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Green River Rendezvous

Report from Pinedale, Wyoming
By, Jim Smith

Although Jed never attended a Rendezvous on the Green River, he’s still an honored guest each year at the Green River Rendezvous Pageant in Pinedale, Wyoming. The 84th Annual Pageant last July was no exception. Patrick Ingram portrayed Jedediah Smith. He entered the pageant grounds on horseback, as the iconic figure portrayed by the early chroniclers of the mountain men: reading from his bible.

Since 1936 the people of Pinedale and Sublette county have put on
this production to commemorate the history of the fur trade era in the Green River Valley. The initial encounter between the trappers and the Shoshone people who were indigenous to the area is recreated in a Pipe Ceremony at the beginning of the Pageant. The simple ceremony takes place in the middle of the arena with the several tipis of the Shosohone Village to the north, the trapper’s camp to the south, and the majestic Wind River mountains in the east as the backdrop.

Following this, all the colorful visitors to Green River valley, or any
of the six Rendezvous that were held on the Green between 1834-40 make an appearance on the grounds: the Astorians, Capt. Bonneville, William Sublette, Moses “Black” Harris and his bride, Jim Bridger, Andrew Dripps, Lucien Fontenelle, Father DeSmet, Sir William Drummond Stewart, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, Henry and Eliza Spaulding, to mention a few of the principals. There are wagon teams and drivers arriving with trade goods for the Rendezvous. There are horse races and partying.

The Shoshone are well represented by the Antelope Soldiers. Alfred Jacob Miller, who accompanied Stewart to the 1837 Rendezvous is on hand painting people and festivities at the annual Saturnalia in the mountains.

The Rendezvous Pageant on Sunday concludes Green River Days in Sublette county. The weekend begins on Thursday evening at the Museum of the Mountain Man with the annual Western Art and Wine Auction. Another highlight every year is the release of the new Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal. This year a framed copy of the
Society’s map, “The Travels of Jedediah Strong Smith, 1822-1831” was an item at the auction. This was a gift from the Jedediah Smith Society to the Museum of the Mountain Man. We hear it fetched a fine price at auction. 

On display this season at the Museum is the original of “Jed’s Bear,” sculpted by Mark William Kelly of Leavenworth, Kansas. This beautiful bronze sculpture depicts Jedediah’s close encounter with the grizzly bear in 1823 in the southern Black Hills near Buffalo Gap, South Dakota. The statue is on loan from its owner: historian James C. Auld. This is a very fluid, dynamic bronze that shows the bear standing upright, while Jed’s body is in the air, horizontal to the earth, at about shoulder height to the grizzly due to the fact that the bear has lifted Jed off the ground by his head, which is caught between the jaws and in the mouth of the griz. It’s a wonderful piece of historic art.

All in all, another great Green River Days in Pinedale.

2019 – Jedediah Smith Society Annual Meeting

The Jedediah Smith Society held its 2019 Annual Meeting at the end of March at the San Joaquin County Historical society in Lodi, California. A good time was had by all. The keynote speaker was Dr. Stephen dow Beckham, retired professor of history at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Beckham discussed Jedediah’s journey up the Oregon-California coast in 1828, the Umpqua Fight, and the map he prepared while at Fort Vancouver that winter in a presentation entitled: Jedediah Smith’s Map of the American West, 1828.

Here’s a few photos from the Annual Meeting 
 
 
Dr. Stephen Dow Beckham & Joe Molter
 
Outgoing President, Jim Smith
 Board Meeting 
 
Keynote speaker, Dr. Stephen Dow Beckham