Savage for the Union Pacific Railway.]

  [Illustration: The Last Tie.

   Union Pacific Railway, 1869. Made of California laurel, polished, and
   with a silver plate on the side.]

Three years after the beginning of the great work, which it was
thought would require ten, the day came when the ceremony was to be
performed that should complete the engineering triumph. On May 10,
1869, two engines at Promontory Point, Utah, were brought head to head,
a half-world at each back, as Bret Harte said, only a small space
intervening, where the crowd gathered to witness the driving of the
last spike which should bring far seas together and mark an end and a
beginning. There was a prayer by the Reverend Doctor Todd. The last tie,
of California laurel, beautifully polished and bearing on one side a
silver plate with names of officers engraved upon it, was then laid. Two
rails were next placed opposite each other, one for the Union, the other
for the Central Pacific. Following this was a presentation of spikes on
the part of California, Nevada, and Arizona. Governor Stanford responded
for the Central Pacific, and General Dodge for the Union Pacific. With
a silver hammer for driving the last spike, presented by the Union
Express Company, Governor Stanford stood on the south rail, while Dr.
Durant, to drive another, stood on the north one. At a signal that the
telegraph was ready these spikes were driven, the last one, the golden
spike of the Central Pacific, being connected with the telegraph so that
the strokes of Stanford's hammer were repeated all over the country,
and at the final blow "done" was sent to the waiting world. The crowd
cheered; Dr. Durant and Governor Stanford shook hands. Telegrams of
congratulation were received. General Dodge, the engineer in chief, and
Jack and Dan Casement, the chief contractors, were the heroes of the
hour. The work was finished.

  [Illustration: The Last Spike.

   Union Pacific Railway. Made of gold.]

The operation of building this line partly belongs to the romantic
period of Breaking the Wilderness, but when that last spike of gold
was sent home and the engines met upon the rails a new and different
epoch began. Scarcely less fascinating, up to this moment, have been its
events, but this volume is not for them. The trail of the iron horse,
which would annihilate the vast distances of the Wilderness, where the
life blood of so many had softened the way, was an accomplished fact.
The new era was at hand. Europe and Cathay stood at last face to face,
in the midst of that once "northern mystery" which was the dream of
the gold-hunting _conquistadore_. The Seven Cities of Cibola had long
ago vanished, but the rich cities of the Republic were building in
their place, and wealth beyond the wildest imagination of the early
adventurers was now to flow from every corner of the broken Wilderness.

  [Illustration: A Modern Fast Train.

   From _Wonderland _, 1901. Northern Pacific Railway.]

  [Illustration: The Mormon Temple—Salt Lake City.

   Photograph by F. S. Dellenbaugh.]


     [105] Though beaver trapping was no longer profitable, yet the fur
     business was still carried on, and, as Chittenden points out, is
     to-day greater than ever. Furs now come from a much wider range,

     [106] Books about the Mormons are full of prejudice one way or
     the other. The most valuable account I know is _The Story of the
     Mormons_, by William A. Linn.

     [107] The reader may conclude from my remarks on alcoholic
     beverages that I am a Prohibitionist or a teetotaler, yet such is
     not the case. But the manner in which whiskey was furnished to the
     natives, and the way in which it debauches the frontier towns, are
     a disgrace to humanity.

     [108] For location of forts and trading posts see Chittenden,
     _History of the American Fur Trade_, Part III., with an excellent

     [109] _Captivity of the Oatman Girls_, R. B. Stratton.

     [110] _Jacob Hamblin_; _A Narrative of His Personal Experience_,
     Fifth Book of the Faith Promoting Series, by James A. Little.
     Juvenile Instructor Office, Salt Lake City, 1881.

     [111] The Mormons also settled in southern California, and Major
     Bell declared "they were the very best fellows" he ever had to do
     with. In 1859 they were recalled to Utah by Brigham Young, who for
     the time being concentrated his people in the territory over which
     they had control.

     [112] Provo to Golden.

     [113] Being desirous of securing details of Johnson's operations,
     and finding that he was still living in California, I wrote to him
     about a year ago requesting information particularly on certain
     main facts. Instead of giving it to me, he replied that he would
     soon publish a book in which I would find all the points, and
     referred me to that. He died soon after, and I have not been able
     to get track of the book.

     [114] For a list of the canyons in their sequence, with declivity,
     altitudes, height of walls, etc., see Appendix, _The Romance of
     the Colorado River_, by F. S. Dellenbaugh.

     [115] After this was written Sumner died—in 1907.



     Acadia, 130

     Acoma, 114

     Acuco, 112

     Adiazan stock, location of, 68

     Adams River, 250

     Adobe concrete, 68

     Adopted men become chiefs, 84

     Adoption, Amerind system of, 84

     Agent cuts off native's ears, 269

     Agriculture, early, in New Mexico, 267

     Aguardiente, 268

     Aguilar goes north of Mendocino to great river, 142

     Alarçon, Hernando de, goes up the coast, 40;
       discovers the Colorado, 111

     Alaska boundary, 254

     Alcaraz, Captain, meets Cabeza de Vaca, 101

     Alcohol, 94;
       sold to natives, 179

     Algonquian stock, 63;
       range of, 64

     Allencaster, governor of New Mexico, 191

     Alta California, 120;
       Missions first planted there, 122

     Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, 2, 104, 106, 107, 108-111

     Ameies, villages of, found by Espejo, 114

     American Fur Company, organised, 197;
       rendezvous in Green River Valley, 275;
       comes near ruin in the whiskey-still matter, 286

     American River, gold discovery on, 308

     Americans attack Juan José, 265;
       barred from Oregon, 289

     American settlers in California, 308;
       ships on the Pacific coast, 146

     Amerind, 132;
       adoption, 84;
       attacks on Pacific Railway constructors, 330;
       believed by the Mormons to be descended from some of those
         dispersed at the Tower of Babel, 304;
       beverages, 70;
       bread, 72;
       ceremonials, 72;
       character of, 12, 56;
       colour of, 54;
       cooking, how done, 72;
       cruelty, 100;
       destroy railway property, 330;
       domestic animals of, 56;
       dress, 88;
       dwellings, 68;
       eating of human flesh, 79;
       explanation of term, 54;
       fear of camera, 92;
       hospitality, 82;
       jargons, 63;
       kindness of, 88;
       knowledge of the Wilderness, 89, 168;
       knowledge, 102;
       languages, 61;
       linguistic map, 62;
       manufactures, 70;
       map drawing, 89;
       marriage, 82;
       method of expressing astonishment, 292;
       musical instruments of, 72;
       of Louisiana, goes to the Columbia, 140;
       of the Wilderness, 63;
       sense of humour, 93;
       sign language, 62;
       shooters, 278;
       women, place of, 77

     Amerinds, classification by language, 60;
       removed west of the Mississippi, 60;
       shot for sport, 277, 278, 280;
       subsistence of, 75;
       three conditions of, 75;
       titles to railway lands extinguished, 329;
       tobacco, kinds of, 79;
       traits, 57;
       treatment of, by whites, 60, 243;
       understanding of territorial limits of, 89;
       unit of organisation, 82;
       winter life of, 92;
       words derived from languages of, 79

     Ames monument, 334

     Anian, Strait of, 142;
       a myth, 147

     Anza, Captain, journey of, 124;
       to San Francisco Bay, 124

     Apache, 266.

     Apache tribe, where classed, 61, 66;
       like the Iroquois, 66;
       punished by Spanish expeditions, 117

     Apaches, kill one of Pattie advance party, 248;
       become deadly enemies of Americans, 265

     Arapaho tribe, where classed, 64;
       visit Stuart's camp, 218;
       hostility of, 243;
       scalped by whites, 296

     Arc tribe, 139

     Area owned by United States after Mexican treaty of 1848, 301

     Arikara tribe, where classed, 64

     Arkansas River, 6;
       Bell goes down it, 226;
       boundary of Louisiana, 221;
       proper spelling and pronunciation of the word, 225

     Armijo, governor of New Mexico, 265;
       imposes heavy tax on American goods, 238

     Army sent to Utah, 310

     Arroyo del Cibolo, named by Escalante, 36

     Asa, at the mouth of the Virgin, helps Powell, 325

     Ashley, 232, 271;
       arrives at St. Louis, 242;
       battle with Arikaras, 234;
       becomes rich, 242;
       boats used by, 238;
       builds fort on the Yellowstone, 233;
       canyons traversed by, 295;
       comes out into Brown's Park, 240;
       decade, the, 233;
       descends Green River through Red Canyon, 238;
       elected member of Congress, 232, 244;
       Fall, 240;
       first to navigate Green River, 238;
       goes to Salt Lake, 240;
       his methods, 259;
       home in St. Louis, 244;
       Lake, 242;
       loses boats, 239;
       made a brigadier-general, 232;
       made lieutenant-governor, 232;
       meets General Atkinson, 242;
       meets Ogden at Salt Lake, 240;
       meets Provost in Brown's Park, 240;
       name record in Red Canyon, facsimile of, 240;
       organisation, 258;
       parts from his men, 244;
       second trip to the mountains, 242;
       sells out, 244;
       takes cannon to Utah Lake, 272;
       through Flaming Gorge, 294;
       writes his name in Red Canyon, 240

     Assiniboine, British trading posts on, 158

     _Assiniboine_, steamboat, 285

     Asuncion, Bahia de la, 142

     Astor, John Jacob, his opinion of the sale of Astoria, 219;
       organises American Fur Company, 197;
       organises Pacific Fur Company, 198

     _Astoria_, Irving's work, cited, 287

     Astoria, Captain Biddle takes possession, 219;
       enterprise ended, 219;
       Hunt arrives, 214;
       named, 200;
       Prevost receives actual transfer back to United States, 219;
       rebuilt, 283;
       renamed Fort George, 218;
       restored to United States, 219;
       sold to Northwest Company, 218;
       taken by British, 218

     Astronomer of Ingolstadt, 124

     Athabasca country, changes in, 34

     Athapascan stock, range of, 64

     Atkinson, General, 242

     Atole, Mexican drink, 268

     Attacapan stock, location of, 68

     Austin leads in the colonisation of Texas, 298


     Bac, San Xavier del, Mission of, 124

     Bahia de la Asuncion, 142

     Baird to Santa Fé, 1812, 257

     Balboa, cited by Frémont, 300

     Baldwin, Doctor, with Long, 223

     Bandelier, A. F., paper;
       on Cabeza de Vaca, 106;
       on Villazur, 134;
       site for Tiguex, 114

     Bar of the Columbia, 142

     Baranof, Hunt visits, 215;
       Castle, 215

     Battle, first, between natives and Europeans in the
         Wilderness, 110;
       between Comanches and Iotans, 247;
       of Pierre's Hole, 273;
       of San Jacinto, 298;
       of Shiloh compared with Amerind warfare, 72;
       with Comanches and Kiowas, 262

     Battles of the Fur Companies, 240;
       of the Wilderness compared with Amerind warfare, 72

     Beadle, J. H., ferried over Colorado by Lee, 318

     Beale, E. F., 316

     Beale's Road, 316

     Bear River, search for mouth of, 242

     Beauharnois, 139

     Beaver, anatomy, 16;
       as a pet, 31;
       bait, 29;
       bank burrows, 17;
       Bradbury's views on their tree felling, 27;
       capture of, in bank burrows, 31;
       castoreum, 27;
       chips, 25;
       colour of, 13;
       cry of, 31;
       dams, 18, 21;
       disappearance, 28, 244, 273, 294, 302, 304;
       education of the young, 28;
       explanation of half-cut trees, 28;
       family, members of, 31;
       food, 16;
       for an emblem, 31;
       form of dams, 21;
       fur of, 13;
       genus of, 16;
       incentive to exploration, 12;
       in the water, 24;
       intellectuality, 17;
       intelligence, 13;
       kind of trees chosen, 27;
       lodges, construction of, 21;
       lodges chopped open in winter, 31;
       meadows, 24;
       meat, 25;
       mental qualities, 16;
       methods, 16;
       method of building, 18;
       methods of capture other than with traps, 29-31;
       method of cutting, 25;
       musk, muskbogs, 27;
       nature of, 31;
       never found in deep canyons, 17;
       never steps backwards, 31;
       numbers of, 12;
       number trapped in a single night, 15, 18;
       on Green River in 1871, 24;
       on upper Missouri, Lewis and Clark Expedition, 164;
       order to which it belongs, 13;
       outcast, 31;
       ponds, 21;
       reduction of numbers, 26;
       sample of tree-gnawing, 26;
       search for beaver grounds, 29;
       signal of alarm, 24;
       size of, 13;
       size of trees felled, 27;
       spillways, 20;
       tail, description of, 24;
       tail soup, 25;
       taming of, 31;
       testing for traps, 28;
       time able to remain under water, 27;
       time required to fell tree, 27;
       trappers' stories, 21;
       trapping, profits of, 15;
       trapping responsible for breaking trails, 304;
       traps, 28;
       weight of, 13;
       winter food, 21;
       works executed by, 16

     _Beaver_, Astoria supply ship, 215

     Beaver Dam Mountains, 309

     Becknell, William, goes to Santa Fé, 1821, 257;
       goes west of Santa Fé, 249;
       used waggons to Santa Fé, 272

     Beckwourth, James P., 263;
       a chief of the Crows, 238;
       age of, 238;
       character of, 238;
       with Ashley, 237

     Beckwourth and Smith make a raid, 264

     Bell, J. R., Captain, with Long, 223

     Beltran, Friar, goes to New Mexico, 114

     Benavides, route of, 116

     Benton, Senator, meets Frémont, 300

     Bering explores from Kamtchatka east across the sea, 140

     Berkeley, Hon. Grantley F., his description of marrow-bones, 41;
       his love for marrow, 41

     Bernalillo as the site of Tiguex, 114

     Berthoud, E. L., explores road from Denver to Salt Lake, 315;
       tries to explore Green River, 314

     Beverages of Amerinds, 70

     Bible, the Mormon view of it, 304

     Biddle, Captain, takes formal possession of Astoria, 219

     Bidwell, Captain, cited, 278

     Bienville founds New Orleans, 138

     Bierstadt, picture of buffalo hunting referred to, 40

     Big Medicine Canoe, 285

     Big Thunder Canoe, 285

     Big trees, 8, 9

     Bighorn Mountains, 207

     Bijeau, Joseph, guide to Long, 226

     Bill Williams Fork, 117

     _Bison Americanus_, 32

     _Bisonte_, Spanish word for buffalo, 34

     Bitter Root Range, Lewis and Clark traverse it, 169

     Bitter Root River, 169

     Black Canyon, Ives goes to head of, 317;
       Johnson takes steamer to head of, 317

     Black Hills, 207;
       Parker goes that way, 287

     Blackfeet a scourge, 244;
       attacked by whites, 273;
       hostility of, 243;
       likened to Iroquois, 244;
       tribe, where classed, 63

     Blankets of buffalo wool woven by Osages, 50

     _Blossom_, British war ship, carries Prevost to Astoria, 219

     Blue Mountains, 281;
       Hunt crosses them, 213;
       Wyeth crosses them, 275

     Boats used by Ashley, 238

     Bodies destroyed by wolves and dogs, 99

     Boiling Spring Creek, 225

     Bold, The, Crow chief, captures Meek, 291;
       his opinion of the whites, 291

     Bonneville, Captain, birth, education, etc., 270, 272;
       as a manager, 271;
       portrait of, 271;
       granted leave of absence, 272;
       starts, 272;
       outfit, 272;
       his waggons not the first to cross the plains, 272;
       did not lose a man, 272;
       route of, 272;
       takes first waggons as far as Green River, 272;
       builds fort at Green River, 272;
       fails to trade with natives, 273;
       goes to Salmon River, 274;
       goes to Snake River, 274;
       rendezvous in Green River Valley, 275;
       sends furs to St. Louis, 275;
       ignores orders, 276;
       dropped from the army, 276;
       claims discovery that Buenaventura River was a myth, 280;
       crosses Blue Mountains, 281;
       at Nez Perce camp, 281;
       goes to the Columbia, 281;
       cures chief's daughter, 281;
       at Fort Walla Walla, 281;
       goes again to the Columbia, 282;
       recrosses Blue Mountains, 282, 283;
       refused provisions by Hudson Bay Company, 282;
       declines guidance of Hudson Bay men, 282;
       back at Portneuf, 282;
       fails to get a footing on the Columbia, 283;
       refused provisions a second time at Walla Walla, 284;
       applies his name to Salt Lake, 284;
       his name given to an ancient sea, 284;
       adjusts his affairs and leaves the Wilderness, 284;
       his failure, 284;
       his maps copied, 284;
       reinstated, 284;
       serves in Seminole and Mexican wars, 284;
       made brevet brigadier-general, 284;
       dies, 284;
       Irving's work cited, 287

     Bonneville Lake, an ancient sea, 284

     Book of Mormon, 304;
       of Doctrine and Covenants, 305

     Boone, Daniel, age of, 193;
       at La Charette, 193

     Boundary, British desire to make Columbia River the, 290;
       ill-defined United States and Mexican, 315;
       of Louisiana, 220;
       of Oregon, 289, 290

     Brackenridge, Henry, with Lisa, 206;
       his opinion of Lisa, 221

     Bradbury, goes with Hunt, 204;
       leaves Hunt party, 207;
       meets Colter, 196;
       views on beaver tree-felling, 27

     Bridger, James, 232;
       age of, 234;
       with Ashley, 234;
       goes to Salt Lake, 242;
       has arrow removed by Whitman, 288;
       extricates Meek, 293;
       portrait of, 293;
       makes a war compact with The Bold, 294;
       Fort, 309;
       attempts to explore Green River, 314;
       with Berthoud explores road from Denver to Salt Lake, 315

     British-American agreement as to Oregon renewed, 253

     British, on Hudson Bay, 136;
       settlement on James River, 131;
       take Astoria, 218

     Broughton goes up the Columbia, 170

     Brown bear, fight with, 164

     Brown's Hole, 238

     Brown's Park, 238;
       position of, 295

     Browne, P. T., killed by natives, 330

     Buenaventura, Escalante crosses it, 124;
       Escalante's name for Green River, 124;
       the mythical outlet of Salt Lake, 280

     Buffalo, 32;
       numbers of, 10, 32;
       range of, 10, 34;
       disappearing, 32, 302;
       in Montezuma's menagerie, 32;
       word for, in Isleta dialect, 34;
       oscillation of whole mass of buffalo, 34;
       when first in Athabasca country, 34;
       not migratory, 34;
       Coronado sees immense herds, 34;
       on Pecos River, 34;
       sees robes at first villages, 34;
       city of, named after, 35;
       bones above mastodon bones, 35;
       bones at salt licks of Ohio valley, and at Big Bone Lick,
         Kentucky, 35;
       in Saskatchewan country, 35;
       eastern limit of, 35;
       Albert Gallatin lives on buffalo meat, 35;
       remains not found in mounds of Mississippi valley, 35;
       not found on Moundbuilder pipes, 35;
       probability that it would have gone to Alaska, 35;
       in Arizona, 36;
       limit on west, 36;
       no mention of it by Lewis and Clark west of Rocky Mountains, 36;
       rock picture of, 36;
       seen by Escalante on White River, 36;
       skull found at Gunnison, 37;
       no mention of, by Espejo or Oñate west of the Rio Grande, 37;
         south-western limit, 37;
       did not cross Rocky Mountains north of 57 degrees, 37;
       crosses to Green and Columbia,37;
       in Missouri, 37;
       earliest published drawing of, 38;
       fossil remains, 38;
       painted by Catlin, 38;
       prairie buffalo, 38;
       wood buffalo, 38;
       western range, 38;
       by Bierstadt, 40;
       wanton killing, 42;
       herd, advance of, 44;
       herds dashed to death, 44;
       drowned in river, 44;
       shooting from railway trains, 44;
       methods of hunting the, 45;
       corral, 46;
       dashed over cliff, 46;
       hides, process of tanning, 48;
       hides, value of, 48;
       hunting by Washington Irving, 48;
       number of robes sent to market, 48;
       stampede, 49;
       wallows, 50;
       wool woven into blankets by Osages, 50;
       dance, 51;
       easily domesticated, 51;
       white cow skin held sacred, 51;
       calf dangerous, 52;
       method of forcing to follow horse, 52;
       as an emblem, 53;
       followed by wolves, 53;
       Amerind failure to domesticate, 56;
       blood for drinking water, 79;
       seen by Espejo, 116;
       on upper Missouri, Lewis and Clark, 164

     Buildings at railway terminals, 332

     Burr, Aaron, 184

     Butler, description of northland, 40;
       quoted, 146


     Cabeza de Vaca, 2;
       arrives in Mexico, 108;
       crosses the Sierra Madre, 107;
       cures the people, 106;
       duration of his wanderings, 108;
       route of, 108;
       starts west, 106;
       wrecked, 104

     Cabrillo coasts north along California, and dies, 119

     Cache, definition of, 81

     Cactus, blossoms of, 10

     Caddo tribe, where classed, 64

     Caddoan stock, location of, 63

     Caldron Linn, 210, 216

     California, Gulf of, 4;
       aid to railways, 329;
       location of, 8;
       missions, names of, number of, and when founded, 122;
       routes to, 309;
       settlement, 120;
       towns of, captured by American ships, 300

     Californian stocks, 68

     Callville, Rodgers takes steamer to Callville, 317

     Campbell, Robert (name also given by some, Richard), 242;
       awards discovery of Salt Lake to Bridger, 242;
       from Santa Fé to San Diego, 257;
       knew the Crossing of the Fathers, 314;
       meets Wyeth, 273;
       starts with Sublette for St. Louis, 274

     Canadian voyageur, 129, 147

     Canyon, Split Mountain, Whirlpool, 294;
       Desolation, Gray, Labyrinth, Stillwater, 322;
       Cataract, Grand, Glen, Marble, Narrow, 324;
       Marble-Grand, 324, 325, 326

     Canyons of the Colorado, barrier of, 316, 322;
       the final problem, 320

     Cape Disappointment, 148

     Caravans of the Santa Fé Trail, 258, 259;
       methods of forming camp, 260

     Cardenas, goes to Tusayan, 110;
       first to see the Grand Canyon, 110;
       time between first sight of the Grand Canyon and Powell's
         exploration of it, 325

     Carretas, Mexican carts, 267

     Carson, Alexander, killed Sioux for fun, 58;
       with W. P. Hunt, 204

     Carson, Kit (Christopher), 232, 249, 254;
       character, 255;
       fights duel, 288;
       hunter for Fort Davy Crockett, 255;
       traps down the Gila and on the Sacramento, 255

     Carthage Jail, Joseph Smith murdered there, 305

     Cartier, discovers Newfoundland, 128;
       up the St. Lawrence, 128;
       to site of Montreal, 130

     Carver, Jonathan, 180;
       tells of the river Oregon, 140

     Casa Grande, ruins of, 68;
       Kino first to see, 120

     Cascade range, 6

     Casement, J. S., chief contractor Union Pacific Railway, 330, 337;
       Dan, 337

     Castoreum, musky secretion of beaver, 27;
       used as bait, 27;
       in medicine, 27

     Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River, 324;
       name carved there, 296

     Catholics in the northern Wilderness, 308

     Catlin, painted buffalo, etc., 38;
       on steamer _Yellowstone_, 285

     Cavelier, Robert, Sieur de la Salle, 133

     Central Pacific Railway, 328

     Cerré, with Bonneville, 272

     Chaboillez, Charles, 158;
       sent note to Lewis, 163

     Chaboneau, interpreter to Lewis and Clark, 163;
       Creek, 163

     Chambers to Santa Fé in 1812, 257

     Chamita, site of Oñate's first settlement, 130

     Champlain, founds Quebec, 130;
       goes westward, 130

     Chamuscado enters New Mexico, 114

     Charles, Fort, 151

     Chepewyan, Fort, founded, 147

     Cheyenne, tribe, where classed, 64;
       town of, 334

     Chichilticalli, 110

     Chihuahua, Pike taken to Salcedo's headquarters there, 192

     Chittimachan, stock, location of, 67

     Chittenden, H. M., on Bonneville, 270;
       reference to his book, 270;
       quoted, 270, 271, 277, 280;
       opinion of Bonneville, 271;
       opinion of the Salt Lake exploring project, 277;
       on Bonneville's breach of discipline, 284

     Children, treatment of, by Amerinds, 85

     Chinook jargon, 63

     Chippewa tribe, where classed, 63

     Chouteau, Auguste, 174, 194

     Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 304

     Cibola, Seven Cities of, 110, 113

     Cibola, cows of, 34;
       why so called, 34

     Cicuye, 112

     Cimarron River, 257

     Claims of the various Powers in North America, 144

     Clan, 82;
       life, 82;
       names, 86;
       property, 82

     Clappine drowned, 210

     Clark, Chaboneau, and Sacajawea nearly lost, 166

     Clark, George Rogers, 153, 157

     Clark, William, to go with Lewis, 157;
       commissioned lieutenant, 158;
       explores Salmon River, 169;
       made agent for the western tribes, 174;
       made general of militia, 174;
       ordered to suppress whiskey still, 286

     Clarke hangs a Nez Perce, 243

     Clatsop, Fort, 170, 196

     Clyburn, his dash for life, 245;
       walks to Council Bluffs, 245

     Coahuiltecan stock, location of, 67

     Coast range, 8

     Color of buffalo, 38

     Colorado, City, 224;
       first American structure in State of, 186;
       Plateau, 270

     Colorado River, canyons, 4;
       canyons a barrier, 316;
       canyons avoided, 17;
       crossed with difficulty, 314;
       Derby explores to Yuma, 315;
       final problem, 320;
       first steamer on, 315;
       headwaters of, 4;
       length of, 4;
       map showing Marble-Grand Canyon, 326;
       Oñate arrived at it, 116;
       only one way to explore it, 314;
       point where Powell's men left him, 326;
       Powell desires to explore it, 320;
       remained unknown till Powell, 18;
       Sumner and Hawkins the only men to go all the way from Green
         River Valley to tidewater, 325;
       the close canyons, 322;
       tidal bore, 249;
       unbroken, 250, 314;
       valley, 6;
       verticality of walls, 324

     Colorado River, Little, 116

     _Colorado_, steamboat, 315

     Colter, his race for life, 194;
       through the geyser region of the Yellowstone, 196;
       trapper, 194

     Columbia River, Aguilar at mouth of, 142;
       bar, 142;
       discovery by Heceta, 142;
       first at mouth of, 4;
       first news of, 133;
       Fishing and Trading Company, 283;
       Great Britain claims mouth of, 219;
       rumours of, 138;
       visited by a native of Louisiana, 140

     _Columbia_, ship, 4, 150

     Comanche, tribe, where classed, 63;
       and Kiowa intimately associated, 64;
       house, 68

     Comal (comalli), 267

     Compagnie d'Orient, 138

     Conception River, name applied to the Mississippi, 133

     Concrete made with clay and gravel, 68

     Conejos, Rio, Pike builds fort there, 189

     Conflicting territorial claims, 155

     Congress, generosity of, 303;
       passes railway bill, 328

     _Constitution_, ship, sent to convoy the Tonquin, 199

     Continental divide, 2

     Contractor, chief, of Union Pacific Railway, 330

     Cook, Captain, doubts existence of North-west Passage, 148

     Cooper goes to Santa Fé in 1822, 257

     Copper mines in New Mexico, 267

     Corazones, Valle de los (Valley of the Hearts), 107

     Coronado, Francis Vasquez de, 109;
       arrived near Kansas City, 126;
       expedition projected, 108;
       expedition, 110;
       finds buffalo robes at Cibola, 34;
       goes east, 112;
       goes with Marcos to see Mendoza, 109;
       injured, 113;
       referred to, 183;
       returns to Mexico, 113;
       returns to Tiguex, 113

     Corralling buffalo, 46

     Cotton cultivated, 93

     Coues, discovers Fowler's journal, 235;
       suggestion as to Pike's real intentions, 184

     Council Bluffs, 222;
       Clyburn walks there, 245

     Coureurs de bois, 136

     Cree tribe, where classed, 63

     Creek tribe receive white refugees, 262

     Crook, General, 266

     Crooks, Ramsay, with Wilson Price Hunt, 205

     Crooks, rejoins Hunt, 212;
       starts back, 210

     Crossing of the Fathers (El Vado de los Padres), 125;
       early known to Robert Campbell, 314;
       Jacob Hamblin goes that way, 317;
       map showing position of, 326

     Crow chief's opinion of the whites, 291

     Crow method of truce conference, 293

     Crow tribe, where classed, 61

     Crozat, Antoine, grant to, 138

     Cruelty of Amerinds, 100

     Cruz, Friar Juan de la, 114

     Cruzatte accidentally shoots Lewis, 174

     Cruzatte's post, 160

     Cunames, town found by Espejo on the Puerco, 114

     Currant Creek, Pike camps at mouth of, 188


     Dakota, tribe, where classed, 61;
       tipi, 68

     Davis in the Far North, 131

     Dawson killed by a white bear, 235

     Day, John, reduced to a skeleton, 212;
       dies, 216

     Dead Sea of America, 304, 305

     Deception Bay, 148

     Dellenbaugh, Mount, 324

     Denver to Salt Lake, road explored, 315

     Derby, Lieutenant, explores Colorado up to Yuma, 315

     Deseret, State of, 305, 308

     De Smet, Father, 308

     Desolation, Canyon of, 322

     De Soto. _See_ Soto.

     Diamond Creek, 317

     Diaz, Melchior, sent to reconnoitre, 109;
       explores from Corazones to the Colorado River, 111;
       finds, letters from Alarçon, 111;
       goes back with Marcos, 111;
       dies, 111;

     Dickson met by Lewis and Clark, 174

     Dillon, Sidney, 333

     Disappointment, Cape, 148

     Diseases, ravages of, 97

     Disorder at railway terminals, 336

     Dixon, 148

     Dixon and Hancock, 194

     Dodge, General, 336;
       chief engineer Union Pacific Railway, 330

     Dog, the only domestic animal of the Amerind of North America, 56;
       used as food, 77

     Dolores Mission, Sonora, Mexico, 120

     Domesticating buffalo, 51

     Dorantes, Andreas, 106

     Dorion, 161;
       lived early with the Sioux, 151;
       Pierre, with Hunt, 206;
       his squaw and children, 210;
       squaw has a child on the road, 213

     Dougherty, one of Pike's men, freezes his feet, 190

     Drake on California coast, 119

     Drake's Bay, 119

     Drewyer, interpreter for Lewis and Clark, 163

     Drouillard, interpreter for Lewis and Clark, 163

     Drunkenness at railway terminals, 332

     Duff, John, 333

     Dugout house, 332

     Dunbar, 181

     Dupratz, story of great western river heard by him, 140

     Durant, Doctor, 336

     Dutch at New York, 132


     Echo Park, 294

     El Real de Dolores, gold mine in New Mexico, 267

     El Vado de los Padres (the Crossing of the Fathers), 125

     Engineer Cantonment, 222

     Entrails of animals eaten raw, 79

     Escalante, buffalo seen by him on White River near Green
         River, 36;
       names Arroyo del Cibolo, 36;
       journey of, 124;
       abandons attempt to reach San Gabriel, 125;
       crosses the Colorado, 125;
       route, 168;
       mentioned, 317

     Escalona, Luis de, remains in New Mexico, 113

     Eskimauan stock, 66

     _Esmeralda_, steamboat, goes up the Colorado, 317

     Espejo, Antonio de, goes to New Mexico, 114;
       direction of his route from Tiguex, 114;
       goes to Zuñi, 116;
       to San Francisco Mountains, 116;
       route, 116;
       sees buffalo on the Rio Pecos, 116

     Espiritu Santo, Rio de, 104

     Estevan, companion of Cabeza de Vaca, 106;
       guides Friar Marcos, 108;
       killed, 108;
       Diaz meets some of the natives who were with Estevan when
         he went to Cibola, 110

     _Evangeline_, Longfellow's poem, cited, 130

     Expedition of Lewis and Clark, 157, 158

     Expedition of Villazur toward the Missouri in 1720, 117

     Exploration of the Colorado by Ives, 317

     Explorations of the Californian coast, 119

     _Explorer, The_, Ives's steamboat, 317;
       picture of, 316


     Falls of the Missouri, 166

     Faith Promoting Series, Books of the Mormon Church, 313

     Farnham cited, 295

     Father de Smet, 308

     Ferrelo explores coast of Oregon, 119

     Fidler, Peter, 160;
       goes south-west from Saskatchewan to the Rocky Mountains, 151

     Fields, Reuben, with Lewis and Clark, kills a Blackfoot, 172

     First, highway to the Wilderness, 130;
       European settlement in the United States, 130;
       traverse of the continent north of Mexico, 148;
       American to go to California overland, 250;
       American to see the Grand Canyon, 250

     Fitzpatrick, with Ashley, 234;
       guides Parker, 287

     Flaming Gorge, 238;
       first of the canyons below Green River Valley, on Green
         River, 234

     Florida, 127;
       conquest of, 103;
       ceded to the United States, 220

     Floyd, Sergeant, death of, 162

     Fontaine qui Bouille, Boiling Spring Creek, 186;
       Long camps on it, 224;
       Frémont's name for it, 224

     Fontenelle guides Parker, 287

     Forsyth, Thomas, opinion of methods of treating natives, 269;
       tells of abuse of natives, 269

     Fort, Chepewyan, 147;
       Charles, 151;
       Mandan, 162;
       Clatsop, 170;
       Smith, Long arrives there, 227;
       Nonsense, 272;
       Walla Walla, 281;
       Hall, 283;
       Vancouver, 283;
       Tecumseh, 285;
       Union, whiskey still at, 286;
       Davy Crockett, Meek at, 294;
       Yuma, position of, 315

     Fort Yuma, Derby explores river to, 325;
       Sumner and Hawkins go there, 325

     Forty-ninth parallel boundary, 219

     Forty-second parallel boundary, 220

     Fossil remains of buffalo, 38

     Fowler, Jacob, builds first house by an American at Pueblo, 235;
       goes to Santa Fé, 235;
       journal of, 235;
       his description of Dawson's condition after the bear fight, 237

     Fowler and Glenn, go to Taos, 235;
       meet McKnight, Chambers, and Baird, who were imprisoned in
         Mexico, 257

     Foy killed by Blackfeet, 274

     Fraeb hunts through the Rocky Mountains, 280

     France loses footing on the continent, 141

     Franciscan Order supersedes the Jesuit in California, 122

     Francis La Flesche, quoted, 89

     Franklin, Missouri, starting-point of Santa Fé Trail, 257

     Fraser's fort, 197, 198

     Fraser River, 148

     Frémont, John C., 225, 271, 298, 303, 304, 308

     French, advance by the St. Lawrence route, 129;
       settlement on the St. John's River, 130;
       on the Saskatchewan, 134;
       first to Hudson Bay, 136;
       supremacy, 138

     Frontenac, 132

     Fuca, Juan de, 119;
       Strait of, supposed to go through to Atlantic, 142

     Fulton, 222

     Fur business still great, 304

     Fur companies, battles of, 240

     Furs confiscated, 253

     Fur trade, 145;
       rivalry, 286


     Gadsden purchase, 315

     Gallatin, Albert, his classification of Amerinds by language, 60;
       cited, 284

     Gallatin River, 168

     Garces, at the Colorado, 124;
       reaches Bac, 124;
       journeys of, 124;
       Sitgreaves follows trail of, 316

     Gate of Lodore, 294

     _General Jesup_, steamboat, 315

     George, Point, 200

     Geronimo, 266

     Gila, trapping on the, 248, 255, 269

     Glen, Robert, 226

     Glenn and Fowler, go to Taos, 235;
       their party fight a white bear, 235;
       meet McKnight, Chambers, and Baird, 257

     Glenn, Hugh, to Santa Fé, 235;
       builds first American house at Pueblo, first in Colorado, 235

     Golden Gate, 119

     Gold, mines in New Mexico, 267;
       found at San Fernando Mission, California, 308;
       at Sutter's Mill, 308

     Goodman leaves the Powell party, 322

     Government, aid to science, 303;
       sanctions Mormonism, 308;
       aid to railways, 328;
       to Union Pacific Railway, 329

     Governor and Company of Adventurers of England Trading into
       Hudson's Bay, or the Hudson Bay Company, 136

     Grafton, Mormons settle there, 313

     Graham, Lieutenant, takes Long's steamer down, 222

     Grande Ronde, the valley of, Bonneville arrives there, 281

     Grand Fork of the Arkansas, 185

     Grand Island, town of, 334

     Grand Pawnee war party, 185

     Grand Peak, the, of Pike, or Pike's Peak, 186

     Grand River, Powell arrives at its mouth, 322

     Grand Wash, Hamblin crosses Colorado there, 317;
       Powell arrives there, 324

     Grave of Soto, 127

     Gray Canyon, 322

     Gray, Captain Robert, 4;
       discoverer of the Columbia, 142;
       exchanges ships with Kendrick, 150;
       enters mouth of the Columbia, 150

     Great Basin, location of, 6;
       southern rim of, 6

     Great Britain acquires Canada, 141

     Great Britain and the United States agree temporarily as to
       North-west Territory, 219

     Great Salt Lake, 304

     Great Slave Lake discovered by Hearne, 147

     Greeley, Lewis, accompanies Hamblin to Moki Towns, 318

     Greenhow, Robert, cited, 119

     Green River, 4, 208;
       named after trapper, 234;
       descended by Ashley, 238;
       first use of name, 249;
       Kit Carson becomes familiar with, 255;
       Meek goes down, 295;
       map, 295;
       Bridger's attempt to explore, 314

     Green River Station, Wyoming, 320;
       adobe ruins of, 332, 334;
       terminal, 334

     Green River Valley, 208, 234, 256

     Green, trapper with Ashley, 234

     Gregg, asserts buffalo herd is easily turned, 45;
       book on Santa Fé Trail, 257;
       crosses to Santa Fé, 258

     Grinnell, Henry, rescues Oatman girl, 310

     Gulf of California receives Colorado River, 4

     Gun, Amerind acquisition of, a boon, 72

     Guns of Lewis and Clark, flintlocks, 164

     Gunnison Valley, 322

     Gypsiferous clay, 68


     Halberd, Spanish, found on Reid's farm, 126

     Hall, 303

     Hamblin, Jacob, 313, 324;
       journeys of, 317;
       explores a road by the Ute Ford to the Moki Towns, 317;
       goes to Moki Towns _via_ Grand Wash, 317;
       circumtours the Grand Canyon, 318;
       first to cross Colorado by Lee Ferry route, 318;
       Grand Wash to Callville by boat, 324

     Hammer of silver for driving last spike of Union Pacific, 336

     Ham's Fork, Green River Valley, 309

     Hancock meets Lewis and Clark, 174

     Haney, British trapper, 163;
       visits Lewis and Clark, 180

     Harmon, Daniel, 158;
       his description of the Canadian voyageur, 147

     Hawkins, of Powell's party, 325

     Heceta, Inlet of, 142

     Heceta, Bruno, at mouth of the Columbia, 142

     Helay River. _See_ Gila.

     Hennepin, 133

     Henry, Andrew, 196, 208;
       discoverer of South Pass, 234;
       crosses Continental Divide in 1809, 234;
       with Ashley, 234

     Henry's Fork, 238

     Hernando de Soto, expedition of, 126

     Hidatsa tribe, where classed, 61

     Hind, description of a buffalo pound,46

     Hoback, trapper, 206;
       on headwaters of the Snake, 208

     Hochelaga, original name for site of Montreal, 130

     Holy Cross, Mountain of the, 8

     Horse, coming of the, to America, 72

     Horse Prairie Creek, 168

     Horses and cattle numerous early in New Mexico, 267

     Hospitality, 82

     Hostile Ground, 100, 185

     House building, nature of, due to surroundings, 70

     House-building tribes, 66

     House, of the Shoshones, 68;
       of the Dakotas, 68;
       of tribes of New Mexico, 68;
       of California, 68

     Houses of the Amerinds, 68

     Houston wins battle of San Jacinto, 298

     Hubates, 116

     Huddart, William, goes from Taos to Green River, 249

     Hudson Bay Company, or Governor and Company of Adventurers
         of England Trading into Hudson's Bay, treats Amerinds
         well, 82;
       formed, 136;
       battles with North-west Company, 240;
       merged with North-west Company, 240;
       controls Columbia River, 281;
       in control of Oregon, 281, 283, 289;
       buys Wyeth out, 283;
       opposition to, 290;
       taxes McLoughlin, 290;
       its governor of Oregon affairs in 1847, 290

     Hudson Bay discovered, 132

     Hudson River, 132

     Human flesh eaten by Amerinds, 79

     Humboldt River, 277;
       course of, 6;
       rise of, 6

     Hunchback cows of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, 2, 32, 106

     Hunt, Wilson Price, 198;
       to go overland, 198;
       organises expedition, 203;
       leaves St. Louis for Astoria, 204;
       outfit, 204;
       leaves the Missouri, 206;
       route from the Missouri, 207;
       builds boats, 210;
       has a canoe wrecked, 210;
       party splits up, 210;
       caches goods at Caldron Linn, 211;
       starving, 212;
       loses a voyageur, 212;
       crosses Blue Mountains, 213;
       arrives at the Columbia, 214;
       arrives at Astoria, 214;
       goes to Russian America, 215

     Hunting buffalo, methods of, 45


     Iberville starts French settlement at the mouth of the
       Mississippi, 134

     Independence, eastern end of Santa Fé Trail, 257

     Indian. _See_ Amerind.

     Inlet of Heceta, 142

     Iowa tribe, where classed, 61

     Iron Trail, the, best route for, 327

     Irrigation, by Amerinds, 70;
       Rio Grande Valley, 175;
       Mexican, 267;
       at Salt Lake, 306

     Irving, Washington, a buffalo hunter, 48;
       kills a buffalo, 49;
       on Bonneville, 271;
       travels over the plains, 287

     Island Park, 294

     Iturbide, 257;
       proclaims Mexican independence, 228

     Ives, Lieutenant, 317


     Jackson, President, reinstates Bonneville, 262, 284

     Jackson's Hole, Wyeth's men killed there, 274

     James, Dr. Edwin, with Long, 223;
       climbs Pike's Peak, 224;
       Peak, first name of Pike's Peak, 225

     Jamestown, 132

     Jefferson River, 168

     Jefferson, Thomas, plans an expedition, 155;
       proposes sending party to the Pacific overland, 156;
       instructions to Lewis and Clark, 161

     Jesuit Order superseded in California, 122

     Johnson, George A., contracts for transporting supplies on
         Colorado River from the Gulf to Yuma, 315;
       takes steamer to head of navigation before Lieutenant Ives, 317

     Johnston, Colonel Albert Sydney, moves army against the
       Mormons, 310

     Joliet, 132

     Jones, Ben, 216

     Jonquire plans expedition, 140

     José, Juan, the Apache chief, 265

     Julesburg, 334

     Julien, 1836, name cut on the wall of Labyrinth Canyon and
       the wall of Cataract Canyon, Colorado River, 296

     Juniper tree, 10


     Kanab, 318

     Kansas City, 309

     Karankawan stock, location of, 67

     Karoskiou River, 139

     Kaskaias tribe met by Long, 226

     Kearney, General, 300

     Kendrick, Captain, goes into Strait of Fuca, 150

     Keresan stock, location of, 67

     Kichai tribe, where classed, 64

     Killbuck with La Bonté, 296

     Kino, Friar, 120;
       first to see Casa Grande ruins, 120;
       map of head of Gulf of California, made by, 120;
       astronomer of Ingolstadt, 124

     Kiowa tribe, 64

     Kiowan stock, range of, 64

     Kiva, 93

     Knisteneau tribe, 63

     Kooskooskie River of Lewis and Clark, 170


     La Bonté, 213;
       battle with Arapahos, 296;
       remains at a Ute camp to recuperate, 298

     Labyrinth Canyon, name carved there, 296;
       Green River, 322

     La Charette, Lewis and Clark plan to winter there, 160, 161

     La Clede founds St. Louis, 141

     Lake Bonneville, situation and character of, 6, 284

     Lake Timpanogos, or Utah Lake, 124

     La Lande, goes to Santa Fé, 1804, 176;
       Morrison's claim against him, 190;
       Pike meets him on the way to Santa Fé, 191

     Lamanite, the Mormon name for the Amerind, 317

     Land grant, specified, 329;
       aggregate to Pacific railways, 330

     Languages, Amerind, number of, in North America, 61

     Lapage, 164

     La Paz, missionaries go from there to San Diego, 122

     La Perouse, explorer, 148

     La Purisima Concepcion, Mission of, when founded, 122

     L'Archeveque, the decoy in the assassination of La Salle, 134

     La Reine, Fort de, of Verendrye, 139

     _Lark_, the Astoria supply-ship, wrecked, 218

     Laroche, British trader, 162;
       same as La Roque, 162;
       planned expedition to the Rocky Mountains, 163

     La Salle, to the mouth of the Mississippi, 133;
       his dream of colonisation, 134;
       murdered, 134;
       expedition, remnant of, found by Leon, 134

     Lasso, throwing the, in New Mexico, 267

     Last spike on the trans-continental railway, driving the, 333;
       last tie, 336

     Latrobe, Charles, companion of Washington Irving, 287

     Laut, Miss A. C., Preface, vii.

     Lawlessness at the terminals of the trans-continental railway, 332

     Law's Mississippi Company, 138

     Le Clerc, Francis, 216

     Ledyard, John, suggests trans-continental exploration, 153

     Lee Ferry, first crossing there by white men, 318;
       map showing location of, 326

     Lee, Jason and Daniel, 283, 308

     Lee, John D., leader of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, 312;
       hides at the mouth of the Paria, 318;
       begins Lee's Ferry, 318

     Leithead, Mormon bishop, brings supplies for Powell, 325

     Lemhi Pass, 168

     Leon, Alonzo de, finds remnant of La Salle party, 134

     Leon, Ponce de, 103

     Lewis and Clark, antedated on the Missouri, 139;
       Dorion with, 151;
       their expedition, 158;
       ready to start, 160;
       start for winter quarters, 161;
       men and boats, 161, 162, 163;
       first sight of Rocky Mountains, 164;
       in the untrodden Wilderness, 166;
       pass over the Great Divide, 168;
       down Snake River and the Columbia, 170;
       at Fort Clatsop, 171;
       leave Fort Clatsop, 172;
       reach St. Louis, 174

     Lewis, clerk of the _Tonquin_, blows up the ship, 202

     Lewis, Meriwether, desires to explore to the Pacific with
         Michaux, 156;
       secretary to Jefferson, 156;
       character and age of, 157;
       leaves for La Charette, 161;
       writes to Chaboillez, 162;
       accidentally shot, 163;
       on the Divide, 168;
       shoots a Blackfoot, 172

     Linguistic map of the Amerinds, 62

     Linn, _Story of the Mormons_, 306

     Lisa, Fort, 222

     Lisa, Manuel, 151;
       character and age of, 194;
       opposes Hunt, 203;
       goes up the Missouri, 203;
       quarrels with Hunt, 206;
       activity of, 221;
       made sub-agent for the tribes of the Missouri, 221;
       last voyage and death of, 221;
       closes an epoch, 232

     Little Colorado River, 116

     Little Gun, Crow chief, 293

     Locations of early Pueblo villages, 115

     Lodges, construction of beaver, 21

     Lodore, canyon of Green River, 240;
       described, 294;
       descent of river in, 295;
       trappers wrecked in, 295;
       Powell wrecked in, 322

     Lolo Creek, 169;
       Pass, 169

     Lonely Dell, 318

     Long, expedition of, 221;
       outfit, 222;
       steamboat of, 222;
       takes to horses, 222;
       route, 223;
       reaches the Arkansas, 226;
       party divides, 226;
       searches for Red River, 226;
       pessimistic on the value of the Wilderness, 304

     Longfellow's _Evangeline_, 130

     Long's Peak, Pattie goes there, 249

     Lopez enters New Mexico, 114

     Loreto, Mission of, 120

     Los Angeles, Spanish trail to, 270

     Louisiana, 219;
       La Salle's claim to, 133;
       becomes a French province, 138;
       ceded by France to Spain, 141;
       undefined area of, 145;
       transferred by Spain to France, 152;
       bought by the United States, 152;
       transferred to the United States, 152;
       undefined, 153;
       map of, 154;
       western limit claimed by the United States, 155;
       defined by Spain, 161;
       purchase ratified by Congress, 161;
       cession consummated to United States, 161;
       bounds of, 181;
       claims as to boundaries, 181;
       boundary between it and British territory, 219;
       bearing of Pacific Fur Company on boundary of, 219;
       boundary, 220;
       Purchase limits, 220

     Lussat, 152


     McClellan, 174, 205, 216

     McCracken, 162

     McDougall, next in command to Hunt, 199;
       in charge of Fort George, Astoria, 218;
       denounced, 219

     McKay goes on the _Tonquin_, 200

     Mackenzie, Alexander, 146, 163;
       to the Arctic, 147;
       Mackenzie River, 147;
       to the Pacific, 148;
       reaches tidewater at King Island, 160

     McKenzie, Donald, 202;
       Kenneth, 284

     McKnight, Chambers, and Baird imprisoned, 257;
       meet Glenn and Fowler, 257

     McLoughlin, Hudson Bay Company governor, 290

     McTavish reaches Astoria, 218

     Mad River, 208

     Madison River, 168

     Maize, a staple before the whites arrived, 76, 77

     Maldonado, Alonso del Castillo, companion of Cabeza de Vaca, 106

     Malgares, character of, 182;
       expedition of, 182;
       Robinson's opinion of, 192;
       escorts Pike and Robinson to Chihuahua, 192

     Malhado Island, 104

     Mallet brothers, 176

     Mandan, tribe, where classed, 61;
       house, 68;
       country, 158;
       go every spring to Rocky Mountains, 158;
       Lewis and Clark leave Fort, and start west, 163;
       burned, 174

     Map of Louisiana and of the Wilderness, 154

     Maple sugar, 72

     Marble Canyon, 324

     Marble-Grand Canyon, length of, 324

     Marcos of Niza, Friar, 108;
       sees the Seven Cities, 109;
       sent back, 110;
       repeats his story, 110

     Maria's River, 166

     Marquette, 132;
       down the Mississippi, 133

     Mary's River, 277

     Massacre, of Villazur's party, 119;
       of the Whitman family, 290;
       at Mountain Meadows, by Mormons, 310;
       at Plum Creek, Union Pacific Railway, 330

     Mastodon bones beneath those of buffalo, 35

     Maxent (or Maxan), La Clede and Company, 194

     Maximilian, Prince of Wied, goes up the Missouri, 284

     _Mayflower_, the, 132

     Meadows, beaver, 24

     Meares fails to find the Rio de San Roque, 148

     Meek, Joe, appears in the Wilderness, 278;
       shoots a Digger, 278;
       in Oregon, 290;
       quoted, 292;
       at Fort Davy Crockett, 294;
       goes through the canyon of Lodore on the ice, 294

     Mendoza, Viceroy of Mexico, sends Marcos of Niza to the
         north country, 108;
       sends Coronado to search for the Seven Cities, 110;
       his attitude toward Coronado on the latter's return, 113

     Mesquite tree, 10

     Metate, 267

     Methodist missionaries into the Wilderness, 308

     Mexican, natives with Coronado remain behind, 113;
       found at Zuñi, 116;
       mountains seen by Pike, 185;
       independence, 228;
       permission for trapping, 253;
       Gregg's opinion of people and government, 264, 268;
       not respected by trappers, 264;
       amusements, 265;
       trade with Apaches, 265;
       agriculture, etc., 267;
       irrigation, 267;
       tariff on American goods, 268;
       belief that the Neuces bounded Texas, 298;
       companions of Walker lasso Amerinds, 280;
       war with the United States, 300;
       cession of 1848, 300

     Michaux, Andre, 156

     Middle Park, Denver, to Salt Lake, road through, 315

     Minitarees, country of, 166

     Mission of San Fernando, discovery of gold there, 308

     Missionaries, at San Francisco Bay, 122;
       from La Paz to San Diego, 122;
       go to Oregon, 287;
       looked upon with suspicion by natives, 290;
       Protestant, hold themselves above the trappers, 290;
       Catholic, try to descend Colorado, 295

     Missions, in New Mexico, 117;
       in Lower California, 120;
       arrangement of, 122;
       list of California missions and dates of founding, 122

     Mississippi, Radisson's discovery, Preface, vii.;
       Soto's crossing, 127;
       upper, discovered, 132

     Missouri, River, main highway to the Wilderness, 4;
       Todd goes up it, 151;
       Falls of, 166;
       Fur Company founded, 197

     Mohaves buy Oatman girls, 309

     Moki, tribe, where classed, 63;
       villages, 67;
       corn planting, 70;
       Towns, Hamblin goes there, 317;
       Ives goes there, 317

     Montagne à la Basse, British trading post, 158, 163

     Monterey Bay, missionaries fail to reach it, 122

     Monterey, Walker passes the winter there, 280

     Montreal, former native name for its site, 130

     Monts, Sieur de, founds Port Royal, 130

     Monument built by Verendrye, 139

     More, one of Wyeth's men, killed in Jackson's Hole, 274

     _Mormon, Book of_, 304

     _Mormons_, The _Story of the_, Linn cited, 306

     Mormons, 304;
       origin of, 304;
       opposition to, 304;
       books of the, 305;
       migrations, 305;
       arrive at Salt Lake, 305;
       privations of, 306;
       order, 307;
       claim to be invincible, 310;
       condemn the Mountain Meadows Massacre, 312;
       settle on the Santa Clara, 313;
       desirous of opening road across the Colorado for the benefit
         of the Lamanites, 317

     Morrison's claim against La Lande, 190

     Mosca Pass, Pike goes through it, 189

     Moscoso de Alvarado, 127

     Mother of Floods, the, 181

     Mountain Meadows, trail through, 270, 309;
       Massacre, 310

     Mountain, Wilderness, character of, 6;
       of the Holy Cross, 8

     Mount Dellenbaugh, Powell's three men killed near it, 324

     Mules, cars cut off to obtain blood for drinking, 257;
       on the Santa Fé Trail, 258;
       detect approach of natives, 260

     Mush, 79

     Muskbogs, 27


     Nachitoches, 182

     Napoleon plans for Louisiana, 152;
       sells it, 152

     Narrow Canyon, 324

     Narvaez, Panfilo de, 2, 103, 104

     Natchezan stock, location of, 67

     National Yellowstone Park, 8

     Nauvoo, Illinois, Mormon town of, 305

     Navajo, tribe, where classed, 61, 66;
       Puebloan mixture with, 66;
       house, 93

     Navigation on Colorado, Johnson first to reach head of, 317

     Nephi, Mormon town, 309

     Nevada, first trapper to traverse, 269

     New Archangel, or Sitka, 215

     New Jerusalem of the Mormons, 305

     New Mexico, trapping in, 253;
       gold mines of, 267;
       ceded to the United States, 300

     New Orleans, a port of deposit for the United States, 152;
       privilege revoked by Spain, 152

     Nez Perces, one hung by Clark, 243;
       friendly to Bonneville, 274

     Nidiver, shoots two natives on suspicion, 278

     Night attacks seldom made, 72

     Nixon, O. W., his book cited, 289

     Niza. _See_ Marcos of Niza.

     Nonsense, Fort, 272

     North America divided between three Powers, 141

     Northern Mystery, 104, 108

     North Platte, Browne killed near, 330

     North-west Company, formed, 146;
       acquires Astoria, 218;
       active, 221;
       fights the Hudson Bay Company, 240;
       merged into Hudson Bay Company, 240

     North-west Passage disproved, 147

     Nova Scotia, Acadia, 130

     Nueces River, considered by Mexico the boundary of Texas, 298;
       General Taylor ordered to occupy territory west of, 300

     Nuttall, Thomas, 204, 206;
       leaves Hunt party, 207;
       with Wyeth, 283


     Oatman, massacre, 309;
       girl rescued by Henry Grinnell, 310

     Ogden, Peter Skeen, meets Ashley, 240

     Ogden, River, 227

     Oldest town in the United States, 116

     Old Jacob, 313

     Old Spanish Trail, route of, 270, 309

     Oñate, Juan de, reaches New Mexico, 116;
       crosses New Mexico and Arizona _via_ Zuñi, 116;
       first settlement, 116;
       goes eastward on the Plains, 117;
       goes to the mouth of the Colorado, 117

     _Ontario_, United States ship of war, at Astoria, 219

     Ordway brings down boats, 172

     Oregon, region, 8;
       first mention of river, 140;
       river, 151;
       agreement between United States and Great Britain as to
         temporary joint occupation of, 219;
       left free to British and Americans for ten years, 219;
       rights of Spain in, ceded to the United States, 220;
       United States claims to, 221;
       agreement renewed for a second term of ten years, 253;
       Saviour of, 289;
       not free to Americans, 289;
       boundary settled, 290

     Oregon Trail, beginnings of, 214, 281;
       becomes popular, 283;
       Parker and Whitman travel it, 287;
       start at Westport, 309

     Orleans, Fort, established, 138

     Ortiz, Juan, interpreter to Soto, 127

     Overland stage company, road from Salt Lake to Denver explored
       for, 315

     Oviedo, Lope de, 106

     Oxen on the Santa Fé Trail, 258


     Pacific, Fur Company, organised, 198;
       voyageurs, for 198;
       ended, 218;
       bearing on boundary questions, 219;
       railways, right of way, 328;
       land grant to, 329;
       cash bonus to, 329;
       aggregate land grant to, 330;
       miles built per day, 330;
       supply train wrecked, by Amerinds, 331;
       railway completed, 336

     Padilla, Friar Juan de, 113

     Pai Utes begin to cultivate maize, 76

     Palmyra, New York, Mormonism originates near, 304

     Pambrune, Hudson Bay Company agent, refuses to sell food to
       Bonneville, 281

     Paria River, 314;
       Hamblin crosses Colorado at mouth of, 318;
       John D. Lee settles at mouth of, 318

     Parker, Samuel, missionary of the Presbyterian Church, goes
         to Oregon, 287;
       his opinion of the trappers, 288;
       description of a trapper duel, 288

     Parkman, Francis, description of Beckwourth, 238;
       goes to the Wilderness, 287

     Parks of the Rocky Mountains, 6;
       location of, 6;
       names of, 6;
       San Luis, 235

     Pathfinder, the, 298, 303

     Pattie, James O., encounter with a buffalo calf, 52;
       explores the valley of the Colorado, 248;
       crosses the Continental Divide, 249;
       book by, 249;
       returns east, 249

     Pattie, Sylvester, 246-248

     Pawnee house, 151

     Pawnee tribe, where classed, 64

     Peace River, 148

     _Pearl of Great Price_, Mormon book, 305

     Pecos River, natives hunted buffalo there in 1540, 34;
       Espejo follows it down on his exit from New Mexico, 116

     Pemmican, how made, 40;
       accumulated, 80

     Penn, William, 132

     Piccolo, Friar, 120

     Pierre, town of, how named, 285

     Pierre's Hole, Smith meets Sublette's party there, 252;
       battle of, 273

     Pike, Zebulon Montgomery, 178;
       his Mississippi expedition, 178, 179;
       returns to St. Louis from the north, 180;
       goes west, 180;
       escorts natives to their home, 181;
       watched by Spaniards, 181;
       comes to trail left by Malgares, 183;
       and the Pawnee war party, 185;
       sees the Rocky Mountains, 185;
       lack of foresight, 186;
       reaches foot of Rocky Mountains, 186;
       his Grand Peak, 186;
       sufferings of his men, 186;
       his wanderings, 188;
       builds fort on Rio Conejos, 189;
       trapped by the Spaniards, 190;
       discovers he is not on Red River, 190;
         meets La Lande, 191;
       before Governor Allencaster, 191;
       treatment at Santa Fé, 192;
       meets Pursley (Purcell), 192;
       taken to General Salcedo, 192;
       sent back to the United States, 192;
       his opinion of the Plains region, 221;
       pessimistic on the value of the Wilderness, 304

     Pike's Peak, Long sees it, 224;
       James first man to climb to its summit, 225

     Pilot Knobs, name Hunt gave the Three Tetons, 208

     Pima ruins called Casa Grande, 120

     Piman stock, range of, 66

     Pineda, discovers the mouth of the Mississippi, 104

     Piñon tree, and nut, 10

     Pitahaya, 10

     Plains, extent of, 5;
       character of, 5;
       rivers of, 6

     Platte River, 6

     Plum Creek massacre, 330

     Plymouth Rock, 132

     Poala, one of the Tiguex villages, 114

     Point George, 200

     Polk, on Rio Grande boundary, 300

     Ponce de Leon, 103

     Pone, cornbread, 79

     Population, 99;
       estimate of Amerindian, 95

     Porcupine Bear's protest against whiskey, 94

     Portneuf River, 281;
       Wyeth builds his Fort Hall there, 283

     Potts, trapper, 194

     Powell, John Wesley, Major, the only explorer who went where
         modern Amerinds did not go, 90;
       conceives the idea of exploring the canyons of the Colorado, 320;
       expedition, 320;
       loses a boat in Lodore, 322;
       has a difference with the wrecked men, 322;
       three of his men leave the canyon and are killed, 324;
       emerges from the Grand Canyon, 324;
       leaves the Colorado, 325;
       helped by Brigham Young, 325;
       thought to be dead, 325;
       at St. George tries to get his mail, 325

     Powell, Walter, 325

     Prairie buffalo, 38

     Prairies, extent of, 5

     Presidio of Tubac, 124

     Presidios, 122

     Presbyterians in Oregon, 308

     Promontory Point, Utah, 336

     Provost, Etienne, famous trapper, 233;
       in Brown's Park, 1825, 240

     Pueblo, Pike at site of, 185;
       Pike's structure near, 225;
       first house built there by Americans, 235

     Pueblo, villages, character of, for defence, 76;
       storerooms, 80

     Puebloan, explanation of term, 66;
       Navajos mixed with, 66;
       location of, 66;
       provision against famine, 80;
       rebellion of, 117

     Purchase, Gadsden, 325;
       Louisiana, 152-155, 161, 181, 219, 220

     Purgatoire River, Long follows it, 226

     Pursley (or Purcell), James, 176;
       goes to Santa Fé, 177;
       at Santa Fé, 178;
       makes gunpowder, 178;
       finds gold on head of Platte River, 192;
       meets Pike, 192


     Quires, Pueblo village, 114

     Quivira, 112, 113, 126


     _Raccoon_, British man-of-war, arrives at Astoria and renames
       it Fort George, 218

     Race variation, 54

     Radisson, first discoverer of the Mississippi, Preface, vi., 132.

     Railway, transcontinental, 327;
       military importance of, 328;
       Union and Central Pacific companies formed, 328;
       Amerind titles extinguished, 329;
       cash bonus, 329;
       amount built per day, 330

     Railways, Government practically paid for them, 330

     Raleigh in North Carolina, 131

     Ratafia, 268

     Rebellion of the Puebloans, 117

     Red Canyon of Green River, 238;
       Ashley's name in, 240

     Red River, 6, 181;
       Pike's plan concerning, 184;
       not on it, 190;
       boundary of Louisiana, 221;
       Long searches for it, 226;
       elusive, 227;
       Sparks attempts to explore it, 227

     Redwood forests, 8

     Ree, tribe, where classed, 64

     Reid, halberd found on his farm in Missouri, 126

     Rendezvous in Green River Valley, described, 234, 256

     Ribera, Don Juan Maria de, 139

     Rigdon, Sidney, real founder of Mormonism, 305

     Rio, Colorado Grande, same as Seedskedee, 4;
       Grande del Norte, 5;
       Grande, head of, 6;
       de Espiritu Santo, 104;
       de Buena Guia, the Colorado, 111;
       de Tiguex, 112;
       del Norte, 114;
       Grande Towns, map of, 115;
       de las Vacas, 116;
       de Esperanza, 117;
       de San Roque, 142;
       Grande Settlements, 175;
       Conejos, 189;
       Grande, Pike on, 189;
       Grande, trapping on, 269

     River of Palms, the Rio Grande, 127

     River of the West, 4, 140, 151;
       rumors of, 138;
       discovery of mouth by Heceta, 142

     Rivers of the Plains, 6

     Rivers, of the Wilderness, 4, 327;
       of the Rocky Mountains, character of, 204

     Rizner, trapper, 206

     Robideau, 255

     Robinson, Doctor, with Pike, 132, 190;
       escorted to Chihuahua, 192

     Robinson, trapper, 206, 208

     Roche Jaune River, 160, 164

     Rock picture of buffalo in southern Utah, 36

     Rocky Mountain Fur Company, 244;
       rendezvous in Green River Valley, 275;
       repudiates contract with Wyeth, 283

     Rocky Mountains, first view of, in the north, 139;
       Long's first view of, 223;
       Bijeau often there before, 1820, 226;
       amount of Government aid to railways through the, 329

     Rodgers, Captain, 317

     Rodriguez enters New Mexico, 114

     Rose, Edward, 237, 263;
       with Hunt, 207

     Ross's Hole, 169

     Route of Lewis and Clark, 173

     Routes to California, 309

     Ruddock, Samuel Adams, 233

     Ruins, 68;
       of Casa Grande, 68

     Ruiz, 114

     Russia agrees on boundary, 254

     Russian explorations, 140;
       claims, 220

     Ruxton quoted, 296;
       cited, 296


     Sabine River, boundary of Louisiana, 221

     Sacajawea, Chaboneau's wife, goes with Lewis and Clark
         expedition, 163;
       ill, 166;
       discovers a brother, chief of the Shoshones, 168

     Sachem, office of, 85

     Sacramento, trapping on the, 255;
       city, aid to Pacific Railway, 330

     Sacred tent of the Dakotas, 51

     St. Augustine, date of founding, 116;
       first settlement by Europeans within the borders of the
         United States, 130

     St. Charles, 161

     St. George, 317;
       Lamanites to be endowed there, 317

     St. Louis, founded, 141;
       developing, 151;
       point of departure for the Wilderness, 143;
       in 1830, 244;
       intercourse with Santa Fé, 257

     Salcedo, General, 192

     Salishan stock, range of, 68

     Salleto, Don Ignacio, captures Pike, 190

     Salt, lagoons of New Mexico, 8;
       in California, 8;
       where obtained by the Amerinds, 72

     Salt Lake, early visitors, 233;
       Ashley meets Ogden there, 240;
       Bridger visits it, 242;
       Ashley's men circumnavigate it, 242;
       Provost there before Bridger, 243;
       Bonneville's desire to explore it, 276;
       Frémont sees it, 300;
       Mormons attracted, 304-305;
       American acquisition of, 308;
       road to Denver from, explored by Berthoud and Bridger, 315;
       wrecked trappers go there, 322

     Salt Lake City, 306

     Salt Lake Valley, visited 1776 by Escalante, 124

     Salvatierra, Friar, 120

     San Antonio de Padua, Mission, when founded, 122

     San Antonio, settlement of, 134;
       Texas, population of, in 1805, 176

     San Carlos de Monterey, when founded, 122

     San Diego, harbour, visited by Vizcaino and Cabrillo, 119;
       Mission, when founded, 122

     San Fernando Mission, when founded, 122;
       gold found there, 308

     San Francisco, Bay, missionaries go there, 122;
       Anza founds mission there, 124;
       aid to railway, 330

     San Francisco de Solano de Sonoma Mission, when founded, 122

     San Francisco mountains, 116

     San Gabriel, settlement of, 116;
       Mission, when founded, 122

     Sangre de Cristo Pass, 189;
       crossed by Fowler and Glenn, 235

     San Jacinto, battle of, won by Texans, 298

     San Joaquin Valley, Walker goes up it, 280

     San José Mission, when founded, 122

     San Juan, New Mexico, 130;
       village of, Oñate's first settlement at, 116;
       Bautista Mission, when founded, 122;
       Capistrano Mission, when founded, 122

     San Luis Obispo Mission, when founded, 122

     San Luis Park, or Valley, 235

     San Luis Rey de Francia Mission, when founded, 122

     San Miguel Mission, when founded, 122

     San Rafael Mission, when founded, 122

     San Roque, Rio de, same as the Columbia, 142

     San Xavier del Bac Mission, often called Bac, 124

     Santa Aña, General, 228

     Santa Barbara Mission, when founded, 122

     Santa Clara, Mission, when founded, 122;
       River, Mormons settle on the, 313

     Santa Cruz Mission, when founded, 122

     Santa Fé, error of date of founding sometimes given, 116;
       founded by Oñate, 117;
       population of, in 1805, 175;
       routes to, 176;
       Long crosses trails to, 226;
       the Patties go there, 246, 248;
       first waggons to, 272;
       Walker and Cerré go there, 272;
       Whitman goes there, 290;
       captured by Americans, 300

     Santa Fé Trail, 257, 309

     Santa Inez Mission, when founded, 122

     Santa Maria enters New Mexico, 114

     Say, T., with Long, 223

     Scalp, Thompson's, preserved, 332

     Scalped alive, 330

     Scalping by white men, 243, 296

     Sciatoga tribe, or Tushepaws, 214

     Scott, General, sent to Mexico, 300

     Secret Town Trestle, 329

     Seedskedee, same as Green River and Colorado, 4, 234, 250

     Selkirk, Lord, Red River Colony of, 242

     Sensitive rose, 10

     Sequoia trees, 8

     Seton, Alfred, 272

     Settlements, in New Mexico, 117;
       first, in California, 120;
       first European, in the United States, 130

     Seven Cities of Cibola, 108, 109;
       identified with Zuñi, 113;
       map showing probable direction of, from Tiguex, 115

     Sevier, River, 6;
       trapping on, 269

     Sevier Lake, 6

     Sherman, General, 328

     Shiam Shaspusia, name given by Crows to Meek, 294

     Shinumo group, 67

     Shoshokoes, 277

     Shoshone, stock, range of, 63, 64;
       house, 68;
       Lewis meets some, 168;
       Falls, 205, 207, 209

     Sierra Blanca, 189;
       _see_ also frontispiece.

     Sierra Nevada range, 6;
       Government aid to Pacific railways through, 329

     Sign language of the Amerinds, 62

     Sihasapa, Dakota sub-tribe, 63

     Silver mines in New Mexico, early, 267

     Simpson, Captain, location of Tiguex by, 113

     Simpson, Sir George, in charge of Hudson Bay Company in
       Oregon, 252

     Siouan stock, how title is formed, 61;
       range of, 63

     Sioux, hostility of, 243

     Sitgreaves reconnoitres Arizona, 316

     Sitka, 215

     Smallpox, ravages of, and other diseases, 97;
       among the Plains tribes, 99

     Smith, Fort, Long arrives there, 227

     Smith, George A., Jr., killed by Navajos, 317

     Smith, Jedediah S., 232;
       with Ashley, 234;
       character, 234;
       goes from Salt Lake to California, 250;
       goes to San Gabriel Mission, 250;
       crosses the Sierra, 251;
       returns to Salt Lake, 251;
       goes to California a second time, 251;
       attacked by Mohaves, 251;
       thrown into prison by the Spaniards in California, 251;
       traps to the Columbia, 251;
       circuits he made, 252;
       party destroyed by Shastas, 252;
       reaches Fort Vancouver, 252;
       meets Sublette's search party, 252;
       back at Salt Lake, 252;
       killed by Comanches, 262;
       Gregg's estimate of, 262;
       first to traverse Nevada, 269;
       Walker's journey compared to Smith's, 280

     Smith, Joseph, Mormon prophet, 304;
       murder of, 305

     Smith, Pegleg, 263;
       _see_ Thomas L. Smith.

     Smith, Thomas L., 263;
       amputates his leg, 263;
       called Pegleg, 263;
       his business, 263;
       gives up raiding, 264;
       he and Beckwourth make a raid, 264

     Snake River, 210;
       plain, 211

     Snow sheds in the Sierra, 331

     Socorro, copper mines near, 267

     Soledad Mission, when founded, 122

     Song of the voyageur, 129

     Sonora, Mission of Dolores in, 120;
       Pass, Sierra Nevada range, 280

     Sonoran government proclamation concerning booty taken from
       natives, 265

     Soto, Hernando de, 126;
       crosses the Mississippi, 127;
       death and burial, 127;
       forgotten, 133

     Sounds, strange, heard by Lewis and Clark, 168

     South Pass, discovered by Andrew Henry, 234;
       Bonneville goes over it, 272;
       Frémont selected to explore it, 300

     South-west, little mention of the trapping that went on there, 269

     Spain and the United States, relations of, in 1805, 181;
       agree on Louisiana boundary, 220

     Spalding, Reverend H. H., with Whitman, 289

     Spaniards expelled by the Pueblos from New Mexico, 117

     Spanish, term for buffalo, 34;
       restrictions on exploration, 117;
       Fork, 124;
       destroy French in Florida, 130;
       protest against the transfer of Louisiana to the United
         States, 152;
       objection to Lewis and Clark's entering Louisiana before
         transfer, 160;
       watch Pike, 181;
       intention regarding Pike, 190;
       claims, 220;
       River, 208, 234;
       women on Santa Fé Trail, 258;
       Trail, 270, 322

     Sparks, one of Pike's men, freezes his feet, 190;
       Captain, attempts to explore Red River, 227

     Spike, the last, 335, 337

     Split Mountain Canyon, 294

     Sportsmen go to the Wilderness, 287

     Stampede, 260

     Stanford, Governor, drives the last spike, 336

     Steamboat, on Long's expedition, 222;
       to mouth of Yellowstone, 285;
       first above Council Bluffs, 285;
       advantage of, on the Missouri, 286;
       _Colorado_, _Esmeralda_, _General Jesup_, _Uncle Sam_, 315

     Stephens, 274

     Stillwater Canyon, Green River, 322

     Stock, term as applied to Amerind tribal groups explained, 61;
       languages of the Amerinds, 61

     Stony Mountains, 156

     Strait of Juan de Fuca, 119

     Straits of Anian, a myth, 147

     Stuart, James, monument, described by, 140

     Stuart, Robert, 215, 216, 218, 252

     Sublette, Milton, 264, 274

     Sublette, William, with Ashley, 234;
       with Fitzpatrick and Company buys out Ashley, 244;
       takes waggons to Wind River, 272

     Subsistence of the Amerind tribes, 70

     Succotash, 79

     Sulte, Benjamin, Preface, vii.

     Sumner, Jack, with Major Powell in the exploration of the
         Colorado, 320;
       goes down Colorado from Green River Valley to tidewater, 325

     Supawn, a dish made of cooked corn, 79

     Sutter's ranch, gold found there, 308

     Sweetwater River, named by Ashley, 234

     Swindling by traders, 94


     Tabbaquena's map, 89

     Tacoutche Tesse, not the Columbia, 148

     Tamos villages seen by Espejo, 116

     Tampa Bay, Soto lands there, 126

     Tanning buffalo robes, 48

     Taos, location of, 70;
       Fowler and Glenn go there, 235;
       San Fernandez de, Pattie arrives there, 248;
       lightning, 268

     Tariff put on American goods into New Mexico, 268

     Taylor, General, ordered to occupy Rio Grande region, 300

     Temples of the Virgin, location of, 8

     Termini of Pacific railways, 332

     Texas, Spanish settlements in, 119;
       claim to, given up by the United States, 220;
       status of, in the Mexican Republic, 298;
       revolt, 298;
       triumphs at San Jacinto, 298;
       western boundary, 298;
       admitted to the Union, 300

     Thompson, David, to forestall Astor on the Columbia, 198;
       arrives at Astoria, 202

     Thompson, Almon Harris. _See_ dedication

     Thompson, William, scalped alive, 330;
       his scalp preserved, 332

     Thorn, Captain Jonathan, to command the ship to establish
         Astoria, 198;
       killed on the _Tonquin_, 200

     Thousand Mile Tree, 328

     Three Tetons called Pilot Knobs by Hunt, 208

     Tidal bore, Colorado River, 249

     Tiguex, 111;
       rebellion, 112;
       correct site of, 113;
       Espejo arrives there, 114;
       map showing correct location of, 115;
       below the Puerco, 116

     Timpanogos, Utah Lake, 124

     Tobacco, use of, by Amerind tribes, 79

     Todd, grant from Spain, 151;
       goes up the Missouri, 151;
       Reverend Doctor, gives a prayer at the completion of the
         trans-continental railway ceremony, 333, 336

     Tonikan stock, 68

     Tonkawan stock, 67

     Tonty, 133

     _Tonquin_, the doomed vessel, 198;
       arrives at the Columbia, 199;
       loses men in trying to cross the bar, 199;
       goes on a trading voyage, 200;
       crew massacred, 200

     Torrey, 303

     Tortillas, 267

     Totem, 85

     Tower of Babel, Amerinds supposed by the Mormons to be
       descendants of some who were dispersed at that time, 304

     Townshend, naturalist, with Wyeth, 283

     Traders, cupidity of, 94, 286

     Trading-posts on Missouri, 151

     Trail, of Escalante, 124;
       from Zuñi to the Crossing of the Fathers, 314

     Trail, Creek, 168

     Trap, beaver, 28;
       where set, 29;
       bait, 29;
       picture of, 29

     Trappers, operations of, 221, 253;
       qualities of, 231;
       treatment of natives by, 232;
       did their own surgery, 288;
       wrecked in Lodore, 322

     Traveller's Rest, camp of Lewis and Clark, 169

     Travois, the, 89

     Treaty, ending war of 1812, signed, 219;
       of 1848, between Mexico and the United States relative to
         the boundary of Louisiana, 300;
       of Gadsden with Mexico, 315

     Tribal names, 86

     Trinchera Valley, 235

     Trudeau's House, 151

     Tucson, 124

     Turk, the, 112

     Turnbull takes a small steamer to the Colorado, 315

     Tusayan, 110

     Tushepaws, or Sciatogas, 214

     Tutahaco, group of Pueblos visited by Coronado, 114


     Ugarte, Friar, 120

     Uinta, range, cut into by Green River, 234;
       Agency, Goodman leaves the Powell party and goes out that
         way, 322

     Umatilla, Hunt arrives in the valley of, 213

     _Uncle Sam_, steamboat on the Colorado, 315

     Union Express Company, 336

     Union Pacific Railway formed, 328;
       Government aid to, 329

     United States, gains all east of the Mississippi, 144;
       claims in 1818, 220;
       treaty with Mexico, 1848, 300

     Utah, Lake, 242;
       called Timpanogos, 124;
       territory established, 308

     Ute, tribe, where classed, 63;
       action of, on approach of Arapaho enemies, 297;
       La Bonte goes to a camp, 297;
       ford of the Colorado, 314;
       Hamblin crosses by the ford, 317


     Vaca, Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de, wrecked with Narvaez, 103;
       first white man to penetrate the Wilderness, 104;
       starts west, 106;
       meets Spaniards from the west coast, 107

     Vacas, Rio de las, 116

     Vallar, Andri, 216

     Valley of the Colorado, 6

     Vancouver, Point, 170

     Vancouver, in Deception Bay before Gray, 150

     Vanished race theories, 68

     Vaquero, 129;
       Mexican, 267;
       skill of, 267

     Vargas, General, reconquers New Mexico from the Pueblos, 117

     Verendrye, Sieur de la, 138;
       his expedition, 139;
       his route, 158

     Verrazano's cruise, 128

     Veta Pass, 189

     Villazur expedition, 117, 138, 182;
       title of paper on, by Bandelier, 134

     Virgin River, Jedediah Smith reaches it and calls it Adams
         River, 250;
       trapping on it, 269;
       difference in altitude between Green River Station, Wyoming,
         and the mouth of, 320

     Virgin, Thomas, Virgin River perhaps named after him, 250

     Vizcaino, explorations of, 119;
       enters San Diego harbour, 119

     Volunteers, California, march from Salt Lake to Denver over
       new road laid out by Captain Berthoud, 315

     Voyageurs, songs of, 129;
       character of, 147;
       seasick, 199;
       with Hunt, 204


     Waggons, on the Santa Fé Trail, 258;
       to Wind River and to Green River, 272

     Walker, 272, 276-278, 280

     Walla Walla, Fort, 281

     Wallows of Buffalo, 50

     Wapatoo Island, 283

     War party, return of an Amerind, 100

     War Road, The, 100, 185

     Wasatch Mountains, 5;
       eastern limit of ancient sea, 6;
       Escalante crosses them, 124

     Watermelons preserved all winter, 81

     Weaving by Amerinds, 93

     _Western Engineer, The_, Long's steamboat, 222

     West port, starting point of Santa Fé Trail, 309

     Wet Mountain Valley, Pike goes through it, 188

     Whipple, exploration of, 316

     Whirlpool Canyon, 294

     Whiskey, forced on natives, 286;
       still, at Fort Union, 286;
       prohibited by the Government, 286;
       trade, dishonour of, 287

     White bears (grizzlies), 53, 164;
       Dawson killed by, 235;
       one of Pattie's men killed by, 247;
       number counted in one day by Pattie, 247

     White blood, infusion of, in Amerind tribes, 72

     White buffalo, skin sacred, 51

     White Mountains, 189

     Whitman, Dr. Marcus, 287-289, 290, 308

     Wichita tribe, where classed, 64

     Wickiup, 68

     Wilderness, area, 1;
       rivers, 4, 327;
       first European settlements in the, 5;
       climate and character, 10, 230;
       relief map, 24;
       great elevation of, 230;
       crimes in, 232;
       resources of, in the opinion of Pike, of Long, of Frémont, 304;
       final great problem, 320;
       broken, 324

     Wilkinson, General, 164;
       Lieutenant, 184

     Willamet, 170

     Willow Island, 332

     Wind River, 207;
       Mountains, highest peak climbed by Frémont, 300

     Wolf, mad, 275

     Wolfskill, William, opens route to California, 270;
       at Los Angeles, 270;
       trail, 309;
       referred to, 322

     Women, first European, to cross the plains, 258

     Wonsits Valley, 294, 322

     Wood buffalo, 38

     Wyeth, Nathaniel J., goes to the Wilderness, 273;
       first continuous trip across the continent, 275;
       builds Fort Hall, 283;
       sells out to Hudson Bay Company, 283;
       reports whiskey still of Fort Union, 286


     Xavier del Bac, San, mission, 124


     Yaqui River, Mexico, Cabeza de Vaca reaches it, 107

     Yellowstone, 8, 164;
       geysers and Great Falls, 8;
       Verendrye passes, 139;
       named before Lewis and Clark's time, 196;
       Ashley descends with furs, 242

     _Yellowstone_, steamboat, 285

     Yosemite Valley, 8;
       first whites there, 280

     Young, Brigham, becomes head of the Mormon Church, 305;
       character of, 305;
       goes to Salt Lake, 306;
       appointed Governor of Utah, 308;
       has a difference with the Washington Government, 310;
       directs Jacob Hamblin to explore a road across the Colorado, 317;
       sends help to Powell, 325

     Young, Ewing, 264

     Yucca, 10


     Zuñi, stock, location of, 67;
       not the site of Cibola, 113;
       Espejo goes there, 116;
       trail from, to the Crossing of the Fathers, 314

  [Illustration: Canada Lynx.

   From _Wonderland _, 1904. Northern Pacific Railway.]

     _The_ Romance _of the_
     Colorado River : : :

     _A Complete Account of the Discovery and of the Explorations from
     1540 to the Present Time, with Particular Reference to the two
     Voyages of Powell through the Line of the Great Canyons_

     By Frederick S. Dellenbaugh

     _8o, with 200 Illustrations, net, $3.50. By mail, $3.75_

"As graphic and as interesting as a novel.... Of especial value to the
average reader is the multiplicity of pictures. They occur on almost
every page, and while the text is always clear, these pictures give,
from a single glance, an idea of the vastness of the canyons and their
remarkable formation, which it would be beyond the power of pen to
describe. And the color reproduction of the water-color drawing that
Thomas Moran made of the entrance to Bright Angel Trail gives some faint
idea of the glories of color which have made the Grand Canyon the wonder
and the admiration of the world."—_The Cleveland Leader._

"His scientific training, his long experience in this region, and his
eye for natural scenery enable him to make this account of the Colorado
River most graphic and interesting. No other book equally good can be
written for many years to come—not until our knowledge of the river is
greatly enlarged."—_The Boston Herald._


     New York      London

     _The_ North Americans _of_
     Yesterday : : :

     _A Comparative Study of North American Indian Life, Customs, and
     Products, on the Theory of the Ethnic Unity of the Race_

     By Frederick S. Dellenbaugh

     _With about 350 illustrations, 8o, net, $4.00_

"For its thoroughness, the scientific spirit in which it is written and
in which the studies on which it is based were made, the book cannot
fail to take high rank in its field of literature."—_Buffalo Express._

"It is a very interesting, very instructive and authoritative work on
a subject we should pay more attention to."—_Boston Times._

"Mr. Dellenbaugh's book is the most satisfactory volume that the
new study has evoked. It is full of facts which are agreeably but
forcibly presented. Without seeking controversy it takes bold positions
and works from their standpoint, and it is graced by a wealth of
illustration."—_Transcript_, Portland, Me.

"The first great merit of the book is that it is strictly impartial,
written from a viewpoint midway between that of the white man who has
rarely treated the Indian or his history justly, and that which the
Indian himself would be supposed to take were he to write his history.
And the author's treatment of the red man it must be admitted is
just."—_Grand Rapids Herald._

     New York      London

     A Canyon Voyage

     _The Narrative of the Second Powell Expedition down the
     Green-Colorado River from Wyoming and the Explorations on Land in
     the Years 1871 and 1872._

     By Frederick S. Dellenbaugh

     Artist and Assistant Topographer of the Expedition

     _8vo with 50 Full-page Illustrations from Photographs and
     from Drawings by the Author (2 in color) and Maps including
     reproductions of the first maps made. Net, $3.50. By mail, $3.75._

Mr. Dellenbaugh's new book is a narrative of the United States
Exploring Expedition, generally known as the Second Powell Expedition
down the Green and Colorado Rivers from Wyoming almost forty years
ago; an expedition which in all these years never has been described
in any government publication, nor by anyone in print excepting Mr.
Dellenbaugh, who was a member of the party. Yet it was the expedition
to make the first maps of the course of the river and of some of the
contiguous country. In the _Romance of the Colorado_, Mr. Dellenbaugh
gave a brief description of this expedition in order to make his history
of the remarkable river complete, but now feeling the desirability of
a fuller record in the interest of Western United States history, he
tells, in _A Canyon Voyage_, the whole experience.


     New York      London

     _The_ Ohio River

     _A Course of Empire_

     By Archer Butler Hulbert

     Associate Professor of American History, Marietta College. Author
     of "Historic Highways of America," etc.

     _Large Octavo with 100 Full-Page Illustrations and a Map. Net,
     $3.50. By express, prepaid, $3.75_

An interesting description from a fresh point of view of the
international struggle which ended with the English conquest of the Ohio
Basin, and includes many interesting details of the pioneer movement on
the Ohio. The most widely read students of the Ohio Valley will find a
unique and unexpected interest in Mr. Hulbert's chapters dealing with
the Ohio River in the Revolution, the rise of the cities of Pittsburg,
Cincinnati, and Louisville, the fighting Virginians, the old-time
methods of navigation, etc. The work presents in a consecutive narrative
the most important historic incidents connected with the river, combined
with descriptions of some of its most picturesque scenery and delightful
excursions into its legendary lore.

     _Send for Illustrated Descriptive Circular_

     New York      London

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