Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Another Western Style Wednesday...!

Some of the tales about the old western days actually involved real folks!

Here is the tale of a man you may not have heard of, but don't feel bad...I don't think I have either! This guy must have been a real character, that's for sure!

Jun 20, 1875:
Mountain man Joe Meek dies

A skilled practitioner of the frontier art of the tall tale, the mountain man Joe Meek dies on his farm in Oregon. His life was nearly as adventurous as his stories claimed.

Born in Virginia in 1810, Meek was a friendly and relentlessly good-humored young man, but he had too much rambunctious energy to do well in school. At 16 years old, the illiterate Meek moved west to join two of his brothers in Missouri. In subsequent years, he taught himself to read and write, but his spelling and grammar remained highly original throughout his life.

In early 1829, Meek joined William Sublette's ambitious expedition to begin fur trading in the Far West. For the next decade, Meek traveled throughout the West, reveling in the adventure and independence of the mountain man life. At 6 feet, 2 inches tall, the heavily bearded Meek became a favorite character at the annual mountain-men rendezvous, where he regaled his companions with humorous and often exaggerated stories of his wilderness adventures. A renowned grizzly hunter, Meek claimed he liked to "count coup" on the dangerous animals before killing them, a variation on a Native American practice in which they shamed a live human enemy by tapping them with a long stick. Meek also told a story in which he claimed to have wrestled an attacking grizzly with his bare hands before finally sinking a tomahawk into its brain.

Over the years, Meek established good relations with many Native Americans, and he married three Indian women, including the daughter of a Nez Perce chief. Nonetheless, he also frequently fought with tribes who were hostile to the incursion of the mountain men into their territories. In the spring of 1837, Meek was nearly killed by a Blackfeet warrior who was taking aim with his bow while Meek tried to reload his Hawken rifle. Luckily for Meek, the warrior dropped his first arrow while drawing the bow, and the mountain man had time to reload and shoot.

In 1840, Meek recognized that the golden era of the free trappers was ending. Joining with another mountain man, Meek and his third wife guided one of the first wagon trains to cross the Rockies on the Oregon Trail. Meek settled in the lush Willamette Valley of western Oregon, became a farmer, and actively encouraged other Americans to join him. In 1847, Meek led a delegation to Washington, D.C., asking for military protection from Indian attacks and territorial status for Oregon. Though he arrived "ragged, dirty, and lousy," Meek became something of a celebrity in the capitol. Easterners relished the boisterous good humor Meek showed in proclaiming himself the "envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary from the Republic of Oregon to the Court of the United States." Congress responded by making Oregon an official American territory and Meek became a U.S. marshal.

Meek returned to Oregon and became heavily involved in politics, eventually helping to found the Oregon Republican Party. He later retired to his farm, where he died on this day at the age of 65.

I don't know about you, but this is the type of man I want on my team when the SHTF...ya know?

Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning, just in case the rain comes back!

16 comments:

Ted Webb said...

I'm still hung-up on the himp

Bob Mc said...

Meek is something of a legend here abouts. The original name of the valley where I live was Beaver Valley; later changed to Scott Valley. The first white men to arrive here were the fur trappers, aka the mountain men; one of them being Joe Meek. Descendants still live here, last name being Meek.

HermitJim said...

Hey Ted...
They probably could have traded with the Indians and got some of their version of the hemp!

Back then it was called "loco weed!"

Thanks for coming over!

HermitJim said...

Hey Bob...
That's pretty cool! Lots of history around there!

Hey, thanks for coming by today!

Ben in Texas said...

He sounded like a man to walk the trail with for sure..

Phyllis (N/W Jersey) said...

Good story about an interesting man! Had to look up the word 'plenipotentiary' though. Always learning, always learning...Thanks Mr. Hermit!
Weird fog here this morning - goes half way up the trees and stops. Going to be a really hot one today!

Momlady said...

Nice to read some history that isn't in the books. Thank you!

John said...

The books on the Sublette brothers in which he is mentioned a lot are very interesting reads. Good post as usual.

linda m said...

Just the sort of man I would like to have around for "just in case". Thanks for sharing. Very hot and humid around here today - rain tonight.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I have heard of him but didn't know the whole story. Thanks for filling in the details. The old mountain men were and still are my heroes.

BBC said...

When the shit hits the fan I'm teaming up with friends that have lots of guns.

JOJO said...

Meek was some quite a character. He is mentioned in a few books I have read.

You have rain? They say we will get some over the weekend. I sure hope so.

Ted Webb said...

I'm still on himp The world leading producer of hemp is China with smaller production in Europe, Chile and North Korea. While more hemp is exported to the United States than to any other country,I think it also was the first to be used as cloth.

HermitJim said...

Hey Ben...
Bet he wouldn't have been bad company, that's for sure!

Thanks, buddy, for coming over today!


Hey Phyllis...
I try and learn something new every day!

I haven't seen any fog in a long time! Almost forgot what it looks like!

Thanks for coming by today!


Hey Momlady...
You are certainly more than welcome! Guess the history books left out a lot of interesting stuff!

Hey, thanks for coming over today!


Hey John...
Bet he would sure be happy that folks are still talking about him today!

Thanks for dropping in today!


Hey Linda...
Just in case is a good way to put it! Helpful and entertaining at the same time! What a combination!

Thanks for coming by today!


Hey Dizzy...
Mountain men were indeed men with a lot of backbone!

They really contributed a lot to the building of this country!

Thanks, my friend, for coming over today!


Hey BBC...
Probably a good choice!

Thanks for the visit!


Hey JoJo...
How could you not like the guy? Characters like him added some color to our history!

Still a popular figure after all these years!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by today!

Craig Cavanaugh said...

Quite a character! But I'm willing to bet if he could see how things are today, he would have skipped the trip to DC...

West Tx at Heart said...

What a treat... thanks for the story.