Trading Posts on the Missouri River and First White Resident

There are positive records of trading posts in South Dakota prior to the time the author indicates as the beginning of "settlement and trade in Dakota." Captains Lewis and Clarke, on their expedition up the Missouri in 1804, found three trading posts and quite a trade in furs carried on by independent trappers and traders. On September 8, 1804, they stopped at a fort that was known as the Pawnee House. This was located on the north side of the Missouri, about the present site of Wheeler, Charles Mix county, South Dakota. This post was built in 1796 by a French trader from St. Louis named Trudeau, who wintered there in 1796-7, and traded with the Indians. Another trading post was then in operation on the south side of the Missouri River opposite Cedar Island, a little above what is known as the Big Bend of the Missouri.

They described this as "a large trading post built by a Mr. Loisel for the purpose of carrying on trade with the Sioux. This establishment is sixty or seventy feet square, built with red cedar and picketed with the same material." It was established in 1802. Lewis and Clarke located still another trading post about four miles above the mouth of the Cheyenne River, "among the willows near the banks of the Missouri." This post was built by Mr. Valle, a French trader from St.Louis, whom they met at the mouth of the Cheyenne. Mr. Valle informs them that he spent the previous winter (1802-3) In the Black Mountains (Hills), going by way of the Cheyenne River. There were several resident traders at the Arickara villages near the mouth of the Moreau River. Here they found a Frenchman named Garreau, who had lived among the Arickaras about twenty years, or since about 1784. The Northwest and Hudson Bay traders from the Assinaboine posts made regular trips to the Mandans and Minnetarees, and as far south as the Arickaras near the mouth of the Moreau and Grand Rivers. Many independent traders ("scabs" in the nomenclature of the post trader) came up from the lower river as far as the Mandan villages, near the present site of Bismarck, North Dakota.

At Fort Mandan, where Lewis and Clarke wintered (1804-5), they were visited by McKensie and Henderson and others of the Hudson Day and Northwest companies. They had been trading with the upper Missouri Indians for many years previous to that date. I have been unable to secure the Christian name of the man Garrow, or Garreau, who was found by Captains Lewis and Clarke at the villages of the Arickaras. Quite an extensive investigation leads the editor to conclude that he was the first continuous white resident of Dakota. The descendants of this early settler have lived along the Missouri since that time, and I find representatives, in name at least, still living on White River, South Dakota. Pierre Garreau, a reputed son of the first Garreau, whose mother was an Aricara, died at Fort Berthold about 1880 at an advanced old age. He had lived all his long life on the Missouri River, among the Arickara.

"South Dakota Historical Collections"
Compiled by the State Historical Society
Vol. 1, 1902 Transcribed by K. Torp

 

 

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