Mountain Men and Life in the Rocky

Subject Guide


Mountain West

Malachite’s Big Hole

1835 Green River (Siskeedee Agie) Rendezvous:

By the spring of 1835 William Sublette and Robert Campbell had finalized the arrangements to sell Fort William to Fontenelle, Fitzpatrick and Company.  On April 9th, both Campbell and Fitzpatrick left for the fort, arriving sometime in May.  Campbell then returned to St. Louis with all of the furs and buffalo robes which had been accumulated at the fort over the winter.  On his return trip he was accompanied by 12 men, including Andrew Sublette.  

On June 27th while on his return trip, Campbell met Lucien Fontenelle, who was on his way to the mountains with a supply train for the 1835 rendezvous.  The pack train included 50-60 men, six wagons, and 200 or so horses.  Traveling with Fontenelle were Dr. Marcus Whitman and Samuel Parker, missionaries sent out to assess possibilities for mission work among the Flathead and Nez Perce Indians.

Lucien Fontenelle arrived at Fort William on July 27, where the rendezvous bound supplies were transferred from the wagons to the pack animals for final transport.  Fontenelle would remain at the fort, but Fitzpatrick would accompany the supply train to the rendezvous.  Fitzpatrick left the fort on August 1, and would arrive at the Green River-Horse Creek rendezvous site on August 12.  (Map)

This may have been one of the best attended rendezvous, with about 300 trappers and company men, 2,000 Shoshoni Indians, and forty or so lodges of Flathead and Nez Perce Indians.  A small party of Hudson’s Bay Company men under the leadership of Francis Ermatinger were also present.  Sir William Drummond Stewart traveled to this years rendezvous with Ermatinger's party.

While at rendezvous, Dr. Whitman performed several surgical procedures, removing an iron Blackfoot arrow from the back of Jim Bridger, which Bridger had received in a skirmish three years earlier, and also removing another arrow from the shoulder of a hunter which had been lodged there for two and one-half years.   Marcus Whitman and Samuel Parker were so impressed with the mission possibilities amongst the Flathead and Nez Perce Indians while at rendezvous, that Whitman return east at the end of rendezvous to obtain financial support and additional mission associates.

The rendezvous would begin to break up August 21st, with Jim Bridger and a brigade of about 50 men raising camp for Pierre’s Hole.  Samuel Parker would accompany this group that far.  Parker then intended to travel on to Oregon country with the aid of Indian guides.  (For a description of a Mountain Man Church Service preached by Parker after the breakup of Rendezvous)

Fitzpatrick did not leave rendezvous until August 27th, to pack the accumulated furs back to St. Louis.  His party contained about 85 men, including Jean Gervais, Henry Fraeb and Dr. Marcus Whitman.  On arriving at Fort William, Fontenelle would assume leadership of the St. Louis bound pack train, and Fitzpatrick would remain behind.  Fitzpatrick would not return again to St. Louis until January of 1836.  There he would find that Fontenelle had been neglecting company business, and was instead drinking heavily.

During the winter of 1835-1836 William Sublette and Robert Campbell would renew their partnership for an additional three years.   

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1836 Rendezvous