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Jedediah Strong Smith
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    (January 6, 1799-May 27, 1831)
    Born in Bainbridge, New York
    Explorer, hunter, fur trader and cartographer in the Rocky Mountains, Oregon Territory and southwestern US
    First American to cross the Sierra Nevada and the Great Basin
    First American to reach California over land and to travel up the California coast to Oregon Country
    Rediscovered the South Pass in Wyoming (1824), which became the main pass through the Rockies on the Oregon Trail
    Killed by Comanche Indians while scouting for water
    He was twice arrested by the Spanish governor of California for entering the territory illegally, twice released on the condition that he leave immediately and never return, and twice instead spent several months exploring and hunting in the Sacramento Valley.
    Of the 33 men he took on his expeditions to California, 26 died.
    With his profits from fur trading, he bought a house in St. Louis -- and a couple of slaves to take care of the place.
    He was inspired as a boy when a friend of the family gave him a copy of Lewis and Clark's journal.
    He was mauled by a grizzly bear, had to have his scalp sewed back on by a friend, and after recovering wore his hair long to hide the resulting scar.
    Unlike many mountain men, he did not smoke, drink alcohol or swear.
    He punished any of his men who shot at Indians that did not pose a threat to their party.
    He gave $1500 that he made in the fur trade to his brother to buy a farm.

Credit: C. Fishel

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