Etienne Provost (1785-1850), although a powerful man in his own time, has until now been a shadowy figure weaving in and out of the history of the American fur trade. He never learned to read or write, so we have nothing of his own to judge him by. We do not even know if he spoke English! Jack Tykal has undertaken the monumental task of researching all the scattered records of the fur trade era for references to Provost and bringing them together to create a picture which brings the life of this very interesting and influential person into focus. There is an extensive list of references and a comprehensive index.
“The events of (Provost’s) life represent a looking glass into the total history of the Rocky Mountain fur trade. It would have been very difficult to find a person closely associated with the beaver trade in the American west who did not only know Etienne, but considered him one of the outstanding individuals of that era. From Santa Fe and Taos to the remote valleys of the Rocky Mountains and the executive offices of the giant fur companies in St. Louis, his name was known and recognized as one who knew and understood every facet of the business. Whether it be trading with Ute Indians in the Great Basin, escaping the treachery of an ambush planned by Shoshone on a remote river which bore his name 0n early maps, attending the first rendezvous with William Ashley in 1825, guiding a fur trade caravan to or from the annual rendezvous, carrying messages, or accompanying new recruits for the American Fur Company up the river to a remote trading post, his services were recognized as invaluable.
“Etienne Provost: Man of the Mountains, reveals the life and adventures of this giant among fur trade personalities and is a welcome addition to the understanding of this remarkable era of the American West.” Fred Gowans from the Introduction.
22 illustrations; fold-out map; 12 reproductions of historic paintings.