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Articles

"Following in our forefather's footsteps."

Continuing Series       

Article No.# 2       

" WAUGH   Buffalo "

TIMES OF THE GREAT BUFFALO HUNTS

EARLY WESTERN FUR TRADE AND TRADERS.

 In 1760's, Pierre Laclede Siquest (called Laclede), with August and Pierre Choteau, emigrated from France and settled in the Mississippi Valley, having a charter from the French Government giving them the exclusive right to trade with the Indians of Louisiana as far north as St. Peter's river.

In 1799, a post was established near St. Joseph's and in 1800 another at Randolph Bluffs, three miles below the mouth of the Kaw. The whole Choteau family was fur traders when Louisiana was ceded to the American Government in 1803.

Before that time, the trade with Indians was carried on by a system of monopoly; any person desiring to engage in the business obtained from the Governor the exclusive privilege of trading with a particular tribe, or upon a certain river. The only permanent establishment founded on the waters of the Missouri, under this system, was that of Pierre Chateau, who enjoyed a monopoly of the trade of the Osage nation for nearly twenty years. His fort or trading house was located on the river below the great Osage villages.

Manuel de Lisa was Chateau's successor, obtaining the privilege only a short time before the territory passed from the hands of Spain back to France. Other enterprising individuals traded in a small way with different tribes; but since the Spanish Government established no forts, and no companies for mutual cooperation and protection were sanctioned, the business was too hazardous to encourage many adventurers. After the change of government, the establishment of the United States trading posts, and the abolishment of the monopoly system, the trade with the Western Indians rapidly increased. "The Missouri Fur Company" was organized in 1808, with Manuel de Lisa at its head, Pierre and August Choteau, and nine other members. Expeditions were sent out, and posts founded among the Indians of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and some in Arkansas.

The company was unsuccessful. Their trading posts were abandoned, and the company was dissolved in 1812. The members establishing independent houses to pursue the trade, and to furnish outfits for hunters and trappers. In 1811, the most advanced United States trading post on the Missouri River and the western limit of white settlement, was Fort Osage, thirty-four miles below the mouth of the Kansas. In 1813, the American Fur Company was formed. The Choteau family, formerly connected with the Missouri Trading Company, and Pierre Jr. and his brother Francis, became members. This company occupied the posts of the Missouri Trading Company, which it succeeded, and made great efforts to monopolize the trade in the Southwest by rooting out independent traders.

Francis Choteau was sent to Kansas, and was employed there for years.  The post, known as the "Four Houses" because it was built as four buildings around an open square, was established on the north bank of the Kaw, twenty miles above its mouth. In 1821 a general agency for furnishing supplies was established at the mouth of the river, from which men were sent to the Neosho and Osage.

In 1825, Cyprian, his brother, joined Francis, and a house was built about opposite the present site of Muncie, on the south side of the Kaw. In 1830, another trading post was established by Frederick on  Mission Creek, The America's Chiefs' Creed, in what is now Shawnee County. A few years later, posts were established throughout the country from the Platte to the Arkansas. ( Perhaps establish another page here separating the history and the explorers)

EARLY AMERICAN EXPLORERS (1804 - 1807)

Louisiana remained part of the Dominion of France until November 8, 1762, at which time it passed into the possession of Spain. October 1, 1800, Spain agreed to return the territory to France, under the treaty of Madrid, March 21, 1801. On April 30, 1803, it became a part of the domain of the United States, by purchase from the Republic of France.

Soon after the acquisition of the Territory of Louisiana by the Untied States, expeditions were sent out by the government to explore the region west of the Mississippi, and through the Missouri Valley. Lewis and Clark, in 1804-5-6, traversed the region to the Pacific and returned. Their report gave the first reliable information as to the topography, climate and general features of the country. Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike set out from ST. Louis, in 1806, to explore the southern part of Kansas and parts of Colorado west to the peak that bears his name. On Pike's return, he lost his bearings and encamped on the Rio Grande, believing it to be the Red River. Here he built a stockade and established quarters to await the arrival of members of his party who had been disabled along the way, and whom he had left behind till they should be able to travel.

Spanish soldiers from Santa Fe discovered Pike's encampment. Pike and his men were taken to Chihuahua, some six hundred miles away, before they were permitted to return to the United States. Pike's mistake, trespassing on the Spanish possessions, resulted in obtaining much valuable information regarding the Spanish colonies, and awakened a interest that resulted in the establishment of the overland trade route with Santa Fe.

His explorations of the Kansas region, before entering New Mexico, were far ranging. The importance of his discoveries at the time cannot be over estimated. The publishing of his journal resulted in the inception of commercial intercourse with New Mexico. It also provided the first reliable knowledge given the American public of Southern Kansas and Western Colorado.

Kansas was part of the Louisiana Purchase when it became annexed to the United States in 1803. It was included in the Missouri Territory until 1821. For the next 33 years it was known as an unorganized territory, inhabited mainly by Indians. For many years there was constant trouble between the Indians and the settlers, until the Indians were gradually pushed into the Oklahoma area.

In 1827, Fort Leavenworth became the first community in Kansas. To thousands of travelers, in route to the valleys of Utah, the gold fields of California or the beckoning Oregon country, it was a welcome stopover and outfitting place.

Kansas became the thirty-fourth state in 1861. The population then was about 110,000 consisting mostly of Southerners and New Englanders with a sprinkling from Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. Many Civil War veterans took up homesteads in Kansas following the war. Among the foreign-born settlers many came from Germany, Russia, Sweden and England. Many Mexicans also settled in the state.

Wallace, KS

Before the building of the Union Pacific Railroad, the Smoky Hill trail to Denver crossed these prairies. It was used by several of the famous freight and stage lines of the early West. The wild plains Indians bitterly fought the traffic through their hunting grounds. Fort Wallace, established in 1865 as Camp Pond Creek and renamed in 1866, was one of four military posts protecting the route. From 1865 to 1878 it was the most active post on the Indian frontier. Troops were in the field almost constantly and the fort was besieged several times. In June of 1867, 300 Cheyenne Indians, under Chief Roman Nose, raided a nearby overland stage station and attacked the fort, killing several soldiers.

The fort was abandoned in 1882 and nothing now remains of the stone and wood buildings where once as many as 500 men were stationed. Still to be seen, however, is the post cemetery.

A fort, a town, and a county were named for General William H. L. Wallace who was fatally wounded April 10, 1862 at the battle of Shiloh.

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BUFFALO HUNTING.
Harper's Weekly - December 16, 1867

Shooting Buffalo from the Trains of the Kansas Pacific Railroad
by Theodore R. Davis

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Shooting Buffalo from the trains of the Kansas Pacific Railroad in the mid to late 1800's represented a sport that is peculiarly American. At that time and season in our history the herds of buffalo where moving southward, to reach the canyons which contain the grass they exist upon during the winter. Nearly every railroad train that left or arrived at either Fort's Hays or Wallace on the Kansas Pacific Railroad had it's times with those herds of buffalo, a most interesting and exciting scene was the result.

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HUNTING WITH KARL BODMER

HUNTING WITH GEORGE CATLIN

HUNTING WITH ALFRED JACOB MILLER

HUNTING WITH BUCK CONNER

 

"light up your pipe, enjoy the fire...."

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