Thompson Falls in Sanders County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
In November 1809, famed British North West Company agent and explorer David Thompson built a trading post about five miles east of here near the mouth of the Thompson River. Strategically located on a well-worn aboriginal trail, Saleesh House was the second trading post to be constructed in what is now Montana. In the early nineteenth century, the fur trade was literally a cut-throat business with competing companies vying to establish trade relations with the Indian tribes. In this case, the Nor’Westers successfully beat the rival Hudson's Bay Company by being the first to build a trading post in Salish territory. Saleesh House consisted of three simple log buildings with mud and grass roofs that leaked in rainy weather. The Salish were the post's primary customers, bartering beaver and muskrat pelts for weapons and other trade goods. The Salish trusted Thompson and called him Koo-Koo-Sint, Star Looker, because of his interest in astronomy. Saleesh House remained open until the 1820s after the North West and Hudson's Bay Companies merged. Blackfeet hostility forced the company to abandon the post. Saleesh House melted back into the forest and was lost to history until rediscovered several years ago by University of Montana archaeologists.
Location. 47° 35.469′ Touch for map. Marker is located in a pull-out on the north side of the highway. Marker is in this post office area: Thompson Falls MT 59873, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 1 other marker is within walking distance of this marker. David Thompson (within shouting distance of this marker).
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Also see . . .
1. Saleesh House (Salish House).
In 1809, racing to beat Hudson Bay and American fur trading interests, Thompson established Saleesh House near present day Thompson Falls, MT. Represented by the North West Company, the post encouraged trade among the Salish and Pend d’Oreille tribes. Saleesh House, located on the Clark's Fork River, was 60 miles upriver from Thompson’s successful venture on Lake Pend d’Oreille. The new post intersected buffalo trails frequented by “Flat Heads,” as Thompson called the local natives. The name, often attributed to the flattening of children’s heads, would eventually find its way into modern lexicon even though no evidence exists that this practice was ever used by interior Salish-speaking tribes. (Submitted on January 18, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Build Saleesh House despite setback.
Nov. 20, 1809 - Explorer and trader David Thompson amputates the injured finger of James McMillan at Saleesh House, near the future town of Thompson Falls in western Montana. McMillan, Thompson's clerk, accidentally shot himself last week, breaking fingers on both hands. It leaves only four healthy men to do the work at the trading post, but Thompson's party roofs the rooms and puts up one of the gable ends of Saleesh House during the cold, clear day. Employees of the North West Co. are building the first permanent structure in western Montana. (Submitted on January 18, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Native Americans • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on January 20, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 18, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 61 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 18, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.