Explorers & Frontiersman List

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Marcelino Baca (1808?-1862) – Born in New Mexico in about 1808, Baca was a 19th-century fur trader. A native of Taos, New Mexico, Baca first learned beaver trapping while accompanying American groups, as the Spanish government required Mexican citizens to accompany any foreign commercial operation. After the fur trade in the American Southwest declined, Baca trapped in the northern Rocky Mountains, and eventually settled near Pueblo, Colorado. Under increasing threat from local Indian tribes, Baca moved his family to the small village of Rio Colorado, in New Mexico in 1854. With the advent of the Civil War, Baca joined the New Mexico Volunteers and was killed in a battle with invading Texans on February 21, 1862.

Jim Baker, mountain man

Jim Baker, mountain man

Jim Baker (1818-1898) – One of the most colorful figures of the Old West, Baker worked as a trapper, scout and guide and was a friend of Jim Bridger and Kit Carson.

Vasco Nunez de Balboa (1475?-1519) – Spanish conquistador and explorer, Balboa who was the first European to see the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean in 1513 after crossing the Isthmus of Panama.

William Becknell blazes the Santa Fe Trail

William Becknell blazes the Santa Fe Trail

William Becknell (1788-1856) – A frontiersman and trader who established the Santa Fe Trail.

James Pierson Beckwourth (1798-1860) – Generally known as Jim Beckworth, he was was an American mountain man, fur trader, and explorer.

Charles Bent (1799-1847) – One of the famous Bent brothers who helped “open the West,” by building Bent’s Fort in Colorado in 1833.

William Bent (1809-1869) – One of the famous Bent brothers who helped “open the West,” by building Bent’s Fort in Colorado in 1833.

Bartholomew Berthold (1780-1831) – A prominent St. Louis, Missouri fur trader, Berthold went into business with Pierre Chouteau, Jr. and grew wealthy in the fur trade.

Jefferson Blackwell – A fur trader who worked with John Gannt in the upper Rocky Mountains.

Daniel Boone (1734 – 1820) –  An American Pioneer, Daniel Boone was a frontiersman, surveyor and Indian Fighter who blazed the trail known as the Wilderness Road in 1775. Born in Pennsylvania on November 2, 1734, In May, 1750, Boone’s father moved the family to North Carolina. Boone fought in the French and Indian War in 1755 and in 1765 began to explore as far south as Pensacola, Florida. When the Revolutionary War began in 1775, Boone fought on both sides.

Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bonneville (1796-1878) – A French-born army officer, frontiersman, and explorer of the American West, Bonneville is best known for blazing portions of the Oregon Trail. Daniel Boone (1734-1820) – Frontiersman, pioneer, surveyor and Indian Fighter who blazed the trail known as the Wilderness Road in 1775.

James "Jim" Bowie

James “Jim” Bowie

James “Jim” Bowie (1796-1836) – Frontiersman, explorer, and pioneer, Bowie played a prominent role in the Texas Revolution, culminating in his death at the Battle of the Alamo.

Alexander K. Branch (1798-1841) – Frontiersman and trapper, Branch was born in Virginia. However, when he grew up, he went west and was in Taos, New Mexico by 1825. He then spent several years trapping beaver in the south-west and the Rocky Mountains. In 1829 he was baptized a Catholic and took the name, Jose de Jesus. Somewhere along the line, he married a native woman, with whom he had seven children. He later became a merchant in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He died in January 1841.

Francis Ziba Branch (1802-1874) – Sailor, trapper, and trader, Branch was born on July 24, 1802, in Cayuga County, New York. When he grew up, he became a sailor working on the Great Lakes. In 1830, he joined a caravan headed for Santa Fe, New Mexico. Later that same year, he joined William Wolfskill on a trapping expedition to California. Along the way, the group was instrumental in opening what became known as the Old Spanish Trail from New Mexico to California. On his arrival, Branch spent years hunting sea otter. Later he became a businessman at Santa Barbara, California, before moving to a ranch in San Luis Obispo County. He died on May 8, 1874, of bronchitis.

Elias Brevoort (1822-??) – Frontiersman, trader, and author, Brevoort was well acquainted with the Santa Fe Trail and southwest.

James Bridger (1804-1881) – An accomplished trapper, scout, and mountain man, Bridger was one of the first non-Indians to see the natural wonders of what would become Yellowstone Park.

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