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Explorers, Trappers, Traders & Mountain Men - R

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Pierre-Esprit Radisson (1636-1710) - A French-born explorer, fur trader, Radison immigrated to Canada as a teenager and was captured in an Iroquois raid about 1652 and was eventually adopted by the tribe. After two years, he escaped and journeyed to the fur-trading regions of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. Trapping with his brother-in-law, Médard des Groseilliers, their furs were confiscated when it was found they didn't have a license. The two then tried to support a new trade company, but didn't receive any support from the Canadians and then tried to enlist the aid of the English. Traveling to England, they found the support and the Hudson's Bay Company was founded in 1670. He later became an English citizen in 1687, and wrote the accounts of his voyages. He retired on a small pension and dividends from the Hudson's Bay Company and died in poverty in 1710. During his lifetime, he married three times and had several children.


John Reed (17??-1814) - Mountain man and explorer, Reed hailed from Ireland but made his way to America somewhere along the line. He joined with the John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company and went west with the Hunt overland Party. After having reached Astoria, he and several other men were sent on March 30, 1812, with dispatches for Astor to cross the continent again to New York. However, they group arrived back at the post on May 11th, after having been attacked by Indians, whole stole their provisions as well as the dispatches. In early 1813, Reed explorered the Willamette Valley, Oregon and spent that winter In southern Idaho. On January 10, 1814, he and several other trappers along the Boise font-family:Arial">River, were killed by Snake Indians.  


Moses B. Reed - A frontiersman who was a private in the Lewis and Clark Expedition, he soon found that he hated life along the trail and was reprimanded several times for small infractions. On August 4, 1804, he deserted the Corp, trying to make his way back to civilization. However, George Drouillard was sent to track him down and bring him back "dead or alive.”  He was soon dishonorable discharged and sent back to St. Louis, Missouri in disgrace in 1805. He was never heard from again.  


Joseph Robidoux III (1783-1868) - A fur trader who established the Blacksnake Hills Trading Post that eventually became St. Joseph, Missouri. He was born to Joseph Robidoux II and Catherine Rollet Robidoux -- one of seven children and spent most of his childhood in St. Louis, Missouri, where his father introduced him to the fur trade. At the age of 20, his father sent him to organize a trading post at Fort Dearborn, Illinois, site of present-day Chicago. He was very successful in this endeavor, so much so, that his competition hired local Indians to harass him and drive him from the area. He then established a trading post near the site of present-day Omaha, Nebraska in 1813, where he remained until 1822, when the American Fur Company bought him out and offered him $1,000 a year not to compete with them.


Returning to St. Louis, he worked as a baker until 1826, when he was hired by the American Fur Companyy to establish a trading post at the Blacksnake Hills, near the site of present day St. Joseph, Missouri. After four years, he returned to independent trading and prospered, hiring as many as 20 men. In 1843, he hired to men to design a town for him and began selling lots. The new city was called St. Joseph and prospered quickly, growing from just 800 people in 1846 to nearly 9,000 by 1860. He continued to live there until his death at the age of 85, in 1868.



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