Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (?-1543) – A Spanish or Portuguese explorer, Cabrillo was the first European to explore the Californian coast
Robert Campbell (1804-1879) – Fur trader, merchant and Indian Commissioner, Campbell was born in Ireland on February 4, 1804. He immigrated to America in 1822 and two years later was in St. Louis, Missouri There, he was advised to lead an outdoor life because of tuberculosis and joined Jedediah Smith on an expedition to the Rocky Mountains in late 1825. In 1832, he joined with famed trapper, William L. Sublette in a partnership, directly competing with the American Fur Company. That same year, he participated in the Battle of Pierre’s Hole in present-day Idaho. Suffering reverses, they confined their activities to the mountain territory and dissolved the partnership in 1842. He then returned to St. Louis, where he began to work as a merchant. He attended the Fort Laramie treaty gathering in 1851 and during the Mexican-American War, helped form a regiment which he commanded. Diversifying his business interests, he soon became involved in real estate and banking. He prospered until his death in St. Louis, Missouri on October 16, 1879.
Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) – Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer who discovered* the “New World” of the Americas on an expedition sponsored by King Ferdinand of Spain in 1492. See Article HERE.
Hernando Cortes (1485-1547) – He was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century.
William Craig (1807-1869) – A frontiersman and trapper, Craig was born in Greenbriar County, West Virginia in 1807. Allegedly, he left home after killing a man in self-defense, and soon headed to the Pacific Northwest, probably with William Sublette and other fur traders. He also trapped with Jedediah Smith in the Blackfoot country until he joined Joe Walker’s California Expedition of 1833-34. In 1836, he and others established a trading post known as Fort Davy Crockett in Brown’s Hole, Colorado. He acted as a guide to a missionary party to Fort Hall, Idaho and on the the Whitman Mission near Walla Walla, Washington. He then established a farm near Lapwai, Idaho. Somewhere along the line, he married a Nez Perce woman and was friendly with the tribe. In 1856, he became the Indian Agent for the Nez Perce tribe and occasionally scouted for the army. He died of a stroke in 1869.
Alexander Culbertson (1809-1879) – Born at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in May, 1809, he lived with his parents on their farm until 1826. At that time, he went with an uncle to the Florida Indian campaigns. From there, he traveled to New Orleans and thenSt. Louis, Missouri, where he joined the American Fur Company in 1830. He worked with Kenneth McKenzie and William Laidlaw, but, was popular among his peers, lacking the arbitrary manner that was characteristic of McKenzie and Laidlaw. He rose steadily and became the company’s most important man when McKenzie and Laidlaw retired. For a long while, he was at the head of Fort Union, North Dakota and for a time also of Fort Laramie, Wyoming. He built Fort Alexander, Montana on the Yellowstone River near the mouth of the Bighorn River. His knowledge of the Indians and the western country was considered superior to anyone of the time and his ability as a horseman and buffalo hunter was unequalled. He married a Blackfoot Indian woman, with whom he had several children who were well educated. By 1870, he was living at Fort Benton, serving as an interpreter for various agencies. He died at Orleans, Nebraska on August 27, 1879.
John Day (1770?-1820) – A fur trapper and frontiersman, he worked for both the American Fur Company and the North West Company. 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) – Trapper and Trader who worked for the American Fur Company. 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.
Hernando De Soto (1496?-1542) – Hernando de Soto was about thirty-six years of age when he was appointed adelantado of Florida. He was “a gentleman by all four descents,” and had recently been created by the Emperor, a knight of the order of Santiago. See article HERE.