William Drummond Stewart

December 26, 1795 - April 28, 1871

Stewart, William Drummond, Scottish adventurer (Dec. 26, 1795-Apr. 28, 1871). Born at Murthly Castle, Perthshire, Scotland, he was the second son and one of seven children of Sir George Steward, 17th. lord of Grandtully, fifth baronet of Murthly. William joined the 6th. Dragoon Guards, was three months in Spain and Portugal and as a lieutenant served under Wellington at Waterloo, five years later becoming a captain in the 15th. King's Hussars and soon retiring on half pay. Seeking adventure he visited St. Louis in 1832, contacted William Clark, Pierre Chouteau Jr., William Ashley and other luminaries and arranged to accompany Robert Campbell who was taking a Sublette pack train to the 1833 rendezvous of mountain men. The party left St. Louis April 13 and attended the Horse Creek Rendezvous in the Green River Valley of Wyoming. Here Steward met Jim Bridger, Antoine Clement, Bonneville, Tom Fitzpatrick and others. With some of these people Stewart visited the Big Horn Mountains, wintered at Taos, and attended the next rendezvous at Ham's Fork of the Green, later that year journeying on to Fort Vancouver, Washington. He attended the 1835 rendezvous at the mouth of New Fork River on the Green and reached St. Louis in November. Stewart's income from Murthly had sadly declined so he went to New Orleans, speculated in cotton to recoup, wintered in Cuba and in May joined Fitzpatrick's train to the Rockies once more for another rendezvous on Horse Creek. He wintered in 1836-1837 at New Orleans, speculating in cotton again; he learned that his son-less older brother was dying of cancer, which would make William the seventh baronet of Murthly with plenty of money. For the rendezvous of 1837 he took along an artist, Alfred Jacob Miller, who painted a notable series of works on Mountain Man life, the rendezvous, Indians and Rocky Mountain scenes, some of which done as oils would later grace Murthly Castle. Again Stewart accompanied Fitzpatrick's train to the rendezvous on the Green and later visited the Wind River Mountains. Stewart attended the following rendezvous on the Popo Agie River and enroute back to St. Louis learned that his brother John had died. Stewart leisurely returned to Scotland and Murthly Castle in July 1838 with Clement and some Indians and his many trophies, Miller arriving later with his sketches. Homesick for the American West Stewart returned to this continent in late 1842. Stewart and his entourage joined the Sublette train to the 1843 rendezvous--the last the Rockies would see--and after word visited the area that would become Yellowstone Park, returning to St. Louis in October and going back to Scotland for good. His later life was generally tranquil; his sone George survived the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimea, but died before his father. William Stewart's parenthood, if it was that, of the mysterious Francis Nichols was never proven, although Nichols migrated to Texas and called himself Lord Stewart until the English House of Lords insisted he stop it, whereafter he was known merely as Mr. Stewart. He married but was soon divorced and died at San Antonio November 23, 1913, aged 67.