Monday, March 20, 2017

Ashley's 100

Pierre's Hole

In March of 1822, William Henry Ashley and business partner, Andrew Henry began to assemble "Ashley's 100". Ashley's 100 were men who replied to Ashley's famous February advertisements in St.Louis newspapers seeking.........

"One Hundred enterprising young men . . . to ascend the river Missouri to its source, there to be employed for one, two, or three years"

The criteria for the position was simple enough – masculine, well-armed, and able to work (trap) for up to three years.

The payment method was uniquely designed by Ashley. Leveraging employment costs, Ashley and Henry had their trappers keep half of their proceeds and forfeit the other half to management. In turn, Ashley and Henry would provide many of the materials needed to trap. Between 1822 and 1825, Ashley and Henry did several large scale fur trapping expeditions in the mountain west. Ashley's men, one being Jedediah Smith, are officially credited with the American discovery of South Pass in the winter of 1824. Ashley took wagons over it and later explored parts of the Colorado River Valley.

South Platte River

Ashley devised the rendezvous system in which trappers, Indians and traders would meet annually in a predetermined location to exchange furs, goods and money. His innovations in the fur trade earned Ashley a great deal of money and recognition, and helped open the western part of the continent to American expansion.

In 1826 Ashley sold off his company to a group of his employees who would later founded the Rocky Mountain Fur Company which would continue in the fur trade for eight more years.

The Rocky Mountain Fur Company went out of business in 1834. Competition, declining beaver populations and shifting fashions took its toll.

Cache la Poudre River


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