Photo #1 - Sophomores got a chance to handle a powder horn, pelts, a bow and arrow, antlers, a beaver trap, and other period-authentic items during Aidan Brady’s mountain man-fur trade presentation at the Green River High School. Famed mountain man Jim Bridger, pictured here, founded a trading post at Fort Bridger in 1843.
(Sweetwater County, Wyo. - April 26, 2023) In presentations throughout the day for 135 students attending the Green River High School’s sophomore Wyoming History class, mountain men and the fur trade were the topics of a recent Sweetwater County Historical Museum program.
The mountain man era of the early to mid 19th century was an important one in Wyoming and Sweetwater County history. There was heavy demand for beaver pelts in the east and Europe to provide felt for men’s hats. Public Engagement Coordinator Aidan Brady described how every year, from 1825 to 1840, at different locations in Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho, mountain men, trappers, and Native Americans gathered at rendezvous to sell their furs, trade for supplies, and celebrate. The first rendezvous, in 1825, was staged on Henry’s Fork, three miles northeast of Burntfork and about 40 miles southwest of Green River in what is now Sweetwater County.
The most famous mountain men included Kit Carson, John Colter, Jedediah Smith, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Joseph Walker, and Jim Bridger, who established the trading post named for him in what became Uinta County, Wyoming, in 1843, now a Wyoming state historic site. Bridger was among the greatest of American frontiersman, and at least a dozen major landmarks in the west now bear his name.