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Fort Hall on the Oregon trail Grant, Louis Seymour 1938

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&L FL F O R T H A L L  0 IT T H E O R E G O N T R A I L ,• "by Louis Seymour Grant A Thesis submitted i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for the degree of MASTER OF ARTS . i n the Department of HISTORY The University of B r i t i s h Columbia October, 1958. ACKNOWLEDGME NT The author i s deeply grateful to the Secretary and Archives Department of the Hudson's Bay Company of London, England, who forwarded much valuable material hitherto hidden away i n the treasure house of the Company's archives. Their kind co-operation was indicated by a l e t t e r giving permission to use a l l the material from t h e i r archives which i s herein con-tained. Sincere appreciation i s also extended to Dr. R.L.Reid, K.C., LL.D., and Dr. Eaye Lamb, Ph.D., pro-v i n c i a l a r c h i v i s t , who made available certain volumes v/hich could not other-wise be obtained. L.S.G. FORT HALL ON THE OREGON TRAIL -Outline-Chapter I. AMERICAN PUR TRADE 1. a. L i s a and the Missouri Pur Company ID.. The Rocky Mountain Pur Company c. Astor's venture d. A r r i v a l of Hudson's Bay Company on the P a c i f i c Coast e. Men and methods f . Causes of decline Chapter II* NATHANIEL J . WYETH ....12. a. E a r l y career b. H a l l J. K e l l e y c. F i r s t expedition d. A r r i v a l at Fort Vancouver e. Agreement with Sublette f . Return to Cambridge Chapter III.COLUMBIA RIVER FISHING AND TRADING COMPANY.22. a. Organization b. Westward journey c. Failure of contract d. Construction of Fort H a l l e. A r r i v a l at Columbia River f. Collapse of trade g. Sale to the Hudson's Bay Company Chapter IV. LIFE IN FORT HALL .37. a. The bu i l d i n g b. Food and supplies c. Indian r e l a t i o n s d. Trade Chapter V. REASONS FOR WYETH'S FAILURE ....43. a. Hudson's Bay Company competition b. natural handicaps Chapter VI. LIFE IN FORT HALL UNDER THE HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY 50. a. Improved communication b. Organized trading c. Indian r e l a t i o n s * d. V i s i t o r s i . Chapter VII, OREGON IMMIGRATION .59 a. Factors i n movement b. The "Whitman legend" c. Relations between the company and the immigrants Chapter VIII.LATER DAYS OF FORT HALL 76 a. Indian.wars b. Abandonment by the Company c. M i l i t a r y p o s i t i o n d. The companyTs claim e. The s i t e today Chapter IX. CONCLUSION 83 a. Position on the Oregon T r a i l b. Lnportance i n Anglo-American re l a t i o n s APPENDICES .87 BIBLIOGRAPHY .93 i i . 1 Chapter I. THE AFRICAN FUR <TRADE In the period preceding the f i n a l settlement of the ownership of the Oregon Te r r i t o r y , the "Star Spangled Banner" made i t s appearance very seldom u n t i l the wave of immigration of the early 1840*3 immediately "before the f i n a l d i s position of the region in 1846. The f i r s t recorded v i s i t of an American to the northwest coast was that of Captain Gray when he entered the Columbia River in the year 1792, and named i t after h i s vessel. Other mariners followed, attracted by the r i c h p o s s i b i l i t i e s of the fur trade with China. By land, too, i t was the lure of the Surry wealth of the seashore, the wooded streams, and the s i l e n t forests that attracted the energetic and daring American traders. With the exception of the government-inspired (1) expedition of Lewis and Clark i n 1804, a l l the "Boston men" who v i s i t e d the area, u n t i l the missionaries came in the 1830*3, came to garner i t s furry wealth. Incidentally, the Lewis and Clark party comprised the f i r s t white men to v i s i t the present state of Idaho. One reason f o r the apathy of American traders was the regulation which, for many years, r e s t r i c t e d fur trade 1 - The name applied to early American traders on the P a c i f i c coast by the Indians of that region. It was a f a m i l i a r terra in the Chinook jargon as was "King George man" re-fer r i n g to Englishmen. 2 v/ith the Indians to government controlled posts. Such r e s t r i c t i o n s were gradually withdrawn so that after the Lewis and Clark expedition, many traders planned to ascend the Missouri River and establish a trade in the area adjacent to i t s headwaters. Among the f i r s t of these trading expeditions (2) was that of Manuel L i s a , a Spaniard, who carried on an active fur trade from h i s headquarters in St. Louis. In 1807, this trader, an excellent leader, organized a party to proceed up the Missouri River to esta b l i s h trade with the Indians in the untouched area. He ascended the r i v e r as far as the Yellow-stone, then travelled up that stream to i t s junction with the Bighorn. At thi s point, he b u i l t a post which has come to be known as Port L i s a or Port Manuel. Though the trade was excellent, the choice of t h i s s i t e was unfortunate, for i t brought L i s a into trade with the Crow Indians who were b i t t e r enemies of the Blackfeet. This inaugurated an enmity which was to endure for many years ana cause a heavy t o l l of l i v e s among the white traders. On Lisa's return to St. Louis, he had l i t t l e d i f f i c u l t y in organizing a company to elaborate trade in the new f i e l d ; t h i s firm came into being during the winter of 1808-09. It was f i r s t called the St. Louis Missouri Pur Company, and l a t e r the Missouri Pur Company. Its traders penetrated as far as the "three forks" of the Missouri River 2 - Manuel Lisa was born of Spanish parents in Hew Orleans, in 1772. Details of his.early l i f e are obscure but i t is probable he came to St. Louis about 1790. By 1800 he had a monopoly of trade with the Osage Indians, granted to him by the Spanish government. The f i r s t d e f i n i t e i n -formation of h i s l i f e appears with h i s ascension of the Missouri in 1807. near tyie present c i t y of Butte, Montana, where tkey b u i l t a post. This firm, reorganized frequently during the next decade, was prominent i n the trade west ©f St. Louis u n t i l 1822, f i r s t under Lisa's leadership u n t i l his death i n 1820, and then under Joshua P i l c h e r , his successor. It was during the l a t t e r f s regime that the company was dealt a t e l l i n g blew by the Blackfeet i n an attack whieh k i l l e d seven traders and caused the less ef some $15,000 i n p e l t s . This same leader was i n charge, however, when Fort Benton was b u i l t at the mouth of the Bighorn Hirer i n 1821. The f a i l u r e ©f t h i s company was caused l a r g e l y by the f a c t that there were toe many partners, a l l of whom had to secure a share i n the p r o f i t s . A further defect was i t s f a i l u r e t© secure the co-operation of a new and powerful figure'of the American fur trade, John Jacob Astor. In 1822, the Missouri Fur Company was succeeded by the Rocky Mountain Fur Company under the leadership of William Ashley and Andrew Henry* The former was the business partner i n St. Louis, while Henry c a r r i e d on the work i n the f i e l d . The f i r s t expedition of this company was l e d by Jedediah Smith and Jim Bridger, two of the best known "mountain men". This party b u i l t a f o r t at the junction of the Missouri and Yellowstone r i v e r s and traded extensively i n the upper Missouri v a l l e y and southern Idaho. In 1826, Ashley sold out his interests to Smith, Sublette, and Jackson, who turned the company ©rer to F i t a g e r a l d and Bridger four years l a t e r . The Rocky Mountain Fur Company remained in existence unti^l.834 when, by mutual agreement, the partner-ship was dissolved. In the 12 years following i t s succession of the Missouri Fur Company, the hardy traders in the f i e l d for t h i s firm succeeded in opening one of the wealthiest fur sections of the West. They made notable contributions to the geographical knowledge of the mysterious western regions, among the i r discoveries being Great Salt Lake, South Pass, and the country around the sources of the Pl a t t e , Green, Yellowstone, and Snake Rivers. "They were indefatigable explorers and considering the fact that most of • them made no records of what they did, the impress which they have l e f t upon the geography of the west i s surprisingly great." (3) The most powerful figure in the American U) fur trade, however, at t h i s time v/as John Jacob Astor, a German immigrant, who, through fortunate ventures, v/as a major 3 - Chittenden, H.M.:"The American Fur Trade of the Par West" Harper. New York. 1902. I.. 307. 4 - John Jacob Astor, founder of the great Astor fortune, was born the son of a butcher in Waldorf, Germany in 1763. At the age of'18 he went to London and, two years later,emigrated to America. Soon after h i s a r r i v a l he secured a position as assistant in a fur store in New York, at two dollars a week and board. By 1786,he launched into the fur business for himself and within tenyears, had established a considerable trade. By 1800, h i s wealth was estimated at approximately a quarter of a m i l l i o n d o l l a r s . At h i s death inu.848, he l e f t an estate of $20,000,000.. 5 factor in f i n a n c i a l c i r c l e s of the United States'by 1800. In 1808, he conferred with o f f i c e r s of the Northwest Company in Montreal in an unsuccessful attempt^o secure t h e i r p a r t i c i p a t i o n in a fur-trading venture in Oregon. Though he f a i l e d to obtain d e f i n i t e support from the Canadian company, many of i t s shrewd members risked t h e i r private wealth in A s t o r 1 s ambitious project. Astor organized the American Fur Company in 1808, as a general trading organization. He had envisioned the establishment of a chain of posts on the Columbia. River from i t s mouth to i t s headwaters; these posts would, in turn, be linked with other trading posts on the Missouri River and thus a direct l i n e of overland communication would be provided from the mouth of the Columbia to New York City via St. Louis and the Great Lakes. This commercial genius planned carrying furs by ship to China and there securing Oriental goods fo r the American market; he also secured the permission of the Russian government to trade with t h e i r posts in Alaska. Astor's own government at Washing-ton gave f u l l e s t approval to h i s plans. With such hearty co-operation from o f f i c i a l sources, Astor founded the P a c i f i c Pur Company in 1810. In the same year two expeditions sponsored by th i s company set out from New York for the mouth of the Columbia, where i t was planned to build the f i r s t post. One of these parties sailed from. New York in September in the "Tonquin", to proceed via Cape Horn. The other, under the leadership of Wilson Price Hunt, went overland. The "Tonquin" arrived off 6 the mouth of the Columbia in March of the following year. Within two months, a trading establishment named Astoria, had been b u i l t on the south shore of the river.. After unloading supplies, the "Tonquin" sailed northward to trade with the Indians along the coast. It was her last voyage. At Nootka Sound the ship was completely destroyed by an explosion after a clash with the Indians. In July, 1811, the Astorians v/ere surprised to see a large canoe, bearing the B r i t i s h f l a g at i t s prow, proceeding down the Columbia. It was a party of Northwest Company men, under the leadership of David Thompson, who had descended the r i v e r from, i t s mouth. Meanwhile Hunt and h i s men were slowly making t h e i r way westward by land. This leader had gone from New York to Montreal to confer with Northwest Company o f f i c i a l s ; thence he had travelled v i a the Great Lakes and the M i s s i s s i p p i River to St. Louis. Having gathered h i s forces at t h i s l a t t e r point, Hunt proceeded to St. Joseph, Missouri, where the party wintered. In the spring and summer of 1811, they travelled via the usual Missouri River route to Fort Henry on the Snake River, reaching that point in September. Here Hunt made an unfortunate error of judgment when he abandoned hi s horses and embarked h i s party in canoes for the rest of the journey to the mouth of the Columbia. The worst hardships of the voyage began when rapids on the Snake compelled them to leave t h e i r boats and proceed on foot. Presently the party s p l i t into three groups, each one to find i t s own route. After untold hardships, the leader's band f i n a l l y arrived at the mouth of 7 the Golumhia on February 15, 1812. In October, 1813, As t o r i a was sold to the Northwest Company, c h i e f l y because of the d i f f i c u l t y of the P a c i f i c Pur Company keeping i t s l i n e s of communication open on sea and land during the War of 1812. Thus ended the f i r s t attempt of American traders to establish a large scale trading operation on the P a c i f i c Coast. After purchase of Astoria by the Northwest Company, i t was renamed Fort George. As such i t remained the western headquarters of the Canadian firm, even after the merger with the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821. In 1825, however, a new base was established at Fort Vancouver, and i t superseded the post at the mouth of the r i v e r . Prom 1824 u n t i l h i s re-tirement in 1845, a l l of the trade which centred at t h i s head-quarters was under the d i r e c t i o n of Dr. John McLoughlin, chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company. In the i n t e r i o r , a few f o r t s had been b u i l t in the upper Columbia basin, including Fort Walla Walla and Spokane House. In the mountainous area of the headwaters of the Snake and other t r i b u t a r i e s of the Columbia, where tribes of h o s t i l e Blackfeet constantly roamed, the policy of the Hudson's Bay Company was to send out trapping expeditions of white men, half-breeds, or f r i e n d l y Indians. These nomadic groups had no permanent base in'the region. Frequently these trapping parties of the B r i t i s h company met American traders and trappers who came west from the Missouri River as far as the Rockies. 8 It i s necessary at t h i s point, to turn to a b r i e f examination of the men and the methods of the American fur trade in the west during t h i s period. Unlike the system in Canada, which placed .control in the hands of two mighty companies, which eventually merged, the American trade was carried on by individual traders and by various firms which were characterized by frequent reorgani zat ion s. The individual traders were called "mountain men", who lived l i v e s t y p i c a l l y nomadic and rough. They were hardy pioneer s p i r i t s who were worthy successors of Daniel Boone of an e a r l i e r period. Their homes were temporary camps pitched wherever trapping or trading might lead them. Sometimes they chose mates among the i r red-skinned customers, for no white woman could endure the hardships of such a l i f e . Frequently, as age made t h e i r nomadic l i f e impossible, they ret i r e d to Taos or Santa Fe and . married pretty Mexican senoritas who could a s s i s t them in establishing a home for t h e i r declining years. On the march, however, their essential equipment consisted merely of a r i f l e , a p i s t o l , a long-bladed knife, h a l f a dozen traps, a buffalo robe to l i e upon, and a blanket to cover their weary bodies at night. The companies had various systems of organization, but usually there were several classes of employees* the leaders in the posts and at St. Louis were known as "bourgeois", these hired the men and supervised the t a r i f f s and the ordering. The leaders i n the f i e l d were usually c a l l e d "partisans". The second i n command at the posts had the t i t l e of "cleric". Among those who worked from the bases there were two classes of white trappers, one class being regularly employed by the company at an annual salary, usually about $400, the others, being free trappers, earned whatever they could from the sale.of t h e i r catch. Other classes of workers were the "camp-keepers", who had a l l the camp duties to tend, the royageurs, artisans, such as blacksmiths and carpenters at the posts, and u n s k i l l e d labourers. Incidentally, p r a c t i c a l l y a l l of these employees at the posts were almost permanently i n debt to t h e i r employers because of purchases at the commissaries* The success of the American f u r trading companies was retarded by many handicaps. One of these was the fac t that the Blackfeet c o n t r o l l e d , f o r many years, two of the best known passes through the Rockies. Again, on the western slopes of the mountains, the experienced traders of the Hudson's Bay Company thwarted any attempt at opposition. Another very serious handicap was that of c r e d i t . "The fur-trade was also characterized by the large amount of c r e d i t that was involved i n most transactions and by the considerable amount of hazard which produced either large gains ©r large losses* A period of approximately four years elapsed from the time that the manufactured goods were shipped from Europe u n t i l the furs were returned and sold and almost every operation occurring i n the i n t e r i o r was based on c r e d i t . . . . 10 Tne sale ©f the manufactured goods, the transactions of tne middlemen, the trading with the trappers, and Indians* the transportation, manufacture, ana sale of the furs were a l l normally credit operations* This emphasis on c r e d i t , added to the d i f f i c u l t i e s and dangers, inherent i n the business, produced a highly speculative industry. An annual p r o f i t of 50% was not unusual and frequently the figure was much higher. On the other hand, the operations of any s i n g l e year might r e s u l t i n a t o t a l l o s s , often including the s a c r i f i c e of many human l i v e s . " (5) Then, toe, with the extensive hunting tnat was carried on, the source of the companies* revenues declined r a p i d l y : "The fur-trade reached the peak of i t s importsn ce i n the United States during the '30's. In the next decade i t declined i n r e l a t i v e importance. The cream of the fur supply had been skimmed, and advancing settlement was driving the trapper to newer and more v i r g i n f i e l d s . " (6) Even tne Hudson's l a y Company noticed tne decline i n the heavily exploited mountain area by the early 1830*s. John Work, one of t h e i r traders, reported i n 1831: "My l a s t campaign i n the Snake country was not as successful as X had anticipated: the returns and p r o f i t s were pretty f a i r considering tne exhausted state of the country." (7) The decline i n successful hunting and trapping 5 - Riegel, R.E. "America Moves West." Holt.' Hew York. 1930. 185. (no authority c i t e d ) . Typical p r o f i t s are indicated • byr-the following excerpt: "Ashley sol d out to Smith, Sublette & Jackson for about $30000 and l e f t the business, a f t e r paying up h i s old debts, worth about $50000"* Wyeth te H a l l , Tucker, and Williams. Cambridge. Nov. 8. 1833. Sources ef History of Oregon. Ed. by J'.i*. Young. Oregon H i s t o r i c a l Society. Eugene, Ore* 1899. 6 - Riegel. 189* 7 - Xewis, W.S. and P h i l l i p s , P*C: "Journal of John Work"• Clark* Cleveland* 1923* 177. was' followed by a f a l l i n g off in the demand f o r beaver fur. This decline was caused largely by the adoption of the s i l k hat to replace the t r a d i t i o n a l beaver hat. "Prior to 1832, as already noted, a l l the fin e s t hats were made of beaver. In that year the s i l k hat was invented, and slowly yet surely caught and held the fancy of smart dressers on both sides of the sea. As a result the price of beaver f e l l s teadily from year to year; in 1838 the skin that in an e a r l i e r time had sold for $6 commanded only a fr a c t i o n of that sum.......'1 (8) With t h i s b r i e f survey of the early American fur trade in the west, we turn now to the establishment whose short, but intensely interesting history forms the theme of this thesis. 8 - Wilson, R.R.j "Out of the West". Press of the Pioneers. Hew York, 19 33. 25. 12 Chapter II» WYETH'S fflKST JiLXJliUITIOM Having surveyed the story of events i n t h e i r centre, the P a c i f i c Sorthwest, i t i s necessary now to turn to the eastern United States, where other events ef importance were taking place* In 1318, an agreement for j o i n t occupation ©f the disputed t e r r i t o r y f o r ten years was signed hy Great B r i t a i n and the United States. This convention was renewed i n 1826, hut the expansionist movement was already making i t s influence f e l t i n Washington* Visionary p o l i t i c i a n s were regaling t h e i r eonstituents/w i t h the p o s s i b i l i t y of extending the f r o n t i e r to the P a c i f i c . Thus the nucleus of what was l a t e r to become the "On to Oregon" movement sprang up. One of the most energetic propagandists f o r American sovereignty over the northwest was a Boston school-master and Harvard graduate, named H a l l J . K e l l e y . A progressive educationist, founder of United States' f i r s t Sunday school movement, he r e t i r e d from h i s chosen profession to promote the cause of Oregon settlement. Speeches and newspaper a r t i c l e s showing the p o t e n t i a l i t i e s of Oregon poured endlessly from his pen. Among tnose who became intrigued by E e l l e y ' s energetic propaganda was a young man of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who was engaged i n the ice business. His 15 name was hatnaniel Jarvis w^etn. Born i n January £9, 1802, ne had entered the ice business of Fred Tudor i n his native town, married i n 1824, and, since ne was successful, apparently was w e l l situated f o r l i f e . However, he was interested i n the f a r west and read a l l tne available l i t e r a t u r e on the subject. "A man of great energy, sound judgment, and unquestioned i n t e g r i t y , a good organiser, i e a r l e s s of obstacles, singularly^ree from visionary projects, and, on the whole, one ox tne ablest men whom the fur trade brought to public notice." (1) he expressed his own adventurous feelings thus: "I cannot divest myself of the opinion that I s h a l l compete better with my fellow men i n new and untriea paths than i n those to* pursue which requires only patience and attention." (2) In 1829, Wyeth approached H a l l Kelley, probably with the intention of j o i n i n g a party to go west, It occasions l i t t l e surprise then that the meeting of t h i s adventurous s p i r i t with the energetic apostle of the west resulted i n the young iceman's determination to v i s i t Oregon. His cousin, J . i i . Wyeth, wrote with obvious t r u t h : 1 - Chittenden, H.M.: "American Fur Trade of the Far West", Harper, Hew York. 1902. 1. 436. 2 - ir.jr. Wyeth to Leonard J a r v i s , Cambridge, February 6, 1832. "Sources of the History of Oregon". Edited by F.G. Young, Oregon H i s t o r i c a l Society. Eugene, Ore. 1899. "Mr. H.J. K e l l e y f s writings operated l i k e a match applied to the combustible matter accumulated i n the mind of the energetic Hathaniel J . Wyeth, which r e f l e c t e d and m u l t i p l i e d the f l a t t e r i n g glass held up by the ingenious and well-disposed schoolmaster." (3) There i s no doubt that Wyeth did receive from H a l l J . Kelley the impulse that sent him to Oregon. Therefore whatever doubts may be cast on the other work of K e l l e y , t h i s achievement c e r t a i n l y stands to h i s c r e d i t . The Boston schoolmaster proceeded to organize the Oregon Colonization Society i n 1830 and 1831, and Wyeth determined to j o i n them: "If the Colenia.l Soeiety (Kelley*s) go through with t h e i r project;, I s h a l l go out i n t h e i r service, i f not I s n a i l get up a Joint Stock Trading Concern ( i f I can) and go on with a s i m i l a r plan but on a smaller scale." (4) Impatient at the repeated delays which prevented the Society's expedition from getting under wayaand als© disgusted at Kelley*s scheme of taking women and children along, Wyeth organized his own trading company. With his knowledge of the Oregon diplomatic r i d d l e , Wyeth expected that the region would become American when the j o i n t occupancy agreement came up f o r renewal i n 1838. He had l i t t l e trouble, therefore, i n i n t e r e s t i n g Cambridge finan c i e r s i n r a i s i n g money to organize a company 3 - Overmeyer, l o c . c i t . 28. 4 - "Sources of Oregon History", XVII. Nathaniel Wyeth to Leonard f ^ e t h ^ . Bpv. 14. 1831. 6. ^ r ^ . f o r trading f o r furs i n the Columbia basin. The company-was sponsored by the f i r m of Henry H a l l and Tucker and Williams; the agreement was to l a s t for f i v e years; and the p r o f i t s were to be divided i n such a manner that: " i f the number concerned i s f i f t y and the whole net p r o f i t s were divided into that number of parts, I should fet 8, the surgeon 2, and the remaining orty parts would be divided among the remaining 48." (5) The company was to ship trading goods westward v i a St. Louis and to return the furs to Boston by boat around Cape Horn. The costs of the vessels were to be borne by the sale of smoked salmon, treated at a base on the Columbia River. The f i r s t a c t i v i t y of the company was to charter and load a small vessel, the "Sultana", to s a i l to the mouth of the Columbia v i a Cape Horn, i n order to have supplies ready f o r the l a n d party. Mext, Wyeth gathered a party of 20 men at Boston who were provided with crude uniforms and encamped on an i s l a n d i n Boston harbour f o r ten days as a t r a i n i n g period. On March 12, 1832, Wyeth and his party s a i l e d from Boston for Baltimore and the expedition was under way. From Baltimore the party proceeded to St. Louis, at which point t h e i r number grew to 24 men. At St. Louis, they boarded the steamer "Otter" for passage up the Missouri to Independence. 5 - c i t . Chittenden, 437. At t h i s point, Wyeth abandoned his amphibious combination boats and wagons, which the Harvard wags had dubbed "Natwyethiums"• The leader's discussions with experienced western t r a v e l l e r s had convinced him of the i m p r a c t i b i l i t y of u s i n g h i s weird contrivances designed as boats with wheels attached. Wyeth spent two weeks at Independence where he combined forces with William Sublette, an experienced trader, who was proceeding to the Rocky Mountains. The combined party l e f t Independence on May 12 and reached Pierre's Hole i n the Grand Teton region on July 8. This was the point selected for the traders' (6) rendezvous for that year. Pierre's Hole was located on the Pierre River which flowed northwest into Henry Pork of the Snake River. The v a l l e y l ay along the northerly course of the r i v e r for about 25 miles, while i t s width varied from f i v e to f i f t e e n miles. Rising on the east side was the mighty Teton range, while the Snake River mountains, much lower, rose on the west. " S t i r r i n g memories also attach to Pierre's Hole, where, when the beaver trade had not yet f a l l e n on e v i l days, hundreds of trappers and traders and whole t r i b e s of mountain Indians frequently assembled to barter t h e i r wares............ 6 - "The rendezvous was a s p e c i f i e d gathering place for trading and had i t s p r i n c i p a l advantage i n obviating the necessity for a permanent post with a large personnel." -Riegel, R.E. "America Moves West" -_ . . Holt.New York C i t y . 1930. 188. ....Pierre's Hole i n l a s t days of a rendezvous was no place f o r a man who loved peace and honest ways." (7) Here the men of Cambridge saw the fur-trade at i t s best, or rather, at i t s worst. Indians, halfbreeds, and rough white traders met at the rendezvous annually to trade f u r s , to buy supplies, and to celebrate -usually with overdoses of rum - t h e i r reunion and success. This was the furthest west that W.G. Sublette was going and Wyeth joined the party of his brother, Milton Sublette. On July 17, i n company with t h i s experienced mountain trapper and his party, Wyeth l e d his party westward from Pierre's Hole. On the following day, however, they were attacked by a h o s t i l e t r i b e of Gros Ventres and a f i e r c e battle ensued. The white traders were joined by f r i e n d l y Hez Perces Indians and a number of fellow-whites from Pierre's Hole, who came to t h e i r assistance. Judging from contemporary reports the b a t t l e was a f i e r c e one: 20 of the h o s t i l e Indians were k i l l e d , while three of the whites and ten of the f r i e n d l y redskins met a s i m i l a r f a t e . This a f f a i r delayed the traders for several days, but by July 24, the party reached the Snake River. This r i v e r was the westerly l i m i t of Milton Sublette's expedition, and here the two groups parted company. Wyeth and h i s ten men - desertions having cut into his company -7 - Wilson,R.R.: "Out of The West". \ . . ... Press of Pioneers. Hew York. 1933. 6 & 7. went on alone down the Portneuf River and thence to the Snake, which they reached near what i s now c a l l e d "American F a l l s " . They followed t h i s stream to the Columbia and thence to Fort Vancouver, which they reached on October 29, 1832, i n a destitute condition. In the l i g h t of l a t e r events, i t i s well to note t h e i r reception by the chief f a c t o r , Dr. John McLoughlin. John B a l l , one of the party, wrote: "October 29 - We arri v e d at Fort Vancouver We were hospitably received." (8) Their treatment by the "White Eagle" was such that a l i f e l o n g friendship sprang up between him and the leader of the tiny expedition. The mutual nature of t h i s c o r d i a l i t y i s evidenced by both leaders: "Wyeth, open, manly, frank, and f a i r - perfect gentleman and honest man - supported morality and encouraged industry." (9) On his part, the Yankee trader gave evidence of his friendship some 1.8 years l a t e r when he wrote: "Should you wish such service as I can render i n thi s part of United States, I s h a l l be pleased to give them i n return for the many good things you did years since, and i f my testimony as regards your e f f i c i e n t and f r i e n d l y actions toward 8 - B a l l , John. '-'Reminiscences". Oregon H i s t o r i c a l Quarterly, I I I . 98 9 - Holman, F.V.: "Dr. John McL.ough.lin" .• .. Clark. Cleveland, 0. 1907.48. me and the other e a r l i e s t Americans, who s e t t l e d i n Oregon w i l l be of use i n placing you before the Oregon people i n the d i g n i f i e d p o s i t i o n of a benefactor, i t w i l l be chee r f u l l y rendered." (10) Further evidence of t h i s f r i e n d l y s p i r i t was shown by McLoughlin's. request of John B a l l that he organize the f i r s t school at Fort Vancouver. On his a r r i v a l at Fort Vancouver, Wyeth learned that his company had suffered a mortal blow i i n the sinking of the "Sultana", which had broken up on a reef i n the Society Islands. Disappointed andidis couraged, yet confident of" the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of the trade, Wyeth wintered at Fort Vancouver. E a r l y i n Feb-ruary 1833, he started h i s i r e t u r n journey to Cambridge, while the men who had accompanied him the previous year remained at the f o r t . These people l a t e r took up land and became the f i r s t American s e t t l e r s i n the region. Wyeth himself accompanied Frances Ermatinger's party of Hudson's Bay Company men as f a r as the Snake River country. Of his departure, he l a t e r wrote: "I parted with feelings of sorrow from the gentlemen of Fort Vancouver, the i r unremitted kindness to me while there much endeared them to me; more so than i t would seem possible during so short time. Dr. McLoughlin, the Governor (11) of the place, is a man distinguished as much f o r his kind-ness and humanity as his good sense and inflormation and to whom I am so 10 - Wyeth to McLoughlin, 1850 (circum). c i t . O.H.Q,. I, 108 11 - McLoughlin was, of course, chief factor at Fort Vancouver. 20 much indebted as that he w i l l never he forgotten hy me." (12) With only two Indian youths, Wyeth crossed the Rockies and made his way through regions dotted with h o s t i l e t r i b e s . Owing to the depredations of the A r i c a r a Indians on the p l a i n s , he determined to return by a more northerly route than that which he had followed on his westward journey. Accordingly, he had reached the Big Horn River by August 12, where he met his former companion, Milton G f Sublette, three half-breeds, and a Nez Perce' Indian. Securing buffalo hides from a hunt among a nearby herd, the party constructed a (13) bull-boat or r a f t on which they f l o a t e d down to the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers. While preparing f o r t h i s voyage, Sublette and Wyeth made an agreement by which the l a t t e r was to supply the Rocky Mountain Pur Company (of which Sublette was a partner) with trad-ing goods. Under the terms of t h i s contract, Wyeth was to have $3000 wofcth of goods at the rendezvous on July 1, 1834. He was to be paid $3521 above the 12 - Overmeyer, l o c . c i t . , 34. 13 - " the bull-boat was made of buffalo skins sewn to-gether and stretched over a frame of willow and cotton-wood poles. The size was commonly about 12' by 30' and 20 inches deep. It- had the l e a s t draught of any r i v e r c r a f t and was therefore best adapted to such shallow streams as the P l a t t e . The cargo generally consisted Of robes, and amounted to two and a half tons weight, which caused a draught of only about four inches. These boats, i n one form or another, saw extensive service on Western r i v e r s . " Chittenden, I. 35 14 - In 1834, the rendezvous was to be on the Green River, a l i t t l e way above the mouth of the Big Sandy. This l o c a t i o n was approximately 350 miles west of Port Laramie. o r i g i n a l price f o r t h i s merchandise - payment to be made i n beaver skins at four d a l l a r s per p e l t . Default by either contracting party was to involve a penalty of $500. The two men parted company on August 17 (15) at Fort Cass, which was situated on the Yellowstone River, a- few miles northwest of i t s junction with the Big Horn, near the present town of Myers, Montana. The departure must have occasioned the usual western f e s t i v i t i e s , for on the next day, Wyeth wrote i n his journal: "too much liquor to proceed, therefore stop-ped". However, Wyeth made excellent time down the Missouri River, passing Fort Mandan (approximately 450 miles from Fort Cass) on September 2, and reached St. Louis on October 9. One month l a t e r , on November 7, the young Yankee reached his native town. 15 - An American Fur Company post, b u i l t i n 1852. Chapter I I I . THE COLUMBIA RIVER FISHING AMD TRADING COMPANY With t;he agreement of the Rocky Mountain Pur Company as support f o r his arguments, Wyeth had l i t t l e trouble financing a second expedition. A v i s i t to Boston "by Milton Sublette during the winter aided the promoter's plans. He came i n order to help Wyeth choose the proper trading goods. The organization was known as the Columbia River Pishing and Trading Company. Again Henry H a l l was f i n a n c i a l l y interested, t h i s time holding the largest block of stock - three-sixteenths of the shares. Wyeth was to hold one-sixteenth of the stock and was to receive one-quarter of the p r o f i t s . The company was drawn up on a f i v e year contract f o r the purpose of securing skins, (1) e s p e c i a l l y beaver. Other sources of income were to be found i n supplying goods at exorbitant rates to American traders i n the Rockies, v i a St. Louis, p i c k l i n g salmon on the Columbia River, securing buffalo meat on the plains and canning i t for the West Indies trade. "The prominent advantages of supplying my own or the trapping parties of other concerns from the P a c i f i c instead of St. Louis are 1 - Beaver skins could be purchased f o r a s t r i n g of beads, an ax, or h a l f a yard of s c a r l e t c l o t h from the Indians and sold i n Boston for eight or ten d o l l a r s . 23 safety of the country traversed, and consequent saving of men, shortness of distance, and low price and abundance of horses on the Columbia. The l a t t e r circumstances alone would enable any company doing t h e i r business by that route to make a p r o f i t equal to a l l expenses of transporting." (2) Wyeth also proposed to open the area between C a l i f o r n i a and the Columbia River f o r the fur-trade -thus avoiding Hudson's Bay Company t e r r i t o r y - and s e l l beaver skins to the B r i t i s h company at f i v e d o l l a r s each. It was the leader *s plan to e s t a b l i s h a base on the P a c i f i c coast and use ships to bring i n supplies, f i l l i n g them on the return journey with furs and pickled salmon. During the winter, Wyeth purchased some 13,000 pounds of goods f o r trading, and chartered the schooner "May Dacre" to carry trading goods v i a Cape Horn to the Columbia. I t s a i l e d January 7, 1834. One month l a t e r , the overland expedition l e f t Boston under the leadership of Eathaniel Wyeth, and reached St. Louis i n the f i r s t week of March. Here enough men were recruited to bring the t o t a l strength of the party to 70 men. The expedition next moved on to Independence, Missouri, which was an important taking off point f o r fur-traders heading west. At Independence, Wyeth met his f i r s t r e a l opposition, when he found that the market of mules and horses had been (3) cornered by Santa Pe traders. This forced him to move across 2 - Overmeyer, l o c . c i t . 39. (footnote) 3 - See Appendix I. the r i v e r to Li b e r t y to purchase his necessary equipment. He was compelled also to make salary advances to his men to prevent desertions. At Independence, Wyeth was joined by two n a t u r a l i s t s , Thomas Kuthall, of Harvard University, and John K.Townsend, a physician and o r n i t h o l o g i s t , of Philadelphia. A party of f i v e Methodist missionaries under the leadership of Jason Lee also met the expedition here. Wyeth's cavalcade and that of Milton Sublette l e f t Independence on A p r i l 28, 1834. Mrs. J.B.Brown gives a v i v i d picture of the departure: "Wyeth and his old f r i e n d Sublette, rode at the head of the procession, the two s c i e n t i s t s at t h e i r side, while the men followed i n double f i l e , every one leading two horses laden each with two eighty pound packages of goods. Bringing up. the rear was Wyeth's assistant, Captain Joseph Thing, an eminent navigator F i n a l l y at the side of the cavalcade rode the missionaries with t h e i r band of horned c a t t l e . " (4) The route followed from Independence was that which l a t e r became the Oregon T r a i l . Shortly a f t e r the party was on i t s way from Independence two incidents occurred which profoundly affected i t s future. On May 8, Milton Sublette, suffering from a p a i n f u l l y diseased l e g , turned back. Two days l a t e r , William Sublette, elder brother of Wyeth's companion and r i v a l transporter of trading goods, passed the New England party, hurrying on to the rendezvous with a supply of goods 4 - Brown, 124. to s e l l . Wyeth's party was w e l l organized, hut owing to i t s size was able to make only about 20 miles a day, somewhat les s than the average trappers' d a i l y run. The leader chose the campsite every night and rations were di s t r i b u t e d by a system of mess d i v i s i o n s . The journey across the plains was a pleasant one. The evenings were spent gathered around the camp-fires while one of the westerners, (Richardson), hired as a hunter, regaled the "tenderfeet" with wild anecdotes of l i f e i n the mysterious west. On June 1, Wyeth's men crossed the Laramie River and noticed a group of William Sublette's party b u i l d i n g a f o r t . This post, f i r s t named Port William, l a t e r became famous as Port Laramie, the f i r s t s t a t i o n on the Oregon T r a i l . On June 17, Wyeth reached the rendezvous on the Green River, and here a great disappointment awaited him. It may be best described i n his own words: "On the night of the 17th. I l e f t camp to hunt F i t z - p a t r i c k and slept i n the p r a i r i e s . In the morning struck Green River and went down to the forks and finding nothing went up again and found rendezvous about 12 miles up, and much to my astonishment the goods which I had contracted to bring up to the Rocky Mountain Fur Company were refused by those honorable gentlemen. Latitude 41 degrees 30 minutes."(5) 5 - Chittenden, 450. "So far t h i s business looks black. The company here-not complied, with t h e i r contracts with me and i n consequence I am obliged to make a f o r t en Lewis' River" (Snake River) "to dispose of the goods I have with me." (6) The absence of Milton G. Sublette, Wyeth'a f r i e n d and the presence of his brother who was keenly opposed to the New Englander because he had secured a contract from his brother, were prime factors i n the r e f u s a l . It was an unfortunate p l i g h t i n which th i s keen hard-headed Yankee, who had crossed h a l f a continent with many tens ef goods and 70 men, found himself. Though he received the f u l l amount of the default penalty ($500), Wyeth noted that the Rocky Mountain Fur Company refused even to pay the interes t on cash adven ced. Writing l a t e r to Milton Sublette, he suggested that William Sublette had bribed F i t z p a t r i c k , Milton's partner i n the company, to break the contract with Wyeth. Further i n d i c a t i o n of t h i s i s shown by the re-organization of the company on June 20, i n which William Sublette became a partner. Wyeth warned the partners of the new company that he would "yet r o l l a stone into t h e i r garden, which they would never be able t© get out." (7) Mrs. Jennie Brown claims that Wyeth had o r i g i n a l l y planned to b u i l d a f o r t i n the i n t e r i o r : 6 - B.J. Wyeth to Leonard J a r v i s , Ham's Fork. June 21, 1834. Sources of Ore. Hist. 135. 7 - Chittenden. 450. 27-"Hie l a t e s t idea was te build two f o r t i f i c a t i o n s , one somewhere i n the lower Columbia and one i n the cen t r a l i n t e r i o r . " (8) This i s e n t i r e l y u n l i k e l y , however, f o r the l o s s of his contract seems to have changed his plans. Brosnan disagrees Mrs brown's with late*©* view: "The construction of a fur trading f o r t was not a part of Wyeth's plan but i t brought him the d i s t i n c t i o n of being the only American to es t a b l i s h a trading post i n the jointly-occupied area." (9) On June 18th, he moved on to Ham's Pork, 23 miles west of the rendezvous. Prom t h i s point he despatched several l e t t e r s . One of these was sent to hie backers, Messrs. Tucker and Williams, and i n t h i s , written on July 21, he reveals h i s plans: "I s h a l l proceed about 150 miles west of t h i s and es t a b l i s h a f o r t to make Bale of the goods which remain i n my hands. I have sent out messengers to tne Bannocks, Shoshonees, Snakes, He*. Per ces, ana Platheaas to make robes and come and trade them at t h i s post... I propose to esta b l i s h i t on a r i v e r c a l l e d Portneuf or Snake or lewis River." (10) Following words with action, Wyeth l e d the party westward along his old t r a i l , which l e d him out of the Great Basin into the P a c i f i c slope, whence he had been forced by William Sublette and F i t z p a t r i c k . Es permitted the men to 8 - Brown, 118. 9 - Brosnan, Cornelius J . : "Jason Lee, Prophet of the MacMillan. Hew York* 1932. 63. 10- M.J. Wyeth to Messrs. Tucker & Williams, July 1, 1834. Ham's Fork. Sources 138-139. 28 c e l e b r a t e J u l y 4 i n t y p i c a l w e s t e r n s t y l e and even admits i n h i s j o u r n a l " t ook a p r e t t y h e a r t y spree m y s e l f " . Two days l a t e r , they e n t e r e d the p r e s e n t s t a t e of Idaho, and on J u l y 9, they j o i n e d up w i t h a p a r t y of Hudson fs Bay Company men (11) under the l e a d e r s h i p o f Thomas McKay. A few days a f t e r w a r d s , (12) the combined p a r t y met C a p t a i n B o n n e v i l l e and h i s t r a d e r s and another g r e a t c e l e b r a t i o n was h e l d . On J u l y 14, the New England p a r t y reached the Snake River.. A f t e r two days of s c o u t i n g f o r a l o c a t i o n , Y/yeth and h i s men s t a r t e d c o n s t r u c t i o n of the f o r t . The a c t u a l l o c a t i o n of the po s t i s a ma t t e r of doubt, the f o l l o w i n g b e i n g some of t h e o p i n i o n s . Wyeth s t a t e d that i t was s i t u a t e d a t l a t i t u d e 43° 14', l o n g i t u d e 113° 55*. Ghent p o i n t s out t h a t the o r i g i n a l f o r t was b u i l t on the south s i d e of t h e Snake R i v e r i n the v a l l e y of t h e P o r t n e u f . M a j o r Osborne 11 - Thomas McKay, was born about 1798 i n the I n d i a n c o u n t r y . He was a. h a l f - b r e e d son o f A l e x a n d e r McKay, who was k i l l e d i n t h e "Tonquin" massacre. E n t e r i n g the s e r v i c e of the P a c i f i c Pur Company a t the age o f 12, he accompanied h i s f a t h e r t o A s t o r i a . On the s a l e of t h i s p o s t t o the Northwest Company i n 1813, he j o i n e d the Canadian f i r m and remained i n t h e i r employ and, a f t e r the merger o f 1821, i n t h a t o f the Hudson's Bay Company u n t i l sometime between 1836 and 1839. .He s e t t l e d on a f a r m i n Oregon a f t e r r e -t i r i n g from s e r v i c e and, a f t e r t a k i n g p a r t i n t h e Cayuse War of 1848, i s b e l i e v e d t o have d i e d i n the same y e a r . 12 - C a p t a i n Benjamin B o n n e v i l l e , P rench o f f i c e r o f U n i t e d S t a t e s army, was. g r a n t e d l e a v e of absence i n 1832 t o c a r r y on a t r i p o f e x p l o r a t i o n i n the west. He o r g a n i z e d an e l a b o r a t e f u r t r a d i n g e x p e d i t i o n and engaged i n i t f o r t h r e e y e a r s - two y e a r s l o n g e r than h i s l e a v e . Though Washington I r v i n g wrote an exaggerated s t o r y of h i s work, he a c c o m p l i s h e d l i t t l e i n opening up the wes t . 29 Cross, who v i s i t e d the s i t e in 1849, wrote that i t was 15 miles (13) above the mouth of the Portneuf. Miles Cannon claimed that the s i t e of the f o r t was s i x miles from the mouth of the Portneuf and defends his statement thus: "I give i t as i t was given to me by,an Indian scout who p i l o t e d me to the place, who was born in i t s v i c i n i t y at a time when the building s t i l l stood and whose father 'was acquainted with the Hudson's Bay Company traders who were located there......... About four miles below the place where,the t r a i l s t r i k e s the r i v e r on the l e f t bank and within 20 feet of a s l i g h t l y lower l e v e l covered with cottonwood timber i s , so my guide informed me, the i d e n t i c a l spot. 1 1 (14) Interestingly' enough, the o r i g i n a l s i t e of the f o r t v/as l o s t (15) u n t i l 1916, when i t was discovered by Ezra Meeker. As stated above, the fort was started on July 16, 1834. It was o r i g i n a l l y b u i l t of cottonwood logs; the stockade consisting of 12 foot poles, being set two feet into the ground with bastions in the opposite corners. The outlines of the walls and the location of the well inside were c l e a r l y discernible before the site was submerged in an a r t i f i c i a l lake created by a modern power project. 13 - Ghent,W.J.: "The Road to Oregon", Longman1s.London.1929.144. 14 - Cannon,Miles: "Snake River in History". G.H.Q. X X . l l 15 - Ezra Meeker f i r s t traversed the Oregon T r a i l in 1852 at the age of 21. At the age of 75, he determined to remark the t r a i l . Thus i n 1906 he again drove an ox-team over the route. He subsequently made four more t r i p s , one by wagon in 1910, others by auto in 1915 and 1928, and one by aeroplane'in 1924. He died in Seattle in 1928 at the age of 97. Some idea of the energy put f o r t h hy i t s builders may be gained by r e f e r r i n g to an eye-witness. Townsend, the n a t u r a l i s t , wrote in his journal on July 25: "At the fOrt, a f f a i r s look pros-erous: the stockade i s f i n i s h e d : 2 bastions have been created and the work i s singularly good, considering the scarcity of proper building tools." (16) On the following day, which was Sunday, Wyeth asked Jason Lee, the Methodist missionary, to hold a meeting and he "obligingly complied". Thus i t was at t h i s point that the f i r s t Protestant sermon was preached west of the Rocky Mountains. The fort was completed on August 5, and a description of the celebrations attendant thereto i s exceedingly interesting: "Aug. 5 - At sunrise t h i s morning the 'star-spangled banner' was raised on the f l a g s t a f f at the f o r t , and a salute f i r e d by the men, who, according to orders,assembled around i t . A l l in camp were then allowed the free and uncontrol-led use of l i q u o r , and, as usual, the consequence v/as a scene of r i o t i n g , noise, and f i g h t i n g during the whole day. Night at l a s t came, and cast her mantle over the besotted'camp; .....the mien w i l l bear palpable evidence of the debauch of the 5th of August." (17) This, was the occasion on v/hich "Old Glory" was raised for the f i r s t time in Idaho over a r e a l home of v/hite men. Wyeth himself described the event in a l e t t e r 16 - Townsend, J.K.: "Narrative of a Journey Across the Rocky Mountains to the Columbia River." Henry Perkins. Philadelphia. 1839. 105. 17 - Ibid. 110 51 to Leonard J a r v i s , a partner of the company, written on October 6, 1834, from the Columbia River: "Since mine of June 21st from Ham's Fork I have, as I then proposed, b u i l t a f o r t on Snake or Lewis River i n l a t i t u d e 43° 14 lain, to and longitude 113° 30 mm. w. ( s i c ) whien I namea Fort H a i l i n honor of the oldest gent-leman i n the concern. We manufactured a magnificent i l a g from some unbleach-ed sheeting, a l i t t l e red f l a n n e l , and a few blue patcnes; salutea i t with damaged powaer and wet i t i n v i l l a i n o u s alcohol and a f t e r a l l i t makes, I assure you, a very respectable appearance among the ary ana aesolate regions of central America. Its bastions stand a t e r r o r to tne skulking Indian ana a beacon of safety to the f u g i t i v e hunter. It i s manned by twelve men and has constantly loaded i n the bastion 100 guns ana r i f l e s . These bastions ©©jamand both the inside and outside of the f o r t * " (18) The day a f t e r the completion of the f o r t , Wyeth l e f t Mr. Evans i n charge with 11 other men, 14 horses and mules, and three cows, and proceeded down to Fort Vancouver* The party now consisted of seme 30 men and 116 horses* Besides his own men, Wyeth was accompanied f o r some distance by Thomas McKay and h i s party of Hudson** Bay Company mem* On the f i r s t day out, the trappers, weary afte r the previous day's c o n v i v i a l i t i e s , made only about ten miles. Some d i f f i c u l t y wa© experienced from the intense heat as they crossed the shadeless barrens of the butte region before reaching the Boise River. Here the Hudson's Bay 18 - N.J* Wyeth to Leenard J a r v i s , Columbia River, Oct. 6, 1834. Sources of Ore. H i s t . 146« 32 Company men l e f t the party and Wyeth continued on to Port Walla Walla. This departure of McKay was an ominous one for the Columbia River Pishing and Trading Company, for the keen and experienced trader determined to cut off his Yankee r i v a l by erecting another f o r t . This was Snake Port, l a t e r Port Boise, b u i l t ten miles from the mouth of the r i v e r from which i t took i t s permanent name. The importance of t h i s post was noted by Parnham, who v i s i t e d the t e r r i t o r y i n 1839 and 1840: "Prom i t (Port Boise) the Hudson's Bay Company sent t h e i r trading parties-over the country south i n advance and near and around every movement of Wyeth." (19) Prom Walla Walla, Wyeth and h i s friends, the missionaries and s c i e n t i s t s , moved down the Columbia River to Port Vancouver, which they reached on September 14. Once more the Yankee adventurer met the dynamic leader of the Hudson's Bay Company i n that region, Dr. John McLoughlin. The day following his a r r i v a l at Vancouver, Wyeth hurried down the r i v e r to meet h i s ship, the "May D&cre", which had j u s t a r r i v e d . The vessel had been delayed three months at Valparaiso a f t e r being struck by l i g h t n i n g . This delay, of course, meant that the ship had a r r i v e d too l a t e . t o carry on any salmon f i s h i n g during that year. Undaunted at t h i s second great disappointment, 19 - c i t . Overmeyer, l o c . c i t . 46 Wyeth decided to bu i l d a second post on Wapatoo Island, near the mouth of the Willamette. This base, situa t e d about eight miles downstream from Fort Vancouver, was: named Fort William. Having thus established the company on the lower Columbia, Wyeth dispatched Captain Thing with seven other white men and 13 Sandwich Islanders to Fort H a l l to winter there. The leader wintered at Fort William and busied himself with developing a permanent base. Barrels were made for the anticipated salmon catch of the following season. Various crops were planted with the object of making t h i s f o r t s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t and a miniature r e p l i c a of the r i v a l company's post at Fort Vancouver. For a l l M s energy, however, Wyeth's company was doomed to f a i l u r e . Several of h i s Sandwich Islanders deserted and others were drowned or frozen before they reached Fort H a l l . The o f f i c i a l s of the older company were determined not to be undersold i n the f u r trade and even Wyeth»s own trapping expedition i n the winter of 1834-35 was more trouble than i t was worth. In the following season, disease and Indians struck at h i s force i n the i n t e r i o r * The f u r trade c a r r i e d on from Fort H a l l was not successful* The competition of Fort Boise' and the h o s t i l i t y of the Blackfeet prevented any large amount of trading* The men of the older company were trusted by the Indians, some of the Blackfeet even trading with the Hudsen*s Bay Company, and t h e i r methods of trading were f a m i l i a r to t h e i r red-skinned c l i e n t e l e . By the spring of 1835, Wyeth had decided that the opportunity for p r o f i t for his company was the salmon f i s h e r y . Here too he soon learned that hie older r i v a l s influenced the Chinook Indian fishermen. Trained to the wily ways .of the salmon, the natives working f o r the Hudson's Bay Company were able to t r i p l e the catch of t h e i r white r i v a l s . "Then the nets of the New Englanders were not of the r i g h t kinds other of t h e i r appliances would not work; some quarrelled, some were murdered, eight were drowned at one time."(20) F i n a l l y the i n t r e p i d leader became discouraged, and indicated hi s feelings i n a l e t t e r to h i s brother Charles, written on September 28, 1935s "Our salmon f i s h i n g has not succeeded. Half a cargo only obtained. Our people are s i c k and dying o f f l i k e rotten sheep of b i l i o u s disorder. I s h a l l be o f f by the f i r s t of next month to the mountains and winter at Fort H a l l . " (21) What a dismal prospect f o r the energetic and ambitious WyethJ How discouraging i t must have been for him to see h i s dreams of a great Oregon company collapsing, about him I Since many of the men i n service at Fort H a l l did not wish to remain i n his service a f t e r the expiration of t h e i r contracts i n the autumn of 1835, Wyeth took with him to the post a number of Kanaka labourers who had ar r i v e d 20 - Bancroft, H.H.* "History of the Uorth West Coast". A.L. Bancroft. San Francisco. 1884.11, 596 21 - Cannon, IL:"Nathaniel J.Wyeth"» Wash. H i s t . Quart. VII. 228/ on the "May Dacre". These brown coloured labourers worked fo r much l e s s , receiving about £20 ($100) per annum, while the whites were paid about $250 for 15 months' service. Wyeth paid off those r e t i r i n g from his service when he reached the f o r t i n December, 1835, and immediately put the Kanakas at work, enlarging and renovating the s t a t i o n . When the fur trade f a i l e d again at Fort H a l l during the winter of 1835-36 and the salmon catch was very small i n the following spring, Wyeth r e a l i z e d that his company held no hope of success. So, on "June 25, 1856, the now completely d i s i l l u s i o n e d Wyeth l e f t Fort H a l l and started overland for Boston to consult with the members of his firm as to the ultimate d i s p o s i t i o n of t h e i r holdings i n the west." (22) At t h i s consultation i t was decided to s e l l out to the Hudson's B ay Company and t h i s transaction i s best described i n the words of the purchaser: • "In 1836, Mr. Wyeth broke up his establishment on Wapatoo Island. He returned to the States and offered the remains of his property i n the coun-t r y for sale to the Directors of the Hudson's Bay Cpmpany i n London, but they r e f e r r e d him to t h e i r o f f i c e r s i n the country at Vancouver, who bought 22 - Montgomery, R.G.:"The White Headed Eagle". MacMillan Hew York. 1935. 219. Mr. Wyeth's property and his establishment at Port H a l l i n 1837 from Mr. Wyeth's agent." (23) The -Hudson's Bay Company paid the sum of #8179.94 to Wyeth's company f o r the f o r t , including the furs and goods i n hand, the horses, tools and fur n i t u r e , and debts due the company from trappers and employees. 23 - "Narrative of Dr. McLoughlin". O.H.Q,. I. 194. cf. H.J.Wyeth to Hudson's Bay Company, London, Dec. 5, 1836. H.B.C. Archives A.10/3 cf. Appendix ~ r i , i n f r a 37 Chapter IV.  LIFE IN FORT HALL UNDER WYETH There are few contemporary descriptions of the i n t e r i o r headquarters of Wyethfs, company since, during his regime, t r a v e l l e r s seldom traversed the t r a i l which was destined to become important i n the history of the country. One description which has remained, however, i s that of (1) Osborne Ru s s e l l , a free-lance trapper, who aided i n the con-str u c t i o n of the post. In his journal, he writes: "On the 15th (of July, 1834), we commenced the actual construction of the f o r t which has a stockade 80 f square, b u i l t of CD ttonwood trees set on end, sunk 2|-T i n the ground and standing about 15' above with 2 bastions 8 f square at opposite angles." (2) Those t r a v e l l e r s who did occasionally pass the post were usually missionaries. I t i s from the pen of the wife of one of these, Hrs. Harcus Whitman, that we have the best description of the old f o r t . She wrote i n her c a r e f u l l y -kept diary on August 3, 1836: "Came to Fort H a l l t h i s morning... ...Called and were hospitably entertained by Captain Thing who keeps the f o r t . " (3) Having spent the night at the post, on the following day, 1 - A western trapper and hunter who had joined Wyeth's party to aid them in securing a meat supply. 2 - c i t . Brown. 141. 3 - E l l i o t t , T.C.: "The Coming of the White Women", O.H.Q,. XXXVII. 282. 38 she had an excellent opportunity to observe the structure, which must have seemed very substantial to her af t e r the temporary camps which had been her resting places during the tedious journey across the p l a i n s . On August 4, she wrote: "The buildings of the f o r t are made of hewed logs, roof covered with mud bricks, chimney and f i r e p l a c e s also the same. Ho windows except a square hole i n the roof and i n the bastion a few port holes large enough for guns only. The buildings are a l l enclosed i n a strong log wall." (4) Another member of the Whitman party of 1836 was W.H.Gray, who described the f o r t , thus: "Fort H a l l , i n 1836, was a stockade made of cottonwood logs, about 12' long set some 2* i n the ground;, with a piece of timber pinned near the top, running e n t i r e l y around the stockade, which was about 60* square. The stores and quarters for the men were b u i l t inside with poles, brush, grass, and-dirt for covering stamped down so as to p a r t i a l l y shed r a i n and permit the guards to be upon the tops of the quarters and see over the top of the stockade. Situated on an extensive l e v e l p l a i n or f l a t with spurs of the Rocky Mountains on the east at a distance of t h i r t y miles, high ranges of barren sage h i l l s on the south, eight miles distant." (5) The l o c a t i o n of the post i s also mentioned i n Mrs. Whitman's journal approximately as "on a f l u e of the Snake River about 10 miles above the junction of the Portneuf". This agrees (6) generally with the p o s i t i o n noted by contemporary writers. 4 - op. c i t . 282. 5 - Gray, W.H.:"History of Oregon, 1792-1849". Bancroft. San Francisco. 1870. 131. 6 - cf. supra 28-29 The problem of supplies f o r t h i s post was a serious one, because i t was located so f a r inland and so f a r from the base on the Columbia River. There was some attempt to grow vegetables at the f o r t , but t h i s was not crowned with success. Mrs. Whitman wrote, afte r her v i s i t to the garden: "The turnips i n the garden appear t h r i f t y , the tops very-large and small but the roots quite round. The peas looked well but most of them had been gathered by the mice. Saw a few onions that were going to seed, these looked quite natural. This i s a l l the garden contained. MB t o l d us his corn did extremely w e l l u n t i l the 8th of June, when the f r o s t of one night completely prostrated i t . This i s t h e i r f i r s t attempt at c u l t i v a t i o n . " (7) Rev. H.H. Spalding, another member of the same party, reported (8) that "turnips have been raised but too f r o s t y for farming". V i s i t i n g the f o r t a few years l a t e r , Dr. White noted that, "Wheat and potatoes grow well, but are very generally cut o f f by the f r o s t s " . It i s obvious, then, from these observations that there was l i t t l e chance of the people of Port H a l l being able to provide themselves with much home grown produce. The bulk of the food supply consisted of f r i e d mountain bread, made of coarse f l o u r and roasted i n buffalo grease, and buffalo meat. The trade of the f o r t was c a r r i e d on wi th both Indian and white trappers. Owing to the Indians' confidence i n dealing with Wyeth's competitor, the Hudson's Bay Company, 7 - E l l i o t t , op. c i t . 283. 8 - Spalding, Rev. H.H. to Wm. Porter, Oct. 2/1836. O.H.Q. X I I I . 373. 40 and the h o s t i l i t y of the Blackfeet, nine-tenths of the trade at Port H a l l was with nomadic white trappers and hunters. Among the company's trading regulations was the usual one which forbade white employees carrying on any private trade. Another regulation provided that, i n dealing with the Indians, l i q u o r should he supplied to the chiefs only. Typical of the goods used i n the trade i s the follow-ing l i s t of goods contained i n two bales cached at the f o r t i n 1836: (Red edged blankets "Bale no.l (30 lbs of v e r m i l l i o n (54 packs of playing cards" (8 doz. red handkerchiefs "Bale no.14 (4 doz. pocket looking glasses (30 l b . of lead (yellow edged blankets" (9) Among the sundry packages i n the same shipment were f i v e kegs of alcohol, f i v e large bales of tobacco, f i v e bales of coffee. The comparative scale of prices i s very i n t e r e s t i n g : "playing cards-original cost 15^; sold for $2.50 tobacco alcohol coffee sugar powder 10/2T l b ; " " $1.50 (up) 8? pt; " « $3.00 pt. 12£ l b ; » " $1.50 l b . ' 6? l b ; » 'J $1.50 lb.' 15-18^Lb;» » $2.50 lb."(10) Since the dominating factor i n trade at the f o r t was the sale of luxuries, p r o f i t s appear to have been rather high. However, transportation costs were very high: 9 - Eaton, W.C.:"Uathaniel J.Wyeth's Oregon Expeditions". P a c i f i c H i s t o r i c a l Quarterly. IV. 112. 10- Ibid. 12. "The very remoteness whieh assured b i g p r o f i t s assumed a f e a r f u l cost i n transporting supplies." (11) The t a r i f f for f u r s f o r the Indians was one heaver p e l t for any one ef the following a r t i c l e s : one fathom largest cut beads, one common blanket, one s h i r t , one axe, one-half yard blue er s c a r l e t c l o t h ; one r i f l e f o r 12 muskrats or minks. For white trappers, the scale was f i v e d o l l a r s a pound or three d o l l a r s f i f t y cents cash f o r beaver; muskcat (12) or mink 250 a pound. This scale was considerably lower than the Hudson's Bay Company's rate since they required four beaver pe l t s from the Indians i n trade for one blanket. Probably inexperience i n the trade was responsible f o r Wyeth's paying too high a price f o r h i s f u r s ; c e r t a i n l y such a t a r i f f must have contributed to the collapse of the company. This trade would seem to have provided a large p r o f i t e s p e c i a l l y since employees' wages were low. However, the losses through bad debts were very great; then, too, there were the losses caused when debtors of the company were s l a i n i n skirmishes with h o s t i l e Indians* Trading and l i v i n g conditions at Fort H a l l werm probably no more d i f f i c u l t than at the average fur post of the f a r west. However, the r i s k s and slowness of transportation lack of dependable l i n e s of communication, the i s o l a t e d p o s i t i o n of the f o r t , inexperienced traders unaccustomed to 11 - Laut, Agnes C : "The Overland T r a i l " . Stokes. Hew York. 1929. 130. See also Appendix JU* 12 - Eaton, op c i t . H I . the-wily ways of the redskins and the d i f f i c u l t i e s ©f obtaining long-term c r e d i t f o r a comparatively small firm contributed to the downfall ef the company* 4 3 Chapter V. REASONS FOR WYttTH'S FAILURE Why did the ambitious plans ef the Boston iceman f a i l ao completely? Some reasons hare heen indicated i n the previous chapter, but i t i s now necessary to summarize and evaluate a l l the contributory f a c t o r s . For many of the early pioneers whose opinions were unfortunately biassed during the contentious days of the Oregon controversy, the Hudson's Bay Company was the sole cause of Wyeth's f a i l u r e . Writing with venomous pens, they described the Hudson's Bay Company as a cru e l oppressing monopolist crushing out the business l i f e of an honest competitor, thus) "Wyeth had been crushed by the competition with the Hudson's Bay Company and was compelled to s e l l a f t e r a few years of desperate struggle." ( l ) Recent evidence indicates, however, that the commercial r i v a l r y was e n t i r e l y an honourable one. The orders under which the Hudson's Bay Company men were working were as follows: 1 - Lyman, H.S.: "Reminiscences of John Minto". Oregon H i s t o r i c a l Quarterly. I I . 215. 44 "(to) endeavour to put him down, hy steady well regulated opposition: We have however to impress upon your Hind, that violence must on no consideration be resorted to, except i n defence of Lives and Property;, while i t i s a duty we owe to our own Interests to deny them any f a c i l i t i e s >. which are l i k e l y to annoy or disturb our Trade." (*) Certainly these orders are t y p i c a l of such instructioi:s by any company under s i m i l a r circumstances.. Washington Irving refers to Wyeth*s struggle with the B r i t i s h company thus: ". who (H.B.C.) have, according to his own (Wyeth 9s) account, treated him throughout the whole of his enterprise with great 2 firmness, friendship, and l i b e r a l i t y . " (») On comparison of the r i v a l companies, the Hudson's Bay Company was so overwhelmingly superior that harsh methods were not necessary to secure the elimination of t h e i r Yankee competitor. The Hudson's Bay Company had the advantages of a century and a h a l f of experience i n the fur trade, a well-organized communication system, and men and equipment capable of carrying on the trade. The value of these was pointed out i n a report to the United States Congress: "McLoughlin was required by the company to put down poor Wyeth, that i s i n a f a i r honorable, legitimate way. The bargain that did his business was something l i k e t h i s : He was not to oppose i n the lower country and we 3L - Governor & Committee to Dr. John McLoughlin, Feb.l, 1834. H.B5.CArchives A. 6/23, 109. jjL - Irving, Washington,: "Adventures of Captain Bonneville". University Library Association. Philadelphia. 521. 46 were not to oppose i n the i n t e r i o r . But where we had one party, he had two, and then much hetter goods. Thinic of tne Cascades, the Da l l e s , and the almost impassable d i f f i c u l t i e s , want of command over people, and who can he astonished at his f a i l u r e . " (4) The natives were accustomed to the older company's trading methods and had confidence i n them. The B r i t i s h f i r m possessed many ships which assured a steady source of supplies shipped v i a Cape Hern fer t h e i r posts; f o r t h e i r Oregon trade, they also had the advantage of a well-established transcontinental canoe route. There was also strong support of the company by the B r i t i s n government, while Wyeth received absolutely no support from Washington. Probably the most important point of supremacy f o r the older company l ay i n the abundance of c a p i t a l with which i t was supplied. Tnis very necessary factor was lacking i n Wyeth's enterprise. He had raised some $40,000 i n Cambridge and Boston, not a s u f f i c i e n t amount of c a p i t a l to carry on long witnout some return and was, therefore, sadly l i m i t e d i n f i n a n c i a l support. This l i m i t a t i o n i n e v i t a b l y mace c r e d i t and communication d i f f i c u l t to maintain. Then the early f a i l u r e of the salmon f i s h e r i e s was a dra s t i c blow to prospects of any immediate p r o f i t s . The disappointing r e s u l t s of the trade at 4 - Report to Congress; Mr. Gushing, Committee on Foreign A f f a i r s ; HJ.S. House Report. No. 101. «i5th Congress. 3rd Session, 6-22. Roberts Rec. MS. 12. C i t . footnote Bancroft, H.H. "History of the Northwest Coast". I I . 599. 5 - Sources of Ore. Hist. - K.J.Wyeth to Chas. Wyeth, Cambridge, Jany 6th, 1834. 96. the i n t e r i o r post were due p r i n c i p a l l y , of/course, to the r i v a l f o r t , Snake Port ( l a t e r c a l l e d Fort Boise), "built f o r the Hudson's Bay Company by Thomas McKay. The company frankly admitted that the only reason f o r establishing t h i s post was to present Fort H a l l from damaging t h e i r trade. As mentioned above, many of the Indians and whites who owed money or furs to Fort H a l l were k i l l e d i n Indian skirmishes with loss to Wyeth's company. This problem of Indian wars was another great drawback to the success of Wyeth'w i n t e r i o r f o r t . The l o c a t i o n was on the crossroads of many t r a i l s ; " t h i s region was not a good rendezvous for the mountain Indians..... i t was too near the plains raiders, North and South Crows, Utes, Sioux, and Blackfeet, r a i d i n g south for horses." (6) The constant menace of the murderous Blackfeet was an ever-present threat to the white traders i n the f o r t and the red-skinned customers who brought t h e i r s i l k y beaver-Tind muskrat pelts to the post. The following story i s t y p i c a l of the treachery of the Blackfeet t r i b e "At some time between September 1834 and September 1835, the exact date unknown, a party of Blackfeet appeared on the opposite bank of the Snake from Fort H a l l . They were led by a desper-ado named B i r d , a former employee of the Hudson's Bay Company, who, having been made a prisoner by the Blackfeet, 6 - l a u t , 130. i n a skirmish with some of that t r i b e had remained with them and had become an i n f l u e n t i a l c h i e f t a i n . Prom the opposite side of the r i v e r , B i r d re-quested Godin to come across and buy th e i r f u r s . Godin complied, not sus-pecting treachery. He sat down to smoke with the company, when B i r d s i g n a l l e d to some Indians, who shot him i n the back. While he was yet a l i v e , B i r d tore his scalp—off and cut the l e t t e r s "N.J.W.", Wyeth's i n i t i a l s , on his forehead." (#). In r e f e r r i n g to the danger of.Indian attack at Fort H a l l , Mrs. Whitman wrote: "The buildings are a l l enclosed i n a strong log w a l l . This affords them a place of safety when attacked! by h o s t i l e Indians, as they frequently are, the Fort being i n the Black Feet country." (8). Spalding, another member of the same party, wrote: "This i s a dangerous s i t u a t i o n i n the v i c i n i t y of the Blaxk Feet, a bloodthirsty Indian t r i b e , frequently at the gates of the f o r t , have destroy-ed many l i v e s and stolen hundreds of horses." (9). Besides a l l these handicaps, Fort H a l l laboured under the d i f f i c u l t y of a manager who was overly fond of l i q u o r . Frequently, he was u n f i t f o r duty owing to the fact that he had overindulged i n intoxicants.~ One fact on which a l l writers agree, how-ever, i s that Wyeth's f a i l u r e was ce r t a i n l y not due to his own lack of enterprise. Thus Farnham, who v i s i t e d 7 - Chittenden, II, 663. 6 - E l l i o t t , O.H.Q,., XXXVII, 282. 9 - Spalding, Rev. H.H., to Wm. Porter, Oct. 2, 1836. O.H.Q., XIII, 373. 48 the f o r t i n 1837, wrote: "Prom what I saw and heard of Wyeth's management i n Oregon, I was impressed with the b e l i e f that he was without comparison, the most talented business man from the States that ever established himself i n the Territory."(10). Townsend, who witnessed the erection of Port H a l l , wrote: "Captain Wyeth has pursued the means which to him seemed best adapt-ed f o r securing success with great persev-erance and industry and has endured hardships without murmuring, which would have prostrated many a more robust man."(11). Washington Irving, who personally interviewed Wyeth regard-ing his Oregon a c t i v i t y , wrote of him thus: "His enterprise was prosecuted with a s p i r i t , i n t e l l i g e n c e , and persev-erance that merited success. A l l the d e t a i l s that we have met with proves him to be no ordinary man. He appears to have the mind to conceive and the energy to execute extensive and s t r i k -ing plans." (12) Further evidence of Wyeth's energy and honesty i s shown by the fact that a f t e r his return to Cambridge i n 1837, he was able to recoup his losses i n the Oregon expedition, which had amounted to approximately $20,000. It was an u p h i l l f i g h t and a l o s i n g one that Wyeth fought during those hard years i n Oregon, but the d i f f i c -u l t i e s mentioned above would have proven too great f o r arryone. 10 - Parnham, Thos., c i t . Brown, 269. 11 - Townsend, J.K.:"Narrative of a Journey Across the Rocky Mountains to the Columbia River". 224 12 - Irving, op. c i t . 520 The collapse of his company was ine v i t a b l e , but his defeat was one for which he could i n no way be blamed. Chapter VI.  FORT HALL UNDER THE HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY After the purchase of Fort H a l l hy the Hudson's Bay Company, the experience and organization of the B r i t i s h firm soon evidenced i t s e l f i n many changes at the post. Some of the s t r u c t u r a l improvements are described hy Dr. F.A. Wislizenus who v i s i t e d the post i n 1839; "The f o r t l i e s hard by the r i v e r > and is b u i l t i n a square about 80' by 80' suggestive of barracks. The style i s e s s e n t i a l l y that of Fort Laramie, except that the outer walls, 10' to 12' high, are constructed i n this case of wood. A small cannon i s i n the court-yard. The f o r t owns many horses and s i x cows., The whole garrison consists of 8 men; among them 2 Sandwich Islanders and a German." (1) Sometime during the next three years, the walls and the stockade were covered with adobe and the whole f o r t was enlarged. The dwelling house provided for the use of the chief trader inside the walls was a two-s t o r i e d b u i l ding of adobe measuring 42 feet by 15 feet. Its f l o o r s were of wood, while the doors and windows were narrow, the l a t t e r covered with a kind of parchment, since there was no glass available at the f o r t . Open hearths, of course, provided haat and cooking f a c i l i t i e s . 1 - Brown, c i t . 267. The improvements i n the building, however, were unimportant i n comparison with the dra s t i c changes . following a p p l i c a t i o n of the company's po l i c y of trading at the post. With t y p i c a l thoroughness, the s i t u a t i o n was ca r e f u l l y studied before any new system was adopted. James Douglas, who v i s i t e d the f o r t i n 1838, made the following report on the Indians of that region: 11.... .a numerous assemblage of Panaka, Shoshones, Shoshokos,cognate Tribes, l i v i n g with each other, on terms of amity. They were for a long period a poor and greatly oppressed race but since becoming generally possessed of f i r e arms, they have bravely maintained t h e i r independence, and now occupy a respectable p o s i t i o n among t h e i r former oppressors. Tho' an equestrian and exceedingly e r r a t i c k people we have hopes of introducing among them more s e t t l e d habits of l i f e and leading them to devote more of t h e i r time to Pur hunting; an object worthy of our attention, as we are l i k e l y to derive from t h e i r exertions, more ce r t a i n and extensive benefit, than we have reason to anticipate from the lawless and turbulent free white Trappers, now employed a s Beaver Hunters....." (2) Generally speaking, there were three types of white trading and trapping expeditions which made their headquarters at Port H a l l , and worked i n the surrounding mountain t e r r i t o r y . The f i r s t of these were "the lawless and turbulent free white Trappers" mentioned hj Douglas. They were free-lance hunters who secured t h e i r horses, traps, and provisions at Fort H a l l axtd returned to that 2 - Chief Trader James Douglas to Governor George Simpson, Fort Vancouver, March 18, 1838. H.B.C. Arch. B.223/b/20 f. 77-77d. 52 point with the r e s u l t s of t h e i r hunts. Secondly, there were mixed parties of Hudson fs Bay Company men and free trappers who were equipped at the f o r t f o r hunting expeditions to the Colorado River, to Great Salt Lake, to the Flathead country, or along the streams which fed the Snake River. One such party, consisting of 26 men, led by Narcisse Raymond, was sent by Chief Trader Richard Grant i n the summer of 1844 (3) "to the Queaterra country near the Great Salt Lake". This expedition was a commercial f a i l u r e , - c h i e f l y as a r e s u l t of an encounter with h o s t i l e Indians. Such parties were often composed of more American traders than B r i t i s h . Farnhami reported: "Even the American trappers are f a s t leaving the service of t h e i r countrymen for the larger p r o f i t s and better treatment of B r i t i s h employment." (4) The t h i r d group of white men trading at Fort H a l l were the r i v a l American trappers who, wandering far from t h e i r bases on the lower Missouri River, occasionally purchased supplies at Fort Boise or Fort H a l l and paid for them i n f u r s . Besides t h i s trade with the white trappers and hunters, the Hudson's Bay Company, for the reasons mentioned above, had a much larger share of Indian trade than t h e i r former r i v a l had been able to secure. 3 - Chief Trader Richard Grant to Gov. George Simpson, March 20, 1845. H.B.C. Arch. D.5/13. . 4 - Farnham, Thos. J.:"Travels i n the Great Western P r a i r i e s , the Anahuac and Rocky Mountains, and i n the Oregon T e r r i t o r y " . Thwaites, R.G."Early Western Travels". Cleveland, 0. 1906. XXVIII. 373. 53 Another extremely important improvement that aided Port H a l l during the B r i t i s h regime was a s t a b i l i z e d system of communications. Mo longer was the l i t t l e out-post an i s o l a t e d self-dependent trading centre, hut i t was now a unit i n a w e l l - k n i t , well-organized system, hy which i t was protected and supplied and to which i t was responsible for p r o f i t a b l e trading. The pack t r a i l between Port Vancouver and Port H a l l was now well-trod twice a year by the stream of ponies bringing trading goods and provisions to the i n t e r i o r post or by the returning loads of furs secured there. In f a c t , the company had these routes w e l l planned even before Wyeth*s enterprise, since i t was with a "mountain o u t f i t " from Port Vancouver under Pranct§ Ermatinger that Wyeth t r a v e l l e d through the Columbia basin on his return journey i n 1834. The power and prestige of the great company made i t s wagon and pack trains immune from the Indian raids which had harassed the t h i n l i n e of transport which Wyeth had s t r i v e n to maintain. McLoughlin himself t e s t i f i e d to t h i s safety when he wrote: "Prom Port H a l l to the States, twenty men have repeatedly passed and repassed and frequently fewer, from Port H a l l to Vancouver, two men can t r a v e l i n perfect safety." (5) The success i n the establishment of pack t r a i l s between Port H a l l l e d to an i n t e r e s t i n g experiment by Prances 5 - Leader, H.A.: "McLoughlin ss Answer to Warre Report". O.H.Q,. XXXIII. 219. 54 (6) — Ermatinger i n 1840. With three others, he attempted to take a wagon through to the Columbia. Owing to the height of the sage and the narrowness of the t r a i l , they were obliged to lig h t e n t h e i r loads to such an extent that they f i n a l l y reached Port Walla Walla, with only the frames and running gears of t h e i r wagons. This journey i s an important one i n the his t o r y of the region, however, for i t was the f i r s t attempt to take wagons through the d i f f i c u l t mountain road and did much to shape the advice given by the men of the company to the immigrants during the years that followed. "The simple f a c t that these, the f i r s t wagons to go through to the Columbia, were not only o u t f i t t e d at Port H a l l , but that one of them was owned, o u t f i t t e d , and driven by Prederic ( s i c ) Ermatinger, the Hudson's Bay Company chief trader i n charge of Pt. H a l l i n 1858, 1839, 1840 and 1841, of i t s e l f reduces to senseless d r i v e l a l l the scores of pages i n Barrows, Uixon, Craighead, Howry and the other advocates of the Whitman Saved Oregon story, which accuse the Hudson's Bay Company of opposing the passage of wagons beyond Port H a l l The experience of these men f u l l y j u s t i f i e d the advice given at Pt. H a l l to the parties of »39, *40, '41, and »42, to leave their wagons, and go from there with pack animals...."(7) Even the improved communication system did l i t t l e to lower the cost of supplies for this i n t e r i o r f o r t , so d i f f i c u l t - o f access. It was decided, however, to continue 6 - Dr. Newell, Col. J.L. Meek, and Caleb Wilkins. 7 - Marshall, W.I.: "Acquisition of Oregon".Lowman and Hanford. Seattle. 1911. I. 86. experiments i n agriculture. Accordingly, two ploughs were sent from Port Vancouver i n 1839, one f o r Port H a l l and the (8) other f o r Port Boise. However, drought conditions through-out the region i n that year ruined any hope of successfully growing the intended grain. The f i r s t o f f i c e r i n cha rge of Port H a l l a f t e r (9) i t s purchase was Thomas McKay, who had e a r l i e r "built Snake Port (Port Boise), and who was f a m i l i a r with trading condit-ions i n that area. The next o f f i c i a l to rule the destinies of the post was Prances Ermatinger, who was i n charge from 1838 to 1842. Owing to the increased importance of the f o r t , the l a t t e r * s p o s i t i o n was raised from that of clerk to Chief Trader i n 1.841. He was succeeded i n the following year hy (10) Richard Gre,nt, who managed the post t i n t i l his retirement i n 1851 - during the hectic days of the Oregon immigration. The decline i n importance of the f o r t i s indicated by the f a c t that during the remainder of i t s active period, i t was under the control of clerks; N e i l McArthur from 1851 to 1854 and William S i n c l a i r from 1854 to i t s f i n a l abandonment i n 1856. It was t he duty of a l l these leaders, working under the instructions of both Dr. McLoughlin - i n whose department the f o r t was situated - and of Governor Simpson, his superior, 8 - Chief Trader James Douglas to H.B..C.London Oct. 14, 1839. H.B.C. Arch. B.223/b/23. 26-27. 9 - supra. 28. 10- Great-great-grandfather of the author. Frequently known as "Captain Johnny" Grant among the immigrants. 56 to secure a maximum of trade at a minimum of expense. There were, however, three handicaps to commercial success i n t h i s area. These were, f i r s t , high cost of transport; secondly, the competition of American trappers and traders; f i n a l l y , the f a c t t hat the Snake River region was a producer, almost exclusively, of only one f u r , heaver. This l a t t e r f a c t made p r o f i t a b l e operation of Fort H a l l dependent on the existence of a steady demand and a high price for beaver p e l t s . In 1842-43, the Snake d i s t r i c t , including Fort Boise and a trading party as w e l l as Fort H a l l , traded nearly 2,500 beaver skins from American trappers and Indians. The importance of t h i s large production i s proven i n a l e t t e r of Dr. McLoughlin: "As to Mr. Grant's good returns from the Snake River country, they help to make up f o r losses elsewhere." (11) During the season 1845-46 the returns amounted to nearly 1600 beaver besides other small f u r s , the whole trade (12) being valued at £3000. A few years l a t e r two factors were moving simultaneously i n opposite sides of the world, however, to make the beaver trade i n the Snake River region extremely 11 - Dr. John McLoughlin to Governor Simpson, March 20, 1842. O.H.Q. XVII. 223. 12 - Chief Trader Richard Grant to Governor Simpson, Jan. 2, 1846. H.B.C. Arch. D.5/16. 57 d i f f i c u l t and, ultimately, impossible. These widely separated handicaps were: the decline i n the supply of beaver i n the area and the decline i n value of the pelts i n the London market. This l a t t e r f a c t was a r e s u l t of the adoption of the s i l k hat to replace the beaver hat. So rapid was the collapse of the t r a d e t hat Simpson advised Grant i n a l e t t e r of June 30, 1849 that the price of one blanket for four beavers was too high and further stated: "......as you get neither martens, foxes, otters, nor other small f u r s , the fur trade of the Snake Country i s more than unprofitable." (13) The t a r i f f increase thus ordered naturally did not improve trade and the chief trader was compelled to report i n the following year: "The news of this quarter regarding Trade i s anything but f l a t t e r i n g , I have done I may almost say nothing. The cause can only be at t r i b u t e d to the Indians and few freemen s t i l l remaining i n our Neighbourhood and elsewhere, being now so amply supplied with a l l t h e i r wants by the passing Emigrants/ for horses and Leather sold and bartered between both p a r t i e s . The Indians have become Careless, and s t i l l more indolent than they ever were i n hunting f u r s - some of the Old Ones no doubt might yet be enticed to hunt Beaver, but that once valuable Animal having ( s i c ) now valueless, they are not encouraged, And our T a r i f f , from Instructions received being made much higher than they formerly had to pay, the Indians f i n d i t to t h e i r advantage, to hunt large Animals, which supply them and t h e i r f a m i l i e s more food, and the skins much more value-able i n procuring t h e i r Wants from the Emigrants." (14) 13 - Governor Simpson to Chief Trader Richard Grant, June 30, 1849. H.B.C. Arch. D.4/70, 473. 14 - Chief Trader Richard Grant to S i r George Simpson, Port H a l l , February 22, 1850. H.B.C. Arch. D.5/27 58 The tide of immigration on the Oregon. T r a i l which had reached i t s fl o o d about 1849 began to ebb rapi d l y a f t e r 1850, owing to Indian wars and the opening of new routes to the glamorous gold f i e l d s of C a l i f o r n i a . Therefore the p r o f i t s of trading with the t r a v e l l e r s also diminished. The h o s t i l i t y of the Indians to the large numbers of white s e t t l e r s began a f t e r the Oregon Treaty of 1846 and climaxed i n the Yakima wars ten years l a t e r . With such a decline i n trade, with Indian h o s t i l i t y , and with the transfer of the major a c t i v i t i e s of the company north of the 49th p a r a l l e l , the fate of Port H a l l v/as sealed and i t was f i n a l l y abandoned i n 1856. Chapter .YII THE OREGON IMMIGRATION The "On to Oregon" movement i n eastern (1) United States, inspired hy the work of H a l l J . Kelley, grew rapid l y i n the la t e 1830's. This growth was l a r g e l y a r e s u l t of interest aroused through Wyeth's exploits and the agitations of r e s t l e s s expansionist p o l i t i c i a n s i n the national c a p i t o l . It was one of those recurring periods of the westward movement which punctuated American p o l i t i c a l l i f e so frequently during the 19th century. D i s s a t i s f a c t i o n over the Oregon j o i n t occupancy agreement was evident among the American delegates when the document was renewed i n 1828. Certainly both parties must have real' ized that a permanent settlement could not he much longer postponed. Under the aegis of Kelley's Oregon Colonization Society,, a strong movement grew i n New England, es p e c i a l l y , to add the t e r r i t o r y to the Union. The fact that i t would o he a. non-slave region v/as a major factor i n securing the support of the northerners for the annexation a g i t a t i o n . The story of Wyeth's enterprise, widely t o l d throughout the east, aroused much popular interest i n the land of the .far west. "His influence i n Oregon occupation 1 - :. ., supra, 12 60 and settlement was second to none He i t was who more d i r e c t l y than any other marked the way for the oxteams which were so shortly to bring the Americanized c i v i l i z a t i o n of Europe across the roadless continent." (2) By 1837, a severe business depression had struck United States and the more adventurous s e t t l e r s were once more (3) seeking the boon of free land, i n spite of f r o n t i e r hardships, to recoup t h e i r fortunes. The f i r s t of these hardy immigrants to reach Fort H a l l on his way-to Oregon was J o e l Walker, who arrived there i n 1837. Riding i n his wagon were his wife and f i v e children, while Robert Newell accom-panied him as guide. This was the beginning of the great stream of s e t t l e r s who were to cross the continent oh the famous Oregon T r a i l and to e s t a b l i s h a colony large enough to substantiate the claim of t h e i r nation to i t s annexation. Two years kater, an int e r e s t i n g expedition was organized by Thomas J. Farnham; while i t v/as, ostensibly, a party of immigrants, Farnham planned i t on a semi-military basis and apparently had ambitions of capturing the Oregon T e r r i t o r y for United States with his "Oregon Dragoons" as he namdd his party. Actually, he was an employee of the (4) Federal Government at Washington. The scheme was, of course, 2 - Bancroft, H.H.. "History of the Northwest Coast". Bancroft Press. San Francisco. 1884. II. 598. 3 - Advocates of the Oregon annexation movement i n Wash-ington planned to throw the country open to free homesteading. 4 - Congressional Globe, 27th Cong., 3rd Sess., Appendix, 229 61 a miserable f a i l u r e . Instead of seizing any of the Hudson's Bay Company's f o r t s , Farnham was glad of' the op-portunity of securing supplies and assistance at them. After 1840, the a r r i v a l of groups of immig-rants at Fort H a l l became more frequent and the groups themselves grew i n s i z e . In 1842, a party of 137 immigrants reached the post, l e f t t h e i r wagons there and proceeded westward to Oregon. Of th i s party, McLoughlin stated: "The f i r s t Immigration of 1841 or 1842 arrived i n so miserable condition that had i t not been for the Hudson's Bay Company they must have starved or been cut o f f by the Indians." (5) Dr. E l i j a h White, a member of the 1842 party, confirmed McLoughlin*s statement when he wrote i n his journal: "Four days longer march brought them to Fort Hall......Their reception was of the kindest character and they spent a week very pleasantly with Mr. Grant and his worthy associate* McDonald, who made advantageous exchanges of commodities and afforded them every f a c i l i t y i n t h e i r power f o r t h e i r f u r -ther journey. Flour cost them but half what i t did at Fort Laramie, although conveyed on horseback 800 miles." (6) Lansford Hastings was also i n th i s group of immigrants and i n his "Emigrants* Guide to Oregon and C a l i f o r n i a " , he states: "Up'on a r r i v i n g at t h i s f o r t we were received i n the kindest manner by Mr. Grant, who was i n charge; and we received every aid and attention from the gentlemen of that f o r t , during our 5 - "McLoughlin's Reply to the Warre Report". O.H.Q. XXXIII. 218 6 - White, Dr. E l i j a h : "Ten Years i n Oregon". Andrus, Gauntlet Co. Ithaca, H.Y. 1850. 164. 62 stay i n t h e i r v i c i n i t y . We were informed hy Mr. Grant and other gentlemen of the company, that i t would hy impossible f o r us to take our wagons down to the P a c i f i c ; consequently a meeting of the party was c a l l e d for the purpose of determining whether we should take them further Mr. Grant purchased a few of our wagons for a mere t r i f l e , which he paid i n such provisions as he could dispose of without injury to himself. He could not, .of course , afford to give much for them, as he did not need them., but bought them merely as an accommodation." (7) Much controversial material has been written and s t i l l i s being written regarding the r e l a t i o n s between the Hudson's Bay Company and the immigrants. The reports above seem to give an i n d i c a t i o n of the t y p i c a l attitude of the B r i t i s h traders. The most unusual and most persistent story i n t h i s respect i s that of Dr. Marcus Whitman. This enterprising Baptist missionary f i r s t a r rived in Oregon i n 1836. He was not popular at Fort Vancouver, and soon moved away and established a mission at Waiilatpu. His chief claim to fame at that time was that he had brought a two-wheeled car t , remnants of a wagon, past Fort H a l l to Fort Walla Walla. With the advent of American immigration i n 1840-41, Whitman conceived the idea of establishing a wagon road through the mountains which would permit the t r a v e l l e r s to rumble on i n comparative ease to the Columbia River. After a spectacular mid-winter dash across the continent i n 1842, Whitman presented his 7 - c i t . E l l i o t t , T.C.,: "Richard (Captain Johnny) Grant". O.H.Q. XXXVI. 9. 63 scheme to President T y l e r . Prom th i s point i n the story, h i s t o r i c a l opinions d i f f e r . Some contend that Tyler p r i v a t e l y promised government support to the missionary i f he could e s t a b l i s h a wagon route from Port H a l l to the Columbia. In the following year, the "Great Immigration", consisting of about 1000 people and 200 wagons, came crashing through the sage to Port H a l l , westward bound. Captain Gantt l e d t h e party to that point, and Whitman served as t h e i r guide from there to the Grand Ronde River. The problem of proceeding with t h e i r wagons was an extremely hazardous one and the Hudson's Bay Company o f f i c i a l s , as they had done previously, advised against i t . At this point i n Whitman's story, his admirers reach the climax of t h e i r adulation, for i t was he who "out-witted the traders" and l e d the wagons onward. Rev. Myron E e l l s , one of his associates, wrote; "There at Port H a l l , the f i n a l v i c t o r y was won. when, i n 1846, the treaty was signed..., i t was simply writing i n an o f f i c i a l way what had been xvritten "de facto" three years previous at Port H a l l . " (8) The persistence of this story of Whitman winning Oregon has been a remarkable feature of northwest hi s t o r y . Por instance, the Port H a l l Centennial Programme, published i n 1934, states: "When the Great Emigration of 1843 of over 1000 people reached Port H a l l , the r e a l battle was fought f o r the colonization movement. Richard. Grant 8 - E e l l s , Rev. Myron,: "Marcus Whitman". Harriman. Seattle. 1909. 229-230. 64 was genuinely alarmed by the multitude at the gates and t o l d them i t was an i m p o s s i b i l i t y to take wagons fart h e r . In the b a t t l e of wits between Whitman and Grant, the worthy doctor won, and the immigrants went on i n wagons to the Columbia." (9) Even the most recent book on Port H a l l states: "It was at that place (Port Hall) that the r e a l b a t t l e was fought f o r the colonization movement.." (10) Certainly t h i s i s true to a c e r t a i n extent but Whitman's success i n bringing wagons t hrough was not the turning point. Marshall, i n refuting the Whitman legend, writes: "At Port H a l l , the Hudson's Bay Company men made no^  e f f o r t to stop the wagons nor i f i t s men had t r i e d would they have succeeded, since" the party was f u l l y equipped-to go through. Besides three wagons had gone through i n 1840. Outfit t e d at the B r i t i s h post and one of i t s wagons was ov/ned by Ermatinger, chief trader at Port H a l l . " (11) Peter Burnett, a member of the 1843 party, seemed unaware of any attempt by Grant to divert the immigration, when he published his reminiscences: "I consulted Mr. Grant as to h i s opinion of the p r a c t a b i l i t y of taking our wagons through. He r e p l i e d that while he would not say that i t was impossible for us Americans to make the t r i p i n our wagons, he could not 9 - "Idaho Yesterday and Today", no author. Graves and Potter. Pocatello, Ida. 1934. 43-44. 10 - Brown, 294. 11 - Marshall. II. 381. 65 himself see how i t could he done. He had only t r a v e l l e d the pack t r a i l and c e r t a i n l y no wagons could follow that route hut there might he a p r a c t i c a l road found hy leaving the t r a i l at cer t a i n points." (12) A sim i l a r account was told by another t r a v e l l e r who reached Port H a l l i n the following years "Mr. Cave then asked whether we could get to the Columbia River i n wagons. Grant's reply was i n substance: 'Mr. Cave, i t ' s no use my answering your question. It's j u s t about a year ago since a l o t of people came here j u s t as you have done and asked me the same question. I t o l d them, ' l o ' that wefound i t very d i f f i c u l t to pass the narrow trails, with pack, ponies. They went on, jus t as you w i l l ; j u s t as i f I had not spoken a word and the next I heard they were at Walla Walla. You damned. Yankees w i l l do anything you like'." (13) Such then was the "battle of wits" as described by the chief trader himself, who, according to some writers, was supposed to be so perturbed by Whitman and his party. In confirmation of Grant's warning, the same immigrant wrote i n his journal l a t e r : "We took the mountain road which was as bad as Mr. Grant's description." (14) Another charge frequently made i s that the 12 - Burnett, P.H.,: "Recollections and Opinions of an Old Pioneer". O.H.Q. V. 77 13 - Lyman, M.S.,: "Reminiscences of JohnMinto". O.H.Q. II. 217. 14 - Ibid. 224. 66 Hudson's Bay Company wanted to prevent American settlement i n order that they could s e t t l e the land with B r i t i s h subjects. "The stopping of wagons at Port H a l l was a Hudson's Bay Company scheme to prevent s e t t l i n g of the country by Americans u n t i l they could s e t t l e i t with t h e i r own subjects."(15) The f a c t that only once did the company attempt such s e t t l e -ment during t h e i r period of occupation, and then i n only a h a l f -hearted manner, seems to disprove t h i s argument. On that occasion a small party of s e t t l e r s was brought from the Red River Valley to s e t t l e i n Oregon. There was never, at any time, a determined attempt by the company to s e t t l e the area with B r i t i s h subjects before 1846. The c r i t i c s of the "Honourable Company" have not been content to rest t h e i r case on Whitman and his wagons, (16) though h i s place i n h i s t o r y i s now being more c l e a r l y defined. 15 - Spalding, Rev. H.H. - c i t . Gray, W.H."History of Oregon 1792-1849". Bancroft. San Francisco. 1870. 289. 16 - "He did not originate the great flow of s e t t l e r s that started westward i n 1843.••....he did lead them and t h e i r wagons to the Grand Ronde River and they were then successfully brought to Wailaptu. "The journey to Oregon made by such a large number not only stimulated i n t e r e s t i n Oregon and insured a majority of Americans i n the disputed t e r r i t o r y ; but doubtless strengthened the determination of the government to i n s i s t upon American r i g h t s , and i t influenced the democrats to put the Oregon issue i n t h e i r platform i n 1844." Carey, C H . s "General History of Oregon". Metropolitan Press. 1935. I. 316. The other charges brought against the traders at Fort H a l l are that they impeded the t r a v e l l e r s by charging high prices for supplies and by attempting to divert them to C a l i f o r n i a . The high cost of transporting supplies to Fort H a l l has already been noted as also Dr. "White's opinion of the prices of supplies at the post. In spite of t h i s Dr. whitman wrote: "The present party i s supposed to have expended no less than $2000 at Fort H a l l and Fort Boise .at the enormous rate of charge c a l l e d mountain pr i c e s : i . e . $50 the hundred f o r f l o u r and $50 the hundred fo r coffee, the same for sugar." (17) Certainly the missionary shows some prejudice i n such c r i t i c i s m , since, he must have r e a l i z e d the high f r e i g h t i n g charges. He had arrived i n Oregon some s i x years before and had had to purchase supplies for his mission s t a t i o n f a r i n the i n t e r i o r . Surely his experience there must have shown him the high costs of transportation i n the rugged mountain country. A contemporary of Whitman also complained of the prices at Fort H a l l : "Arrived at Fort H a l l . Here the company had considerable trading with Mr. Grant, manager for the Hudson's Bay Company. He s e l l s at an exorbitant p r i c e : f l o u r - 25ef a p i n t , sugar-50^, coffee-50/Z", riee-33 1/3/2" a pint." (18) 17 - E e l l s , op. c i t . Dr. Marcus Y/hitman to Hon. Jas. Porter, Secretary of War. 337. 18 - Hesmith, Jas. W.: "Diary of Emigrant of 1843". O.H.Q VII. 349-350. These prices do not seem exorbitant, however, when compared (19) with the prices at Fort Laramie, Further, the majority of extant journals do not agree with those quoted above. Farnham described his a r r i v a l at the post, thus: "A f r i e n d l y s alutation was followed by an i n v i t a t i o n to enter the Fort;: and a 'welcome to Fort H a l l 1 , was given i n a manner so kind and obliging that nothing seemed wanting to make us f e e l that we were at home. A generous flagon of Old Jamaica, wheaten bread, and butter newly churned, and buffalo tongues f r e s h from the neighboring mountain made their appearance as soon as we had r i d our-selves of the equipage and dust of journeying and allayed the dreadful sense of starvation Goods are sold at this e s t a b l i s h -ment 50% lower than at the American posts." (20) Burnett reported t hat "Mir. Grant was excedingly kind and hospitable". In 1845, the rates at the f o r t were: f l o u r , $20- per cwt., horses $15 to $25; surely not excessive prices i n view of the monopoly and the d i f f i c u l t i e s of transportation . An immigrant of 1845, wrote: "Fort H a l l was i n charge of Jas, (s i c ) Grant of Hudson's Bay Company, Mr. Rector found him 'a very clever and obliging gent• who gave valuable i n -formation i n regard to the route," (21) Even John Minto, who claimed the company had treated Wyeth severely, wrote: 1.9 - In 1843 - coffee, $1.50 a pint; brown sugar - $1.50 a pint; f l o u r - 25^ l b . ; powder - $1.50 a l b . ; cal i c o - $1 a yd. 20 - Farnham., 302-303. 21 - Barry, J.H.: "Autobiography of Wm. Henry Rector". O.H.Q. XXX. 63 "Mr. Grant......... gave me f a i r treatment i n trade, however, furnishin, a strong saddle horse for my gun." (22 Jesse Applegate, one of the most famous of the Oregon T r a i l pioneers, stated that i n 1843, when he v i s i t e d Fort H a l l , "nothing hut kindness" was received from "Captain Grant". J o e l Palmer, an immigrant of 1845, described his treatment at Port H a l l , thuss "August 8 (1845)....Port H a l l . Captain Grant is now the o f f i c e r i n command; he has the bearing of a gentleman. The garrison was supplied with f l o u r , which had been procured from the settlements i n Oregon, and brought here on pack horses. They sold i t to the emigrants for #20 per cwt., taking c a t t l e i n exchanges and. as many of the emigrants were nearly out of f l o u r and had a few lame c a t t l e , a b r i s k trade was carr i e d on between them and the inhabitants of the f o r t . In the exchange of ca t t l e f o r fl o u r an allowance was made of from $5 to $12 per head. They also had horses which they r e a d i l y exchanged f o r c a t t l e or sold for cash. The price demanded for horses was from $15 to $25. They could not be prevailed upon to receive any-thing i n exchange for their goods or provisions, excepting c a t t l e or money." (23) After reviewing s i m i l a r journals of many pioneers, Mrs. Brown, stated that the aid received by the emigrants at Port H a l l made i t possible f o r many to reach the Columbia River Valley, who would not otherwise have been able to reach 22 - Lyman, H.S.s "Reminiscences of John Minto". O.H.Q. II . 215. 23 - Palmer's Journal, "Early Western Travels".ed.R.G. Thwaites. Clark. Cleveland. 1906. I. 86. 70 th e i r destination. T . C . E l l i o t t , an eminent authority on the history of the region, writes: "It i s true of course that among so many travelers during those years some others imagined themselves i l l -treated and overcharged, and these have l e f t somewhat d i f f e r e n t records, hut i n most of such instances, reasons of weariness, poor health, uncertain memory or prejudice were accountable." (24) The t h i r d charge made against the o f f i c i a l s of Port H a l l , as seated above, i s that they attempted to persuade many of the immigrants to turn t h e i r course f o r C a l i f o r n i a . This accusation, again a product of prejudice, cannot be substantiated. It i s la r g e l y a s u r v i v a l of charges (25) such as those of Samuel R. Thurston, who stated i n the United States Congress: "In 1845, he (McLoughlin) sent am express to Port H a l l , 800 miles, to warn the American emigrants that i f they attempted to come to Willamette they would a l l be cut o f f . " (26) McLoughlin denied t h i s charge and even secured the support of Wyeth i n i t s contradiction; 24 - E l l i o t t , T.C. op. c i t . -12. 25 - "Thurston's l e t t e r s , speeches and actions against Dr. McLoughlin are the one great b l o t on h i s career. Thurston was a man of a b i l i t y , a fluent speaker, a profuse writer of l e t t e r s , of untiring, energy, but i n c l i n e d to be v i n d i c t i v e , and was not careful about the truth of his statements concerning a person he opposed or d i s l i k e d . " Holman, P.V.: "Dr. John McLoughlin". Clark. Cleveland. 1907. 144-145. 26 - Ibid. 123. 71 "Tlie suffering- and d i s t r e s s of the ea,rly American v i s i t o r s and s e t t l e r s i n the Columbia River were always treated by Hudson's Bay Company agents and p a r t i c u l a r l y so by Dr. John McLoughlin with consideration and kindness." (27) Had the Hudson's Bay Company been determined to keep the American s e t t l e r s out of Oregon, they would, no doubt, have evolved some d e f i n i t e scheme to hold the area. A c t u a l l y , however, they car r i e d on a bri s k trade with the immigrants and sold them the equipment necessary f o r th e i r progress. One of the early immigrants wrote: "To be frank, no more, i f as much, discouragement was offered to their party of emigrants at Fort Ha.ll than had been received at Fort Laramie, an American post." (28) Evidence has been brought forward which proves that the major factor i n the attempted diversion of s e t t l e r s to C a l i f o r n i a was a scheme developed by Americans i n that region. By thi s means they hoped to f i l l up the t e r r i t o r y -then Mexican - with American s e t t l e r s who would aid the severance of the Mexican connection and seek annexation with United States. Actually two agents, Greenwood and McDougall, were sent from C a l i f o r n i a to Fort H a l l to influence the 27 - Hath. J . Wyeth to Hon. S.R.Thurston, November 21, 1850. O.H.Q,. I. 106. 28 - Lyman, H.S.: "Reminiscences of F.X Matthieu". O.H.Q. I. 90. immigrants at that point. Joel Palmer» a westbound t r a v e l l e r , noted i n hie journal i n 1845: "While we remained at t h i s place, great e f f o r t s were made to induce the emigrants to pursue the route to C a l i f o r n i a . The most extravagant tales were rel a t e d respecting the dangers tnat awaited a t r i p to Oregon On the other hand, as an inducement to pursue the C a l i f o r n i a route, we were informed of the shortness of the route when compared with that te Oregon Mr-. Greenwood, an old mountaineer, well stocked with falsehoods, had been dispatched from C a l i f o r n i a to p i l o t the emigrants through, and a s s i s t e d hy a young man hy the name of McDougall." (29) It i s net d i f f i c u l t to understand that many immigrants-'w ere of undesirable types. Chief Trader Grant wrote of ©ne who, hoastring that he was a "free-horn son of America", warned the traaer that ne would soon have to leave the f o r t since i t was now an American t e r r i t o r y . When Grant asked him i f h i s l i b e r t y permitted him to place his muddy hoots upon his host's bed (upon whicn the American had sprawled), the young j i n g o i s t made a hurried departure, i n a f l u r r y o.i threats of expulsion f o r tne jBritisn traaer. Such an attitude was t y p i c a l of some of the more m i l i t a n t immigrants. Simpson was poorly impressed with many of the immigrants whom he saw and reported te the Governor of tne Company: "jfiewie k n i i e , revolving p i s t o l and ~ r i f l e taking place of constable*s baton i n bringing delinquents to j u s t i c e . " (50) 29 - Palmer's Journal, "Early Western Travels", ed. R.G. Thwaites. Clark. Cleveland, 1906. I. 87. 50 - S i r George Simpson to Governor ef the Hudson's Bay Company, June/20, 1845. American H i s t o r i c a l Review. XXIX. 691. Some time l a t e r , Simpson warned Grant to be on guard against p i l l a g i n g by the t r a v e l l e r s . There remains but one contentious point to be cleared i n the discussion of re l a t i o n s between the Hudson's Eay Company and the immigrants. This i s the question of Grant's retirement. Many have claimed that his resignation from the f i r m was requested because he had f a i l e d to keep the s e t t l e r s out of Oregon. Typical of such opinions i s the following extract: "Grant was r e t i r e d i n 1852 from his p o s i t i o n at Port H a l l by the com-pany on the ground's of impaired health, but i t i s now believed to have been the outcome of his f a i l u r e to stem the tide of immigration into the Oregon •territory." (31) Such statements are f a r from true. In the f i r s t place, he did not leave his post at Port H a l l u n t i l 1852, by which time the number of immigrants passing that point had decreas-ed considerably. This decline was due to increased i n t e r -est i n C a l i f o r n i a , which had been annexed by United States i n 1850 and wa^ s the centre of a great "gold fever". Indian h o s t i l i t y along the Oregon route v/as another factor which diverted immigrants from Port H a l l . F i n a l l y , a new and better route to C a l i f o r n i a had been opened further south. In the second place, Grant's health was hot good) rheumatism had made i t increasingly d i f f i c u l t to carry on his arduous duties as head of the post. As early as 1850, 31 - "Idaho Yesterday and Today", no author, 44. Simpson had recommended a furlough f o r Grant to give him an opportunity to recuperate from his i l l n e s s and then suggested a transfer to Dunvegan i n the Peace River " d i s t r i c t . It i s , therefore, obvious that his resignation was not requested, but rather that he be permitted to take a holiday and then be transferred, f o r the sake of his health, where this work would be l e s s arduous. In summary, therefore, we note that the Hudson's Bay Company's attitude towards the immigrants was s t r i c t l y one of fairness and kindness. Every possible assistance was rendered to the t r a v e l l e r s , trading was ca r r i e d on at normal rates, and there was no deliberate attempt by the o f f i c e r s of the company to divert the im-migrants to C a l i f o r n i a f o r a s e l f i s h reason. An excellent observation on the weakness of any contradictory attitude has been made by T.C. E l l i o t t , an i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y recog-nized authority on Oregon's early history, whose fairness i n such matters i s widely acknowledged: th i s i s the r i d i c u l o u s theory advanced by some writers that the Hudson's B sy Company, up to the time of the treaty between the United States and Great B r i t a i n i n June, 1846, maintained the p o l i c y of preventing, or at l e a s t , of retarding settlement of the Oregon country by Americans and sent Chief Trader Grant to Port H a l l to enforce such poli c y . Ho seriously and i n t e l l i g e n t l y written history i n recent years has contained such a d i r e c t statement, but there i s a s"ort of inherent delight i n the American mind i n 'twisting the B r i t i s h l i o n ' s t a i l ' now and then, and writers of h i s t o r i c f i c t i o n and even of some l o c a l authorities so assert." (32) 32 - E l l i o t t , T.C. s"Richard (Captain Johnny) Grant". O.H.Q. XXXVI. ©. 76 Chapter VIII,  PORT HALL AFTER THE TREATY por many years a f t e r the signing of the Oregon Treaty i n 1846, the Hudson's Bay Company maintained Pert H a l l , i t s southeijjmost post.- Tne immigren ts continued to pause at i t s white adohe walls to s e l l t h e i r c a t t l e or ether surplus supplies i n return for f l o u r , sugar, or other provisions i n which they stood i n need. In 1847, Chief Tracer Grant reported that some 900 wagons trundlea mp te the gates ef the post | (1) between July 11 ana September 2 of that year. During the same year, the Mormons haa inaugurated their settlement at Salt Lake and the aggressive chief trader had immediately established - trade with them. In 1848, the number of wagons passing Port H a l l was 300. In the next year, however, news of Sutter's gold discovery i n C a l i f o r n i a had spread te the east and Grant estimated that close to 10,000 wagons "passed on t h e i r way to the Calefornia (2) Mines &." Small wonder.that the Old Oregon T r a i l , i n many places, e s p e c i a l l y i n the soft volcanic s o i l of the Snake River v a l l e y , consisted of a depression some four or f i v e feet deep. 1 - H.B.C. Arch. D. 5/20. 2 - Chief Trader Richard Grant to S i r George Simpson, February 22, 1850. H.B.C. Arch. D. 5/27. 77 The days o f fame f o r P o r t H a l l were n e a r i n g a n end, however, as were t h e days o f t h e g r e a t n e s s o f t h e o l d t r a i l . As n o t e d i n t h e p r e v i o u s c h a p t e r , t h e o p e n i n g o f a new t r a i l f u r t h e r s o u t h and t h e menace o f I n d i a n a t t a c k s i n t h e O r e g o n r e g i o n were m a j o r f a c t o r s i n t u r n i n g t h e t i d e o f m i g r a t i o n t o t h e sunny s l o p e s o f C a l i f o r n i a . T h ese I n d i a n a t t a c k s h a d s t a r t e d i n 1847, w i t h t h e m a s s a c r e a t D r . Whitman's m i s s i o n o f t h e m i s s i o n a r y and most o f t h e s e t t l e r s t h e r e . T h i s s t a r t e d a p e r i o d o f r e s t -l e s s n e s s among t h e I n d i a n s o f t h e r e g i o n who f e a r e d t h e a d v e n t o f h o r d e s o f w h i t e s e t t l e r s who w o u l d d e p r i v e them o f t h e i r a n c e s t r a l homes. I n t e r m i t t e n t m a s s a c r e s and s k i r m i s h e s l a s t e d f o r many y e a r s and h a r a s s e d t h e w h i t e s e t t l e r s and t r a d e r s . To c o n t r o l t h e I n d i a n s , p a r t i c u l a r l y t h e Y a k i m a t r i b e , a d e t a c h m e n t o f U n i t e d S t a t e s t r o o p s was s e n t t o t h e r e g i o n i n 1849, u n d e r t h e command of l i e u t e n a n t C o l o n e l W.W. L o r i n g . "The o r i g i n a l o r d e r o f t h e s e c r e t a r y o f war, d a t e d June 1, 1847, d i r e c t e d e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f two o r more o f a c h a i n o f p o s t s a l o n g the r o u t e t o O r e g o n one a t o r - n e a r P o r t L a r a m i e t h e o t h e r a t P o r t H a l l o r on t h e B e a r R i v e r n e a r enough t o be s u p p l i e d f r o m t h e ICormon s e t t l e m e n t s . " (3) Some c o n f u s i o n has b e e n c a u s e d by. v a r i o u s w r i t e r s who assumed t h a t P o r t H a l l was a c t u a l l y o c c u p i e d by a m i l i t a r y g a r r i s o n , b e c a u s e o f t h e s e o r d e r s . However, 3 - Hoop, O.W.: " H i s t o r y o f P o r t H o s k i n s 1856-65". O.H.Q. XXX. 347. 78 th i s regiment r e a l l y occupied an encampment near the f o r t i n August, 1849: "A temporary post c a l l e d Cantonment Loring, about s i x miles from Old Port H a l l on the branch of the Snake River,' was occupied by troops during a part of the years 1849 and 1850." (4) This s i t e was not found suitable and the location was moved i n May, 1850, owing to a s c a r c i t y of forage f o r the horses. A new establishment was located near the Dalles on (5) the Columbia River. Following t h i s m i l i t a r y expedition through the Oregon T e r r i t o r y , there seems to have been a l u l l i n Indian attacks. The menace had done irreparable damage to immigra-t i o n into the region, however, and the flow of t r a f f i c towards Oregon was thinning to a mere t r i c k l e . In 1853, Chief Factor Peter Skene Ogden reported to S i r George Simpson that s u f f i c i e n t supplies were being sent to Forts H a l l and Boise to supply (6) the large number of immigrants expected. The number of t r a v e l l e r s , however, f e l l f a r short of the company's ex-pectations and, hence, trade decreased considerably. It i s inte r e s t i n g to note at t h i s point that t h i s o u t f i t was lar g e l y transported by wagons from Fort Vancouver to Port 4 - Major-General E.T.Conley, Adjutant-General, United States Army, to L.S. Grant, Washington, D.C. January 31, 1938. 5 - cf. D o r r i s , J.T.: "Oregon T r a i l Points, 1850". O.H.Q. XXX. 324. 6 - Chief Factors P.S.Ogden and James Douglas to H.B.C. London, October 1, 1848. H.B.C. Arch. B.223/6/38. para.' 14. Hall and arrangements- were completed to abandon tne old jaode of horse packing on this route auring 1854. A further loss to the two Snake River forts, Boise ana Mall, in 1853 was caused when tney were inundated by the flood waters of the river. In 1854, the fury of tne reaskins again burst forth with the massacre of 19 immigraa ts of a party of 21 near Fort Boise. A military expedition, sent to punish the Indians, succeeded in capturing some prisoners. After the troops departed, i t was considered unwise for tne company's officers and men to remain any longer at Fort Boise an<I i t was therefore abandoned in 1855. Two years later, there was another Indian massacre at the Cascades in which James Sinclair (of the Hudson's Bay Company) and 18 others were slain. Since this attack was in the proximity of the Fort Hall-Fort Vanco uver route, great concern was felt at the latter point for the safety of the mountain post's inhabitants. On May 3, 1856, approximately six weeks after the attack, William Sinclair arrived at Fort Vancouver from Fort Hal 1, His report was forwarded through his superior, Chief Factor Dugald McTavish, to head-quarters in London: "Mr. Sinclair was fortunate in meeting very few Indians on the journey, which was performed without any mishap, with the exception of the loss of four horses, stolen from him, between Walla Walla and the Unatilla River- i t is however distressing to mention, that Mr. Sinclair in ignorance of the disturbed state of affairs along the route despatched two men (Esdras Boisclair, a Canadian, and Jean Bit? Desjardins, a Red River halfbreed from Port H a l l on the 1?? of January, f o r this place, with the accounts of his post, and as nothing has been heard of them since, I i n f e r that they must have been murdered by the Indians. In consequence of the accounts not having come to hand, I am unable to say exactly how matters stand i n the Snake Country, but M? S i n c l a i r reports v e r b a l l y , that there was but l i t t l e trade at Port H a l l during Outfit 1855, and when he l e f t that place on the l§t A p r i l u l t m 0 , the stock on hand consisted of trading goods & provisions to the value of probably six hundred pounds -at Inventory prices together with some f o r t y head of horned Cattle and a few horses. The Indians have destroyed our establishment at Boise and I therefore f e e l somewhat anxious for the safety of Port H a l l , at which there are now only two men." (7) Apparently McTavish received orders from London, authorizing him to evacuate the f o r t , f o r i n July of the same year, he wrote: "In consequence of the troubled state of the Country and the d i f f i c u l t y of keeping up the communication between t h i s point and Port H a l l , I have directed MT Macdonald Chief Trader Angus Macdonald at C o l v i l l e , to send a party and remove the people and property from. Port H a l l to the Platheads, and I trust he w i l l succeed i n doing so, without incurring much l o s s , and further that you w i l l approve of this arrangement. Owing to the h o s t i l e f e e l i n g evinced by the Indians, WC William Charles found i t 1 nece'ssary to leave Boise l a s t autumn, and as we have now to abandon Port H a l l , for the same reason, I 7 - Chief Factor Dugald McTavish to Wm. G. Smith, secretary of the Company, Fort Vancouver, May 12, 1856.. H.B.C. Arch. B.223/b/41. 217-8. 81 presume we s h a l l have a ch; im f o r damages on the United States Govern-ment." (8) The evacuation of the f o r t was ca r r i e d out hy Michael Ogden, and l i t t l e or nothing of any value was l e f t behind. The business, however, was not wound up without a l o s s . This despatch may be considered the requiem of the f o r t , for floods swept over i t i n 1862 and 1864 and, weather, too, wreaked i t s havoc on the structure. In 1865, Walker reported: "The old f o r t was found to be a heap of ruins, but out of the adobe and some abandoned buildings of the Overland Stage Company, a shelter was erected." (9) As noted above, a claim on the United States Government fo r the property, grew out of i t s abandonment by the company. In 1847, one year a f t e r the signing of the Oregon Treaty, the company placed a value of £2114 on Port H a l l . By 1865, however, the claim had r i s e n to the sum of $24,333.33 (approximately £5000). This claim was f i n a l l y s e t t l e d with a l l the other claims of the company against the United States Government by a j o i n t Anglo-American commission. While the value of Port H a l l was itemized (10) fo r the work of the committee, i n the f i n a l settlement 8 - Chief Pactor Dugald McTavish to S i r George Simpson, Vancouver, W.T., July 22, 1856. H.B.C. Arch. B. 223/b/41, 226-27. 9 - c i t . Bancroft, H.H. "History of Idaho". History Co. Press. San Francisco. 1890. 10- See appendix W„ a lump siim of $3,822,036.27 was decided upon as a payment to the company. Today, the whole s i t e once occupied hy this i n t e r e s t i n g post has heen completely inundated hy a man-made lake created i n a hydro-electric scheme harnessing American P a l l s . ? 83 Chapter IX, CONCLUSION There i s l i t t l e more to he s a i d of the story of t h i s mountain poBt, hut i t i s necessary to b r i e f l y review the importance ©fits short, but v i v i d h i s t o r y . In the f i r s t place, i t was the only American-b u i l t trading post i n the i n t e r i o r of the j-ointly-occupied t e r r i t o r y , and though i t did not remain long under the Stars and S t r i p e s , yet .it had a symbolic importai ce. One writer, r e f e r r i n g t© Wyeth, i t s b u i l d e r , states; "His venture as a fur trader scarcely caused a r i p p l e on the surface ©f l i f e i n Oregon, but i n the East i t kindled i n t e r e s t i n the .territory beyond the mountains, an interest dormant since the days of Lewis and Clark. Was,Oregon a land for settlement? Men began to ask that question." (1) The l o c a t i o n of Fort H a l l on the Oregon T r a i l brought i t more pre-eminence as an equipping s t a t i o n for the t r a v e l l e r s than i t had managed to a t t a i n when beaver p e l t s were i t s p r i n c i p a l source of revenue. During 20 years, from (2) 1836 to 1856, some 200,000 travel-weary pioneers paused at i t s gates f o r r e s t , provisions, or assistance. Since i t was further west than Fort Laramie, i t s supplies were of even greater value to the t r a v e l l e r s than were those of the American 1 - Skinner, C.L.s "Adventurers of Oregon". Yale University Press. New Haven. 1921. 241. 2 - "Idaho, Yesterday and Today". 65. 84 post. Ezra Meeker, one of the l a s t l i n k s with the Oregon T r a i l , once stated: "So when I drove with my ox team into Pocatello i n May, 1906, on my way over the Oregon T r a i l , searching for suitable spots upon which to erect monuments, I naturally f i r s t queried to ascertain the s i t e of Port H a l l , which I then and do now, consider the most important h i s t o r i c point on the great t r a i l . It was here the early pioneers must needs abandon their wagon and proceed on the i r weary journey as best they could; some on horseback, some afoot, and some with oxen or cows packed, while the un-fortunate pioneer trudged along behind covered with dust and i n many instances enduring parched l i p s of t h i r s t . " ( J | The f a c i l i t i e s offered by Port H a l l were absolutely e s s e n t i a l for the success of the Oregon T r a i l and the immigration which passed over i t . If the post had not been located where i t was, i t would have been impossible for the t r a v e l l e r s of the 1840 fs to continue th e i r hazardous journey out of the Great Basin, through the Rocky Mountains, and down the P a c i f i c slope. The journals of many of the immigrants bear witness to th e i r hard-pressed condition by the time they had crossed the 1288 miles from the usual s t a r t i n g point at Independence, Missouri. It has been pointed out that supplies were made available at Port H a l l to the weary t r a v e l l e r s , even though continuance of t h e i r journey would help to e s t a b l i s h t h e i r nation's claim to the region, and be a detriment to the company which owned the f o r t and to c i t . Brown, 365. 85 the nation to whom, i t owed allegiance* If Fort H a l l had never heen b u i l t , i t would have been impossible for such great numbers of American s e t t l e r s to cross the continent and the history of the American P a c i f i c coast might well have been d i f f e r e n t . The northwest section would not have possessed, so many American c i t i z e n s when Its ownership was decided; the sunny land of C a l i f o r n i a might s t i l l be i n the hands of the Mexican government. Some of the t r a i l s which were l a t e r opened as "cut-offs" or "short-cuts" merely served to enhance the importance of Fort H a l l , for i t became as prominent a junction for the white t r a v e l l e r s as i t had once been .for the Indians. " ....authorities agree that Fort H a l l was for a generation the most noteworthy of a l l the hal t i n g places on the Oregon T r a i l . There the road forked, one branch running northwest to Oregon, another southwest across what i s now hevada to the Sierras and beyond to C a l i f -ornia; and so i t was that members of emigrant trains h a l t i n g at Fort H a l l to r e f i t and reorganize, frequently, at this parting of the ways, changed t h e i r minds as to th e i r destination, some who had o r i g i n a l l y planned to go to Oregon, de-ciding i n favor of C a l i f o r n i a , and others who had set out f o r C a l i f o r n i a making a twelfth-hour choice of Oregon." (y-) The fact that so many immigrants did change the i r minds as to the i r ultimate destination while at the f o r t gave $ - Wilson, R.R.:"Out of the West". Press of the Pioneers. Hew York. 1933. 100. 86 both Oregon and C a l i f o r n i a predominantly American populations. The presence of this majority was a mighty factor when the sovereignty of the two regions was f i n a l l y s e t t l e d . In the f i e l d of Anglo-American r e l a t i o n s , Port H a l l occupied an important place. While i t s name scarcely appeared i n any o f f i c i a l documents, yet, as has been "noted, i t was a centre of controversial discussion for many years. This controversy brought American c r i t i c i s m upon the head of the old "King of Oregon", Dr. John McLoughlin. Contra-dictory stories which proved that the old trader had aided the immigrants made him the prey of B r i t i s h c r i t i c s . Much of t h i s argument centred about the orders which he despatched to the servants of the company at Port H a l l . The defamatory allegations hounded him to his grave. Yet, present-day evidence proves the inaccuracy of the charges. It i s to be hoped that the facts presented herewith w i l l refute any s i m i l a r charges that have been made against Hudson's Bay Company o f f i c e r s at Port H a l l . These men car r i e d out their duties i n a manner which was l o y a l to their employer, but which v/as, at the same time, primarily one of kindness and fairness to the weary t r a v e l l e r s who stopped at their gates. These very t r a v e l l e r s were, of course, those who were f i l l i n g up the land to such an extent that they were going to secure the land for t h e i r nation, and, a f t e r a lapse of some nine years, to restore the s i t e of Port H a l l to American sovereignty. 87 APPENDIX I. The Santa Pe traders were the men who c a r r i e d on a l u c r a t i v e trade from Independence, Missouri to Santa Pe, Mexico. Owing to the distance of Santa Fe from Vera Cruz, .. i t was a l o g i c a l market for overland American traders. Goods from the east, usually f a b r i c s , were transported by caravan to Santa Fe and sold there i n return for specie, b u l l i o n or fu r . The trade averaged about one hundred to one hundred f i f t y thousand do l l a r s a year between 1822 and 1843. These traders had strong support i n Washingtonand were often given m i l i t a r y escorts of f a r greater expense than the value of the trade warranted. Probably the reason f o r th i s was the presence of t h e i r excellent advocate, Senator Thomas Benton, i n Washing-ton, who guarded the monopoly of h i s Missouri trading c o n s t i t -uents with the utmost v i g i l a n c e . I I . " Mr McLeod l e f t t h i s on 18th A p r i l with an O u t f i t , and proceeded to the American Rendezvouse which he reached on 28th June, on Green River, a Branch of the Rio Colorado, about 200 Miles S.E. of Salt Lake. On the 18th July the Americans a r r i v e d from St. Louis, when he was informed through Captain Thing, Mr. Wyeths Clerk, that Mr. Wyeth had given over the business, and given him power to s e l l out, but states nothing regarding the proposal he made to Your Honors, and he writes Captain Thing he would f i n d further instructions at Vancouver. Captain Thing offered Mr. McLeod at once to s e l l the Hudsons Bay Company a l l Mr. Wyeth Goods & at a 100 p Cent on Boston prices, Fort H a l l 1000 Dollars Traps 12 " ea Horses 40 " " and his Trappers advances at t h e i r valuation i n the Books; Mr. McLeod very properly would not accept these terms as too high, and Captain Thing immediately sold his Traps and Horses to Fountenell and Drips at those prices, and brough(t) down hi s Furs here, and according to the o f f e r you made him, I purchased his Goods & valuing them at our Importation of '36, and taking the Boston prime cost f o r such a r t i c l e s as we had not, and allowing him our Inventory advance as you offered, and putting no value on 88 useless a r t i c l e s , (however to give us a claim on these l a s t , when the accounts were made out, I gave him F i f t y Dollars fo r them) Beaver 4£ Dollars pr l b (The Rocky Mountain price) on condition that he would take Five Hundred Dollars f o r Fort H a l l and his Outstanding Debts, to be paid by B i l l s on Oahu, and i f we have no funds there, te be paid by B i l l s on England, the Dollar to be valued at 4/2, but i f these terms did not s u i t him I offered him a passage f o r his e f f e c t s and Furs to Oahu, on h i s paying f r e i g h t ; he accepted the offers I made him, and sold us a l l Mr Wyeth Furs, Goods & as you see by the accompanying account, and f o r which I w i l l draw on the terms stated when we have closed his accounts, and he leaves t h i s f o r Oahu." Chief Factor Dr. John McLoughlin to B.B.C. London - Fort  Vancouver, 31st October, 1837. (H.B.C.Arch. B. 223/b/17. f. 43d-44) I I I . "Tne dry goods f o r an overland t r i p are best found i n Hew York and the other a r t i c l e s i n St. Louis. A small charge must be added f o r transport to St. Louis f o r those bought i n New York, say on 4000 l b s . including Insurance & Sundrys f> 160.00 Baling of the Above and Sundrys bought at St. Louis 100.00 50 pack saddles and 50 Riding Do 250.00 Hobbies and Halters f o r 100 animals 150.00 Shoeing f o r 100 animals 50.00 Corn and sundry for horses 50.00 Saddle Blankets 100.00 50 men for 5 montns at 15 per month3750.00 Provisions to Buffaloe 100.00 Pack covers 50.00 Am(m)unition 100.00 100 animals 3000.00 Guns 300,00 F i r s t cost of goods 3000.00 Six months in t e r e s t on a l l charges except wages 222.00 #11382.0.0 being the Cost of transporting gooas (including the f i r s t cost) of the value of #3000 from St. Louis to the Trois Titons Long. 110 deg. west L a t t . about 43, A i r l i n e distance 900 miles. In making an estimate ©i the cost of transport-ing the same amt. of go©as irom the head of navigation on the Columbia I s h a l l make the difference i n time and force re-quired which from some knowledge l t h i n * j u s t and also cost of Harness ana Horses, 50 pack Saddles and 15 r i d i n g do to be bougnt of the Inas f o r about 25 ete. ea i n gooas $ 17.00 Halters ana Hobbles f o r 65 animals 17.00 Buffaloes f o r blkts 30.00 15 men f o r 4 months at 15 per month 900.00 Provisions 100.00 Pack covers 50.00 Amunition 25.00 Guns 90.00 65 animals at $5 ea. 325.00 P i r s t cost of gooas 3000.00 $4554.uO Interest f o r 10 months en a l l charges except wages oi men 182.00 $4736.00 being a difference of $6646.00 i n f a r . of transporting goods from the f i r s t rapids on the Columbia to the Trois Titons Long. 110 deg. west, l a t t . 43 deg N. (and 400 miles a i r l i n e ) ever and above St. Louie." Sources - N.J.Wyeth to Henry H a l l and Messrs. Tucker and Williams, Cambridge, Nov. 8/1833. 75-76 IV. Value as set on P©rt H a l l f o r the Angle-American J o i n t Claims Commissions 1 2-storey adobe dwelling 22* by 12* £132 1 2-storey store 22* by 14......£220 1 range adobe building, 27* by 10* £235 (with 2 dwellings and material store) 1 range ©f adobe b u i l d i n g 36* by 10* ..•••2 dwellings and blacksmith shop £144 1 range of adobe b u i l d i n g 57* by 10*, v i z . 2, dwelling houses and m i l l house and lumber room £228 2 2-storey bastions, 8* by 8* by 10* by 10* £ 80 90 1 2-8t©rey building, store house, 12* by 12' £ 60 Wall of tne f o r t , 13' high by 19" thick 100' by 80' £400 1 dwelling house, 35'-by 10» £175 1 horse yard or park w a l l 6' high by 19" thick, 130* by 160' £190 1 horse yard or park 165' by 13» wall 5* high by 19" thick £250 TOTAL: £2,114 Further excerpts from the notes supplied by the Archives Department of the Huds8n's Bay Company and published by the authority of the Governor and Committee of the company* " and where I understand he intends to keep a store to supply the trappers i n the Mountains. He traded there l a s t year, about s i x hundred Beavers. Mr. (Thomas) McKay passed the "Winter i n the v i c i n i t y of Mr. Wyeths port, and w i l l also pass the winter thereabouts this year. He i s supplied with a small o u t f i t for trade, and a few men to trap." -H.B.C. Arch. B.223b/ll, pp. 66 & 67. "McLoughlin reported to the Governor and and Committee on the 16th November, 1836, that "Wyeth's f o r t was s t i l l heing kept up at that time (H.B.C. Arch. B. 2£3/b/i2, f. 70d), but i n December oi the same year wyeth was writing to the Governor ana Committee pro-posing that they should buy a i l the property of his company - the Columbia River Fishing ana Traaing Co. Fort H a l l was also to be incluaed i n tne transaction. (N. 0. Wyeth to H.B.C. Lonaon, #th December, 1836. -H.B.C. Arcn. A.10/3.) 91 "The Governor and Committee were s a t i s f i e d with the r e s u l t s ef t h i s transaction and stated that Port H a l l , to-gether with Port Boise', which the Company had previously erected i n the Snake Country i n opposition to Wyeth, should he maintained* The trapping expedition was also to be kept up i n order to compete with any American trapping parties that might come from St. Louis." -H.B.C. London to Chief Trauer James Douglas, 31st October, 1838. (H.B.C. Arch. A. 6/24, f . 9 - 9d.) "Attempts at c u l t i v a t i o n at Port H a l l do not appear to have met with much success. Owing to tne d i f f i c u l t y of ob-taining provisions i n many parts of the Snake Country, two ploughs were sent there irom Port Vancouver i n 1839, but the summer of that year was so excessively ary that the attempt to raise grain l o r looa was a f a i l u r e . It was intended to continue the experiment,(Chief Tracer James Douglas to H.B.C. Lonaon. I4th October, 1639; H.B.C. Arch. B.223/b/23, pp. ii6-27) ana although we have iouna notning iurther i n our archives concerning agriculture at Pert H a i l , i t appears from the evidence of various witnesses given before the B r i t i s h ana American j o i n t Commission referred to above that the further attempts were also f a i l u r e s . " "Chief Trader Richard Grant reported to Governor S i r George Simpson that i n 1845 not le s s than 456 waggons, besides several packing p a r t i e s , passea Port H a l l on t h e i r way to the west with thousanas of c a t t l e , ana that he had traaed with them to the extent of a few hunarea d o l l a r s . He had heara rumours to the e f f e c t that 'several Thousanas of Mor-mons' were preparing to mice th e i r way to C a l i f o r n i a . -Cniei Traaer Richard.Grant to S i r George Simpson, 2nd January, 1846. (H.B.C. Arch. D.5/16). "We have not found any record of the number of waggons passing Port H a i l i n 1846, out oy 18*7 the figures hau r i s e n consiaeraoly. Chief Trauer Ricnard Grant reported to s i r George Simpson on 3l8tu©cember, 1847,' that tne i i r s t im-migrants appeared that year on i i t h Juiy, ana from that time u n t i l tne 2na September, 901 waggons, uesiaes several pack-ing p a r t i e s , passed Port H a i l on t h e i r way to Oregon and C a l i f o r n i a . The Mormons with 600 waggons hau arr i v e d at the Great Salt lake i n the same year ana Grant hau v i s i t e a tnem there, l a t e r l u r n i s h i n g them with necessary supplies.'' The number of waggons passing Port H a i l i n 1848 was estimated at about 300 • *' - H.B.C. Arch. D.5/20. " - Ibid. ' " - Chief Factors P.S.Ogaen ana James Douglas to H.B.C. London, 1st Oct., 18*8. (H.B.C. Arch. B.223/0/38, para. 12). 92 "In 1842-43 tne snake country, then comprising ports H a l l ana Boise' ana a trapping party, traded nearly 2500 beaver skins irom American trappers and Inuians. At tmt time sixteen men ana three o f f i c e r s were employed i n tne d i s t r i c t . ' During season 1845-46 the returns amounted to nearly 1600 beaver besides other small f u r s , tne wnoie being vaiuea at £30u0. " 1 - s i r George Simpson to H.B.C. lonaon, 2 i s t June, 1 8 4 3 . (H.B.O. Arch. x».4/62, 1.21,). "TJiee traae whicn ohief Traaer Kichard Grant haa car-r i e a out witn the Mormons came to an end by 1850, because cy that time they had become well supplied with necessaries ana they coula obtain supplies irom other sources at cheap-er rates than irom Port H a l l " . - Chief Traaer Kicharu Grant to S i r George Simpson, 22nd February, 1850. (H.B.C. Arch. D.5/27). "Trade witn the immigrants s t i l l continuea at port H a i l ana on kiOtn A p r i l , 1853, Chief jsactor P.S. Ogaen reported to S i r George Simpson that an ample o u t f i t was being sent into the snake country as fche number oi immig-rants expectea auring the course of the summer was l i k e l y to oe very high. Part oi the o u t f i t was to be taken i n irom Port Vancouver by waggons, ana arrangements were being maae to abanaon e n t i r e l y tne ola moae of norse pack-ing auring tne ensuing season. 1 Tne numbers, nowever, f e l l snort or what was expectea ana business decunea ac-cordingly. '' In tne same summer both i o r t s h a i l ana Boise sufierea anotner misfortune by being inunuatea by the r i s e oi tne snake K i v e r . ' 1 ' - * - Chief Factors P.S. Oguen ana oames Douglas to B.B.u. jjonuon, i s t October, 18<±8. ^H.B.C. Arch. B.£23/0/38, para. 14. - " - Chief Factor jjugala Mactavisn to Archibald isarciay, secretary, H.B.O. lonaon, i 9 t h Oct-ober, 1853. (H.B.C. Arch. £.223/b/41, p.40). -' • Ibia. p.99. "Michael Ogaen ca r r i e a out the removal of tne com-pany's property irom Fort n a i l to the platneaa Post and l i t t l e or nothing of any value was l e i t bemnu. Trie business, however, was not wouna up without a l o s s . " - Chier Factor Dugaia Mc».ctavish to S i r ueorge Simp-son, 23rd October, 1856, ana 19th August, 1857. (H.B.C. Arch. B.223/b/4i, pp. 243 ftnd 276).. 93 BIBLIOGRAPHY Primary Sources, Manuscript: 1. Botes irom tne Huason's Bay Company's archives. This material was lorwaraea to tne author through the kinu co-operation 01 tne Secretary ox tne .*. Company i n Lonuon. Since there are no documents belonging to port n a i l i n the recorus oi tne Company, most oi the material contained i n these notes i s taken irom the correspondence oi various o f f i c i a l s . The autnor i s si n c e r e l y g r a t e f u l to tne Company l o r making available to him such a weaitn oi - nitnerto unpubiisnea material* which has aone mucn to ciear up controversial problems r e l a t i n g to the h i s t o r y oi tne post. Tnis material is 1 pubiisnea, ox course, oy pex-mi&sion oi tne Governor ana Committee oi tne BUU-son's xsay Company. 2. L e t t e r : Major-Generai E.T. coniey, Adjutant-uenerai, ^ U.S. Army, Washington, D.G. to l.s.Grant, uanuaxy \ 31, 1938. This l e t t e r i s an outline of the m i l -i t a r y h i s t o r y of the f o r t . 3. Essay: Shaw, P.J. : "Port H a l l " , copy as published i n "Idaho, Yesterday and Today", Graves and Potter, Pocatello, Idaho. 1934. B. Primary Sources, Printed: 1. Young, P.G.:"SOURCES OP THE HISTORY OP OREGON: THE CORRESPONDENCE AND JOURNALS OP CAPTAIN NATHANIEL J . WYETH, 1831-6". Oregon H i s t o r i c a l Society. Eugene. 1899. This volume i s absolutely e s s e n t i a l f o r a proper survey of the early days of the post during the days of i t s American regime. No better source can be used to trace the r i s e and f a l l of a dream of empire than the l e t t e r s of the dreamer himself, Wyeth, which are contained i n t h i s volume. 2. Thwaites, R.G.:"EARLY WESTERN TRAVELS". Clark. Cleve-land. 1906. Excellent material from the journals of early trav-e l l e r s , who not only watched h i s t o r y being made, but contributed to i t s making. 3. Townsend, J.K.: "NARRATIVE OP A JOURNEY ACROSS THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS TO THE COLUMBIA RIVER". Perkins. i i Philadelphia. 1859. This hook was written hy the n a t u r a l i s t who accom-panied Wyeth on his second western journey. It i s extremely valuable as an account of the expedition and i t s adventures as viewed hy an eyewitness and pa r t i c i p a n t . C. Secondary works: 1. Brosnan, C.J. I "JASON LEE? PROPHET OP THE HEW OREGON". MacMillan. New York. 1932. Brosnan does much to break down the Whitman legend. The story of Lee i s an e s s e n t i a l adjunct to that of Wyeth. Excellent research has made thi s volume very useful for this study. 2. Brown, Mrs. J.B.s "PORT HALL ON THE OREGON TRAIL". Caxton Press. Caldwell, Ida. 1932. This volume, the only complete one so far published on the post, deals e x c e l l e n t l y with the period of American fur trade i n the west and with Wyeth's ownership of the f o r t . Unfortunately, the sebtion covering the Hudson's Bay Company's regime at the post i s passed over very b r i e f l y and i s coloured with pro-American prejudice. Most of the l a t t e r section of the book i s devoted to a discussion of the Oregon T r a i l . 3. Chittenden, H.M.; "THE AMERICAN PUR TRADE OP THE PAR WEST". Harper. New York. 1902. 2vol. This work covers the early history of Port H a l l very completely: i t has proven of inestimable value. It was recommended for the study by the Hudson's Bay Company's o f f i c i a l s . 4. Ghent, W.J.: "THE ROAD TO OREGON". Longman's Green. London. 1929. Several important d e t a i l s were obtained from this volume. 5. Irving, Washington,: "ADVENTURES OP CAPTAIN BONNE,-V I L T i E " . University Libcary Association. Philadelphia, (no date). Irv-i-ng^Jaw included Wyeth's story i n an appendix to th i s book, having secured the d e t a i l s from the trader himself i n a personal interview. In his usual f l a t -t e r i n g s t v l e , he pays high tribute to his fellow New Englarider. 95 6. E e l l s , Rev. M.: "MARCUS WHITMAN". Harriman. Seattle. 1909. X. White, Dr. E.t "TEN YEARS IN OREGON". Andrus, Gauntlet. Ithaca. 1850. 8. Gray, W.H.t "HISTORY OP OREGON 1792-1849". Bancroft. San Prancisco. 1870. These three volumes are a l l very biassed i n favour of Dr. Marcus Whitman. They give an i n t e r e s t i n g viewpoint, but one which must be leavened by the work of l a t e r men, such as Marshall. 9. Marshall, W.I.: "ACQUISITION OP OREGON". Lowman and Hanford. Seattle. 1911. 2vol. This work disposes very e f f e c t i v e l y of the Whitman legend but does so i n a very b i t t e r tone. Unfor-tunately, Marshall could not forgive his opponents i n the controversy and his work i s written i n a v i n d i c t i v e s p i r i t . 10. Wilson, R.R* s "OUT OP THE WEST". Press of the Pioneers. New York. 1933. This book proved to be a s u r p r i s i n g l y good source of much useful material. 11. Holman, F.V. t "DR. "JOHN McLOUGHLIN". Clark. Cleveland. 1907. 12. Montgomery, R.G.: "THE WHITE HEADED EAGLE". MacMillan. New York. 1935. These two volumes on the l i f e of Wyeth's great bus-iness competitor provide many valuable s i d e l i g h t s on the r e l a t i o n s of the f r i e n d l y r i v a l s . They also show the story of the collapse of Wyeth's trade and the transaction by which his business was taken over by the older company. 13. Laut, Agnes; "THE OVERLAND TRAIL". Stokes. New York.1929. 14. Skinner, C.L.: "ADVENTURERS OP OREGON". Yale University Press. New Haven. 1921. Both of these volumes have useful references to Sort H a l l . The former has an i n t e r e s t i n g page devoted to the post. 15. "IDAHO YESTERDAY AND TODAY", (souvenir handbook). Graves and Potter. Pocatello. 1934. This volume i s a programme souvenir issued i n connect-ion with the centennial celebration of the b u i l d i n g of Port H a l l . Its value l i e s i n i n t e r e s t , rather than i n h i s t o r i c a l value, since i t s many a r t i c l e s are c o l -oured with pro-American bias and l o c a l pride. 96 D» GcucrstX works • *1. Bancroft, H.H. : "HISTORY OF THE NORTHWEST COAST". Bancroft Press. San Francisco. 1884. 2. Clarke, S.A. s"PIONEER DAYS OF OREGON HISTORY". G i l l . Portland. 1905. 3. Carey, C.Hi: ."GENERAL HISTORY OF OREGON". Metropol-i t a n Press. Portland. 1935. 2vol. Excellent. 4. Johnson, S.V. : "SHORT HISTORY OF OREGON". McLurg. Chicago. 1904. 5. Meany, E.S. s "HISTORY OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON". MacMillan. New York. 1924. 6. Riegel, R.E. : "AMERICA MOVES WEST". Hoi t i New.York. 1930. E. P e r i o d i c a l s : Key to ahbreviations: ' O.H.Q,. - Oregon H i s t o r i c a l Quarterly. Oregon Histor-i c a l Society. Portland, Ore. W.H.Q. - Washington H i s t o r i c a l Quarterly. University of Washington. Seattle, Wash. P.H.Q. - P a c i f i c H i s t o r i c a l Quarterly. Clark. Glendale, C a l i f . Amer. H i s t . Rev. - American H i s t o r i c a l Reviww. MacMill-an. New York Cit y . 1. B a l l , John, "REMINISCENCES". O.H.Q. I I I . 98. 2. Barlow, Wm., "REMINISCENCES OF SEVENTY*YEARS". O.H.Q. XIII. 259. 3. Barry, J.N., "AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF W.H. RECTOR". O.H.Q. XXX. 65. 4. « "FORTS READ AND BOISE". O.H.Q. XXXIV. 62. 5. Burnett, P.H., "REMINISCENCES AND OPINIONS OF AN OLD PIONEER". 0. H.Q. V. 71. 6. Cannon, Miles, "SNAKE RIVER IN HISTORY". O.H.Q. XX. 11. 7. " " "FORT HALL". W.H.Q. VII. 223. .Essential. 8. Dorris, J.T., "OREGON TRAIL POINTS 1850". 0.H.Q.XXX.324. 9 « Eaton, W.C., "NATHANIEL J . WYETH'S OREGON EXPEDITIONS". IV. 101 . This i s the f i r s t a r t i c l e published on the o r i g i n a l Fort H a l l ledgers recently secured by the Oregon H i s t o r i c a l Society. 97 10. E l l i o t t , T.C., "RICHARD (CAPTAIN JOHNNY) GRANT". O.H.Q. XXXVI. 2. 11. " "THE COMQENG OP THE WHITE WOMEN, 1836". O.H.Q. XXXVII. 282. 12. Leader, H.A., "McLOUGHLIN'S ANSWER TO THE WARRE REPORT". O.H.Q. XXXIII. 219. 13. Lyman, H.S., "REMINISCENCES OP JOHN MINTO". O.H.Q. II. 215. 14. McLoughlin, Jn., "NARRATIVE OP JOHN McLOUGHLIN". O.H.Q. I. 108. Very valuable i n th i s work. 15. Merk, P., "SIMPSON TO GOVERNOR OP HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY',' JUNE 20, 1845" and "SIMPSON TO RICHARD GRANT, JUNE 27, 1846". Amer. Hist. Rev. XXIX. 691. 16. Nesmith, J.W., "DIARY OP EMIGRATION OP 1843". O.H.Q. VTT7 349. 17. Overmeyer, P.H., "NATHANIEL J . WYETH". W.H.Q. XXIV.28. 18. Rockwood, E.R.jed.) "LETTERS OP CHAS. STEVENS". O.H.Q. XXXVII. 143. 19. Simon, J.E., "WILHELM KEIL AND COMMUNIST COLONIES". O.H.Q. XXXVI. 133. 20. Walgamott, C.S., "SIX DECADES BACK". O.H.Q. XXXVII. IZT. 21. Documents: Letter - Grimsley to B a l l , Secy, of War, June 16, 1841. O.H.Q. XXIV. 437. Letter - Rev. H.H.Spalding to Wm. Porter, Oct. 2, 1836. O.H.Q. XII. 373. 

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