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Tebbetts in Callaway County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Fur Trading in Missouri

 
 
Fur Trading in Missouri Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 11, 2017
1. Fur Trading in Missouri Marker
Inscription.  
Big Business on the Missouri River
The fur trade was a booming business in the wilderness west of St. Louis. Trapping primarily took place on the upper Missouri River in the Dakotas and Montana. Furs were then sent down the river to St. Louis and sold.

In 1809, William Clark and Manuel Lisa, a Spanish fur trader and explorer, helped create the Missouri Fur Co., one of the first fur trading companies in Missouri. Its headquarters were in St. Louis.

The Missouri Fur Co. was eventually absorbed by John Jacob Astor's American Fur Co., based in New York. Pierre Chouteau Jr. and Bernard Pratt operated the company's western division in St. Louis. They later bought out their portion of the business and established Pierre Chouteau Jr. and Co.

Yellowstone Paves the Way
The American Fur Co. pioneered the use of steamboats on the Missouri River. This revolutionized the fur trade, which had previously relied on small keelboats to transport furs.

The most famous fur trade steamboat was the Yellowstone. A boatyard in Kentucky designed and built the boat to handle the treacherous
Marker detail: <i>Fur Traders Descending the Missouri</i> image. Click for full size.
Photograph copyright 1992 The Metropolitan Museum of Art
2. Marker detail: Fur Traders Descending the Missouri
George Caleb Bingham was known as "the Missouri Artist" during his lifetime. Pictured here is his 1845 painting "Fur Traders Descending the Missouri."
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Morris K. Jesup Fund, 1933.
waters of the Missouri River. Her maiden voyage from St. Louis, Mo., began on April 16, 1831. On June 9 she arrived at Fort Tecumseh, S.D., 600 miles farther up the Missouri River than any previous steamboat had reached. She returned to St. Louis on July 15, loaded with furs. The success of the Yellowstone paved the way for the expansion of regular trade.

Call of the Wild
As the need for men on steamboats grew. St. Louis's Missouri Gazette and Public Advertiser, the first newspaper in Missouri, published the following listing on Feb.13, 1822:

"To enterprising young men. The subscriber wishes to engage ONE HUNDRED MEN to ascend the Missouri River to its source, there to be employed for one, two, or three years. For the particulars enquire of Major Andrew Henry, near the lead mines in the county of Washington, (who will ascend with, and command the party), or to the subscriber near St. Louis."

This exhibit is funded by donations to Katy Trail State Park and the parks, soils and water sales tax, which was approved by Missouri voters.

 
Erected 2016 by KATY Trail State Park.
 
Location. 38° 37.206′ N, 91° 57.633′ W. Marker is in Tebbetts, Missouri, in Callaway County. Marker
Marker detail: The <i>Yellowstone</i> image. Click for full size.
State Historical Society of Missouri, Columbia.
3. Marker detail: The Yellowstone
In 1832, the Yellowstone steamboat reached the river for which she was named.
is on Olive Street (County Route 485) south of County Route 4011, on the left when traveling north. Marker is located on Missouri's KATY Rail Trail, at milepost 131.3, just west of County Road 485. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Tebbetts MO 65080, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 2 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Missouri State Penitentiary Warden's House (approx. 11 miles away); James A. Houchin House (approx. 11 miles away).
 
More about this marker. Marker is a large composite plaque, mounted horizontally, on waist-high posts.
 
Also see . . .
1. 1808: Lewis and Clark help form Missouri Fur Company. Lewis, whom Jefferson had already appointed to the governorship of Louisiana Territory, was presumably a silent partner, and for good reason. The new company planned to mix public and private interests in potentially unethical ways. During their earlier voyage west, Lewis and Clark had convinced an Upper-Missouri River Mandan Indian named Big White to go east and meet President Jefferson. Lewis had promised Big White that the American government would later return him to his people. Now the St. Louis Missouri River Fur Company proposed to use public money to mount a private expedition to take Big White home in the spring of 1809. Once Big White was home safely, however, the expedition would continue on to begin fur trading on the Yellowstone River, where it would enjoy a monopoly guaranteed by Governor Lewis. (Submitted on August 6, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Marker detail: A fur trade shed still stands in Tebbetts near Katy Trail State Park image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 11, 2017
4. Marker detail: A fur trade shed still stands in Tebbetts near Katy Trail State Park
 

2. The Upper Missouri Fur Trade. Much of the routine work of the early trade was conducted by the engagees or voyageurs. They represented many different nationalities, half breeds, mulattoes, and negroes and came for the most part from St. Louis. The Canadians were in majority. The engagees were called "mangeurs de lard" or "pork eaters" because most of them were imported from Canada and in the course of their trip from that country lived largely on a diet of pork, hard bread and pea soup. Prior to the use of the steamboat, many of these "pork eaters" used to man the keelboats on their trips up the river. (Submitted on August 7, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. 1832: The steamboat Yellowstone heads for Montana. John Jacob Astor had formed the Western Department of his American Fur Company to begin exploiting the fur trade in the western reaches of the continent. The company hired a Louisville shipyard to build a boat specially designed for the treacherous currents of the Missouri. Christened The Yellowstone, it was a sturdy craft with a large cargo deck to carry furs and trade goods. It had a high wheelhouse from which the pilot could see to avoid the many snags and shoals of the Missouri. Departing from St. Louis in 1832, The Yellowstone reached Fort Union in June, where the craft attracted the marveling admiration of Anglo traders and Indians alike. Thereafter, The Yellowstone
Fur Trading in Missouri Marker (<i>wide view from KATY trail; fur trade shed in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 11, 2017
5. Fur Trading in Missouri Marker (wide view from KATY trail; fur trade shed in background)
and a fleet of similarly designed steamboats regularly traveled to Fort Union-when the water level was not too low or the rivers frozen. (Submitted on August 7, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. ExplorationIndustry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
Fur Trading in Missouri Marker (<i>wide view from KATY Trail entrance off County Road 485</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 11, 2017
6. Fur Trading in Missouri Marker (wide view from KATY Trail entrance off County Road 485)
 

More. Search the internet for Fur Trading in Missouri.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 8, 2018. This page originally submitted on August 6, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 50 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 6, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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