Last month, Fort Laramie National Historic Site commemorated the 175th anniversary of the founding of Fort William, the first Fort Laramie, with an authentic living history fur trade encampment and a western fur trade symposium featuring national known speakers.
Superintendent Mitzi Frank reports that the event was very successful and that the three-day event drew approximately 1800 visitors.
In 1834, William Sublette led his caravan in a race against Nathaniel Wyeth to supply the annual trapperâs rendezvous. The caravan consisted of 36 men and 90 pack animals. He paused on May 30th and camped at the mouth of âLarameeâs Forkâ to construct a trading post that he hoped would dominate the central Rocky Mountain fur trade. He would name the post Fort William.
Sublette left behind a work crew of 14 men to build the post. Constructed of hewn cottonwood logs it measured only 100 by 80 feet. With the beaver trade already in decline at the time of the postâs founding, Sublette and his partner Robert Campbell recognized that the future of the fur trade lay in trading with Native Americans for buffalo robes. Each spring caravans arrived at the fort with trade goods and left each fall with buffalo hides and other furs bound for eastern markets.
This year marks the 175th anniversary of the founding of Fort William and the establishment of the first permanent settlement in what is now Wyoming, now preserved by the National Park Service at Fort Laramie National Historic Site.