The Ashley-Henry Party Opening the West

In 1822,  General William H.Ashley organized the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. Of all the famous mountain men that books and movies were made about, it seems most of them were part of this first group of mountain men. Ashley along with his partner Andrew Henry put together this group of hardy, explorers, trappers and traders. The group included Jim Bridger, William Sublette, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Robert Campbell, Jim Beckwourth, Mosses (Black) Harris, Hugh Glass, Jedediah Smith, Etienne Provost and David E. Jackson.
Off to the mountains, they headed to make a fortune and some did,
 but about half never made it back
Bridger became one of the greatest of all mountain men and, without a doubt, the best story teller. He along with Fitzpatrick, Provost, and The Stuart party are given the credit for discovering South Pass. I have always enjoyed the stories of Jim Bridger and enjoyed re-telling his tall tales to my students. I blog about him every few months, one of my favorites can be found here.

William Sublette established Fort Laramie, first named Fort William and later was credited with creating an 80-mile cut-off which was then named after him, the Sublette Cut-off.
On the grounds of Fort Laramie, looking north

Fitzpatrick, the famed, Broken-Hand of the Rockies, had a long and distinguished career as an explorer, trailblazer, guide and Indian agent, instrumental in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851.
Robert Campbell made enough money from the fur trade to become successful businessmen, outfitting John C. Fremont for his western expedition.

Jim Beckwourth was born a slave in Virgina. After he was freed, he soon found his way west. In 1856 a book was published about his life in the mountains, the book, The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth: Mountaineer, Scout, and Pioneer, and Chief of the Crow Nation of Indians. The book sold well enough to be printed in Europe as well as the United States.

Mosses (Black) Harris after his initial time as a trader/trapper became one of the most famous of all wagon guides on the trails west.
Jedediah Smith is commonly referred to as the greatest mountain man that ever lived.

Etienne Provost became an important figure in the fur trade of the American southwest, headquartering out of Taos New Mexico.

The city of Jackson Wyoming and the area, Jackson Hole were named after David E. Jackson. Jackson started as a clerk with the Ashley-Henry party but later became a full partner.
Not a bad place to have named after you
Huge Glass’s greatest claim to fame may be that he was attacked by a grizzly bear and lived to tell the story. Several documentaries and movies have been made about Glass and the incident. The newest, Revenant, has just been released to theaters.
Bison covered the plains and foothills when the first trapper/traders came west

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