A Glossary of American Mountain Men Terms, Words & Expressions
Compiled by Walt Hayward & Brad McDade
© 1997 The American Mountain Men
- The shortest and straightest line between two points. This term was
in use long before the invention of aircraft.
- A large, padded packsaddle designed to handle awkward, heavy loads.
Very likely the first type of packsaddle, Unlike the sawbuck, panniers
cannot be handled with this saddle.
- A saddle pad, often made of hair.
- An early camp food made by skewering alternate pieces of lean meat
and fat on a sharpened stick and roasting over a low fire. When it was
possible to get them, pieces of potato or vegetable, were intermixed with
the fat and the meat. This method of cooking was much used by many tribes
of Indians, as well as the Mountain Men.
- ARKANSAS TOOTHPICK
- A large, pointed dagger used mostly by river men.
- AS THE CROW FLIES
- See "Airline"
- AUX ALIMENTS DU PAYS
- French for "nourishment of the land'. All the free trappers and
many engages were required to live "aux aliments du pays", surviving
by using the provisions of nature.
- AVANT COURIER
- A French word meaning "scout". This word was used by both
voyageurs and mountain men.
- Bullet. (The actual projectile.)
- BARK ON, HE HAS THE
- Said of a courageous person.
- BARK TO
- To skin an animal. To scalp a man. a squirrel by shooting the tree
bark from under him.
- BIG FIFTY
- The .50 caliber Sharps rifle used by the buffalo hunter.
- A fallen tree used for fleshing hides. This was also called a graining
beam or a fleshing beam.
- BEAR PEN
- A type of trap in which the fall acts as a lid over a pen, thereby
catching the animal alive.
- BEE LINE
- See "Airline".
- A lamp made by filling a tin cup with bear or other animal fat, then
inserting a twisted rag or piece of cotton rope to act as a wick.
- BLACKBIRD STORM
- An unexpected cold storm in late spring.
- BLANC BEC
- A term used by voyageurs for a new man who had yet to travel the Missouri
past the Platte River. As with many voyageur terms, this was later adopted
by some Mountain Men with much the same meaning.
- BOIS DE VACHE
- Buffalo chips used as fuel.
- BONE PICKER
- A despised human scavenger who hunted for, and sold, the bones of dead
animals, mostly buffalo.
- The leader of a party of mountain men. The word comes from the French
"bourgeois", used by the voyageurs.
- See "Bossloper".
- A trapper or hunter
- The real treat of the mountain man. A buffalo gut containing chyme,
which was cut into lengths about 24 inches long and roasted before a fire
until crisp and sizzling.
- A person of Indian and White blood. A half-breed.
- A keelboat crew.
- Tanned deerskin from which much of the clothing of the Indian and mountain
man was made. If Indian tanned, buckskin was usually a very light dolor,
often almost white. Darker color was usually obtained by smoking the skin
over an open fire.
- BUFFALO BOAT
- A boat made of raw buffalo skins, much used by traders. This boat differed
from the Bull Boat in that it was larger and had a normal boat shape.
- BUFFALO CHIP
- Buffalo manure, dried and used as fuel.
- BUFFALO CIDER
- The fluid found in the stomach of the buffalo. Used by both mountain
men and Indians to quench thirst.
- BUFFALO DANCE
- An Indian dance used to insure success on a buffalo hunt.
- BUFFALO GUN
- See "Big Fifty".
- BUFFALO LICK
- A natural saltlick used by buffalo and other game animals. Usually
a very good place to find game.
- BUFFALO RANGE
- Any wide-open feeding area used by buffalo.
- BUFFALO ROBE
- The skin of the buffalo, tanned with the hair on. Used by traders,
Indians, and mountain men as ground covers, robes and blankets,
- BUFFALO WALLOW
- The depression made by buffalo rolling and dusting themselves. The
same wallows were used year after year often becoming quite deep.
- BUFFALO WOLF
- A large, gray wolf found around buffalo herds. Young buffalo calves
were the natural food of this animal.
- BUG'S BOYS
- The Blackfoot Indians.
- A derisive term used to mean any company official who tended to think
that he was more important than he actually was.
- BULL BOAT
- A bowl-shaped boat having a willow frame-work covered with green hide.
Easy and quick to make; but very difficult to handle.
- BULL CHEESE
- Buffalo jerky.
- A safe place, often hidden, for storage of food and other supplies.
- CACHE, TO
- To put or store something in a safe place.
- CAHOOTS, TO GO IN
- To go into partnership.
- A form of Mexican trousers often worn by traders.
- CANOT DU MAITRE
- A 35- to 40-foot long canoe propelled by fourteen men, (voyageur)
- CANOT DU NORD
- A 25-foot long canoe propelled by eight men. (Voyageur)
- See "Carrot"
- A bundle of tobacco, wrapped in linen, then whip-wrapped with cords
thus forming a crescent-shaped bundle. An early method of packaging and
- A horse. Also a tribe of Indians in Oregon.
- CHAFF, TO
- To make fun of someone. To rub someone the wrong way.
- CHAFFER, TO
- To haggle over prices or trade goods.
- A thicket of scrub oak and other brush.
- CHEF DE VOYAGE
- A party leader. (Voyageur)
- See "Coon".
- A warm wind, usually in the spring. This is a common term in the Northwest.
- COCK THE
- The hammer of a rifle or pistol.
- COLD FEET, HE HAS
- He is a coward. Someone who seeks shelter when the going gets tough.
- CONE THE
- The nipple on a percussion rifle or pistol.
- A raccoon. Also a friendly name early mountain men called each other.
- COUNT COUP
- To show bravery and receive honor by touching an enemy, usually with
a special stick used for that purpose only. In some tribes, touching a
living enemy had more honor than touching a dead enemy. Touching a man
had more honor than touching a woman. The first to touch received more
honor than the second or third. Credit was seldom if ever, given after
the third. When feathers were awarded for coup, they were sometimes depending
on the tribe, cut or painted to indicate the type and amount of honor they
represented. Oddly enough, killing the enemy did not count for coup the
first to touch took the honor, be he the killer or not. When used by the
mountain man, the expression "I'll count coup on him" usually
meant "I'll kill him", after which, the taking of the dead man's
scalp was normal.
- COUREURS DE BOIS
- A woods runner or hunter an early French trapper, (Voyageur)
- A messenger, A term used mostly by traders.
- CRIMPY DAY
- A very cold day.
- CROOKED RIVER
- Any river which is filled with sand bars reefs, or actual bends.
- CURLY WOLF
- A man who can brag and is willing to back his talk with his fists or
- CUT FOR SIGN, TO
- To walk or ride back and forth across an area looking for evidence
of a man or animal passing.
- DEAD FALL
- A tree blown down by the wind or other force of nature. Also,
a trap which utilizes a falling log or stone as the actual trapping mechanism.
- DEAD MEAT
- DIAMOND HITCH
- A hitch (knot) used to fasten cargo to a pack saddle.
- DIG UP THE TOMAHAWK
- Start a war. Often the word "hatchet" was substituted for
- DRY, I AM
- I am thirst, likely for something stronger than water.
- DUMPLING DUST
- Flour. This term originated from the early practice of mixing dough
by pouring water in a depression made in the flour while it was still in
the sack, causing small puffs of dust. Both the term and practice are still
used by north woodsmen.
- DU PONT
- Any type of temporary prop or support.
- DUTCH OVEN
- A large kettle with three feet and a dished lid. It can be used for
both cooking and baking.
- EASY WATER
- Calm, smooth water on a river or lake.
- A 3-year agreement between a trapper and a fur company.
- Company trappers bound for 3 years to sell all they trap to only one
- Chief of a trading post or trading party, authorized by the company
to sell or trade company merchandise.
- FATHER OF ALL WATERS
- Mississippi River. An Indian term.
- FAT PINE
- Pitch pine, very good for starting fires.
- FEAST CAKES
- A young, female horse; although just as likely to be applied to a young,
shapely, good-looking woman.
- FIRE WATER
- Whiskey. This term comes from the Indian practice of throwing a cup
of whiskey into a fire to see if it would burn. If it would not flame up,
it would not be accepted.
- A very early soda pop made by mixing a little vinegar and a spoon of
sugar in a glass of fresh water. Just before drinking mix in about a quarter
of a spoon of soda.
- FLASH IN THE PAN
- A misfire. Also a man who spends a great deal of time bragging, but
never seems to be around when it comes to proving himself.
- Any skin or hide which had the flesh and fat scraped off before it
- The process of removing the excess flesh and fat from a skin or hide.
- FLAT BOAT
- A large scow used to float up to three tons of fur and skins to St.
- FLOAT STICK
- A stick attached to a steel trap used to show the location of the trap
and the trapped animal. From this comes the expression, "That's the
way my stick floats" , meaning , " That's the way I feel about
- Any fancy clothing or anything fancy on clothing. Just about anything
used for decoration
- FORK A HORSE (or MULE)
- Mount the animal.
- FORT UP
- Get ready to fight a defensive battle.
- FREE TRAPPER
- A trapper who worked for himself, trapping and selling where he wanted
and to whom he wanted. As free a man as the elements would allow.
- FUR COUNTRY
- As the mountain men used the expression, The Rocky Mountains.
- A fusil or trade musket
- GALENA PILLS
- Lead balls (bullets).
- A basic flour and water bread made into flat, round cakes and fried
in fat or baked before the open fire. (Voyageur)
- GANT UP
- Tighten up on a rope or belt.
- GET YER BRISTLES UP, TO
- To get angry.
- Beads, bells, small mirrors, etc. used for decoration.
- GONE, HE'S
- He's dead.
- Flapjacks (hotcake, pancakes whatever).
- GO UNDER, TO
- To die.
- GONE BEAVER
- Said of someone who has been dead some time. He's about to go under;
but once dead, he's a gone beaver.
- See "Fleshed".
- Animal fat.
- GRAS LAMP
- See "Bitch".
- GREASE HUNGER, I HAVE
- An expression meaning "I am hungry for meat."*
- GREASE AND BEANS
- An expression meaning "Food".
- GREEN HAND
- A term used by early traders meaning an inexperienced man,
- GREEN MEAT
- Meat which still had the animal heat in it.
- GREEN RIVER
- A western river (see any good map). The hilt of a knife (from the old
GR trade mark up near the hilt). A knife made by Russell Green River Works.
A copy of a Russell Green River Works knife,
- GREEN RIVER, UP TO
- Anything of quality was said to be "up to Green River".
- Food. This very old term is still widely used.
- GULLY WASHER
- A very hard downpour of rain.
- HAIR OF THE BEAR, HE HAS
- The greatest praise a mountain man can say of another.
- HALF BREED
- A person of mixed blood, Indian and White.
- HALF-FACED CAMP
- A floor less shed, closed with poles on the back and sides, closed
with skins and blankets on the front. The roof sloped from the rear of
the shed to the front. This form of house or shed was greatly used by settlers
until they had time to construct a log structure.
- Short for "Tomahawk".
- HEFT, TO
- A very old term meaning "to lift and feel the weight of".
- HELLO THE CAMP
- A traditional greeting given before entering any strange camp. Better
given at a slight distance or the visitor may not leave in the same manner
that he entered,
- HIDE HUNTER
- A rather low breed of man who killed buffalo for the hides only. Usually
despised by all who came into contact with him. "Buffalo skins for
the belts of industry."
- An experienced mountain man. One who had lived many years in Indian
country. (First Voyageur, later Mountain Man)
- A large wooden barrel or cask capable of holding from 100 gallons up.
- A stick and earth lodge used by the Navaho Indians,
- HOLLER CALF ROPE
- Give up, surrender. An expression used by river boatmen.
- Delirium Tremans. After the first night or two at the Rocky Mountain
Rendezvous many a mountain man faced the horrors.
- HUMP RIBS
- The small ribs which support the buffalo's hump. Roasted they were
another favorite of the mountain men.
- INDIAN ANNUITY
- Payment given to Indians as part of a treaty agreement. More often
than not, a sizeable portion went into the pocket of some bureaucrat.
- INDIAN BREAD
- Corn meal bread.
- INDIAN DOCTOR
- Medicine man. Also, a White man well versed in natural medicine,
- INDIAN FILE
- Single file.
- INDIAN GOODS
- Trade goods. Often just trinkets of little value to the White man,
but of great value to the Indian.
- INDIAN HATCHET
- INDIAN SCOUT
- An Indian on scouting duty with the U.S. Amy.
- INDIAN SIGN
- Evidence of Indians in the area.
- INDIAN UP
- To sneak up on someone or something.
- Dried meat made by cutting meat into strips about one inch wide, 1/4
inch thick, and as long as possible. This was then sun-dried on racks often
with a small hardwood fire under the meat to smoke it and to keep insects
off it. In good, hot weather the meat would be dry and ready to use in
3 to 4 days.
- A day's journey. A journey between pre-determined points.
- KEEL BOAT
- A 60- to 80-foot long flat-bottomed boat about 16 feet wide. In wide
use before steamboats.
- A man who is an exceptional shot.
- A firm of smoking tobbaco made from the leaves of the tobacco plant
plus the leaves and bark of other plants, the actual formula depending
on the tribe making it.
- A rawhide box designed to be strapped to a pack saddle.
- LARRUPT TO
- To eat in a hasty and sloppy manner
- LARRUPING GOOD
- Anything which has an extra fine flavor.
- LASH ROPE
- The rope used to tie a load to a pack saddle.
- LAVE HOI
- Time to roll out of bed. This expression, usually given in a good,
loud voice, was used to awaken a partner or a whole party.
- The buckskin, later blanket, trousers of the Indian.
- LIGHTS WENT OUT, THE
- He died.
- Timber wolf.
- LOCK, STOCK, AND BARREL
- In total; the whole thing. For examples "He sold his shop, lock,
stock, and barrel". This expression comes from the 3 major parts needed
to construct a muzzle loading rifle or pistol.
- The living quarters be it house, cabin, tipi, hogan, tent, or lean-to,
of the Indian or mountain man.
- The main cross-supporting pole of a lodge.
- LODGEPOLE PINE
- (Pinus contorta) Once one of the most valued trees in the Rocky Mountains,
due to its many uses. Also known as "Screw pine" and "Tamarack
- LONG FORM
- A crude bench long enough to seat three or more people.
- LUMPY DICK
- An early pudding made by stirring dry flour into boiling milk until
thick, then serving with sweet milk and molasses or sugar.
- A boat approximately 40 feet long, 10 feet across the beam, and 4 feet
deep, pointed at both ends. This boat, widely used on the Mississippi,
Missouri, and Ohio River systems, was capable of holding a cargo of approximately
10 tons. Often these were used for downstream travel only.
- MADE WOLF MEAT, HE WAS
- A dead man left where he fell, for the wolves to dine on. An act of
- MAKE BEAVER, TO
- To get a move on, to travel in a hurry.
- MAKE MEAT, TO
- To hunt for and lay in a good store of meat.
- MAKE MEDICINE, TO
- To hold a pow-wow or meeting. To pray for spiritual guidance. To hold
a religious service. To actually look for and find herbs, etc. to be used
- MAL DE VANCHE
- An illness common to the mountain man and voyageur, It was caused by
eating too much fat or fatty meat and not enough vegetable matter.
- MANGEUR DE LARD
- Voyageur term for a fur company recruit. These men, considered useful
for common labor only, were usually fed salted pork, hence the name. The
term was later adopted by the mountain men to mean any man new to the fur
- A shawl used as a trade item with the Indians,
- MEAT BAG, THE
- The human stomach.
- The magic, secret charms of the Indian. Also the bait used in trapping.
- MEDICINE BAG
- The small bag, used to carry the medicine of the Indian. Adopted by
the mountain man and used to carry anything small, especially the "secret"
bait he used near his traps.
- MEDICINE PIPE
- The sacred pipe of the Indian. This pipe was used only during special
ceremonies, was kept in a special, sacred bundle, and was NEVER allowed
to touch the ground.
- MEDICINE LODGE
- A sacred lodge used only for religious ceremonies. In some tribes it
could also be used as a meeting place for the secret societies of braves.
The sweat lodge (an early American form of sauna bath) used by many
tribes was also considered a "medicine lodge".
- A table-top (flat) mountain or hill.
- The stone mortar used for grinding corn and other grains. The word
is Spanish, not Indian.
- The buckskin or moose hide shoe of the Indian and mountain man. Light,
quiet, and comfortable.
- MOCCASIN MAIL
- A postal system devised by the mountain man. It consisted of leaving
messages concerning the condition of the trail ahead, time and place of
a rendezvous, etc, in trees, hollow logs, etc. Such messages were quite
often put in an old moccasin so they would be easy to see.
- MUD HOOKS
- Human feet. This expression is still often heard among country people.
- NEAR SIDE
- Left side
- NOON IT, TO
- To stop for the mid-day meal and rest.
- Buffalo gnat.
- Although actually the common name of the myocaster coypusv many mountain
men used it to mean "beaver".
- OFF SIDE
- Right side.
- OL' COON
- A friendly nickname used between mountain men.
- OL' EPHRAIM
- Grizzly bear.
- OL' HOSS
- See "Ol' Coon".
- ON HIS OWN HOOK, HE IS
- A free trapper.
- A very effective Indian weapon made by attaching a 2- foot long leather-covered
handle to a 3-pound stone. Used as a club.
- See "Kyack".
- An Indian word used by many frontiersmen and mountain men to mean any
- Rawhide made from buffalo hide. It is exceedingly tough. In fact, its
name (French) comes from the fact that it could not be pierced by arrows
or spears. The word also refers to a carrying case or envelope made of
dried buffalo hide and widely used by both Indians and mountain men in
place of a trunk.
- A passage through a range of mountains.
- Indian food made by mixing powdered jerky with dried berries and hot
tallow, then packed and stored in skin or gut bags. Used by Indians and
mountain men. This is a high energy survival food.
- Flour made from parched corn.
- Usually immigrants, people moving west. The term was also sometimes
used by the mountain men to mean any man new to the fur trade.
- The pointed bow and stern of a canoe. (voyageur)
- The jornada of the voyageur. The distance between rest stops, which
were the only times his pipe could be lit up and enjoyed.
- Beaver pelt (skin).
- Trade tobacco.
- A destructive, frigid west wind. (Crow Indian word)
- POOR BULL FROM FAT COW TO KNOW
- To know good times from bad. Either term could also be used alone,
such as: "Them days war Poor Bull and that be a sure fact", meaning,
"those days food and plews were hard to get and that is a fact".
- A trip between waterways or around a waterway obstruction, carrying
everything along with you.
- PORTAGE TRAIL
- The trail used to carry a canoe and supplies between waterways or around
a waterway obstruction.
- The personal property of the mountain man, Such items as a bullet mold,
an awl, knives, a tin cup, his buffalo robe or a blanket capote, his pipe
and tobacco, flint and steel, sometimes a small sheet-metal fry-pan, and
other accouterments he considered necessary. Firearms were considered "pieces"
or guns" and not possibles.
- POSSIBLES BAG
- The leather bag in which the mountain man carried his possibles. everything
from his pipe and tobacco to his patches and balls. What could not be carried
in the bag were hung on the bags shoulder strap. Shooting needs were given
first priority, kept where they could be found with ease and speed.
- Dry snow driven through the air by a violent wind.
- An Indian word meaning a meeting followed by dancing and feasting.
The mountain man's term for any discussion between two men, or for a planned
- The motto of the Hudson's Bay Company, meaning "for a pelt, a skin".
- PSALM SINGER
- A very religious person.
- PULL FOOT
- To turn tail and run.
- READ HIM A PAGE FROM THE GOOD BOOK
- To give someone a tongue, lashing, or perhaps something a little more
- RAISE, TO
- To steal from another's cache. Any man found doing this was likely
to become wolf meat.
- RAISE HAIR
- To scalp an enemy.
- The dried, dehaired but untanned hide of any animal, usually cattle
or buffalo. Very strong and useful.
- READING SIGN
- Interpreting the tracks, etc. when tracking.
- ROBE HIDE
- The winter-killed hide of the buffalo. usually used to make buffalo
- RUBBED OUT
- Dead or killed. This expression comes from the early attempts of the
Indian to learn English. To erase is to rub out, anything rubbed out no
longer exists, so must be dead. Adopted by the mountain man with the same
- SANTA FE TRAIL
- A well-used route between Independence, Missouri and Santa Fe, New
- SAW BUCK
- A cross-frame used for cutting wood. Also a pack saddle.
- SCALP FEAST
- A time for counting coup, feasting dancing, and chanting over battles
- SCALP LOCK
- A challenging lock of hair grown on the crown of the heads of the warriors
of some Indian tribes.
- SCALP POLE
- The pole used to display scalps taken from enemies.
- The second-in-command of a large party or company
- A breechloading percussion rifle invented by Christian Sharps.
- Splendid. To shine means to be extra good at something,
- SHINING MOUNTAINS
- An early name for the Rocky Mountains.
- A form of tobacco made from the bark of the red willow, sometimes mixed
with Indian tobacco plant leaves.
- SKIN TRADE, THE
- The fur trade.
- Good. An Indian word much used in mountain man slang.
- A flat-decked sled used for transporting provisions.
- A method of securing provisions to the back of a mule.
- SLUSH LAMP
- See "Bitch".
- A dead tree in a river. Capable of sinking a canoe.
- SNOW EATER, A
- A chinook.
- Fermented dough used for making bread, biscuits flapjacks, etc.
- A term of respect. Any man of courage, honesty, self- reliance, and
devotion to what he believed to be right was " square " and darn proud
- SQUARE SHOOTER, A
- See "Square".
- SQUAW CAMP
- A camp for women and children while the men were away hunting or at
- SQUAW HITCH
- A simple hitch used in place of the Diamond Hitch.
- SQUAW MAN
- A White man married to an Indian woman.
- SQUAW WIND
- An unexpected warm wind in the middle of a very cold spell. Like a
chinook, but in the dead of winter.
- SQUAW WOOD
- Small dry sticks used for starting a fire or tending a very small.
hard-to-see fire for cooking.
- Bread made from flour, fat, and water. It was baked in a Dutch oven
or on a stick placed over or near a fire.
- The steering oar on keel boats, rafts, etc.
- TANGLE FOOT
- TAOS LIGHTNING
- A whiskey made near Taos New Mexico.
- Dog meat.
- Fine, shredded Birch bark or other highly combustible wood. Used for
starting fire with flint and steel, or with a fire drill. Charred cotton
was also used as tender.
- THERE GO HORSE AND BEAVER
- An expression meaning "I just lost everything I owned or had with
- The fringe on buckskin or leather clothing.
- THROW IN WITH, TO
- To join a group or party. To go into partnership with someone.
- THROW SMOKE, TO
- To shoot a firearm
- TIMBER WOLF
- A large, gray wolf found at one time throughout the United States,
now found only in the far north.
- A small hatchet used by the Indians and mountain men for fighting and
- TOMAHAWK TALKS
- Councils of war. Treaty councils. The tomahawk was an important symbol
in both war and peace.
- The conical lodge used by the Plains Indians. (Teepee)
- Unspun flax used for cleaning firearms. Also used as tinder.
- TRACE, A
- A trail.
- TRADE GUN
- See " Fusees".
- TRAPPER'S BUTTER
- Marrow from the leg bones of large animals.
- Accouterments, especially for a horse.
- A travois, a form of sled made by fastening two long poles together
over the back of A horse or dog, then building a platform near where they
drag to support a pack or cargo of some sort.
- UP TO BEAVER
- An expression meaning a very cunning persons one who can hold
his own in any situation.
- VALLEY TAN
- Mormon whiskey.
- The Spanish yard (33 inches); the unit of measurement used by many
- A trapper for one of the very early fur companies. Most voyageurs were
- An exclamation, used by both Mountain Men and Indians, usually denoting
admiration or surprise. This grunt-like sound is supposed to resemble that
made by a bear. It is, in fact, believed to have ordinate from the sound
made by a bear when mildly surprised.
- An Indian term for belts of small beads or shells that were used as
money. Many mountain men adopted this term to mean all money.
- WAR PATH. ON THE
- A person spoiling for a good fight is said to be "on the war path,"
- Pemmican. (Dahcotah word)
- The fine root of a coniferous tree, used as thread or twisted into
- See "Wagh "
- WENT UNDER
- To die.
- WHITE INDIAN
- A White man who went native and joined a tribe of Indians. Many captured
White children became White Indians.
- The lodge of some southwestern Indian tribes.
- The dome-shaped lodge of some eastern Indian tribes.
- WILLOW KILLER
- The first real cold spell of Fall. When the leaves all fall off of
the willows due to the cold, it is a sure sign that winter has arrived.
- WIPE OUT, A
- A massacre. Many a so-called "massacre" was not really one
at all, as both sides had weapons and were able to and did fight.
- A man who made his living hunting wolves for bounty. The wolfer was
only considered a degree or two better than the hide hunter. Neither were
ever considered a part of the skin (fur) trade.
- WOLFISH, I'M
- I am hungry.
- YELLOW LEGS
YEAR AND LOCATION OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN RENDEZVOUS, 1825 - 1840
- 1825 Henry's Fork of the Green River, Wyoming
- 1826 Cache Valley (near present Hyrum), Utah
- 1827 Bear Lake, Utah
- 1828 Bear Lake, Utah
- 1829 Upper Popo Agie, near Lander, Wyoming
- 1830 Wind River headwaters near Riverton, Wyoming.
- 1831 Supply train did not reach the rendezvous area in time, so no
rendezvous was held.
- 1832 Pierre's Hole, Idaho
- 1833 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming
- 1834 Ham's Fork, Wyoming
- 1835 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming
- 1836 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming
- 1837 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming
- 1838 Wind River at the mouth of Popo Agie Wyoming
- 1839 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming
- 1840 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming. This was the last of the
great Rocky Mountain Rendezvous.
FAVORITE WINTERING- CAMPS OF THE MOUNTAIN MEN
- Thompson's River, Montana
- Yellowstone (now Livingston), Montana
- Taos, New Mexico
- San Luis Valley, New Mexico
- Brown's Hole
- Ogden, Utah
- White River, Utah
- Cache Valley, Utah
- Smoke River, Idaho
TYPES OF LODGES USED BY THE MOUNTAIN MEN
- Trapper's cabin
- This was a small, one-room log cabin, usually having a sod roof.
- The mountain man did adopt the skin lodge of the Indian. These were
often old tipi's the Indian no longer wanted. Usually obtained through
trading with the Indian.
- If caught in bad weather, the mountain man would often construct a
lean-to where he was. Naturally, these were made from whatever could be
found in the area.
- Trade fort
- Mountain men were sometimes known to winter in a trade fort. More often
than not they were at odds with the factor and not really welcome.
- Buffalo robes green earth, and open sky
- This was the favorite lodge of the mountain man, the one he spent most
of his life in.
Contributed by visitors to this web page
- A wooden box for carrying a Voyageur's personal goods. These were
constructed to specific dimensions,and carried in the canoes along
with the trade goods or pelts. The free trappers sometimes called
them "plunder chests".
The Voyager's Sketchbook by Hanson
- Dog face
- Dog face is a term used by native americans of various nations towards
a fur trappers, mountain men, or white men in general that wore any facial
hair, especially a full beard.
- A term used to describe an event or experience,as in
"That rendezvous was some fine doin's" A bastardization of
doing or doings.
"Caesars of the Wilderness" by Peter C. Newman
- Fat wood
- same as fat pine
- A flatboat is a boat constructed of ruff-cut lumber. The flatboat was
constructed to be shallow running to prevent getting hung-up in shallow
water. The flatboat was filled with merchandise and wares from cities
like St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburg, or Louisville and was floated down
river to New Orleans. Once the flatboat reached New Orleans all wares
were sold, then the flatboat was dismantled and the lumber was then sold.
Once everything was sold the crew then went back to where they came from
on foot, by what was known as the "dogtrot". The most common path back
north was the Natchez Trace.
- have it on the prairie
- "You can have it on the prairie" means you can have it for free or it
is yours for the taking
- a term derived from the french word for winter, "hiver" and refers to
Metis Winter Rovers, generally those Metis who wintered away from the
permanent settlements to hunt bison on the plains of what is now Alberta,
Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Montana and the Dakotas.
Doll, Maurice F. V.et al. THE BUFFALO LAKE METIS SITE: A LATE
NINETEENTH CENTURY SETTLEMENT IN THE PARKLAND OF CENTRAL ALBERTA.
History Occasional Paper No.4, 1988, Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism,
Historical Resources Division, Provincial Museum of Alberta, Archaeology
Program. See also Giraud, M., Le Metis Canadien, Paris, 1945.
Ref. The Pierre's Hole Fight Bradley H Petterson. "There was no
reason to use the elegant word 'valley' when the mountain man's
one-sylable "hole" would mean much the same.: a plain ringed with
sheltering mountains where there wer convenient streams, grass, game, and
firewood. The early west was dotted with 'holes (the bigger ones were
'parks') and in these protected flats the mountain men camped, wintered
and held their yearly fur-for-supplies for Rendezvous.
- A keelboat is a 60-80 foot long boat, can be more, that is not flat on
the bottom but has a keel running from bow to stern, thus the name
- big valley / big hole
- A Scottish (Gaelic) term. Used by members of the Hudsons Bay
Company. Means an outlander or outsider(i.e. someone that is not from the
highlands, that is from the real world.)
Johnston.1824. Personal Journal of J.S.Oswald ca 1830
- Up to snuff as in: Are you up to stuff and That's not quite up to
- Originally snuff contained tobacco and coca and was snorted
through the nose. Often times when someone was going to have a snuff,
they had to be up to it. When the term is used without regard to the
snuffing, it meant thing are not quite right for some reasons. Or you are
asking if someone is up to your challenge.