Before cowboys and cattle trails, frontiersman blazed the path to the West. John Jacob Astor (1763-1848) – Astor, who formed the American Fur Company, was the head of the Astor family dynasty and the first millionaire in the United States. Spending considerable time at Taos, New Mexico, he got into a gunfight with a man named Henry Beer over a Mexican woman. American Fur Company (1808-1842) – Founded by John Jacob Astor in 1808, the American Fur Company would become one of the largest businesses in the country at the start of the 19th century.

In 1867, he moved to Oregon, where he spent the rest of his life. At the age of 21 he traveled west to St. Louis, Missouri where, in 1833, he went to work for William Sublette and Robert Campbell and accompanied them on an expedition of the Rocky Mountains. Tristan de Luna y Arellano (1519-1571) – A Spanish conquistador of the 16th century, Arellano served with Vasquez de Coronado on his expedition to the Seven Cities of Cíbola and established Pensacola, one of the earliest European settlements within the present-day United States. Valentine Johnson “Rube” Herring (1812-1883) – Born in Illinois in 1812, he received a fair education as a child and when he grew up, he went to St. Louis, Missouri. The two then tried to support a new trade company, but didn’t receive any support from the Canadians and then tried to enlist the aid of the English. He helped to organize the Missouri and California Overland Mail and Transportation Company in 1855, and for a time, served as president of the organization.

Manuel Lisa (1772-1820) – Frontiersman, explorer, and fur trader, Lisa founded the Missouri Fur Company. Since its discovery, explorers from America continued to explore newfound lands that surrounded them. Joshua Pilcher (1790-1843) – Trapper, trader, and Indian agent, Pilcher was born in Culpeper County, Virginia on May 15, 1790. Estevanico (1500?-1539) – He was the first known person born in Africa to have arrived in the present-day continental United States. Ceran St. Vrain (1802-1870) – Trader, frontiersman, businessman, and soldier, St. Vrain established Bent’s Fort, Colorado along with William and Charles Bent.

– A Greek navigator who sailed for Spain under a Spanish name.

Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (?-1543) – A Spanish or Portuguese explorer, Cabrillo was the first European to explore the Californian coast. Over the years he kept numerous journals and memoirs that documented his years in the fur trade business. He then traveled to California before returning to Missouri.

Moses Embree “California Joe” Milner (1829-1876) – Scout, frontiersman, and miner, California Joe was George Armstrong Custer’s Chief Scout in 1868. In 1829, he formed his own company to compete with his former employer but soon sold out to his rival. William Clark might be considered one of the most famous American explorers. Yeah… You missed one.

In 1831, he accompanied Ewing Young from Taos, New Mexico to California, and the next two years he was trapping on the Snake River. Jim Bridger. 4. The next year, he joined Jefferson Blackwell in a fur trading partnership and they soon began operations in the upper Rocky Mountains. In 1849 he went to California, where he settled in San Bernardino County. Trapping with his brother-in-law, Médard des Groseilliers, their furs were confiscated when it was found they didn’t have a license. In 1817, he joined the army, spending 12 years in service, eventually rising to the rank of captain. Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (1643-1687) – A French explorer, LaSalle explored the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, the Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico.

He explored the Columbia River and worked out of Fort Vancouver after the North West Company had been absorbed by Hudson’s Bay Company.

He became United States Superintendent of Indian Affairs in St. Louis, Missouri in 1841, and held the position at intervals until 1852.

James Pierson Beckwourth (1798-1860) – Generally known as Jim Beckworth, he was an American mountain man, fur trader, and explorer. Captain Alonso Alvarez de Pineda (1494-1520) – A Spanish explorer and map-maker, Pineda and his crew were probably the first Europeans in Texas, claiming it for Spain. Other employees of the company were said to hold him in awe because he took a bath and put on a clean shirt every day. While in present-day  South Dakota, Arikara warriors attacked the expedition on June 2, 1823. Joaquin Antoine Leroux (1810-1881) – Also known as Watkins Leroux, Antoine was a celebrated 19th-century mountain man, scout, and trail guide based in New Mexico. There, he got into a dispute with Malcolm Clarke and his son, Horace over money matters, which soon turned into a brawl. A really great one.

He died on his farm in Linn County, Oregon in 1897. He died on November 15, 1872, in Little Sioux. Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bonneville (1796-1878) – A French-born army officer, frontiersman, and explorer of the American West, Bonneville is best known for blazing portions of the Oregon Trail. He then headed out with the Charles Bent and Ceran St. Vrain party to present-day Colorado, where he worked at Bent’s Fort for several years. Under increasing threat from local Indian tribes, Baca moved his family to the small village of Rio Colorado, in New Mexico in 1854. William Sherley “Old Bill” Williams (1787-1849) -Better known as “Old Bill”, was a Mountain Man, explorer, army scout, and frontiersman. Several years later, on May 12, 1829, he was found guilty of falsification of pay accounts and was dismissed from the army. Afterward, he worked as a railroad contractor. John Day (1770?-1820) –  A fur trapper and frontiersman, he worked for both the American Fur Company and the North West Company. Before long, he was off to the mountains again, where he lived as a mountain man and traveled from Fort Hall, Idaho to Texas, studiously taking notes all the while.

Honore Picotte – A French-Canadian, Picotte came to the Missouri River in about 1820 and joined with the Columbia Fur Company, but after its union with the American Fur Company, he joined with others in forming the French Fur Company in 1827. Excuse me? He then went to California in 1843.

Sublette sold out to the American Fur Company that winter and Larpenteur then went to work for them. George C. Sibley (1782-1863) –  Explorer, soldier, Indian agent, politician, and educator who led the 1825 Sibley Survey team of the  Santa Fe Trail. Andres Dorantes de Carranza (1500?-1550s) – An early Spanish explorer, de Carranza was a native of the southwestern Castilian town of Gibraleon, Spain. He then made his way to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, before working near Fort John, Nebraska. John Colter (1774?-1813) – Frontiersman, explorer, fur trapper, mountain man, and army scout credited with the being the discoverer of the Yellowstone area.

Rufus B. Sage (1817-1893) – A frontiersman, mountain man, and author, Sage was born at Cromwell, Connecticut, where he became a newspaperman when he grew up. He was well educated as a child and when he grew up he made his way west. After difficulties with the Blackfoot Indians, Henry returned to St. Louis in January 1812 and soon joined the War of 1812, rising to the rank of Major. On his arrival, Branch spent years hunting sea otter. The men then built Fort William (later Fort Laramie) at the mouth of the Yellowstone River to compete with the American Fur Company. There, Fink killed Bill Carpenter in a “game,” the two were fond of playing shooting cups of whiskey off each others heads.

Panfilo de Narvaez(1478?-1528) – Spanish explorer and soldier, Narvaez helped conquer Cuba in 1511 and led a Spanish royal expedition to North America in 1527. When Talbot found out a few weeks later that Fink had deliberately killed Carpenter, Levi shot Mike Fink through the heart. When the Revolutionary War began in 1775, Boone fought on both sides. First man to traverse/explore, and map the San Juan, Escalante, and Colorado rivers especially through the rugged and unforgiving terrain of Glen Canyon and the Grand Canyon.

He was the first European to explore North America’s Southwest. Edward De Morin (1818-1902) – Trapper and Trader who worked for the American Fur Company. He left the mountains in about 1834 and returned to Santa Fe, where he continued as a trader and showed an interest in politics.

After Pike’s death and the discovery of gold in Colorado, “Pike’s Peak or Bust” became the slogan of all those headed West in hopes of fame and fortune. During this time he married a Sioux woman and gained a great deal of influence among the tribe. Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) – Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer who discovered* the “New World” of the Americas on an expedition sponsored by King Ferdinand of Spain in 1492. On August 4, 1804, he deserted the Corp, trying to make his way back to civilization.

Talbot, along with friends Mike Fink and Bill Carpenter wintered with the Rocky Mountain Fur Company before traveling to Fort Henry, Montana in the spring of 1823. He then wandered north as far as Eskimo country and the Arctic plains. James Pierson Beckwourth (1798-1860) – Generally known as Jim Beckworth, he was an American mountain man, fur trader, and explorer. He was on a fur-trading expedition under Charles Bent, destined for Bent’s Fort, Colorado in 1835.