July 22, 1841 — The Return of John Grey

Thursday, 22nd. Descended Big Sandy about 12 miles and stopped where we found plenty of grass — this was very acceptable as our teams were already much jaded for the want of grass.

Gray returned this evening having found Trapp’s company, which consisted of about 20 men. They had returned to meet our company, though on their way to hunt buffalo, and were now encamped on Green river about 8 miles distant. Gray had suffered much in overtaking the trappers; his mule gave out, there being no water for a great distance, and he himself was reduced so much by hunger and thirst that he was unable to walk. He was therefore compelled to crawl upon his hands and feet, and at last came up with the company in the most forlorn situation imaginable–if they had been another half mile farther, he never could have reached them.

Poor John Grey! He nearly lost his life in pursuit of the fur trappers. If anyone could have found them, it was John Grey, the half-Mohawk, half-Scottish trapper and trail guide, but he was traversing some of the most  unforgiving territory in America. It was only his skill and knowledge of the wilderness that kept him alive.

The man that Bidwell here calls “Trapp,” was generally called “Frapp” by his men. A German-American fur trader from St. Louis, his name was actually Henry Fraeb. He was a veteran fur trapper and one of the founders, with Jim Bridger and William Sublette, of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. He had about 60 men with him.

The Rev. Joseph Williams called his outfit “a wicked, swearing company of men,” which is probably a pretty accurate description of the kind of men who lived far from civilization.

Mountain Men image from https://www.offthegridnews.com/lost-ways-found/28-survival-foods-the-mountain-men-ate/

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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