Antoine Godin (c. 1805-1836), an Iroquois Canadian fur trapper and explorer, is noted primarily for the public murder of a Gros Ventre chief which led to a battle between fur traders and Indians in Pierre's Hole, now called the Teton Basin, in eastern Idaho.
The Gros Ventre, also known as the Aaniiih, A'aninin, Haaninin, and Atsina, are a historically Algonquian-speaking Native American tribe located in north central Montana. Today the Gros Ventre people are enrolled in the Fort Belknap Indian Community of the Fort Belknap Reservation of Montana, a federally recognized tribe with 3,682 enrolled members, that also includes Assiniboine people or Nakoda people, the Gros Ventre's historical enemies. The Fort Belknap Indian Reservation is in the northernmost part of Montana, just south of the small town of Harlem, Montana.
Pierre's Hole is a shallow valley in the western United States in eastern Idaho, just west of the Teton Range in Wyoming. At an elevation over 6,000 feet (1,830 m) above sea level, it collects the headwaters of the Teton River, and was a strategic center of the fur trade of the northern Rocky Mountains. The nearby Jackson Hole area in Wyoming is on the opposite side of the Tetons.
Initially employed by the British Northwest Fur Company, Godin and his father Thyery were among the Iroquois Indians hired because of skills as trappers, hunters and boatmen. From the Montreal area, Godin and his father may have been among forty mostly Iroquois recruits that Joseph LaRocque, of the Northwest Fur Company, brought from Canada to the Rocky Mountains and the Northwest in 1817. In 1821 the Northwest Fur Company and their employees merged with the Hudson's Bay Company.
The Iroquois or Haudenosaunee are a historically powerful northeast Native American confederacy. They were known during the colonial years to the French as the Iroquois League, and later as the Iroquois Confederacy, and to the English as the Five Nations, comprising the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca. After 1722, they accepted the Tuscarora people from the Southeast into their confederacy and became known as the Six Nations.
The Hudson's Bay Company is a Canadian retail business group. A fur trading business for much of its existence, HBC now owns and operates retail stores in Canada, the United States, and parts of Europe including Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. The company's namesake business division is Hudson's Bay, commonly referred to as The Bay. Other divisions include Galeria Kaufhof, Home Outfitters, Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue. HBC's head office is currently located in Brampton, Ontario. The company is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "HBC".
Antoine Godin was probably born prior to 1810, as he is mentioned in the 1825 journal of Hudson's Bay officer Peter Skene Ogden in the northern Rocky Mountains. At this time, Thyery Godin had already left his British employer to join American fur trappers at the urging of Johnson Gardner, an associate of William H. Ashley. The Americans promised those who defected from the British higher prices for their furs as well as lower charges for goods and supplies. This campaign resulted in twenty-three Iroquois and Canadian freeman, and their fur caches, joining the Americans. Instead of simply deserting, Antoine Godin met with Ogden to request a release from his obligation to the Hudson's Bay Company. Ogden wrote ...being a worthless scamp, I gave him his liberty...
Peter Skene Ogden, was a fur trader and a Canadian explorer of what is now British Columbia and the American West.
The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than 4,800 kilometers (3,000 mi) from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico in the Southwestern United States. Located within the North American Cordillera, the Rockies are somewhat distinct from the Pacific Coast Ranges, Cascade Range, and the Sierra Nevada, which all lie farther to the west.
In either 1828 or 1830, Godin's father was slain by Blackfoot Indians, leaving Antoine with a vindictive hatred for all Blackfeet and their allies.
While traveling to the 1832 rendezvous at Pierre's Hole, Godin and his party came across trapper Thomas Fitzpatrick, emaciated with his feet bare, and his clothing in shreds, traveling without horse or equipment. Fitzpatrick had been attacked and robbed several weeks earlier by Blackfeet when he had ridden ahead of a pack train to alert the rendezvous of their eminent arrival. Godin brought Fitzpatrick in to the rendezvous at a time when many had given Fitzpatrick up for dead.
Thomas Fitzpatrick, known as "Broken Hand", was a famous "mountain man", "friend of the Indians", trailblazer and trapper with the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. With Jedediah Smith, he led a trapper band that discovered South Pass, Wyoming; however, before that Robert Stuart led the first known white party through the South Pass.
By 1834 an entry in one of Fort Hall, Idaho's account books indicates that Godin was employed by Nathaniel Wyeth. The note stated that Godin was not reliable, and should have only limited credit. Other entries in the account book show that Godin was a meat hunter for the fort from 1834 to mid-1836.
Fort Hall was a fort that was built in 1834 as a fur trading post by Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth. It was located on the Snake River in the eastern Oregon Country, now part of present-day Bannock County in southeastern Idaho, United States. Mr. Wyeth was an inventor and businessman from Boston, Massachusetts, who also founded a post at Fort William, in present-day Portland, Oregon, as part of a plan for a new trading and fisheries company. Unable to compete with the powerful British Hudson's Bay Company, based at Fort Vancouver, in 1837 Wyeth sold both posts to it. Great Britain and the United States both operated in the Oregon Country in these years.
Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth was an American inventor and businessman in Boston, Massachusetts who contributed greatly to its ice industry. Due to his inventions, Boston could harvest and ship ice internationally. In the 1830s, he was also a mountain man who led two expeditions to the Northwest and set up two trading posts, one in present-day Idaho and one in present-day Oregon.
On May 22, 1836, Godin was invited to trade for furs by a Metis man named James Bird, but was shot without warning by one of Bird's Blackfoot companions prior to trading. Although unable to save Godin, men from the fort were able to retrieve his personal effects. Godin's blanket, rifle, and other goods were shown as credits towards his account in the fort's ledger on May 23, 1836.
At the close of the 1832 rendezvous, Godin joined a brigade led by Milton Sublette. The group of over forty men included Nathaniel Wyeth and eleven of his men. On the morning of the second day after leaving rendezvous, a large group with pack animals were observed approaching the camp. Initially there was no alarm, for this group was assumed to be an American Fur Company supply train led by Lucien Fontenelle, which had failed to arrive in time for the rendezvous. As the group came closer, it became apparent they were a party of between 150 and 200 Gros Ventre Indians, including women and children, who were moving the location of their village. Because they were in transit with their families, this group was not seeking a fight with the mountain men. Signs were made for peace, and one of the chiefs rode forward, as did Antoine Godin and Baptiste Dorian, a Flathead "breed". According to The Adventures of Captain Bonneville, written by Washington Irving, Godin apparently saw this as a chance to avenge the death of his father.  Coming even with the chief, Godin grasped the man's rifle and called to Dorian to shoot the chief, which Dorian did. The two then stole the chief's bright red blanket and raced back to the trapper brigade. (Bonneville, "Chapter 6") This murder initiated the "Battle of Pierre's Hole", which resulted in deaths and injuries to both sides.
A mountain man is an explorer who lives in the wilderness. Mountain men were most common in the North American Rocky Mountains from about 1810 through to the 1880s. They were instrumental in opening up the various Emigrant Trails allowing Americans in the east to settle the new territories of the far west by organized wagon trains traveling over roads explored and in many cases, physically improved by the mountain men and the big fur companies originally to serve the mule train based inland fur trade.
Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bonneville was a French-born officer in the United States Army, fur trapper, and explorer in the American West. He is noted for his expeditions to the Oregon Country and the Great Basin, and in particular for blazing portions of the Oregon Trail.
John Work was a Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company and head of one of the original founding families in Victoria, British Columbia. Work joined the Hudson's Bay Company in 1814 and served in many capacities until his death in 1861, ultimately becoming a member of the company's Board of Management for its Western Department. He also served on Vancouver Island’s Legislative Council. At the time of his death, Work was the largest private land owner of Vancouver Island. Work left an important legacy in the form of sixteen journals which chronicle his trading expeditions from 1823 to 1851. His journals provide a detailed record of Pacific Northwest land features, native peoples, and the Hudson’s Bay Company’s fur trading business in the early 19th century.
Anthony Henday was one of the first European men to explore the interior of the Canadian northwest.
The enterprise that eventually came to be known as the Rocky Mountain Fur Company was established in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1822 by William Henry Ashley and Andrew Henry. Among the original employees, known as "Ashley's Hundred," were Jedediah Smith, who went on to take a leading role in the company's operations, and Jim Bridger, who was among those who bought out Smith and his partners in 1830. It was Bridger and his partners who gave the enterprise the name "Rocky Mountain Fur Company."
Joseph Goff Gale was an American pioneer, trapper, entrepreneur, and politician who contributed to the early settlement of the Oregon Country. There he assisted in the construction of the first sailing vessel built in what would become the state of Oregon, sailed the ship to California to trade for cattle, and later served as one of three co-executives ("governors") in the Provisional Government of Oregon. Originally a sailor, he also spent time in the fur trade, as a farmer, and a gold miner in the California Gold Rush.
The Columbia District was a fur trading district in the Pacific Northwest region of British North America in the 19th century. Much of its territory overlapped with the disputed Oregon Country. It was explored by the North West Company between 1793 and 1811, and established as an operating fur district around 1810. The North West Company was absorbed into the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821, under which the Columbia District became known as the Columbia Department. The Oregon Treaty of 1846 marked the effective end of the Hudson's Bay Company's Columbia Department.
Fort William was a fur trading outpost built in 1834 by the American Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth, a Boston merchant, backed by American investors. It was located on the Columbia River on Wappatoo Island near the future Portland, Oregon. After a few years, in 1837 Wyeth sold the post to the British Hudson’s Bay Company, which had much more power in the region from its base at Fort Vancouver on the north side of the Columbia River near Fort William.
The Mountain Men is a 1980 adventure/Western film starring Charlton Heston and Brian Keith.
Mountain Green is a census-designated place in northwestern Morgan County, Utah, United States. The population was 2,309 at the 2010 census. Located 16 miles (26 km) up the Weber River from Ogden, Mountain Green is the world headquarters of the Browning Arms Company.
Thomas McKay (1796–1849) was an Anglo-Métis Canadian Fur trader who worked mainly in the Pacific Northwest for the Pacific Fur Company (PFC), the North West Company (NWC), and the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC). He was a fur brigade leader and explorer of the Columbia District and later became a U.S. citizen and an early settler of Oregon.
Weber Canyon is a canyon in the Wasatch Range near Ogden, Utah, through which the Weber River flows west toward the Great Salt Lake. It is fed by 13 tributary creeks and is 40 miles (64 km) long.
Rocky Mountain Rendezvous was an annual gathering (1825–1840) at various locations held by a fur trading company at which trappers and mountain men sold their furs and hides and replenished their supplies. The large fur companies put together teamster driven mule trains which packed in whiskey and supplies into a pre-announced location each spring-summer and set up a trading fair—the rendezvous—and at the season's end, packed furs out, normally the British Companies to Fort Vancouver in the Pacific Northwest, and to one of the northern Missouri River ports such as St. Joseph, Missouri, if an American overland fur trading company.
The Missouri Fur Company was one of the earliest fur trading companies in St. Louis, Missouri. Dissolved and reorganized several times, it operated under various names from 1809 until its final dissolution in 1830. It was created by a group of fur traders and merchants from St. Louis and Kaskaskia, Illinois, including Manuel Lisa and members of the Chouteau family. Its expeditions explored the upper Missouri River and traded with a variety of Native American tribes, and it acted as the prototype for fur trading companies along the Missouri River until the 1820s.
The Oregon Trail is a historic 2,000-mile (3,264-km) trail used by American pioneers living in the Great Plains in the 19th century. The emigrants traveled by wagon in search of fertile land in Oregon's Willamette Valley.
The fur trade in Montana was a major period in the area's economic history from about 1800 to the 1850s. It also represents the initial meeting of cultures between indigenous peoples and those of European ancestry. British and Canadian traders approached the area from the north and northeast focusing on trading with the indigenous people, who often did the trapping of beavers and other animals themselves. American traders moved gradually up the Missouri River seeking to beat British and Canadian traders to the profitable Upper Missouri River region.
Charles Autobees (1812–1882), whose last name was also spelled Urtebise and Ortivis, was a fur trader and pioneer in the American Old West. He was the founder of Autobees, Colorado.