Tag Archives: Rocky Mountains


When you’re in a car for hours and hours and hours on a long road trip, con­ver­sa­tion is bound to pro­duce a few ideas, some bet­ter than oth­ers. Some­times, you actu­al­ly remem­ber some of these crazy ideas after the road trip is over. The 2,500-mile dri­ve Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Andy and Intre­pid Researcher Tom™ took over the sum­mer to Robert’s old stomp­ing grounds in and around the Rocky Moun­tains was no exception.

Since Andy and Tom were head­ing west to vis­it some of the ren­dezvous grounds Robert vis­it­ed when he was in his ear­ly twen­ties, the ques­tion arose: What did Robert look like when he was a twen­tysome­thing? The only images we have of Robert are when he was a mature man, in his 50s and 60s. When Tom returned to St. Louis, he start­ed research­ing what he could do to get a pic­ture of a young Robert.

After sift­ing through many web­sites, Tom found Pho­Joe, a com­pa­ny that spe­cial­izes in pho­to restora­tion, col­oriza­tion, age pro­gres­sion (mak­ing the sub­ject look old­er) and age regres­sion (mak­ing the sub­ject look younger). Obvi­ous­ly Tom was inter­est­ed in age regres­sion, so he sent their artists the pic­tures we had of Robert. After some minor tweak­ing, this is what they came up with:

Robert, age 25.

To give you a com­par­i­son, here are some of the pic­tures Tom sent to Phojoe:

Detail of a paint­ing that was done by A.J. Conant between 1879 and 1888, after Robert died. Robert died at the age of 75 in 1879.

A pas­tel of Robert that hangs in Vir­ginia Camp­bel­l’s bedroom.

Sure, when Robert was spend­ing months at a time in the wilds of (what is now) Wyoming, he prob­a­bly was­n’t that clean shaven or wear­ing a suit, but it’s an inter­est­ing image to con­sid­er. This youth­ful man was the Robert who fought in the Bat­tle of Pier­re’s Hole. This was the Robert whose exploits were immor­tal­ized in Wash­ing­ton Irv­ing’s The Adven­tures of Cap­tain Bon­neville. What do you think of the com­pos­ite? Any ideas for what we should do with our new pic­ture of Robert? Send your strokes of bril­liance here by leav­ing a com­ment, or send an email to shelley@campbellhousemuseum.org.

Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Tour

By Andy Hahn

A few weeks ago Camp­bell House docent Tom Gron­s­ki and I returned from a 2,500 mile trip West, vis­it­ing the impor­tant sites of Robert Camp­bell and Rocky Moun­tain fur trade.

Red Rocks Canyon on the road up to the South Pass through the Wind Riv­er Range of the Rockies.

We fol­lowed the route of the Ore­gon Trail, which had been blazed by Camp­bell and oth­er moun­tain men and fur traders dur­ing the 1820s and 30s. Our first stop was at the Joslyn Art Muse­um in Oma­ha, Nebras­ka. The Joslyn holds one of the most impor­tant col­lec­tions of art of the Amer­i­can West, includ­ing works by Karl Bod­merAlfred Jacob Miller and George Catlin.

Fol­low­ing a 500-mile dri­ve along the Plat­te Riv­er through Nebras­ka we arrived at Fort Laramie, where we met Alan McFar­land, Robert Camp­bel­l’s g‑g-g-grand nephew, fresh off the plane from his home in North­ern Ire­land. Alan has a spe­cial inter­est in his uncle’s career in the fur trade and has made numer­ous research trips to Amer­i­ca. Fort Laramie was the per­fect place for our meet­ing because Camp­bell and his part­ner Bill Sub­lette found­ed Fort Laramie (orig­i­nal­ly called Fort William) in 1834. At this Nation­al His­toric Site we were able to view an authen­tic fur trade encamp­ment recre­at­ed by mem­bers of the Amer­i­can Moun­tain Men. The group lat­er cre­at­ed tableau vivant from one of Alfred Jacob Miller’s art­works depict­ing a fur trade camp.

A lit­tle fur­ther west we fol­lowed the Sweet­wa­ter Riv­er across Wyoming towards the Wind Riv­er Moun­tain Range and the South Pass. Bill Sub­lette was the first per­son to take a wag­on this far into the Rocky Moun­tains in 1830, set­ting a course for thou­sands that would fol­low the Ore­gon and Mor­mon Trails. The next few days were spent in the vicin­i­ty of Jack­son, Wyoming where we vis­it­ed most all of the sites of the Rocky Moun­tain Ren­dezvous. The high­lights includ­ed vis­its to the Muse­um of the Moun­tain Man where we were able to see some orig­i­nal Camp­bell let­ters and Pier­re’s Hole, site of the 1832 Ren­dezvous and sub­se­quent bat­tle.  Camp­bell hero­ical­ly saved his friend Bill Sub­let­te’s life dur­ing the bat­tle as recount­ed by Wash­ing­ton Irv­ing in the Adven­tures of Cap­tain Bon­neville. Our trip end­ed with vis­its to oth­er Ren­dezvous sites at Bear Lake, Cache Val­ley and final­ly Fort Bridger.

Enjoy the pic­tures and fol­low us West!