Walking West with Robert Campbell

Mile 1655- Fort Bridger

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Fort Bridger
cir­ca 1850

After cross­ing the con­ti­nen­tal divide the next notable stop Robert Camp­bell made was at the future site of Fort Bridger. Robert, in his nar­ra­tive, states: “At Haines Fork, near Fort Bridger, the Trap­pers came out to meet us. There were about, from 60 to 75 of them. We were also joined by fif­teen lodges of Iro­quois…” As the par­ty was draw­ing more and more near to their final des­ti­na­tion of Cache Val­ley, they were being joined by oth­ers who were also enroute toward the rendezvous.

Fort Bridger began as a sim­ple trad­ing post, estab­lished by Jim Bridger and Louis Vasquez in 1843. This fort was estab­lished as a sup­ply post for the wave of immi­grants that were head­ing west on the Ore­gon Trail in the 1840s. By 1847 the Mor­mons had set­tled in the area, and they were not too approv­ing of activ­i­ties at Fort Bridger. Jim Bridger had been allow­ing the sale of alco­hol and ammu­ni­tion to Native Amer­i­cans, which was in direct vio­la­tion of fed­er­al law. When the Mor­mon mili­tia arrived to arrest Bridger in 1853 he fled. By around 1855 Bridger returned and begrudg­ing­ly agreed to sell Fort Bridger to the Mor­mons, a wise choice in hind­sight because in 1857, dur­ing the Mor­mon War, Fort Bridger would be burned.

Mod­ern Recon­struc­tion of Fort Bridger
Mod­ern Recon­struc­tion of the Log Cab­in at Fort Bridger