Thursday, May 27, 2021

Trapper, trader, rancher

TL;DR -- Movement to the west started early, hence the conflict with American Indians ensued which resulted in attempts at treaties. One of these attempts was at a meeting near the Little Arkansas River in 1865. The major tribes of the Plains were represented. The foremost negotiator for the U.S. was of New England. Also present was Kit Carson and William S. Bent who had an Indian wife and had spent several years in the west.  Like early treaties, this one did not take. Subsequent treaties resulted in a lessening of land available to the Tribes. 


Recently, we wrote of the frontier century that began after the trek of Lewis & Clark and continued until the early 1900s. The early part of the century gave us Jedediah Strong Smith and his peers. They interfaced out west with American Indians and people from New France. In this case, the movement west had been across the middle of the country. A couple decades later, there was more area covered, and we saw settlement taking hold. Some were already old, such as St. Louis MO. Others sprang up along the way and over time. For all of these periods we have identified families to research noting location and routes which included rivers. 

However, we also have looked at the time before the interest of New England changed the west. Turns out that Wikipedia is thinking along the same lines: American Frontier (article was started in 2016). 

This post looks at William S. Bent (1808-1869) who was a trapper, trader, and rancher. He built several posts along the Santa Fe trail. William was born in St. Louis, however his father, Silas Bent (1768-1827) was born in Rutland MA which is in Worcester County. Silas is of the generation too young to be a Patriot but his father was one. We will look at Silas later as he was educated in Wheeling WVA (at the time, VA) and became a surveyor of the Louisiana Territory. As can be seen, Silas shows an interesting part of the migration patterns out of New England where he had a deep pedigree. 

Missouri saw European influence early on but became a State in 1820. The image shows the Santa Fe Trial going across the middle region. William S. Bent built a fort along the northern route of the Trail in southeastern CO in 1833. The southern route of the Trail continued in KS in OK and then NM. It was along this route that Jedediah was killed. 

William was out in CO for several years and had a ranch. He bought land near Kansas City MO in 1858. He married the daughter of Cheyenne leader. There will be a lot more to look at as that whole area boomed over the next decade and one-half. 

In 1865 as the Civil War was dying down, the U.S. government developed a Peace Treaty with the American Indians and organized a signing ceremony. The tribes involved were the Apache, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, and Kiowa. This meeting took place near current day Wichita KS. 

William Bent was there for the signing of the Little Arkansas Treaty which is named for a tributary of the Arkansas River that originates in CO. William had been involved with the American Indians for several treaties: 1840, 1848, and 1861. There were many more in succeeding years. 

The treaty's text is available via Yale's Avalon Project: Treaty with the Apache, Cheyenne, and Arapaho; October 17, 1865. The Daughters of the American Revolution placed a marker in 1925 to honor the event (more details later). 

We wanted to mention a few of the others who were there representing the U.S. due to their connection with New England, both north and south. As we read of this, we saw a Sanborn name pop up, so that got our interest. 
  • John B. Sanborn - born in New Hampshire. John went to Dartmouth and ventured out to Minnesota in 1854. He served with a Minnesota military unit during the Civil War. After that, he got involved with the western frontier. 
  • Kit Carson - was born in Kentucky to a Patriot of the Revolution and 1812. His family moved out to MO and were friends with Daniel Boone. By 1826, Kit had gone west on the Trail and was all over the west. Even a summary would be too long for now. So, we'll look at him from time to time. 
  • William S. Harney - served in the U.S. Army from 1818 to 1863. President Johnson appointed him to the Indian Peace Commission. He was born in Tennessee in 1800, but his father was an officer in the U.S. Army.
  • Jesse Henry Leavenworth - born in Danville VT, he was the son of General Henry Leavenworth who was born in New Haven CT. 
 American Indian leaders who were there are: 

Remarks: Modified: 06/19/2021

06/03/2021 -- Added the TL;DR. 

06/19/2021 -- Very old St. Louis in the State of Missouri

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