1825 Rocky Mountain Rendezvous Site
Backstory and Context
The first Rocky Mountain Rendezvous was held in July, 1825 at this site, just north of the Henry's Fork River. Trappers joined members of William Henry Ashley's expedition. Jebediah Smith is said to have become Ashley's partner at this rendezvous. Many mountain men came with furs to trade, in exchange for traps and other useful items.
Other rendezvous occurred in the county, along the Green River, including what is reported to be the largest such event.
Fur trading was a big business at the time. Beaver pelts were highly valuable for use in felt hats, their fur was well suited to the task. Beavers had other uses as well. Castoreum, an ingredient derived from beavers, was highly valuable. Beaver hats fell out of favor as silk hats became dominant. Beavers are also less valuable now as castor oil, a plant based substance, has replaced many of the uses of castoreum.
William Ashley was the first U.S. Citizen to cross South Pass, gave the Green River its English name, and was the first to navigate the Green River by boat. in 1822 Ashley released an ad seeking men to join his fur trading company. His was the first to actively seek beaver furs rather than pay Native Americans for them. Ashley also sought a portion of the profits of the fur in exchange for brining them to market, rather than outright buying the furs. Ashley's expedition are considered the first "White Men" in Sweetwater County. Many now famous men first worked for Ashley including Jim Bridger. Bridger and many other mountain men went on to be guides for later emigrants traveling west.
Murray, Paul. Annual Rendezvous Started in Sweetwater County, Sweetwaternow. October 28th 2019. Accessed April 23rd 2020. https://www.sweetwaternow.com/annual-rendezvous-started-in-sweetwater-county/.
Hardee, Jim. The Fur Trade in Wyoming, Wyohistory.org. November 8th 2014. Accessed April 23rd 2020. https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/fur-trade-wyoming.