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A Majority of Scoundrels: An Informal History of the Rocky by Don. A Berry

By Don. A Berry

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Additional resources for A Majority of Scoundrels: An Informal History of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company

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The naturalists who occasionally ascended with early trapping parties would be the happiest people aboard, for on the banks of the Missouri were as many unclassified species as a man could want. At night the boats tied up along shore and camp was made. The daily wounds were licked, plans discussed, the boatmen did a little obligatory bragging before dropping into the sleep of utter exhaustion. The sound of the river was always with them, the rush of the current and whipcrack snaps of limbs broken, the slow crashing as a log was driven into foliage along the shore, the crackling of distant driftwood grinding itself to powder.

South? Down the river. East? Up the Mississippi and across by the Great Lakes route. West? The Missouri offered the only decent access to the interior of western America. Wherever you chose to go in the continental vastness, St. Louis was on the route. Here was a safe channel near shore; a bank high enough to protect from the floods, but not too high for unloading vessels; a broad shelf of land extending back from the river for the village. In 1764 Laclede predicted "One of the finest cities in America" would rise on his site of St.

Henry’s men were still indebted to one company for their equipment and obliged to dispose of their catch there. ") But the vital element of initiative had been introduced; the men were paid directly according to their hunting success. Henry’s party got off from St. Louis on April 3, l822 (the date of Hempstead’s letter). A bit prematurely, it may be noted—their license didn’t come through until a week later, April 11. No matter; General Ashley was the good friend of General Clark, of the great Senator Tom Benton, both stanch supporters of the trade.

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