Introduction to The River of the West
Joe Meek's Years in the Rocky Mountains
This is the story of Joe Meek and his years as a mountainman. Meek came
west in 1828 as an
employee of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, and spent the next twelve years engaged in the
trade. He worked for the various fur companies and later became a free trapper. He often
with Bridger's brigade, and participated many of the important events of the period.
In the later years of his life, he told his story to Oregon historian Frances Fuller Victor,
who recorded the narrative we see here. Meek had a vivid memory of his years in the
mountains, and he enlivened the account with many entertaining anecdotes of mountainman life.
This on-line book consists of the first twenty-one chapters of the
original edition as published
in 1870 by Mrs. Victor.
The remaining chapters of the original edition deal with Meek's second career as an
Oregon settler, after retiring from his life as a mountainman. While this material
is a useful source for the history of settlement in Oregon, it is beyond the scope of
this electronic fur-trade library, and is not included here.
Originally published as:
Victor, Mrs. Frances A. Fuller. The River of the West. Hartford,
Connecticut and Toledo, Ohio: R. W. Bliss and Co., 1870.
A recent edition, in 2 volumes with Introduction and notes by Winfred Blevins,
was published by Mountain Press Publishing Co., Missoula, MT, 1983. It is
currently in print, by Tamarak Books.
Links to the Text