Walking West with Robert Campbell

Mile 1129- Scotts Bluff

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Just a day or two walk from the Chim­ney, Cour­t­house, and Jail Rocks stands Scotts Bluff. Scotts Bluff is now a Nation­al Mon­u­ment, but it was one of the land­marks that Robert’s par­ty would have used to nav­i­gate west. The bluffs are actu­al­ly named for a mem­ber of the same expe­di­tion that Robert was a part of. Hiram Scott win­tered with the par­ty on the Kansas and Repub­li­can rivers and trav­elled with the group until their arrival at Cache Val­ley. How­ev­er, it was when Scott depart­ed from the group that tragedy struck. There are sev­er­al dif­fer­ent accounts of the event. Robert’s nar­ra­tive states: 

[Hiram Scott]…in the spring of 1827 while descend­ing the Plat­te in a canoe, was tak­en sick and left behind by his asso­ciates and was devoured by wolves. His bones were found the next year by Sub­lette and Jack­son. Scotts Bluff was named after him.”

The tale changed over time, and some sto­ries tell that he was killed by Black­feet, some say he was mur­dered by his asso­ciates. Even Robert’s nar­ra­tive was writ­ten many years after the event so it is impos­si­ble to deter­mine the truth. How­ev­er, what is known is that the area where his body was found the next year was indeed named in his hon­or. Just anoth­er way in which Robert Camp­bel­l’s first expe­di­tion to the West left a last­ing mark on the Amer­i­can West to this day.