Originally Posted by holly6
In 1812 David Thompson of the Hudson Bay Company made his famous "Trip of an August Moon" from the source to the mouth of the Colombia River. Upon reaching the Pacific, he found the newly established Ft. Astoria named after JJ Astor, founder of the rival Pacific Fur Company. The Astorians treated him with kindness and returned with him up river.
When they reached the confluence of the Snake and Colombia Rivers, Alexander Ross a leader of the Pacific Co., and eventually a major player in the Fur Trade wrote in his journal about meeting for the first time, the tribes of the plains that annually crossed the Blue and Rocky MT to trade with the fishing communities.
The Mountain Tribes had little contact with whites at this time. The items he mentions came from limited trade with the HBC. I found this early comment of a pioneer trader a vision of the future, not only for America, but for the 19th Century Western expansion throughout the world. And it's impact on the successive years.
"The only European articles seen here with the Indians, and with which they seemed perfectly contented, were guns, and here and there a kettle, or a knife; and, indeed, the fewer the better. They require but little, and the more they get of our manufacture the more unhappy will they be, as the possession of one article naturally creates a desire for another, so that they are never satisfied."
Title Page for those that are interested. The Journal is an excellent read of Primary Source of the Colombia Fur Trade from the American view.
ADVENTURES OF THE FIRST SETTLERS ON THE OREGON OR COLUMBIA RIVER:
BEING A NARRATIVE OF THE EXPEDITION FITTED OUT BY JOHN JACOB ASTOR, TO ESTABLISH THE "PACIFIC FUR COMPANY:" WITH AN ACCOUNT OF SOME INDIAN TRIBES ON THE COAST OF THE PACIFIC.
BY ALEXANDER ROSS,
ONE OF THE ADVENTURERS.
Thanks for posting about David Thompson I think he was the most important land surveyor in North America kind of on the same level as Captain Cook was on water.
It would have been more difficult for him carrying the tools of his trade especially when trying to calculate longitude.
An American Peter Pond started the job originally by finding Methy Portage when he began mentoring Sir Alexander McKenzie in surveying but his skills in calculating longitude were some what lacking.
Alexander Mackenzie was successful in finding a way to the Pacific Ocean @ Bella Coola, British Columbia but the route was not canoe worthy.
Simon Frasier followed finding his way to the mouth of the Frasier River @ Vancouver, BC which was also treacherous due to indian attacks and the scary nature of the river it's self.
The Columbia River was the only river useable by the canoe by the Fur Traders in their flimsy Birch Bark Canoes.
I'm just finishing up reading McGillivray (Lord of the Northwest) by Marjorie Wilkins Campbell.
It is a life history of William McGillivray (Northwest Company) his mentor was his Uncle Simon McTavish who worked the North West out of Grande Portage, Minnesota.
The North West Company was responsible for paying the way for explorers like: Peter Pond, Alexander Mackenzie & David Thompson most of the work done to fill in the big void marked unknown was their doing not the HBC.
After the American Revolution the main depot was moved to Duluth's old Fort Caministigoyan / Kaministiquia latter named after William McGillivray Fort William.
He also had a partnership in John Jacob Astor's American Fur Trading Company (The South West Company).
When war broke out in 1812 John Jacob Astor sent word out to William McGillivray some say that he knew about the War before Sir George Prevost or Sir Issac Brock.
This is why Fort Michilimackinac fell into British hands John Jacob Astor wanted...pleaded for goods to sell the Indian's.
I think he probably wished he had not sent that letter thinking of small personal gain at the time costs us all at times (like being dollar dumb and penny smart) when we should be thinking the other way around.