Mountain Men and Life in the Rocky

Subject Guide


Mountain West

Malachite’s Big Hole

Fitzpatrick’s Blackfoot Adventure:

Thomas Fitzpatrick accompanied the Sublette and Campbell supply train to the Rendezvous of 1832.  Competition for the available furs was fierce again this year, and the American Fur Company was sending a pack train to the rendezvous as well.  Before the Sublette and Campbell supply train had reached South Pass, Fitzpatrick rode on ahead to confirm the location of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company's trapper brigades.  This was to ensure that no time would be lost and limit the ability of the American Fur Company to trade skins and furs from the free trappers and Indians.  From the time Fitzpatrick left, until the supply train arrived at the rendezvous site, Fitzpatrick would vanish.  

After it was determined that Fitzpatrick was with neither group search parties were sent out.  As hope was beginning to fade, Antoine Godin came in with Fitzpatrick.  Fitzpatrick had lost his horses, blanket, coat, and gun. He had endured such privation and hunger that many didn’t recognize his emaciated form.  The Blackfoot Indians who had caused him the loss of his horses and equipment and nearly cost him his life were the same group who were later engaged in battle with the trappers after rendezvous at the Battle of Pierre’s Hole.  There is no indication that the trappers knew this prior to or during the battle, however, the day following the battle Fitzpatrick’s prize horse was recovered.  Three versions of the story are recorded by Zenas Leonard (Reference), Warren Ferris (Reference), and Joe Meek (Reference).  Being affiliated with the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, Zenas Leonard may have heard the story directly from Fitzpatrick.  Warren Ferris was employed by the opposition American Fur Company, and it is more probably that he heard the story second hand. 

Account of Zenas Leonard
Account of Warren Ferris
Account of Joe Meek
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