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Journal of a Trapper by Osborne Russell

Journal of a Trapper by Osborne Russell

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Published by: masterviking on Jul 30, 2011
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Journal of a Trapper
Nine Years Residence among theRocky Mountains Between the years of 1834and 1843 Comprising A general description ofthe Country, Climate, Rivers, Lakes,
Mountains, etc The nature and habits of
Animals, Manners and Customs of Indiansand a Complete view of the life led by a
Hunter in those regions
ByOsborne Russell
(Please note that no attempt has been made to correctmisspellings or grammar - this work is presented as it was madeavailable through our public domain source.)
Reader, if you are in search of the travels of a Classical andScientific tourist, please to lay this Volume down, and pass on, forthis simply informs you what a Trapper has seen and
But if you wish to peruse a Hunter's rambles amongthe wild regions of the Rocky Mountains, please to read this, andforgive the authors foibles and imperfections, considering as you
pass along that he has been chiefly educated in Nature's School
under that rigid tutor experience, and you will also bear in mind
the author does not hold himself responsible for the correctness
of statements made otherwise than from observation.
During the years 1834 to 1843
At the town of Independence Missouri on the 4th of April 1834 I
 joined an expedition fitted out for the Rocky Mountains and Mouthof the Columbia River, by a Company formed in Boston under thename and style of the Columbia River Fishing and trading
The same firm has fitted out a Brig of two hundred
, freighted with the
assortment of
merchandise for the Salmon and Fur Trade, with orders to sail to
the mouth of the Columbia River, whilst the land party, under the
direction of Mr. Nathaniel J.
Wyeth, should proceed across the
Rocky Mountains and unite with the Brig's Company inestablishing a Post on the Columbia near the Pacific. Our partyconsisted of forty men engaged in the service accompanied by
Nutall and Townsend, Botanists and Ornithologists with two
attendants; likewise Rev's Jason and Daniel Lee Methodist
Missionaries with four attendants on their way to establish aMission in Oregon: which
our numbers (including six
independent uppers) to fifty Eight men. From the 23 to the 27th
of April we were engaged in arranging our packs and moving to a
place about 4 Miles from Independence.
On the morning of the28th we were all equipped and mounted hunter like: about forty
men leading two loaded horses each were marched out in doublefile with joyous hearts enlivened by anticipated prospects: led byMr.
a persevering adventurer and lover of Enterprise whilst
the remainder of the party with twenty head of extra horses and
as many cattle to supply emergencies
up the rear under the
direction of Capt. Joseph Thing an eminent navigator and fearlessson of Neptune who had been employed by the Company inBoston to accompany the party and measure the route across the
Rocky Mountains by Astronomical observation.
travelled slowly thru the beautiful verdant and widely ex-
tended prairie
untill about 2
clk P. M. and encamped at a small
grove of timber near a spring. 29th We took up our march and
travelled across a large and beautifully undulating prairie
intersected by small streams skirted with timber intermingledwith shrubbery untill the 3rd of May when we arrived at the Caw
Kanzas River near the residence of the U S agent for those
The Caw or
Kanzas Indians are the
most filthy indolent and
sett of human beings I ever saw. They live in small ovalhuts 4 or 5 feet high formed of willow branches and covered with
Deer Elk or
Buffaloe skins. On the 4th of May we crossed the
River and on the 5th resumed our march into the interior,travelling over beautiful rolling prairies and
Encamping on small
streams at night untill the 10th when we arrived at the River
We followed up this River to the forks, then forded the South fork
up the north
the 1st day of June when we
arrived at
fork of Platte; where is the first perceptible
commencement of the Rocky Mountains we crossed this fork and
travelled up the main River
night and encamped.
The next
day we left the River and
across the Black hills nearlyparalellwith the general course of the Platte
the 9th of Junewhen we came to the River again and crossed it at a place called
the Red
(high mountains of Red Rock from which the Riverissues). The next day we left the River on our left hand and

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