From That Time, The Hudson's Bay
Company Enjoyed A Monopoly Of The Indian Trade From The Coast Of
The Pacific To The Rocky Mountains, And For A Considerable Extent
North And South.
They removed their emporium from Astoria to Fort
Vancouver, a strong post on the left bank of the Columbia River,
about sixty miles from its mouth; whence they furnished their
interior posts, and sent forth their brigades of trappers.
The Rocky Mountains formed a vast barrier between them and the
United States, and their stern and awful defiles, their rugged
valleys, and the great western plains watered by their rivers,
remained almost a terra incognita to the American trapper. The
difficulties experienced in 1808, by Mr. Henry of the Missouri
Company, the first American who trapped upon the head-waters of
the Columbia; and the frightful hardships sustained by Wilson P.
Hunt, Ramsay Crooks, Robert Stuart, and other intrepid Astorians,
in their ill-fated expeditions across the mountains, appeared for
a time to check all further enterprise in that direction. The
American traders contented themselves with following up the head
branches of the Missouri, the Yellowstone, and other rivers and
streams on the Atlantic side of the mountains, but forbore to
attempt those great snow-crowned sierras.
One of the first to revive these tramontane expeditions was
General Ashley, of Missouri, a man whose courage and achievements
in the prosecution of his enterprises have rendered him famous in
the Far West. In conjunction with Mr. Henry, already mentioned,
he established a post on the banks of the Yellowstone River in
1822, and in the following year pushed a resolute band of
trappers across the mountains to the banks of the Green River or
Colorado of the West, often known by the Indian name of the
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