Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fort Jackson Colorado

Post (c) Angela Raines

Fort Jackson is the third of the four forts located within fifteen miles of each other in the Platte River area east of Longs Peak and the Rocky Mountains. It came into existence in 1837, two years after Fort Vasquez. The other two to begin in 1837 were Fort St. Vrain and Fort Lupton.

Fort Jackson was started by two partners: Peter A. Sarpy and Henry Fraeb. Sarpy was a Frenchman originally from St. Louis. Sarpy was active in the fur trade and in 1824 was appointed as the Indian trader at Bellevue in Nebraska. (Note - Bellevue, Nebraska in Sarpy county.)

Author Photo from Inside Ft. Vaxquez Museum
Henry Fraeb was of German descent although there is not much known about his early life. By 1829 he was actively involved in the fur trade and during his lifetime worked and was partners with the likes of Milton Sublette and James Bridger. He traversed most of the Rocky Mountain Region between present day Wyoming and Arizona. He died in 1841 near Battle Creek in Routt County Colorado near the Wyoming border in a fight with the Cheyenne, Arapahoes and Sioux.

Records seem to indicate the business started out well. The merchandise bill was around $10,000. The men on the payroll, some of who were paid around $200 for twelve to fifteen months of work. They following were listed as employees of the company that ran Fort Jackson: Michel Sioto, Ls LaJeunesse, Wm. Primeau, Ls B. Myres, John H. Albert, Chas. Kiney, Bartlett, Daugherty, Benito Garcia, Jacog Hawkins, Gilbert Jackson, Trudelle, Woods, and Antoine Latereuse. These men built and worked for/in Fort Jackson.

Author Photo: Native Plants near South Platte River, CO. 
However, the business was short lived and the partners sold out to Bent & Company sometime in 1838 according to some reports. Since Fort St. Vrain was less than ten miles north, after the goods were transferred to St. Vrain, the building itself was probably abandoned and fell into disrepair and disappeared. As of 2011 there has been on definite location found for Fort Jackson, but that it existed is undisputed.

For more on this and other 'Forts' in Colorado during the heyday of trapping and trading the following may be of use: "The Fur Trade in Colorado" by William B. Butler and "Colorado Forts" Historic Outpost on the Wild Frontier" by Jolie Anderson Gallagher.

Join me next month for the fourth and final post of the Forts along the Platte.

Doris Gardner-McCraw - Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History

Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
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