June 23, 1841

Wednesday, June 23rd. Remained at the Fort; the things of Mr. Shotwell were sold at auction.

You remember poor Mr. Shotwell. I suppose what little money was realized by the sale of his effects went to buy supplies for the company.

Interior of Fort John by Alfred Jacob Miller

In 1849, as the pressure of emigration grew in the West, the U.S. government decided it needed a string of forts along the Oregon Trail to protect and assist emigrants. With the fur trade in decline, the American Fur Company was looking to get rid of the fort. For $4000 the army purchased the site, and began building barracks, stables, guard houses, and cookhouses. The adobe fort, although only eight years old, was dilapidated and infested with vermin. It was used as temporary shelter by the army, but was soon torn down and replaced.

Today Fort Laramie is a national historic site and a number of the army post buildings have been reconstructed and restored. Nobody is sure exactly where Fort William and Fort John were located, but the best guess is that they were close to the river where the officers quarters are today.

Fort Laramie NHS is chock-full of history and well-worth a visit.

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.
This entry was posted in Bidwell-Bartleson Party, Fort Laramie. Bookmark the permalink.

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