Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Post by Angela Raines

Fort Lupton, is the fourth post that was located within fifteen miles of each other east of Longs Peak in the Rocky Mountains in the Platte River Valley.  The other three were Fort Vasquez, Fort Jackson, Fort St. Vrain.

What is interesting about this location, there is actually a town, Fort Lupton, near the site of the original fort. The fort and also the town named after him was founded by Lnacaser P. Lupton. He had been a lieutenant with Col. Henry Dodge when Dodge headed an expedition into the Rocky Mountains. Lupton saw that the fur trade was a going concern in the area. He took a leave of absence from the service and came back to the area around 1836-37 and established a trading post. The original name was Fort Lancaster but was changed to Fort Lupton. The fort itself was abandoned in the early 1840s. The fort building was later used as a stage station on the mail route from Missouri to Colorado, specifically Denver. It was also used as a refuge during the Indian uprisings of 1864. The town of Fort Lupton was incorporated in 1890 and still exists today, although the original fort no longer exists, like Fort Vasquez, a replica has been build.

Dedication of 'New Fort Lupton'

An excerpt from the journey of  E. Williard Smith, who traveled from Missouri in August of 1839, he speaks of meeting Lupton on the journey westward. Here from the 30th of August, "We still travel as usual. We have been expecting to overtake Lupton every day. He is a mountain-trader, on his way to the trading-post, on the river Platte. We overtook him to-day about noon. His party had stopped to eat dinner, and allow their annuals to feed. He had six wagons drawn by oxen. They had started about twelve days before us. He mistook us for Indians as we were approaching and was somewhat alarmed." (Colorado Magazine, July 1950)  What is even more interesting, Smith was in the company of Vasquez and Sublette, from Fort Vazquez, the competition for the fur trade in the area.

As history points out, these post, including Fort Lupton, contracted for trade goods to be brought from the East by wagon or pack-horse trains,for the Indians/ In turn the Indians brought their buffalo robes and pelts to trade for said goods. Fort Lupton became a rendezvous for the independent trappers of the mountain region west of there. They also bartered their furs for equipment and supplies. 

As you can see, during a brief, but intense time, these four forts vied for the trade, both with Indians and Trappers in this small region along the Platte River. Time and space have limited the amount of information shared. Still this brief time is full of so many stories and people. It was a time of expansion for the United States and these adventurous men were in the forefront of that expansion.

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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  1. Those fur trappers really got around. I think they traversed every square inch of this country. Owyhee County was named after some missing Hawaiian fur trappers. Competition was stiff and the work was dangerous. Thanks for the peek into Ft. Lupton!

    1. You are welcome Jacquie. What I found so fascinating, there were four so close together, in competition, yet not in a vandalous way. I don't think I would have survived that life. It was hard, but some seemed to take to it like ducks to water. Doris