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Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Tid-bit of Utah History - Number Three

Yes, brethren and sistern, uh-huh, who was the first white man to explore the mountains and canyons and rivers of Utah before it was a Territory? It was the Catholic, Father Escalante,  who in 1776 a memorable year) explored the Utah Valley and the Utah Lake and called the Jordan River the "Rio de Santa Ana," and the local Indians were called the Timpanogatzi, who had friendly relations with the Paguampe, who were scattered near the Great Salt Lake. These Paguampes spoke the Comanche language says Father Escalante and, like I just said, were friendly to the Timpagonotzis until someone killed one of them and since has not been so friendly. A killing has that effect on some people, take the Palestinians and the Israelis, for instance.

Ahem, now who was the first American to write about the mountains, rivers, and valleys, and lakes of Utah? It was not another Catholic or even that Great Explorer, the Pathfinder, John C.Fremont. It was another man who most always had his Bible handy and was ready to preach to anyone at the drop of a hat or a moccasin, that Methodist Bible-totin'  feller, that Jedediah Smith, no less. It was in the year 1825 that Mr. Smith descended on the Rocky Mountains with the party of Ashley and his men. But, he didn't stay long, leaving in August 1826 for California and returning via the Sierras and the great desert to the land of the Great Salt Lake, passing through the lands of the Pa-ulches (Paiutes) who had not clothing except rabbit skins and lived off grasshoppers and seeds. Jedediah said he was compelled to eat most of his horses and mules to survive due to the lack of any edible material in the desert. And this famous beaver-killing mountain man, explorer, frontiersman, and mountain climber was friendly to the Indians and read to them from his Bible and shared some of his equipage with them. In the year 1830 his company sold out to that other old mountain man, beaver killer, frontiersman, and mountain climber, Jim Bridger, and Smith and company hit the trail for St. Louis with his precious packs of beaver skins and a lot of dust. Unfortunately, most of Smith's writings and papers and maps and red tape were demolished in a fire there in St.Louie, Louie.

Ref: The Founding of Utah by Levi Edgar Young  

5 comments:

  1. Good stuff, never heard the story of Father Escalante but have spend much time reading of the exploits of Jedediah Smith.

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    1. Most of those old mountain men were tough characters and interesting to read about. Thanks, Neil.

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  2. Be very cool to be the first person to see a new place. Not much chance of that on Earth anymore.

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    1. Google's been there probably. If not, the spy glass in the sky has.

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