Rocky Mountain Rendezvous
Rocky Mountain Rendezvous (in trapper jargon) was an annual gathering (1825–1840) at various locations held by a fur trading company at which trappers and mountain men sold their furs and hides and replenished their supplies. The large fur companies put together teamster driven mule trains which packed in whiskey and supplies into a pre-announced location each spring-summer and set up a trading fair—the rendezvous—and at the season's end, packed furs out, normally the British Companies to Fort Vancouver in the Pacific Northwest, and to one of the northern Missouri River ports such as St. Joseph, Missouri, if an American overland fur trading company.
Rendezvous were known to be lively, joyous places, where all were allowed- free trappers, Indians, native trapper wives and children, travelers and later on, even tourists who would venture from even as far as Europe to observe the festivities. James Beckwourth describes: "Mirth, songs, dancing, shouting, trading, running, jumping, singing, racing, target-shooting, yarns, frolic, with all sorts of extravagances that white men or Indians could invent."
Rendezvous are still celebrated as gatherings of like-minded individuals or clubs in many walks of life. The fur trading rendezvous are celebrated by traditional black-powder rifle clubs all over the US and Canada. These gatherings range from small gatherings sponsored by local clubs to large gatherings like the Pacific Primitive Rendezvous and others. These gatherings include much of the same activities of the originals, centering on the shooting of muzzle-loaded rifles, trade guns and shotguns, the throwing of knives and tomahawks and primitive archery, as well as cooking, dancing, singing, the telling of tall tales and of past rendezvous. Personas taken on by participants include trappers, traders, housewives, Native Americans, frontiersmen, free-trappers and many others, including soldiers.
- 1825: McKinnon, Wyoming. The first rendezvous of white traders and trappers in the Rocky Mountains occurred in July 1825 just north of McKinnon along the Henrys Fork river. They joined members of William Henry Ashley's expedition. At this rendezvous, Jedediah Smith became Ashley's partner in the fur trade.
- 1826: at Cache Valley, Utah, either at today's Cove or at the more southern Hyrum – After the rendezvous, Ashley and Smith continued up to the Bear River where they met up with David Jackson and William Sublette. Smith, Jackson and Sublette bought out Ashley's share of the fur company.
- 1827: at the Bear Lake, near today's Laketown, Utah – conflicts and fights with Blackfoot Indians during the meeting
- 1828: Bear Lake, near Laketown, Utah – fights with the Blackfoot
- 1829: Lander, Wyoming
- 1830: Riverton, Wyoming – the company was sold to Jim Bridger, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Milton Sublette (the brother of William), Henry Freab and Baptiste Gervais
- 1831: Cache Valley, Utah (as in 1826) – the support trek was late, so there was no real rendezvous
- 1832: Pierre's Hole, Idaho
- 1833: Daniel, Wyoming
- 1834: Granger, Wyoming – the Rocky Mountain Fur Company is dissolved, the American Fur Company takes over supplying the rendezvous
- 1835: Daniel, Wyoming
- 1836: Daniel, Wyoming
- 1837: Daniel, Wyoming
- 1838: Riverton, Wyoming
- 1839: Daniel, Wyoming
- 1840: Daniel, Wyoming
- Bonner, Thomas D. (1856). The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth, Mountaineer, Scout, and Pioneer, and Chief of the Crow Nation of Indians. With Illustrations. Written from His Own Dictation. New York: New York. p. 107. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
- All locations according to thefurtrapper.com: rendezvous sites
- Official State Highway Map of Wyoming (Map). Wyoming Department of Transportation. 2014.
- Rocky Mountain Rendezvous, Fred R. Gowans, Gibbs Smith Publisher ISBN 1-58685-756-8
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