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Explorers

Jedediah Strong Smith

by Joe, The Community School, 3rd Grade, Sun Valley, ID, USA

Have you heard of anyone who was America's best tracker and survived a grizzly bear attack? Jedediah Smith did these and much more. “Jed” grew up trapping in New York forests and, unlike most trappers, Jed learned to read and write. However, Jed was also a great trapper and a famed explorer.

Jed was born in Jericho, New York on January 6th 1799 and learned to read and write. Smith was a devout Christian, it was said that his Bible and his rifle were his most prized possessions. Smith was known because of significant facial scarring due to a grizzly bear attack near the Cheyenne River. The bear tore open his side and nearly ripped off his left ear and his scalp. Luckily, the bear retreated and Jed’s companions found him critically injured but sewed his wounds and fetched him water. Jed took two trips to California, the first one was 1826-1827 and the 2nd trip was 1827-1828. He succeeded in reaching California but got in trouble with Mexican authorities for trespassing.

They say Jedediah explored more territory than any other mountain man but many others helped. Jim Bridger and Jed were best buds and it was said that Jed came up with Jim’s nickname “Old Gabe” because he thought that Jim reminded him of the angel Gabriel spreading the word of God, and lived through it all. Although many others helped, Jedediah Smith was a brave and courageous man who never gave up and helped the early wagon trains make it to the West.

Jed has two versions of death, both involve attacks by Comanche Indians. After his death his brother, Austin Smith, was able to recover Smith`s rifle and pistols. Jed is a hero to me because he showed the way for the future Oregon and California trails.

Page created on 4/13/2010 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 9/8/2018 4:26:43 AM

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