Fun at the Rendezvous


 
 
The Rendezvous was a place for the trappers to let off a little steam, all right, in some cases a lot of steam. Because of the over abundance of whiskey, surprisingly, some trappers made poor decisions. People were shot, bones were broken, and fortunes (at least by mountain man standards) were made and lost. Only the first Rendezvous had no whiskey, it also had no fights and no duels; it was also the shortest of the 16 rendezvous.
The trade whiskey that became such a big part of the other Rendezvous was often a wild concoction of whiskey, creek water, tobacco and hot peppers, some traders used other, secret, ingredients but these were the basics.
Even Kit Carson was dragged into a wild, Knight like, duel on horseback by a drunk trapper who wouldn’t  leave Carson’s Indian girlfriend, Grass Singing, (who Carson married within a year) alone. Both combatants were wounded, neither seriously. Carson went on to fame and the French Canadian trapper he dueled with, Shunar, was never heard of again.
So what other supplies were surprisingly popular, and expensive, at the Rendezvous.
·        Coffee –maybe not surprising
·        Tobacco—sold in twists (chew, smoke or trade)
·        Tea—yep, mountain men drank tea, and liked it
·        Peppermint candy—sweet tooth mountain men, still my favorite
·        Ginger candy—not for me, but popular in its day
·        Sugar –often poured into coffee and tea
·        Books—even those who didn’t read often bought books and paid someone to read aloud
·        Wool shirts—and we thought they all wore only buckskins
NOTE- of the 16 Rocky Mountain Rendezvous, 12 were held within the boundaries of what is today Wyoming. The majority of the fur trade and with it the mountain man era lasted only twenty years, 1820-1840, the Rendezvous started in 1824 and ended in 1840.
 
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