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Accession Number 1999.8.12
Catalog Number 1999.8.12
Object Name Letter
Date 1833/09/02
Scope & Content [Front Cover] Copy of Letter

To
Col James Hall
Harrisonburgh
Va

Mouth of Yellowstone River Sept. 2nd 1833

My Dear friend

After a long, tedious and perilous journey how agreeable to return and meet friends who rejoice in our safety? Such has no doubt been often your good fortune to experience, and at some time mine too, yet not of late, nor can I hope soon to realize such pleasure. Yet in the absence of all this I find it very pleasing to sit down and communicate with a friend in whose society many fleeting hours have agreeably passed & to relate my adventures and fight my battles o'er . True, my last trip has proved rather barren of what my brother Hugh calls Hair breadth 'scapes by flood and field, for if I except once being nearly drowned in sinking with a Boat in the Big Horn River nothing of apparent danger occurred nothing however in the shape of one of my old Indian fights occurred although I performed since we parted in St Louis a "Voyage" of some four thousand miles through the most dangerous part of our mountain country and I may now return thanks to a gracious and all wise Providence or in the mountain doctrine attribute to Luck. To be concerned in a business where all your property is likely to be taken from you in a moment and the preservation of which is often attributable to the degree of attention devoted to it places the individual thus concerned with many cares and apprehensions - destroys his rest and makes a young man look gray in him adds furrows to his brow

[Pg. Break] My company last Spring consisted of about 50 men in all amongst whom were an English nobleman, Capt Stewart, a very agreeable and scientific gentleman who discovered beauties in our desert country which we were heretofore unconscious of its possessing - I have now specimens of agate coral and I know not what else of valuable stones of his collection which we passed ignorant of their worth - in the vegetable world he was not so successful - the sterility of the soil fosters but few Botanical curiosities - nearly all being a degenerate production of plants already known. I parted with Capt Stewart with regret when he remained in the mountains to prosecute his tour of observation --
Mr Christy a young gentleman of St Louis (brother in law to Genl Ashley) contributed his gusto in agreeable good nature. Yet not devoid of firmness poor fellow he had been led into dissipation by designing young men and came with me to remain 18 months to improve his morals - never mind the pain - He too I left in the mountains and hope for the sake of his friends his journey may have the desired effect - You will thus perceive my party was agreeable and I enjoyed myself as much as I could possibly expect on such a trip - When I reached the mountains I succeeded in disposing of my outfit on fair terms and having remained a few weeks on the waters of the Pacific I returned here to meet my partner Ms Sublette at this place where I arrived on 30th ulto he having got here day before with his keel boat- My journey was made some 600 miles in a canoe made of Buffalo skins - convenient in a two fold point of view as a Boat in day, a House at night.

[Pg. Break] My business now is to build a fort immediately at this place on the Missouri 2 miles below the Mouth of Yellow Stone N side the river - I have some 60 hands at work and hope to have a suite of apartments in a few days to receive my red friends
Last season the mountain party lost some 15 to 20 men killed by the Blackfeet and the Aw Ree Ka Rus besides some property, in the shape of Long tailed Horses and long eared Mules and strange to relate a motly group of three consisting of a Cow her calf and a Buffalo calf which she was forced to adopt- This was property the Indians were unacquainted with but no doubt she is "Big Medicine" amongst them- but nonsense I will say no more of them or you will begin to blame the man who passed so many agreeable hours in delightful society, where he has had the pleasure of meeting you, should relinquish all to him

A life where lay personal safety aside
He cannot pass a rationally happy hour

In years. I hope the time will come when I shall go into Society and relish it which by the bye I have not always done- Will you ever make a trip of pleasure to see the Mouth of the Yellow Stone? If you do by the Powers I'll find you a fat Buffalo Bear Elk deer Antelope or Beaver until you are perfectly satisfied- To ride you may have a Horse or if you prefer a Mule with Ears the length of your arms- Such offer would induce many to visit Will it induce Col James Hall

from his friend
Robert Campbell


Collection Deibel