John Colter and The Blackfeet - New Haven, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 38° 36.894 W 091° 12.784
15S E 655574 N 4275557
Only member of the expedition given permission to leave his enlistment early and stay in the mountains. He discovered todays Yellowstone, then called "Colter's Hell"
Waymark Code: WMK10B
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 01/27/2014
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Geo Ferret
Views: 2

County of marker: Franklin County
Location of marker: Front St. & Miller St., Millers Landing, inside Colter Shelter, New Haven
Marker erected by: Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
Date marker erected: 2003

Marker text:
"While trapping for beaver along the Jefferson's Fork River in the fall of 1808, John Colter and his companions, John Potts, were surprised by a war party of Blackfeet braves. With no chance to escape, Colter came ashore while Potts retreated and was killed.

Immediately Colter was sized and stripped naked. Soon he discovered that he would be given a chance to run for his life. Placing him ahead of the braves in the open prairie, a signal was given and the race began. The warrior that could catch and kill Colter would receive special honor in the tribe.

Seeking the cover of the river about six miles ahead, Colter ran across the prairie which was covered with prickly pear cactus. He soon out distanced all but one brave. Approaching the river and hearing footsteps behind him, he stopped and turned to face his enemy. Surprised by Colter's action, the brave dropped his spear and fell to the ground exhausted. Quickly grabbing the spear, Colter stabbed the brave and continued his race to the river. Seeing a pile of drift wood in the stream, he dove into the water and hid himself among the logs.

Upon their arrival the Indians searched the shoreline but could not find any sign of Colter. As night fell the band if discouraged braves left the river and gave up the hunt for the elusive mountain man. Colter now crawled from his hiding place and quietly swam downstream.

Traveling day and night and subsisting on roots, Colter began a three hundred mile journey back to Lisa's Fort. Over a week later, weak, bearded, scratched, and cloaked with an Indian blanket Colter walked into the fort. He had been lucky to survive."

Web link: [Web Link]

History of Mark:
"The sinewy, bearded man raced up the brushy hillside, blood streaming from his nose from the terrific exertion. He did not consider himself a fast runner, but on this occasion the terror of sudden and agonizing death lent wings to his feet.

"Somewhere not far behind, his pursuers, their lean bodies more accustomed than his to the severe terrain, were closing in, determined to avenge the death of one of their own. They carried weapons, though they were unlikely to grant their quarry a quick and easy death if they caught him.

"All of these thoughts coursed through frontiersman John Colter’s mind as he ran for his life. Although an able shot and capable fighter, Colter’s only assets at the moment were the muscles in his already-exhausted legs. His pursuers had taken his gun and knife, and had stripped him of every last stitch of clothing. The sagebrush and scrub oak tore at Colter’s thighs as he ran, and sharp stones gouged the soles of his feet, but he paid the pain no mind; any torment was preferable to what the Blackfoot warriors would inflict on him if they captured him again.

"In 1808, the year John Colter ran his race with the Blackfeet, Western Montana had been seen by only a handful of white men. The better-known era of the Old West, with its gunfighters, cattlemen, and mining towns, lay decades in the future. The frontier as most Americans then conceived it was many hundreds of miles further east, on the lower reaches of the Missouri and the Mississippi rivers. The High Plains, Rocky Mountains, Great Basin, and Pacific Coast ranges were still the domain of native tribes and a few doughty fur trappers. "

Additional point: Not Listed

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