The First Laketown Area Fur Traders Rendezvous

rendezvousdepiction1William Ashley hired Hiram Scott and 46-60 men to take the supply caravan to the 1827 rendezvous. The caravan left St. Louis on April 12, 1827.rendezvousdepiction2

The pack train, with supplies, was valued at $22,447. The 1827 Sweet (Bear) Lake Rendezvous was the first where rum appeared on the list of trade goods.

The men accompanying this pack train were paid $110 for one year of service. Hiram Scott become ill, and he was abandoned. His body was found three years later near Scott’s Bluff, Nebraska.

canon copy-1240A four-pounder cannon, the first wheeled vehicle ever taken into the mountains, was part of this caravan. The route traversed the Platte River, then along the North Platte River and finally across South Pass – the eastern part of the Oregon Trail.  Jed Smith Image 6 - MapIt is thought the group arrived in late June.  They were definitely on site by July 3rd, greeted by Mountain Men and Native Americans already gathering in anticipation of the rendezvous at the south end of Sweet (Bear) Lake.  At the time, this rendezvous was within the territory of Mexico.

800px-Alfred_Jacob_Miller_-_The_Greeting_-_Walters_371940133

Just prior to, or about the time of the arrival of the pack train, Blackfoot warriors attacked those gathering for the rendezvous. According to Daniel Potts, this event was more of a skirmish involving about 20 Blackfoot warriors. However, James Beckwourth, known as the “Immaculate Liar,” accounted it as a six hour, all-out battle involving more than 300 trappers, plus their Indian allies, where more than 173 Blackfoot scalps were taken.beaverpelt

At the rendezvous, 7400 beaver pelts were sold at $3 per pound.  Although a relatively new fur company, Smith, Jackson and Sublette appeared to have had a successful year, primarily due to mark-up of goods and supplies. 130 packs of fur, averaging 100 pounds per pack, were taken on the return trip.beaver2

There was a bit of grumbling among the trappers about the “exorbitant “ prices of goods. Powder was $2.50 a pound, lead $1.50, coffee, sugar, and tobacco $2.00 each, three point blankets $15.00, cotton and calico $2.50 a yard, with blue and scarlet cloth approaching $10.00 a yard.Trading_at_Pierres_Hole

The 1827 rendezvous broke camp on or about around July 13th.  When the trading concluded, all parties dispersed upon the return of Smith from a perilous journey to California.


Flash forward to the late 1860’s:

Meadowville, Round Valley, and Laketown were being established as “Mormon” communities in spite of disagreements with Native Americans over their “hunting grounds.”  It seems that the first white settlers in the valley had made a treaty with the Native Americans, which gave the north end of the Bear Lake Valley to the white people and the south end to the Native Americans.

GreenRiver_Rendezvous, William Henry JacksonLarge bands of Native Americans often gathered in the vicinity of Laketown. In 1870, a large community estimated at 3,000, camped on the south shore of Bear Lake. This caused the Mormon settlers a great deal of concern.  After a meeting of the settlers and chiefs, among them Chief Washakie, an agreement was forged and the Native Americans moved to Wind River, Wyoming.

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