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Cody in Park County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
 

The American Mountain Man

A Tribute

 
 
John Colter bust image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 13, 2015
1. John Colter bust
Inscription. This monument, erected by the Brotherhood of the American Mountain Men, is "dedicated to all Mountain Men known and unknown for their essential part in the opening of the American West." It consists of two busts and six plaques honoring four mountain men. The plaques are presented left to right.

In Tribute to
John Colter

First known white American explorer to enter this locale in the fall of 1807.
Probably crossing the river 1/4 mile east of this point (right), before discovering “Colter’s Hell” 1/2 mile to the west (left).
••• Born and raised in Virginia in 1770’s.
••• A valued member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to the Pacific Ocean, 1803-1806.
••• Among the first American “Free Trappers” in the Rocky Mountains, along with Joseph Dickson and Forrest Bancock, 1806-1807.
••• First to explore Big Horn Basin, Yellowstone Park, and Grand Teton regions, 1807-1808.
••• Immortalized by his legendary “Run For Life” escape, from the hostile Blackfeet Indians, 1808.
••• Quit the mountains in 1810, married and settled on a farm near St. Louis, Missouri. Died of disease in 1813, unheralded, but not forgotten. His final resting place has since been lost.
Erected by the John Colter Society,
John Colter plaque image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 13, 2015
2. John Colter plaque
1981.
A legacy for all who adventure.

John Colter
Born c. 1770 -- Died 1813

A hunter for Lewis and Clark (1803-1806) Colter remained in the mountains to trap and explore. During his great journey of discovery he found “Colter’s Hell” west of Cody, Wyoming. Captured by the Blackfeet in 1808, he was forced to run for his life. Outdistancing the entire tribe for seven miles he survived, naked and weaponless, to become a legend in his own lifetime. John Colter was the first true “Mountain Man.”

Jedediah Strong Smith
January 6, 1799 -- May 27, 1831

Born in Jerico, New York, the 6th of 14 children, Jed was destined to influence the Westward expansion of the United States as few men have done. Influenced by Lewis and Clark’s exploits he joined Ashley’s trapping expedition in 1822, soon becoming a partner and then owner in 1827. A natural leader, devout Christian and tireless explorer, Jed’s discovery popularized the South Pass crossing of the Rockies. He was the first man to travel overland to California and first to travel the coast from California to the Columbia. He survived near death from thirst and starvation, maulings of a grizzly and attacks by Arikara, Mojave and Kelewatset Indians. Killed by Comanches near Fargo Spring, Kansas, his body was never
Jedediah Strong Smith plaque image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 13, 2015
3. Jedediah Strong Smith plaque
found but his legacy live on as his trails of discovery became the highways for America’s westward migration.

George Drouillard
(c. 1775-1810)

Born to a French Canadian father and Shawnee mother, Drouillard joined the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1803 as chief interpreter and hunter. Lewis said of him, “I scarcely know how we should exist were it not for the exertions of this excellent hunter.” While thus employed, he was possibly the first white man to trap on the upper Missouri River. In 1807, he joined Manuel Lisa’s trading expedition. During two solitary winter treks on foot to notify various tribes of Lisa’s fort on the Yellowstone, Drouillard journeyed up the Stinking Water (Shoshone River) near this spot. His explorations of this and other major rivers to the east totalled (sic) 500 miles, and he produced an important map upon which William Clark and later cartographers relied heavily.
Trapping near the Three Forks with the Missouri Fur Company, he was killed by Blackfeet Indians in May 1810.

A Tribute To
James “Old Gabe” Bridger
1804 - 1881

Mountain man, hunter, trapper, fur trader, emigrant guide, and Army scout. Born in Richmond, Virginia in 1804 and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1812. Served as a blacksmith’s apprentice
George Drouillard plaque image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 13, 2015
4. George Drouillard plaque
from 1818 to 1822. Came west with the 1822 Ashley-Henry Expedition. Discovered the Great Salt Lake in 1824 and visited what is now Yellowstone Park in 1830. In 1833 he became a full partner in the fur trading firm of Sublette, Fraeb, Gervais, Bridger, and Fitzpatrick. Anticipating the influx of immigrants he established Ft. Bridger to resupply and repair wagon trains. Jim served as a guide and scout for the Army until 1868. After his discharge Old Gabe retired to his farm in Missouri. However, by 1874, his health began to fail and he was blind. Jim’s only regret was that he would never see his beloved Rocky Mountains before his death. On July 17, 1881, the Lord laid Old Gabes (sic) tired body to rest and set his spirit free to return at last to the mountains he loved.

In Tribute to
Jim Bridger

Regarded most famous of the Rocky Mountain trappers and explorers who blazed the American West’s early trails of continental destiny and who frequented these environs throughout the mid-1800’s.
West 20 mile upriver towers Jim Mountain named for Jim Baker, a well known Bridger protege.
East 30 miles downriver the “Bridger Trail” crosses the “Stinking Water” (Shoshone River). This trail was established across the Big Horn Basin around 1864 by Jim Bridger (then working primarily as an emigrant
James “Old Gabe” Bridger plaque image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 13, 2015
5. James “Old Gabe” Bridger plaque
and Army expedition guide). As a safer alternative route to the “Bozeman Trail” in traveling from the “Oregon-California Trail” to the Montana mines.br Jim Bridger epitomized the “Mountain Man” and his legacy endures, but only in context with many others. In all this breed never exceeded more than a few hundred. They came seeking adventure and fortune. Over half of them succumbed to the rigors of their profession -- hostile elements, animals, Indians, and starvation. Their names and remains are forever consigned -- unrecorded-to the dust of the mountains and plains where they “went under," often in violent fashion. This marker also stands in their memory.
 
Erected 1982 by Brotherhood of the American Mountain Men and John Colter Society.
 
Location. 44° 30.946′ N, 109° 6.327′ W. Marker is in Cody, Wyoming, in Park County. Marker can be reached from Demaris Drive near West Yellowstone Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1831 Demaris Drive, Cody WY 82414, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Stone Circles (within shouting distance of this marker); John Jeremiah "Liver Eating" Johnston (within shouting distance of this
Jim Bridger bust image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 13, 2015
6. Jim Bridger bust
marker); William Garlow Cody (within shouting distance of this marker); Jim White (within shouting distance of this marker); Phillip H. Vetter (within shouting distance of this marker); Sampson E. Stilwell (within shouting distance of this marker); W.A. Gallagher and Blind Bill (within shouting distance of this marker); Belle Drewry (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cody.
 
More about this marker. This monument is located at the western end of Old Trail Town.
 
Regarding The American Mountain Man. Records indicate that at one time plaques honoring Osborn Russell, Thomas Fitzpatrick and Hugh Glass were a part of the monument. They are missing.
 
Also see . . .  Mountain Man - Wikipedia. They arose in a natural geographic and economic expansion driven by the lucrative earnings available in the North American fur trade, in the wake of the various 1806–07 published accounts of the Lewis and Clark expeditions' (1803–1806)
The American Mountain Man Monument image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 13, 2015
7. The American Mountain Man Monument
findings about the Rockies and the (ownership-disputed) Oregon Country where they flourished economically for over three decades. By the time two new international treaties in early 1846 and early 1848 officially settled new western coastal territories on the United States and spurred a large upsurge in migration, the days of mountain men making a good living by fur trapping had largely ended.
(Submitted on November 27, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
 
Categories. ExplorationIndustry & Commerce
 
The American Mountain Man Monument image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 13, 2015
8. The American Mountain Man Monument
A Rocky Mountain Trapper image. Click for full size.
By Alfred Jacob Miller, circa 1837
9. A Rocky Mountain Trapper
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 27, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 242 times since then and 79 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on November 27, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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