The Portuguese Houses


Fort Laramie was the first settlement in Wyoming, but it did not house the first settlers. Several trapper-mountain men had established permanent homes before Fort Laramie in 1834.
Edward Rose, who built a cabin on the Big Horn River in 1807-08, is widely thought to be the first non-Indian to settle in Wyoming. Rose built the cabin, but most of his known history is of him living with Indians within their villages.
Bighorn River
Robert Stuart, who built a residence near Casper in 1812, is also considered one of the state’s earliest settlers.
The first know trader was Antonio Mateo, who established a trading post on the Middle Fork of the Powder River in 1828. This trading post, called the Portuguese Houses, consisted of several log-hewn buildings surrounded by a ten foot high, 200 X 200 stockade. Not much is known about him other than his name and today only a few mounds and deeply set rotting post bottoms are the only thing left.
The Stockade may have looked like this
In that day and time he most likely traded, tobacco, coffee, flour, sugar, lead, gunpowder, cooking utensils, knives and trinkets for furs. He reportedly had a wooden fur press made of cottonwood logs to press the beaver and sometimes other furs, into bundles for transportation to eastern markets. His fort was substantial enough that he stored furs for free trappers and for the very powerful Hudson Bay Company.
Fur Press Reproduction
Wow – this is post number 200, can’t believe it has been that many or that long. Thanks for reading, I am looking forward to another 200 or more.
200 Posts - Think I will rest a bit





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