hh20c.htm =c@8" =c BDGt &H &Ȥ %~ (L =c@ 'HTEXTR*ch_XX~d J NPS Historical Handbook: Fort Laramie

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Fort Platte and Fort John on the Laramie

Late in 1840 or early in 1841, a rival trading post appeared. This was Fort Platte, built of adobe on the nearby banks of the North Platte River by L. P. Lupton, a veteran of the fur trade in what is now Colorado, but later operated by at least two other independent trading companies.

Abandonment of the rendezvous system after 1840 increased the importance of fixed trading posts. The deterioration of Fort William prompted the American Fur Co. to replace it in 1841 with a more pretentious adobe-walled post which cost some $10,000. Christened Fort John, presumably after John Sarpy, a stockholder, the new fort, like its predecessor, was popularly known as "Fort Laramie."

Competition in the declining fur trade led to open traffic in "fire water," and the debauchery of the Indians around Forts Platte and Laramie was noted by many travelers of the early 1840's. Rufus B. Sage vividly describes the carousals of one band of Indians which ended with the death and burial of a Brule chief. In a state of drunkenness, this unfortunate merrymaker fell from his horse and broke his neck while racing from Fort Laramie to Fort Platte.

Trade goods for the rival posts came out in wagons over the Platte Valley road from St. Joseph or over the trail from Fort Pierre on the upper Missouri. On the return trip, packs of buffalo robes and furs were sent down to St. Louis. In addition to wagon transportation, cargoes were sent by boat down the fickle Platte, which often dried up and left the boatmen stranded on sandbars in the middle of Nebraska.

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