Fort Union & Fort William: Letter Book & Journal, 1833-1835 by W. Raymond Wood & Michael M. Casler
From 1828 until the late 1860s, the Upper Missouri Outfit of the American Fur Company controlled the fur trade on the upper Missouri River from its headquarters at Fort Union on the western edge of present-day North Dakota. In contrast, Fort William, an outpost of the rival Missouri Fur Company located a few miles east at the mouth of the Yellowstone River, struggled and sold out to its competitor less than a year after it opened in 1833.
Published in full for the first time, the 1833-1835 Fort Union Letter Book features dispatches from several prominent fur-trade figures. This rare official record of outgoing correspondence reveals intriguing details about the day-to-day workings of an industry on the cusp of change. Robert Campbell's journal of his year at Fort William, on the other hand, is a personal account of his attempts to keep Fort Union founder Kenneth McKenzie from taking over the fledgling post he and William Sublette had started.
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Michael M. Casler, a former park ranger with the National Park Service, currently works as an independent historical researcher. Casler is the author of Steamboats of the Fort Union Fur Trade (1999) and editor of The Original Journals of Charles Larpenteur (2007). He has also written numerous articles on the Upper Missouri fur trade.
W. Raymond Wood has a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Oregon and taught anthropology at the University of Missouri for nearly four decades. Among his many publications are Prologue to Lewis and Clark (2002), Twilight of the Upper Missouri River Fur Trade (2008), and A White-Bearded Plainsman: The Memoirs of Archaeologist W. Raymond Wood (2011). He is also the co-author of Fort Clark and Its Indian Neighbors (2011).