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James Beckwourth

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Jim Beckwourth was born near Fredericksburg, Virginia sometime around the year 1800. His father was Sir Jennings Beckwourth, of a prominent Virginia family. His mother has commonly been known as “Miss Kill, “ although it is not clear whether that was her real name or not. She was one of the Beckwourth’s slaves. A African woman who's ancestors back on the Continent of Africa created the first calendar on planet earth 6249 years ago, and the first civilization on earth. her ancestor created mathematics, medicine, writing, universities, and great city's, they traveled the world and populated every continent and Island of the world. No she was not just a Slave, a person who had been kidnapped by criminals.

Beckwourth’s father moved to Missouri in 1806 and took Jim and his mother with him. They settled on a large farm where the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers meet near the town of St. Charles. Jim’s father sent him to school in St. Louis from about 1810 until 1814. He was then apprenticed to a blacksmith in St. Charles. Beckwourth fought with the blacksmith and returned to his father’s farm. He was set free on his nineteenth birthday, but it appears that he remained on his father’s farm for a while after that. At some point he adopted his own version of the family name.

Although he may have made an earlier trip west, the first definite knowledge we have is that he joined William Henry Ashley’s trapping and trading expedition to the Far West in 1824. At one point in that journey, Beckwourth was sent ahead to buy horses from the Pawnee tribe. Not finding them and without sufficient food, he made a desperate trip back to a trading post and would have starved to death if he had not been found by a friendly band of Native Americans. Beckwourth later wrote an account of the journey that casts himself in a favorable light and plays up his own role in the expedition. This tendency to exaggerate has led many later writers to discount the truth of his accounts, but quite often there seems to be a core of reality about them. The most famous incident is one in which Beckwourth claims to have saved Ashley from drowning, although it was later shown that it could not have happened the way he described. However, a similar incident did occur, and Beckwourth seems to be very familiar with it.

Beckwourth continued to trap and worked for William Sublette who was one of the buyers of Ashley’s fur trading business. In 1827 he “married” a woman from the Blackfoot tribe. In 1829 he found himself unable to pay a debt, so he took refuge among his friends of the Crow tribe, where he married again. Beckwourth says he married eight women while staying with the Crow. He soon led a successful raiding party against another tribe and was made a chief of the Crow. In later years, Beckwourth led the Crow in a great battle against their Blackfoot enemies in which he claimed that all the Blackfoot were killed and the Crow lost thirty or forty warriors. During this time Beckwourth continued to trap and sold his furs to the American Fur Company of St. Louis. In 1837, however, he was dropped from the Company’s books and decided to look elsewhere for a livelihood.

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