Smith, Jedediah Strong, 1799-1831

Alternative names
Birth 1799-01-06
Death 1831-05-27

Biographical notes:

Jedediah Strong Smith was born June 24, 1799 in Bainbridge, Chenango County, New York. He was the son of Jedediah Smith of New Hampshire and was the eldest of fourteen children. Jedediah's early childhood was spent in Ohio where he received and English and Latin education. At thirteen he became a clerk on a Lake Erie freighter where he learned business methods and met traders returning from the Far West. Jedediah became ambitious for an adventure to the wilderness and he went to St. Louis around 1816. He was with General William Henry Ashley in the Rocky Mountain trade in 1822. In 1823 he was on the upper Missouri River also with Ashley. He, along with David E. Jackson and William L. Sublette, bought the trade business from Ashley. They carried on this trade until 1830. Then they sold out to a group of mountain men that included James Bridger. It was during the period 1826 to 1830 that Smith made the journeys on which his fame as an explorer rests. He wanted to investigate the southwest and the practicability of penetrating Oregon from California. In August 1826 he and his party left the Great Salt Lake area and went through the nations of the Utes, Paiutes, and Mohaves to California via the Mohave Desert. They reached the Mission San Gabriel on November 27, 1826. They escaped imprisonment at the hands of the California governor and went back across the mountains, not north into Oregon as desired.

From the description of Jedediah S. Smith papers, 1826-1930. (Kansas State Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 53188376


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  • Fur trade
  • Indians of North America
  • American letters--History--19th century
  • Explorers--History--19th century
  • Fur trade--West (U.S.)--History--Sources
  • Pioneers


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