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Joseph Bissonette

Replies: 54

Re: joseph bissonette, fur trader

Posted: 9 Apr 2010 1:47PM GMT
Classification: Query
I do research on Wyoming. I am looking for informaton to connect Bissonette with Auguste Archambault who had a trading post at Devil's Gate near Independence Rock. In the late 1840's Bissonette was at Fort Laramie. In the 1850's he ran a grog shop at Deer Creek.
Here is some other info I have found Joseph Bissonette1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15 (M)
(1818-8, 1894), #104
d. 8, 1894|p5.htm#i104|Louis Lacroix Bissonet|b. June 16, 1774
d. 1836|p8.htm#i195||||Louis Bissonette|b. May 17, 1730
d. 1786|p67.htm#i2810|Genevieve Routier|b. before April 6, 1749
d. May 30, 1804|p5.htm#i107|||||||');"Pop-up Pedigree
Joseph was born at Port of St. Louis, Spainish Part of Illinois, in 1818.11 He was the son of Louis Lacroix Bissonet. He moved in 1836 at Port of St. Louis, Spainish Part of Illinois. In 1836, at the age of 18 he had headed west to seek his fortune like his ancestors before him..11 He married Julie Hubert at Fort Laramie Region, USA, circa 1836. According to historian Brian Strayer, few traders "associated with the Sioux intimately learned to understand and appreciate their government and organization." Those who did, he adds, "left sparse records revealing their attitudes."55 [55. Strayer, "Fur Trappers' attitudes," p.39]
Fur trader Joseph Bissonette married into the Lakotas twice. His first wife, with whom he had seven children, was Oglala; his second wife, a Brule, bore him fourteen more. While serving as an interpreter for the Brules and Oglalas, he won the confidence of several Lakota leaders, including Red Cloud. In 1875 Bissonette accompanied the Oglala and Brule delegation to Washington DC, where he is said by some to have played a key role in persuading both Red Cloud and Spotted Tail to consider selling the Black Hills to the United States. James Bordeaux called Mato (the Bear) by his Lakota family and associates married a sister of Swift Bear, a prominent Brule itancan. Also engaged in the fur trade, Bordeaux's family ties brought him enough Brule customers during the 1840's to give his employer, the American Fur Company, the competitive edge in the Upper Platte country. Two other fur traders forged ties to the Red Cloud family: John Richard Sr., whom often transported illegal supplies of trade liquor; and Swiss-born Jules Ecoffey, who operated in the Fort Laramie area after 1854.56" [56.McDermott, "Joseph Bissonette," pp.50, 52, 60; McDermott, "James Bordeaux," p. 69; Robinson, "Journals and letter books," p. 177; Unrau, Tending the talking wire, p 56.].11,16,1 Joseph's occupation: Trader at Fort Platte Region in 1842.11 Joseph's occupation: at Fort Laramie Region, USA, in 1843. From Anderson, Fur Traders, we find the following excerpt:

...In the summer of 1843 James Bordeaux was acting as bourgeois at Fort Laramie and had only fifteen men in his employ. 3 That fall the competitive organization trading in opposition to Fort Laramie and Fort Pierre recruited an unusually large number of employees for the winter season-twenty traders and forty voyagers, or engages, along with seventy head of horses, mules, and oxen. Under the active direction of Joseph Bissonette and John Richard, Sr. the "intend scattering in every direction" in search of trade. 4
The technique of trading throughout the countryside, which Bissonette and Richard carried out in 1843, had been an integral part of the operation in Sioux country for at least two decades. In late fall or early winter a number of trading parties were sent out to locate at or near the Sioux winter camps. These crews either constructed wintering houses (or occupied those remaining from the previous years) or took up residence in the lodge of a prominent warrior in the Sioux village where trade was being sought.
4. Robinson, "Fort Pierre Journal," p. 197..17 Joseph's occupation: Trader at Fort Benard Area, USA, in 1845.11 He is a work associate of an unknown person at Fort Bernard (1845 - 1846), Lingle (present-day), Goshen Co., Wyoming, USA, after 1845. 1845 The American Fur Company found Richard less cooperative. Occupying the half-finished log fort, he carried on a brisk winter trade much to the annoyance of Picotte. The Fort Pierre manager declared that Richard and the other Taos peddlers obtained many of the good robes by trading corn for them and recommended that five hundred bushels be sent to Fort John. Richard's partners in the enterprise were his brother Peter, Joseph Bissonette, a Mr. Branham of Kentucky, and one of the Bordeaux. On June 11, 1846, Edwin Bryant met some of Richard's partners near Grand Island, Nebraska, navigating two mackinaw boats loaded with buffalo robes, bound for the nearest port on the Missouri.
In the spring of 1846, the Indian trade having been completed, Richard and his partners concentrated on the emigrant trade. Here, too, they competed successfully with Fort John using another technique. They simply undersold the powerful rival, at times 30-40%.[Richard charged ten cents less a pound for flour and three and one half cents less a pound of bacon.]

In late June, 1846 the main party of emigrants swept by Fort Bernard and Fort John, and on July 10, 1846 Richard left his post to make his annual pilgrimage to New Mexico for liquor. Several days before, he met the Crosby-Brown party of Mississippi Mormons who planned to winter on the east side of the mountains. They had come west on the Oregon Trail as far as Ft. Benard without knowing they were ahead of Brigham Young and the main body of saints. Richard recommended Pueblo and became their guide, proving a faithful and able pilot according to Brown.
On Aug. 20, 1846 Parkman found Richard in Pueblo quartered in the trapper's stockade. Prevented from reaching Taos because of the Mexican War, Richard stayed in Pueblo to await the cessation of hostilities. During his absence, Fort Bernard burned to the ground. The reasons for its destruction are not known, but Richard must have suspected the American Fur Company.
During the next six years, [1846-1852] Richard continued to trade on a small scale at various sites along the North Platte and the Larimie. By June 1847, opposition to Richard's Fort Benard had been effectively disposed of.
In 1848, Joseph Robidoux supplied the backing for his trade in buffalo robes, and as in the past, Richard obtained corn from Kansas to supplement regular trade items. In the Spring of 1848, the new Indian Agent for the Upper Platte and Arkansas, confiscated his some kegs of liqueur and dumped it into the Platte. In 1850 he apparently had a trading post at Ash Point about 20 miles below Fort Larimie, but sold his interest to Seth Ward and William Guerrier early in 1851..11 He resided at Fort Laramie Region, USA, after 1845.11 Joseph's occupation: Interpreter at Fort Laramie (1849 - 1890), Goshen Co., Wyoming, USA, in 1856.11 He resided at Deer Creek, Wyoming, USA, in 1857, Resided here with his family..11 He married Nellie Plenty Brothers circa 1858. Joseph was listed as the head of a family on the 1860 Census at Fort Laramie (1849 - 1890), Goshen Co., Nebraska Territory, USA.18 He employed Frank C. Ecoffey at Fort Laramie Region, USA, circa 1860. Frank worked as a clerk for Joe Bissonette, famed as an interpreter, at Fort Laramie from 1854 to 1861 and married Bissonette's daughter. [John Hunton Diary. (1956). v.2, pg 172].19 Joseph's occupation: Special Interpreter at Fort Laramie (1849 - 1890), Goshen Co., Wyoming, USA, in 1868. Early in 1868, the Peace Commission established to negotiate a treaty with the Sioux, and appointed Bissonette a special interpreter for the Brules. After Spotted Tail and his followers signed the treaty at Fort Laramie on April 29, 1868..11 He resided at Whetstone Agency (1869-1873), Nebraska, USA, in 1871, Early in 1868, the Peace Commission established to negotiate a treaty with the Sioux, and appointed Bissonette a special interpreter for the Brules. After Spotted Tail and his followers signed the treaty at Fort Laramie on April 29, 1868.
Bissonette also received a second appointment to act as an interpreter and accompany the Brules to their new home on Whetstone Creek, tributary of the Missouri. Bissonette continued to live with the Brules, following them to western Nebraska in 1871 when the agency changed location. He held a number of positions at the agency, including those of Sub-agent and assistant-farmer. Bissonette became one of the principle advisors to the leaders of the reservation Sioux.. Joseph traveled at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Dakota Territory, USA, in 1875. He resided at Wounded Knee Creek, Shannon Co., Dakota Territory, USA, circa 1877. Joseph died on 8, 1894 at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Porcupine, Shannon Co., South Dakota, USA.

Last Edited=June 10, 2007

Children of Joseph Bissonette and Julie Hubert
William Bissonette+ b. circa 1835
Josephine Bissonette+ b. August, 1835, d. April 25, 1936
Susan Bissonette+ b. 1837, d. December 4, 1918
Joseph Bissonette+ b. 1840, d. 1874
Julie Bissonette+ b. 1844, d. February 2, 1915
Peter Bissonette+ b. November, 1846, d. July 11, 1925
Jennie Bissonette+ b. May 22, 1850, d. October 25, 1940
Mary Bissonette+ b. 1855, d. September 4, 1930
Mattie Bissonette+ b. 1868, d. October 25, 1955

Children of Joseph Bissonette and Nellie Plenty Brothers
Emma Bissonette+ b. 1859, d. January 31, 1927
John Joseph Bissonette+ b. May, 1861, d. December 25, 1945
Louisa Bissonette+ b. January, 1863, d. 1904
Mary Bissonette+ b. March, 1865, d. March 20, 1950
Jackson Bissonette+ b. 1868, d. April 14, 1902
Ella Bissonette+ b. 1869, d. September 25, 1908
Lilly Bissonette b. 187020
Herbert Bissonette+ b. November, 1872, d. February 26, 1954
Thresia Bissonette b. 187420
Jennie Bissonette+ b. 1874, d. September 16, 1932
Jorin Bissonette b. 187620
Joseph Bissonette+ b. January, 1876, d. December 15, 1957
Frank Bissonette b. March, 1878, d. December 28, 1905
Frank Bissonette b. 1879, d. December 28, 1905
Lucy Bissonette b. 1881
Fred Bissonette b. June, 1886, d. April 12, 1952
Citations
[S42] Family Tree Chart.
[S406] John W DeLong, Mike Stevens.
[S125] Robert M. Utley, Last days of the Sioux Nation.
[S133] Charles W. Allen, Red Cloud and the U.S. Flag.
[S242] Harry H. Anderson, Fur Traders As Fathers: The Origins of the Mixed-Blooded Community Among the Rosebud Sioux.
[S407] Charles Edmund De Land, Basil Clement (Claymore): the Mountain Trappers, pp. 245-381.
[S408] Benard De Voto, The Year of Decision 1846, PP. 262, 297.
[S6] Hila Gilbert, Big Bat Pourier: guide & interpreter, Fort Laramie, 1870-1880..
[S97] LeRoy R. Hafen, Fort Laramie and the Pageant of the West 1834-1890.
[S2] LeRoy R. ed. Hafen, Mountain men and the fur trade of the Far West., Volume 3.
[S210] John Dishon McDermott, Joseph Bissonette.
[S98] LeRoy R. Hafen, Relations with Indians of the Plains, 1857-1861; a documentary account of the military campaigns, and negotiations of Indian agents, with reports and journals.
[S40] Virginia I Kain Lautenschlager, History of Cuny Table - 1890-1983.
[S95] Remi A. Nadeau, Fort Laramie and the Sioux Indians.
[S208] Catherine Price, Oglala People, 1841-1879: a Political History.
[S211] John Dishon McDermott, James Bordeaux.
[S213] J.W. Anderson, Fur Trader's Story.
[S214] 1860, Federal.
[S64] John Hunton, Diaries of John Hunton.
[S157] 1886.


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