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Explorers, Trappers, Traders & Mountain Men - D

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John Day (1770?-1820) -  Born in Culpeper County, Virginia about 1770, he made his way to Missouri in 1798, settling in Franklin County.  He soon began hunting and trapping and in 1810 was hired by John Jacob Astor to join an American Fur Company expedition. He traveled with the trapping party to Fort Astoria, Oregon, arriving in May, 1812. When Astor sold out, he then went to work for the North West Company. He then spent his time trapping around the Snake River, where he died on February 16, 1820. Though he is a little known trapper, two rivers, a county, city, dam and reservoir were named for him in Oregon.


Edward De Morin (1818-1902) -  Born in Montreal Canada in 1818, De Morin grew up to be a trapper, particularly on the Illinois River. In 1836, he went to work for the American Fur company, and later traded for other firms in the Missouri River country. By 1844, he had made his way to California, but later returned to the Midwest, where he lived near Fort McPherson, Nebraska around 1863. He often worked as an interpreter in the vicinity of Fort Robinson, Nebraska. He died at North Platte, Nebraska on June 16, 1902.


Joseph Dickson (1775-1844) - One  of the first known mountain men, he, along with Forrest Hancock, followed Lewis and Clark up the Missouri River in 1804. Born in Pennsylvania on January 13, 1775, when grew up, he married an Irish woman named Susan in 1798 and the couple would eventually have nine children. Looking for farmland, he and his wife moved to Tennessee and in 1802, to St. Clair County, Illinois. Making a living logging and fur trapping, he met Forest Hancock, who had settled in Missouri with Daniel Boone. From Boone, Hancock had learned about the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Dickson and Hancock soon decided to follow the expedition, starting out in August, 1804. The next spring they joined Charles Courtinís trapping group for protection and spent the winter of 1805 at a camp of Teton Sioux. Before they left in the spring of 1806, they were robbed of their pelts and  Dickson was wounded in a fight. Continuing on, Dickson and Hancock met the returning Lewis and Clark expedition in the summer of 1806. The expedition helped the pair re-supply and John Colter accompanied them upriver to the the Yellowstone. Dickson was among the fourth party of white men known to have reached the mouth of the Yellowstone River.


For whatever reasons, Dickson wintered alone in the Yellowstone country, some say over a dispute with Hancock and Colter. During the winter, he suffered a siege of snow-blindness and was sure he would die alone in the wilderness, but after praying for help, he made a poultice from the bark of a tree which restored his sight. Converted to Christianity thereafter, he determined to return to Illinois and settle down. He took his pelts back to St. Louis and sold them for a profit and was back inIllinois by August,1807. Afterwards, he farmed in the summer, trapped locally in the winter, and became a staunch supporter of Methodism. In 1818, he moved his family in to Sangamon County in central Illinois and built the first cabin "white man's" in the area.  Over the next several years, he bought some 240 acres of land. He died at Franklin, Illinois in 1844.



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Trapper's Last Shot

Trapper's Last Shot, by T.D. Booth.

Image available for photo prints & editorial downloads HERE.




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