in our forefather's footsteps."
OF THE GREAT BUFFALO HUNTS
WESTERN FUR TRADE AND TRADERS.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
AMERICAN EXPLORERS (1804 - 1807)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Harper's Weekly - December 16, 1867
Buffalo from the Trains of the Kansas Pacific Railroad
by Theodore R. Davis
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.
up your pipe, enjoy the fire...."
Copyright 2005 -
"North American Frontiersmen" with guidance of
"Council of Elders" member Walt Hayward.