Explorers & Frontiersman List

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Pacific Fur Company (1810-1813) – Founded in June, 1810 by John Jacob Astor,who also owned the American Fur Company, it was short lived when it lost two ships, were attacked by Indians, and were forced out by the War of 1812. See Article HERE.

Trappers' Campfire by Currier & Ives

Trappers’ Campfire by Currier & Ives

Archibald Palmer, aka: James A. Hamilton (??-1840) – Thought to have been from England, he was well-educated and many thought him to have been of noble descent. However, when he arrived in United States, he was going by the name of James A. Hamilton, which led many to suspect, he had something to hide. He went to work for the American Fur Company, though he was said to have hated Indians, a strange attitude given his occupation. Other employees of the company were said to hold him in awe because he took a bath and put on a clean shirt every day. He was in charge of Fort Union, North Dakota during much of the 1830s, where he was said to have elegantly hosted a number of intellectual and titled guests. By 1840; however, he was living prosperously in St. Louis, Missouri, where he died in February, 1840.

Pierre Didier Papin (1798-1853) – Born at St. Louis, Missouri on March 7, 1798, he grew up to work for the American Furn Company. In 1829, he formed his own company to compete with his former employer, but soon sold out to his rival. He then went back to work for the American Fur Company, working near the White River, South Dakota until about 1842. He then made his way to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, before working near Fort John, Nebraska. Somewhere along the line he married a French woman, and the pair had four children. He died at Fort John, Nebraska in May, 1853.

Honore Picotte – A French-Canadian, Picotte came to the Missouri River in about 1820 and joined with the Columbia Fur Company, but after its union with the American Fur Company he joined with others in forming the French Fur Company in 1827. When it sold to the American Fur Company in 1830, he went to work for their Upper Missouri Outfit where he remained for some twenty years. He became a partner and finally rose to an influential standing in the company’s affairs. During this time he married a Sioux woman and gained a great deal of influence among the tribe. He was stationed for many years at Fort Pierre.

Zebulon M. Pike, early 1800s

Zebulon M. Pike, early 1800s

Zebulon Montgomery Pike (1779-1813) – A soldier and explorer for whom Pikes Peak in Colorado is named, Pike mapped much of the southern portion of the Louisiana Purchase. See Article HERE.

Joshua Pilcher (1790-1843) – Trapper, trader, and Indian agent, Pilcher was born in Culpeper County, Virginia on may 15, 1790. After receiving an education in Kentucky, he entered the fur trade business and in 1819, partnered with manual Lisa and others in the Missouri Fur Company. He worked primarily in Nebraska, where he traded with the Omaha tribe. When Manuel Lisa died in 1820, he became the president of the company. However, competition from the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Rocky Mountain Fur Company was increasing, causing financial difficulties for the company.  On May 31, 1823, a large Blackfoot war party ambushed Pilcher’s men, killing seven of them and wounding four others. Their traps, pack horses and pelts were stolen  Resulting in a loss of about $15,000, Joshua Pilcher pulled his men back from the Northwest, but the ambush caused a death blow for the company. They never returned to the northwest and by the spring of 1824, the Missouri Fur Company  was bankrupt. By 1833 he was working for the American Fur Company and the following year, became the Upper Missouri Indian Agent. He later succeeded William Clark as Superintendent of Indian Affairs at St. Louis in 1838, a position he held until September, 1841. He died at St. Louis, Missouri on June 5, 1843.

Captain Alonso Alvarez de Pineda (1494-1520) – A Spanish explorer and map-maker, Pineda and his crew were probably the first Europeans in Texas, claiming it for Spain. See More HERE.

Simon Plamondon (1800-1900) – A frontiersman and adventurer, Plamondon was born on the St. Lawrence River in Canada in 1900. When still a mere boy, at the age of 15, he began to range along the Mississippi River, and soon spent time on the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains. by 1818, he had made his way to the Pacific Northwest and joined the North West Company as a voyageur, trapper and trader. He explored the Columbia River and worked out of Fort Vancouver, after the North West Company had been absorbed by Hudson’s Bay Company. Somewhere along the line he married an Indian wife, who died in childbirth about 1827. He then wandered north as far as Eskimo country and the Arctic plains. Afterwards, he turned to farming in Washington Territory. He died at Cowlitz, Washington in 1900 at the age of 100.

Juan Ponce de Leon (1460?-1521) – A Spanish explorer and soldier, he was the first European to set foot in Florida. He also established the oldest European settlement in Puerto Rico and discovered the Gulf Stream. See More HERE

 

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Mountain Man

Mountain Man

 

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.

Tom Reese (18?? 1843) – An African-American fur trader who worked out of Fort McKenzie for the American Fur Company.

Joseph Robidoux III – A fur trader, Robidoux established the Blacksnake Hills Trading Post that eventually became St. Joseph, Missouri. See Article HERE.

Rocky Mountain Fur Company (1822-1833) – Sometimes referred to as Ashley’s Hundred, the Rocky Mountain Fur Company was organized in St. Louis, Missouri in 1822 by General William Henry Ashley and Major Andrew Henry. See Article HERE.

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