Portland observer. (Portland, Or.) 1970-current, February 12, 1976, Page 27, Image 27

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    Pag» 1# Portland Obaerver Section H Thursday, February 12. 1976
Ed Rose: Scout of the Badlands
by Martha Aad i r n a
In 1611. Ed Rose. Black fron
tiersman and scout, was living
free as a bird on the Western
Plains at the time thousands of
other Blacks were being bought,
sold and driven like cattle
throughout the South. These
were the years when Southern
planters were building fortunes
and Northern speculators were
eagerly eyeing the Far West in
search of bases to establish fur
trading posts
Fur was gold.
Such companies as John Jacob
Astor were pitting their fortunes
against the Scottish British own
ed Northwest Company.
Conservation was unheard of.
The idea was to trap as many
animals of value as possible. In
just one year’s time the North
. west Company collected 106.000
beaver. 2.100 bear. 5.500 fox.
4.600 otter, 17.000 musquash. 320
martin. 1.800 mink. 600 lynx. 600
wolverines, 1.650 fisher. 100
racoons, 3,800 wolf, 70 elk. 1.950
deer and 500 buffalo pelts. The
gross returns from these furs
amounted to $200,000 News of
such profits as these reached the
ears of Wilson Price Hunt who
decided be would form an
expedition of 64 men with Ed
Rose as guide
Hunt considered himself lucky
to obtain Rose's service, as be
already was known as the best
interperter in the West and a
scout of considerable ability
There were men who were
envious of Rose's ability and
unfortunately some were includ
ed in the Expedition, causing
embarassment and trouble.
Their selected route was a
rugged one through the northern
edge of South Dakota's Black
Hills, over steep rocky ridges
and into deep canyons. But clean,
sweet water and plenty of gam*
were always at hand.
Then they entered the Bad
lands of South Dakota. The
picture changed and so did the
men's attitude toward Ed Rose.
Lack of water now drove them
almost crazy. Horses and a dog
died. The men were in a bad
mood and rumors began to
circulate. The one that disturbed
Hunt the most was that Rose
intended to encourage mutiny
among the Expedition when it
reached the Absarokas and then
make off with the goods and
Although Hunt was
alarmed, he did not confront
Rose but made plans to dispense
with his services as soon as they
were out of the Badlands. This
was a foolhardy idea as no one in
the entire party knew how to by
pass the hostile Indian tribes
better than Rose. He had lived
among the Crow Nation for years
and was known as “Five Scalps"
a war chief.
As they trudged on conditions
improved. Soon they were in the
buffalo country with big mea
dows and plenty of meat to kill.
There was water a plenty so the
expedition rested for several
weeks, "jerking" a supply of
buffalo meat for the journey
ahead Then they broke camp
heading for the Big Horn Moun
tains and the Absarokas.
On a late August evening,
while they were eating around
the campfire, two Indians ap
pcared on the horizon. They
headed straight for the Expedi
tior. Afraid.-the m*n reached for
their guns and the rumor he had
them. They shot at trapper-
heard crept into Hunt's mind. Ed
along the river, overturn« i
Rose rode out to meet the
boats, and stole their horses ar
Indians as the men prepared for
mules. They bad in fact just
an attack. Drawing near to Rose
finished committing these acts oi
they began to yell. These were
Ashley when he met Rose. He
Crows and they recognized their
explained his sorry plight and
chief. Everyone relaxed. They
Rose obtained the needed an:
were in friendly territory now
ma Is for him from the Arikar:
The two Indians returned to
who owned vast herds.
their camp and relayed the news
After the deal was com pie t< J
their war chief was camped
the Chief invited Ashley to vis.t
nearby and the whole camp
the village. Rose became suspi
descended on the Expedition to
cious as this was not customary
welcome him.
and he urged Ashley to place hi
Hunt gave them many pre
boats on the opposite side of the
sents and. believing he was
completely out of danger, decid • river in case of attack. Ashley-
ignored the warning, even per
ed it a good time to be rid of
mitting the men who wer<
Rose. But first he must learn the
guarding the horses to ramp on a
location of the pass and only Rose
knew that. Using guile, diplo­ sand bar extending from th-
shore. The night passed peac«-
macy and a fat bonus he obtained
the directions from Rose with no fully but at dawn Indians came at
them from all directions. They
ill feeling. For Rose it meant only
called out to Rose to save
he could not come to Oregon with
himself, but be refused. He and a
this Astorian Expedition, but be
white man named Hugh Glass
must have been to Oregon earlier
hostiles. they knew that in their
held off Indians while men on the
pleaded for peace the white men
or he would never have known
sand bar attempted to swim to
weakened condition they were
were afraid to enter the Indian
the right pass to take. He gave
dead. But. as they drew closer
village to discuss peace terms.
Hunt the directions and rode off the other side. Many trappers
were killed or drowned. Horses
they saw Ed Rose was in the lead
Colonel Leavensworth suspected
with his Indian friends.
were killed or stampeded Glass
and with him were Crow braves
a trick. Rose entered the Arikara
Several days later a brave
and a string of fresh horses. The
village alone. He convinced the
brought back the news to the and Rose escaped by the skin of
exp*»dition had been saved. After
chiefs they could talk in safety at
Indian camp be had seen the their teeth.
Ashley dropped down »he
the men had b een refreshed with
the leegion encampment. A trea­
Astorians and that they were
river to reassemble his expedi­
food and water it was decided all
ty was signed and peace was
lost. Rose went to see Sure
tion. Only thirty men consented
the valuable goods would be
restored for awhile.
enough, there they were floun
Ashley divided his expedition.
loaded on the fresh horses and
dering around searching for the to go on with him. The others had
had enough of Indians and theS
Rose would take them to the
One party, with Henry, returned
pass. Hunt was now more than
went hack to their homes.
Arikaras. The rest of the party
to the Yellowstone Rasin while
glad to see the Negro The pass
would follow trailing the ex
the other party led by Rose and
was through a deep dark gorge - Among those who did remain
was Jediah Smith who would
hausted horses
Jedediah Smith followed the
practically hidden to an untrain
The trail grows dim on Ed
same course of the fateful
ed eye. But Rose and the Indians later become famous. Ashley
realized his band was now too
Astoria expedition. They expert
Rose. But in 1625 it is known he
led them through and out across
quelled a riot of Crow Indians
enced the same sufferings and
peaks that seemed to contain no small to reach the Yellowstone
pass. Then suiSenly they came Basin. He needed help. With only
loss of park animals even though
during a treaty meeting in the
Upper Missouri Valley It was
they traveled only in the cool of
to open plains. Rose and his one other companion Jedediah
Smith undertook the long and
evening to conserve their
railed the Atkinson O'Fallon
Indians pulled aside as the
dangerous journey. Another man
strength. When horses began to
Treaty It was his ability to
Astorians rode past.
stumble and men grew so weak
speak the language, his oratory
The Expedition stumbled on to volunteered to make the six
hundred mile journey to Fort
they began to fall. Smith decided
and diplomacy that won the
an ignoble end. As it turned out
someone would have to go for
Hunt abandoned his horse and Atkinson. Smith returned with
fifty trappers from Fort Henry
Several versiom of how Ed
help or all of Henry and Ashley's
took to canoes when the party
Rose died in 1635 have been
goods would be lost It was R om -
reached the Snake River The on the Yellowstone and two
written, but ail agree it was with
who agreed to traverse the
swift current took the lives of hundred men and five hundred
his old buddy Hugh Glass in an
miserable stretch of land - all
many men while sickness and Yankton Sioux arrived led by
Arikara ambush, near the junc­
hunger killed off others. Only a Colonel Leavenworth The Sioux
tion of the Milk and Missouri
The men had just about given
few trappers of Hunt's expedi­ had joined the fight because they
had an old grudge to settle with
rivers. No doubt that is the way
up hope of ever getting out of the
tion ever reached Astoria.
he would have wanted it - out on
As for adventurous Ed Rose in the Arikaras
situation alive when one morning
The besieged Arikaras lost the
1813, two years after his trip
the wild free prairie that he
they saw a thin line of horsemen
with Hunt, he came close to battle, but when the Indians
on the horizon. If they were
losing his freedom. Reports
reached William Clark. Superin
tendent of Indian Affairs in St.
Louis, that Rose was raising earn
at an Omaha camp near the
junction of the Platte and Mis
souri Rivers. The agents found
him sleeping off a big drunk and
returned him to St. Louis where
he pleaded guilty to all charges,
one of which was stirring up the
Indians against the trapper inva
sion. He promised not to return
to the Indian country, swearing if
he was locked up he would die.
Clark freed him and Rose left for
New Orleans.
No white man saw Ed Rose for
the next ten years. Then he came
stalking out of an Arikara village
O b e r standard features on »he Renault 12TI include front-wheel drive. Mtcbelin
on the Upper Missouri one day to
steel-belted rodici*, rock and pinion steering, reclining
help General William Ashley out
front bucket seats, plus 32 m pg’ on the h.ghway.
of a jam with the Indians, at that
time Ashley was head of the
Missouri Militia and a partner
with Andrew Henry in the Rocky
Mountain Fur Company. All
along the river Indians were on
the warpath against fur com
panics who. they realized, were
depleting their resources at a
rapid pace. They did not know
the white man's word “conserva
tfPA figure» as of 5/15/75 12 TV: 24 mpg city, 32 mpg highway
tion" but they could see their
•p.O.E- Eo»t Coo»» o» of 6/15/75 Price »«elude« transportation, deoler prep, to «e* or optional equipment
food and clothing being packed
off by the boat load so they used
every means possible to detour
Custom sport wheels
ore standard on the
$3,895 Renault 12TL.
They’re optional on the
$4,650 Dasher.
Chuck Benton Imports, Inc.
6500 N L Unjon