Introduction to Osborne Russell's Journal of a Trapper

Preface

Journal of a Trapper is one of the most important first hand accounts of the mountain man era. In it, Russell provides a detailed narrative describing the day-to-day life of an ordinary trapper in the Rocky Mountains. The Journal begins when Russell hired on with Nathaniel Wyeth's second expedition to the west. He participated in the establishment of Fort Hall, and later became a free trapper. He trapped for nine years in the greater Yellowstone region before leaving the mountains to settle in Oregon.

In this transcription, I have attempted to retain the original spelling and punctuation. Any text enclosed in square brackets [ ] was supplied by the editor where the manuscript was unclear - other editorial comments were used sparingly. No footnotes have been retained from previous editions, because of the intent to provide the source material in its original form.

Bibliographical Information

A microfilm copy of the original Russell manuscript was made available to the author of this web site by the Utah State Historical Society.

Previous editions

Author:   Russell, Osborne, b. 1814.
Title:         Journal of a trapper : or, Nine years in the Rocky
               Mountains, 1834-1843 : being a general description of
               the country, climate, rivers, lakes, mountains, etc.,
               and a view of the life by a hunter in those regions /
               by Osborne Russell.
Published:     Boise, Id. : Syms-York, 1914.
Notes:    Edited from the original manuscript by L. A. York.
Author:   Russell, Osborne, b.1814-1892.
Title:    Journal of a trapper; or, Nine Years in the Rocky Mountains,
          1834-1843; being a general description of the county,
          climate, rivers, lakes, mountains, etc., and a view of the
          life led by a hunter in those regions, by Osborne Russell
Published: c1921.
Notes:    Edited from the original manuscript by L. A. York.
Author:   Russell, Osborne, 1814-1892.
Title:         Journal of a trapper
Published:     Oregon Historical Society, 1955.
Author:   Russell, Osborne, 1814-1892.
Title:         Osborne Russell's Journal of a trapper : edited from
               the original manuscript in the William Robertson Coe
               Collection of Western Americana in the Yale University
               Library ; with a biography of Osborne Russell and maps
               of his travels while a trapper in the Rocky Mountains /
               by Aubrey L. Haines.
Published:      Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, c1965.

Links to Russell's Journal

  • View Text Online (over 300k)