Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, Little Sister...!

Today is my little sister's birthday, so please join me in telling her to have a happy one!

I'd sing her a birthday song, but we don't want her special day to forever be a bad memory so I'll pass on the singing!

She probably doesn't realize it, but she shares this date with a famous (or at least well known) person from our early history! Since Baby Sis is a little bit of a history buff, I'll share the information of this person with everyone.

On this date in history, Jedediah Strong Smith, one of America's greatest trapper-explorers, is born in Bainbridge, New York.

Smith explored a stunningly large area of the Far West during his short life. He began his western voyages in 1822, when he joined the pioneering fur trader William Ashley on a trip up the Missouri River. Unlike earlier fur traders, who depended on Native Americans to actually trap or hunt the furs, Ashley eliminated the Indians as middlemen and instead sent out independent Anglo trappers like Smith to do the job.

To escape dependence on Indians, though, Ashley needed to find his own sources of beaver and otter in the West, and Smith became one of his best explorers. A year after his first trip up the Missouri, Smith set out with a small band of mountain men to explore the Black Hills region of the Dakotas at Ashley's behest. Despite being mauled by a grizzly bear in the Black Hills, Smith continued westward to the site of modern-day Dubois, Wyoming, where he and his men camped for the winter.

During his long forced halt at Dubois, Smith learned from friendly Crow Indians of an easy pass through the Rocky Mountains. The following spring, Smith and his men followed the route outlined by the Crow and discovered that they could cross the mighty Rockies almost effortlessly. Later named the "South Pass," Smith's new route was a high plain that gradually rose like a shallow ramp to provide an easy crossing of the Continental Divide. Smith's discovery of South Pass was actually a "rediscovery," since employees of John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company crossed the pass in 1812 when returning to St. Louis from the Pacific. The Astorian discovery, though, remained unknown, so Smith is credited for alerting the nation to the existence of this easy route across the Rockies.

Smith's discovery of South Pass was monumentally important. Not only did his fellow fur trappers prefer South Pass to the far more difficult and dangerous Missouri River route blazed by Lewis and Clark in 1804, but the South Pass became an early 19th century "super-highway" for settlers bound for Oregon and California. Ideally suited for heavy wagon traffic, South Pass greatly facilitated the mass emigration of Americans to the Far West.

The blazing of the South Pass route alone would have secured Smith's claim as one of the great explorers of the American West, but during the following decade, Smith also explored the Great Salt Lake, the Colorado Plateau, and led the first expedition to cross the Southwest to California—all before he was 30 years old. Having lived through dozens of narrow escapes on his intrepid journeys, Smith decided to retire from his dangerous trade in 1830 and enter the mercantile business. Ironically, being a trader proved more deadly than exploring: while leading a trading caravan along the Santa Fe Trail in 1831, Smith was killed by Commanche Indians near the Cimarron River. He was 32 years old.

See, you just never know who may share your birth date! Always interesting to find these things out, don't ya think?

BTW, many thanks to all that wished Mom well yesterday! She seems to be better this morning, so let's just hope that the worse is over! I'm sorry if I didn't get a chance to answer all the comments, but I was really tired.

I don't do sickness very well, mine or anyone elses'. Wouldn't make a very good care-giver, I'm afraid!

Want some fresh coffee? We'll sit in the kitchen 'cause it's still a little chilly outside!


Diane-Sage Whiteowl said...

So happy your mom is doing better and make sure you take care of yourself too.
Now to wish your lil siter a happy b'day.

HermitJim said...

Hey Diane-Sage...
I sure thank you for the birthday song (I think) and I'm sure that Sis will appreciate it also!

Nice of you to wish her a happy birthday!

Thank you so much for coming by today!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday HermitJim's little sister - hope the birthday cake is mighty tasty!

I'm also glad to hear your Mother's health is improving - hope the worst is over. Good health is a blessing a lot of us take for granted.

Momlady said...

Glad to hear your mom's health is better. Hopefully whatever it is (was) is on its way out.
Happy Birthday to little sister and may she have many more.

Baby Sis said...

Hey guys, thanks for the b-day wishes, and a song first thing in the am! Best present I can get is to hear that Mom is back on the mend..

Bubba - she did sound much better yesterday, and ready to take them on, so she's definitely improving! Thanks for the history lesson - anybody who can help the traffic get to where they are going is ok in my book, so here's to Mr. smith - happy Day to us both!

Big Hugs -

JoJo said...

Good Morning Special Freind,
So glad to hear you Mom is getting better and you seem to be rested up too. It isn't easy being a care giver I know. So heres a big hug for you today.

And Happy Birthday Sis, I won't sing cause I have the worse voice ever.

Are you getting our cold spell down there? Its 38 this morning, warmer that it was last week

Dizzy-Dick said...

Happy Birthday Lil Sis.

Jim, glad your Mom is improving. Hope she will bee 100 percent real soon.

I'll bet that friendly Indian that told about the South Pass lived to regret that. . .

Ben in Texas said...

Do Glad to get that good report on your Mom!! And happy B-D to your sis!!

HermitJim said...

Hey Anon 6:59...
I really appreciate the B-day wishes for Baby Sis!

We won't talk about how old she is, but only say that she is young at heart!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Momlady...
I certainly hope we are heading in the right direction with this healing.

Sort of frustrating not to be able to do much, ya know?

You have a great day, and thanks for coming by!

Hey JoJo...
It's at 44 right now, so I guess we're doing OK. At least it isn't raining or blowing north winds real strong!

You stay warm, sweetie, and thanks for coming by today!

Hey Dizzy...
Main problem with the Indians was that they were too trusting of the white man!

I appreciate the B-day wishes for Baby Sis...!

Thanks for the visit today, buddy!

Hey Ben...
Let's just hope that this healing is going to continue.

Thanks for the good thoughts, and for coming by today!

Marjie said...

Glad your mom's doing better. We are not a tuneful bunch here, either. I recall the time we called my dearly beloved's sister on her birthday, put the phone on speaker, and had all the kids sing to her answering machine. Her husband asked in disbelief, "What the h*** is that?" and she responded, "Oh, just my brother's kids."

Frugal Canadian Hermit said...

Sounds like good news about your mother Jim. I'm glad to hear it. Happy birthday to the little sister, and I hope she has a real good one.