Explorers & Frontiersman List

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Father Jacques Marquette

Father Jacques Marquette

Jacques Marquette (1637-1675) –  Sometimes known as Père Marquette or James Marquette, Jacques was a French Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan’s first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, and later founded St. Ignace, Michigan.

Lucien B. Maxwell – (1818-1875) – The owner of the largest land grant in American History, a friend of Kit Carson, and a frontier scout and guide, Maxwell, who has been called the “Emporer of the Old West,” died in poverty in New Mexico.

Kenneth McKenzie (1797-1861) – One of the ablest traders that ever worked for the American Fur Company.

Owen McKenzie – (1826-1863) – The son of famed fur trader, Kenneth McKenzie and an Indian woman, he and Kenneth McKenzie’s other children were sent to the Red River settlement in Canada for schooling. Afterward, Owen returned to the upper Missouri River, and in 1843 was working as a hunter at Fort Union, North Dakota. He was said to have been a skilled horseman and a first-rate shot. He then was placed in charge of a fur trade post on the White River. In the winter of 1862-63, he was in charge of a small post for the La Barge, Harkness and Company on the Missouri River above Fort Union. In the summer of 1863, he was sent to take charge of Fort Galpin at the mouth of the Milk River in present-day South Dakota. There, he got into a dispute with Malcolm Clarke and his son, Horace over money matters, which soon turned into a brawl. Malcolm Clark then shot and killed McKenzie, before fleeing the area to escape the revenge of McKenzie’s many friends. Clarke was later killed by Piegan Indians

Joseph Lafayette Meek (1810-1875) – Joseph Lafayette “Joe” Meek was a trapper, trader, pioneer, lawman, and politician who was important during the establishment of Oregon Territory.

Captain Pedro Menendez de Aviles (1519-1574) – A brutal Spanish sailor, soldier, explorer, and,  conquistador, Pedro Menendez was sent by Phillip II of Spain to remove the French from Florida.

Moses Embree “California Joe” Milner (1829-1876) – Scout, frontiersman, and miner, California Joe was George Armstrong Custer’s Chief Scout in 1868.

Missouri Fur Company (1808-12, 1819-24) – First established as the St. Louis Missouri Fur Company by several famous explorers and traders, including Manuel Lisa, Pierre Choteau, Sr., Auguste Choeau, Jr., Andrew Henry, William Clark, and others, the company prospered until the War of 1812, at which time it folded. It was resurrected; however, in 1819, then becoming simply the Missouri Fur Company Company, which went bankrupt in 1824.

David Dawson Mitchell (1806-1861) – Born in Louisa County, Virginia on July 31, 1806, he grew up to become a trapper and trader for the American Fur Company. He had a long and honorable career in the fur trade, first as a clerk and then as a partner in the Upper Missouri Outfit. He was the builder of Fort McKenzie in 1832. He became United States Superintendent of Indian Affairs in St. Louis, Missouri in 1841, and held the position at intervals until 1852. He entered the volunteer service during the Mexican-American War and became a Lieutenant-Colonel of a Missouri regiment raised by Sterling Price. He also served with Colonel Alexander Doniphan during the war and commanded the detachment that captured Chihuahua. Later, he promoted the Fort Laramie Peace Council which led to the Fort Laramie Treaty in September 1851. He helped to organize the Missouri and California Overland Mail and Transportation Company in 1855, and for a time, served as president of the organization. He died in St. Louis, Missouri on May 31, 1861.

Luis de Moscoso Alvarado (1505-1551) – A Spanish explorer and conquistador, he participated in the conquest of present Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador, and assumed command of Hernando De Soto’s expedition after he died.


Panfilo de Narvaez(1478?-1528) – Spanish explorer and soldier, Narvaez helped conquer Cuba in 1511 and led a Spanish royal expedition to North America in 1527.

Fray Marcos de Niza(1495?-1558) – A Franciscan priest who is said to have traveled to the fabled “Seven Golden Cities of Cibola” in what is now the western part of New Mexico.

North West Company (1779-1821) – A Canadian based fur company, the competition with Hudson’s Bay Company was so fierce it caused armed conflicts and they were forced by the British authorities, to merge with Hudson’s Bay Company in 1821.

Robert “Doc” Newell (1807-1869) – A trapper, trader and frontier doctor, he became a politician in Oregon.


Juan de Onate (1550?-1626) – A Spanish conquistador who established the colony of New Mexico for Spain and became New Mexico’s first governor.

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