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La Charrette Village

Interested in what Lewis & Clark, Daniel Boone, Zebulon Pike, John Colter, President Jefferson and other notables thought about America's newly acquired westernmost village? Enjoy the west...before it became distorted by TV, movies and novels.

Location: Port Aransas, Texas, United States

A retired professor of Food and Animal Science at Texas A&M University, The University of Connecticut and Texas Tech. A cowboy in my previous life...never thought about being a professor or an author.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

John Colter - America's first mountain man

John Colter was a most exceptional person. One of the first to join with Lewis and Clark, he soon became recognized as their best hunter to aid in provisioning the expedition. He served the expedition with distinction, but, at his request, was relieved of his assignment at the Mandan Villages in 1806. He thought he would be "lonely" back in St. Louis. For four years he remained in the western wilderness, alone, and discovered Jackson's Hole Valley, the headwaters of the Snake and Colorado Rivers, the Valley of the Big Horn River, plus Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and so much more. Today his recreated wax likeness is a museum display as posted at http://server1.westwaxmuseum.com/colter.html

The title link explains his adventures to include his capture and his ensuing miraculous escape to freedom from the Blackfeet Indians. Today we consider Colter one of the most important men of the American west. Much has been written about Colter, but what Professor Goetzmann wrote about him in his 1966 Pulitzer Prize-winning book exceeds all others. He discussed the leaders of western exploration, and ranked them ....Lewis and Clark, Zebulon Pike, John Colter...all allied with La Charrette Village history. Learn more of this La Charrette Village neighbor at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Colter and at http://www.olden-times.com/OldtimeNebraska/n-csnyder/nbstory/story9.html

Colter was a very private family person... a farmer, a fur trapper, hunter, explorer, leader of expeditions, naturalist, ranger and hero figure who also helped William Clark draft the earliest maps of the American west which he knew by heart. I might add, he is my La Charrette idol. Regretably, he died a young man in his late thirties on May 7, 1812 (one newspaper report says at La Charrette) while serving as a U.S. Volunteer Mounted Ranger with Nathan Boone's Company at La Charrette.

His memorial at New Haven, Missouri, across the Missouri River from La Charrette, stands as a lasting tribute to this exceptional man. My sister Dorothy Schake Meyer is standing too the left of the picture shown above.


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