The Astorians

The first white men to cross an established Indian trail in what is today’s Sublette County. They were the Astorians, led by explorer Wilson Price Hunt, in 1811, employees of John Jacob Astor and the American Fur Company. The party was seeking to establish cross-continental routes for the fur trade. While camping near present day Pinedale, they met and traded with Snake Indians. Here they gathered buffalo meat for the journey ahead. A small but steady stream of fur trappers and traders followed on their heels in the years that followed. The fur trade expanded rapidly during the 1820s and brought to Wyoming William H. Ashley who came up with the idea to have an annual rendezvous instead of trying to maintain a series of permanent trading posts. The annual Rendezvous was held at a different location each year and brought mountain men and natives together for fun and trade. Other lively mountain men such as Jim Bridger, John Hoback, Jedediah Smith, Bill Sublette, David E. Jackson, and Robert Campbell were also known to work the area. Increasing competition with the Hudson’s Bay and American Fur companies depleted the beaver catch and brought an end to the fur trade by the 1840s.

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