Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Gathering of the trappers

TL;DR -- Paintings by Remington and Jackson give a good flavor of the times. 


There were several ways to start this post, however using Remington is very much apropos. Picked this photo up from the page about Jedediah Strong Smith on the Legends of America site. We got to Jedediah through articles by Judge Thompson in Dr. Frank's The Massachusetts Magazine where the Judge wrote of his journey out west (over land, to the left coast, and back) in the early days. However, he was in a later time than that of the mountain men who were associated with the fur trade.  

We had not paid attention, but a movie (The Revenant, only saw the ads and read a few brief reviews) was showing in the 2015 timeframe. A little later, while we were trying to identify places that have Gardner in the name, we came across Gardner River that flows out of the Yellowstone Park area in Wyoming merges into the Yellowstone River in Montana. The namesake of the river, a little eddy along the river, and a town turned out to be Johnson Gardner. He was of the cohort of Jedediah. The movie is about an event in the life of Hugh Glass. He had a comrade named John S. Gardner who was killed in the same incident as Hugh was injured in. 

These guys were working for Gen. Ashley of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. Ashley, himself, was out of Virginia and went west before the Lewis & Clark journey. Lewis & Clark were of the official world. We hear of mountain men and expect them to be roughed individuals. But, an added aura is the realm in which they were roaming. The American west. The painting above depicts these individuals coming to a rendezvous which, it turns out, was something that the General got started. 

This next two paintings are from W. H. Jackson: a rendezvous and view of a wagon train. These are meant to show some of the cultural context as well as the scope/scale of what we need to do. Paintings can be seen in the Eye for History publication of the National Park Service. 

As we look at these, we can not help but think of the "flyover country" discussions that were never resolved. 

So, let's end this post and look at what is coming up in the next few posts. We will look further at this fur company, in the context of the long reach of New England. Notice that where W. H. Jackson was born is way upper New York and close to Vermont. To us, that implies the possible links to Massachusetts, perhaps even Essex. Ann's great-grands went out to that area for a while. But, we have another puzzle where the lineage is along that border, and the family names are right out of Essex County (and Nantucket). No end to the work to be done. 

Too, though, we will look again at rivers and their sources. The Yellowstone area is interesting in this sense as it spawns a number of waterways. There are many ways that rivers come into the picture. But, too, as we work details related to events and people and their families, we will be aware of earlier takes on the matter, both the historical and the informal looks. 

Remarks: Modified: 03/08/2021

02/27/2021 --  Looked at the rivers of Yellowstone and New Spain. Added the TL;DR line. 


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