Andrew Henry (fur trader)

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For other people named Andrew Henry, see Andrew Henry (disambiguation).

Major Andrew Henry (c. 1775 – 1832) was an American fur trader who, with William H. Ashley started the Rocky Mountain Fur Company in 1822.[1] Born circa 1775 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, Henry was tall, slender, with dark hair, blue eyes and a reputation for honesty.

He appears in the narrative poem, the Song of Hugh Glass, which is part of the Neihardt's Cycle of the West.

Biography[edit]

Henry went to Nashville, Tennessee, in his twenties but moved on to Louisiana in 1800 (before the Louisiana Purchase) to the lead mines near present-day Potosi, Missouri, and in 1806 he bought a share of the mine.[2]

In 1809 he joined with Manuel Lisa, Jean Pierre Chouteau and William Clark to found the Missouri Fur Company. He soon led an expedition to the Three Forks of the Missouri River near present day Three Forks, Montana, where he built "Fort Henry".[3] In 1811 Henry explored the Montana-Idaho wilderness and discovered Henry's Lake. During the same expedition he built a post also named “Fort Henry” on Henry's Fork of the Snake River near present-day Saint Anthony, Idaho.[4][5]

After many difficulties, especially with the Blackfoot Indians, Henry returned to Saint Louis, Missouri in January, 1812. When the War of 1812 was declared Henry enrolled in the army, rising to the rank of major.

In 1818 Henry married Mary Flemming, daughter of one of the owners of the lead mine. Mary Flemming was of French birth and considerably younger than Henry; the marriage was a happy one for them both and produced four children. Henry returned to lead mining.[2]

In 1822, he started what would become the Rocky Mountain Fur Company with William H. Ashley. The new company sent three keelboats up the Missouri River, three different times. Henry led an expedition of 21 men, 60 horses and one keelboat to the mouth of the Yellowstone River and built a post that came to be known as Fort Henry. The next boat, under the command of Daniel Moore, sank, along with ten thousand dollars worth of provisions. Ashley equipped a third boat, piloted it himself, and was able to get through to Henry at the Yellowstone. Ashley then immediately returned to Saint Louis to make preparations for the following season.

In 1824, after a profitable season and many harrowing adventures, Andrew Henry retired from the company and returned once more to lead mining. He died, intestate, January 10, 1832.

References[edit]

  1. ^ National Park Service: Andrew Henry.
  2. ^ a b Lindsley, Margaret Hawkes. 1990. Andrew Henry: Mine and Mountain Major. Jelm Mountain Publications. 374 pp.
  3. ^ Fort Wiki: Fort Henry (1)
  4. ^ Fort Wiki: Fort Henry (2)
  5. ^ W. Raymond Wood. First Post in the Far West: (November 1807 – March 1813). Discovering Lewis & Clark. (See Figure 6)