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Section 6, Chapter 19 -Fort Hall & Blackfoot Areas
Chapter 19:
Founding of Fort Hall
Route of the Oregon Trail in the Fort Hall Area
Gay Mine


Ferry Butte

Map of the Fort Hall area.
Founding of Fort Hall
Unfurling an American flag actually was a violation of the Treaty of Ghent ending the War of 1812, which provided that the northwest should be jointly occupied by the U.S. and Great Britain. Fort Hall was actively used first as a fur trading outpost by Andrew Wyeth and associates, and after 1837, by the Hudson's Bay Company. It was closed in 1856.

(left) Site of Old Fort Hall on the south bank of the Snake River. The Fort was located about at the small white monument between the slough and the sharp curve in the dirt road. A remnant of the Oregon Trail branch to the Fort can be seen cutting obliquely across the field in the middle of the photograph, (June, 1992).

(right) Oregon Trail ruts along Lone Pine (Gay Mine) Road on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, aerial view looking south, September, 1988. The Gay Mine railway crosses the road in the middle right part of view. Several paths of ruts can be distinguished on the north side of the road, east of the rail crossing. Ross Fork is in the distance meandering through cliffs of basalt.

Osborne Russell's journal states:

"On the 11th (July, 1834) we left Bear River and crossed low ridges of broken country for about 15 miles in a N East direction and fell on to a stream which runs into Snake River called Black Foot. Here we met with Capt. B.L. Bonneville with a party of 10 or 12 men. He was on his way to the Columbia and was employed killing and drying Buffalo meat for the journey. The next day we traveled in a west direction over a rough mountainous country about 25 miles and the day following after traveling about 20 miles in the same direction we emerged from the mountain into the great valley of Snake River on the 16th. We crossed the valley and reached the river in about 25 miles travel West. Here Mr. Wyeth concluded to stop, build a fort and deposit the remainder of his merchandise, leaving a few men to protect them and trade with the Snake and Bannack Indians. On the 18th we commenced the Fort which was a stockade 80 feet square built of Cotton wood trees set on end sunk 2 1/2 feet in the ground and standing about 15 feet above with two bastions 8 ft square at the opposite angles. On the 4th of August the Fort was completed. And on the 5th the "Stars and Stripes" were unfurled to the breeze at Sunrise in the center of a savage and uncivilized country over an American Trading Post," (in Haines, 1965).