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Near Frazer in Valley County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

In Memoriam

 
 
In Memoriam Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 15, 2019
1. In Memoriam Marker
Inscription.  In the summer of 1837 an American Fur Trading Company steamboat laden with trade goods made its way from St. Louis to Fort Union. Smallpox broke out among the crew, but the boat continued to its destination. Contact with the steamboat’s crew during the distribution of trade goods exposed the Wichiyabina or Little Girls’ Band of Assiniboine, starting a terrible epidemic which eventually affected all the tribes of what is now northeastern Montana. Many of the tribes had never been exposed to this virulent European disease and were extremely susceptible. The disease seemed to strike the young, vigorous and most able bodied family members with such swiftness that burial in many cases was impossible. Ninety four percent of the Wichiyabina or Little Girls’ Band of Assiniboine died. By the winter of 1838, when the disease had run its course, the Wichiyabina or Little Girls’ Band of Assiniboine were no more. The 80 remaining Band members banded with other smallpox survivors and formed the Redbottom Band (Hudesabina) of Assiniboines. Today the Assiniboine people still mourn the untimely passing of so many of their ancestors, innocent victims of this
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dreadful pestilence.
 
Erected by Montana Department of Transportation.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: DisastersNative Americans.
 
Location. 48° 3.57′ N, 106° 1.107′ W. Marker is near Frazer, Montana, in Valley County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 2 at milepost 573 and McConnell Road, on the left when traveling east on U.S. 2. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 57260 US Highway 2, Frazer MT 59225, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Also see . . .
1. Smallpox in the Blankets -- HistoryNet. Plains Indians kept track of the passing years by winter counts, pictures painted in spirals, often on the smooth inner hide of buffalo robes. Each tribe recorded its own version of what was important. But one event on virtually all Plains Indian winter counts was the “smallpox winter.” The smallpox epidemic of 1837–38 all but destroyed the Mandans and severely reduced the Arikaras and Hidatsas, who also lived in fortified villages along the Missouri River... (Submitted on November 26, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.) 

2. 1837 Great Plains smallpox epidemic -- Wikipedia. More than 17,000 Indigenous people died along the Missouri River alone, with some bands becoming nearly extinct. Having
In Memoriam Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 15, 2019
2. In Memoriam Marker
witnessed the effects of the epidemic on the Mandan tribe, fur trader Francis Chardon wrote, "the small-pox had never been known in the civilized world, as it had been among the poor Mandans and other Indians. Only twenty-seven Mandans were left to tell the tale."
(Submitted on November 26, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 26, 2019. It was originally submitted on November 26, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 550 times since then and 68 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 26, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.

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May. 27, 2024