W. Price Hunt

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Wilson Price Hunt
Wilson Price Hunt.png
Wilson Price Hunt
Born March 20, 1783
Died April 13, 1842(1842-04-13) (aged 59)
Occupation explorer

William or Wilson Price Hunt (March 20, 1783 – April 13, 1842) was an early pioneer of the Oregon Country in the Pacific Northwest of North America. An American and an employee of John Jacob Astor, Hunt used information supplied by the Lewis and Clark Expedition to lead the portion of the Astor Expedition that traveled to Oregon by land. The party reached the mouth of the Columbia River in February 1812, joining the portion of the expedition that had traveled by sea at Fort Astoria, which the latter party had just completed.[1]

Hunt had difficulty finding quality men at Mackinaw and St. Louis, finding most to be "drinking in the morning, drunk at noon and dead drunk at night."[2] Having finally assembled a party, Hunt arrived at Nodaway, Missouri, on November 16, 1810, and settled into winter quarters. They departed April 22, 1811.

When the party encountered the Snake River, they abandoned their horses and attempted to travel downstream. After nine days of successful travel they lost a man and two canoes in the rapids, and reconsidered their plan. They divided into four parties, and took different routes to approach the mouth of the Columbia.[2]

The trip from Missouri to the future site of Astoria, Oregon took 340 days.[2] According to his own account, Hunt traveled 2,073 miles (3,336 km) from a village of the Aricaras, in present-day South Dakota, to the end of the journey.[3]

A return expedition was led by Robert Stuart, who discovered the South Pass, a key feature of the soon-to-be-established Oregon Trail.[1]

Hunt's expedition is one of many scenes depicted on the Astoria Column,[4] and his name is inscribed in a frieze in the Oregon State Senate chamber of the Oregon State Capitol.

Historical records refer to Hunt both as "William"[2][5] and as "Wilson."[6][7]

See also[edit]

  • David Thompson, a Canadian explorer who arrived at Astoria shortly before the Hunt party.