|Scope & Content||
Genl Wm H Ashley
Lexington April 28th, 1831
General Wm H. Ashley,
Information rec'd of my friend Smith Jackson & also Sublette learns me you feel much interested for the welfare of us mounteneers it gives me much joy to find so good a friend attached to our cause. It encourages me very much and I consider it my duty to serve you a short scotch of our affairs in the mountains hoping you will receive it as the greatest favor I am able to offer you at present. Last summer after our separation with Smith Jackson & Sublette we with all expedition set out for the blackfoot country made but very little halt until we arrived at the three forks of the Missouri where I saw the ground where a battle between a party of the American fur company & the black foot had been fought a few days before There was eleven head of horses laying dead on the ground and the limbs & parts of humans [?]______ [torn] Mr Vanderburgh who superintended afterwards told me they lost our mail & killed 2 indians he immediately retreated into the crow country and there spent the remainder of the fall. Mr. Milton Sublette & I continued our hunt in that country all fall without any loss of lives or propriety although [spelled altho] our enemies were round us at different times. I say met with no loss; I mistake. After our hunt was mostly over & returning to our winter quarters many of our hunters started on ahead of the camp in order to hunt down some stream in the vacinity of the Yellowstone river & in doing so was very successful they had collected in a short time about 7 packs of beaver fur when they unfortunately met with this same party which was drove from their forks by the Blackfoot, and in order to repair
[Pg. break]which they suffered by misconduct or bad management they robbed us of that quantity of fur which I mention the men who had the fur in their possession had got intoxicated by liquor which they are careful to keep continually on our hands in order I presume to swindle Indians as well as [?]_________ [torn] of their property.
Those men after their frolic was over saw the impropriety of their conduct & rather than join us again fled and seathered about and some we never heard of perhaps killed by indians.
[?]_____ such unprincipled conduct the American fur Co. is capable of and more than I have time at present to relate. Was I certain you would accept it as a favor I would at least once a year send you such information as I was able to collect respecting affairs in the mountains.
The indian agents on the Missouri I consider mere tools for the American Fur Co. rather than for government.
I left my party on the Yellowstone river the 1st day of march all well & in high spirits I would have started sooner but waiting for an express from a party of ours on the other side of the mountains I was detained after my departure on account of the snow hung so deep from powelers river I struck across the country & in 23 days on foot arrived at the comical bluff from there here by water 6 days.
[Pg. Break] I am now preparing to accompany Smith Jackson & Sublette to Santfe [Santa Fe?] there they will equip me to join ______[?] again which is not more than 15 or 20 days travel to where I appointed to meet them; L, J, & S will also reclaim our furs at St fe on some conditions or other. Then after our debt is discharge and an equipment on hands we will be able to tear those swindlers on the Missouri, I know we can do it if we had half a chance.
Had I time [?]_____ I would send you a more satisfactory letter and explicit address, I arrived yesterday and start tomorrow.
Your Obt. & humble servt.Thomas Fitzpatrick
__B our co. on the other side of the mountains I did not hear from