Leaving, therefore, the encampment in charge of the other partners, Mr. Hunt set off on foot on the first of January (1810), for St. Louis. He was accompanied by eight men as far as Fort Osage, about one hundred and fifty miles below Nodowa. Here he procured a couple of horses, and proceeded on the remainder of his journey with two men, sending the other six back to the encampment. He arrived at St. Louis on the 20th of January.
Opposition of the Missouri Fur Company.-Blackfeet Indians.— Pierre Dorion, a Half-Breed Interpreter.—Old Dorion and His Hybrid Progeny—Family Quarrels.—Cross Purposes Between Dorion and Lisa.—Renegadoes From Nodowa.—Perplexities of a Commander.—Messrs. Bradbury and Nuttall Join the Expedition.-Legal Embarrassments of Pierre Dorion.— Departure From St. Louis.—Conjugal Discipline of a Half- Breed.—Annual Swelling of the Rivers.-Daniel Boone, the Patriarch of Kentucky.-John Colter.-His Adventures Among the Indians.-Rumors of Danger Ahead.-Fort Osage.-An Indian War- Feast.-Troubles in the Dorion Family.—Buffaloes and Turkey- Buzzards.
On this his second visit to St. Louis, Mr. Hunt was again impeded in his plans by the opposition of the Missouri Fur Company. The affairs of that company were, at this time, in a very dubious state. During the preceding year, their principal establishment at the forks of the Missouri had been so much harassed by the Blackfeet Indians, that its commander, Mr. Henry, one of the partners, had been compelled to abandon the post and cross the Rocky Mountains, with the intention of fixing himself upon one of the upper branches of the Columbia. What had become of him and his party was unknown. The most intense anxiety was felt concerning them, and apprehensions that they might have been cut off by the savages. At the time of Mr. Hunt’s arrival at St. Louis, the Missouri Company were fitting out an expedition to go in quest of Mr. Henry. It was to be conducted by Mr. Manuel Lisa, the partner already mentioned.
There being thus two expeditions on foot at the same moment, an unusual demand was occasioned for hunters and voyageurs, who accordingly profited by the circumstance, and stipulated for high terms. Mr. Hunt found a keen and subtle competitor in Lisa, and was obliged to secure his recruits by liberal advances of pay, and by other pecuniary indulgences.
The greatest difficulty was to procure the Sioux interpreter. There was but one man to be met with at St. Louis who was fitted for the purpose, but to secure him would require much management. The individual in question was a half-breed, named Pierre Dorion; and, as he figures hereafter in this narrative, and is, withal, a striking specimen of the hybrid race on the frontier, we shall give a few particulars concerning him. Pierre was the son of Dorion, the French interpreter, who accompanied Messrs. Lewis and Clark