July 23-24, 1841

“Friday, 23rd. Went to Green river–distance 8 miles–spent the remainder of the day trading with the hunters.

“Saturday, 24th. Remained at this encampment and continued our traffic with the hunters. Chiles sold his oxen, 2 yoke, and wagon, another also was left.”

The hunters, or fur trappers, bought all, or nearly all, the alcohol brought by Bartleson and others, as well as other items, like Chiles’s wagon and ox team. Bidwell doesn’t say what they used to pay for it—whether they had money, or whether they traded goods.

In “The First Emigrant Train to California,” Bidwell relates what became of Fraeb’s party. “Years afterwards we heard of the fate of that party; they were attacked by Indians the very first night after they left us and several of them killed, including the captain of the trapping party, whose name was Frapp. The whisky was probably the cause.” Indeed, the alcohol and the resulting drunkenness would have drawn the attention of Indians. And since by the time Bidwell wrote this recollection he was a Prohibitionist, he does not fail to point the moral.

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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