Born: January 6, 1799, Bainbridge, New York
Died: May 27, 1831 (aged 32), south of Ulysses, Kansas
Strong Smith was a hunter, trapper, fur trader and explorer of the
Rocky Mountains, the American West Coast and the Southwest during the
nineteenth century. Jedediah Smith's explorations were significant in
opening the American West to expansion by white settlers.
Smith became involved in the fur trade in Santa Fe. Smith was leading
a trading party on the Santa Fe Trail in May, 1831 when he left the
group to scout for water. He never returned to the group. Members of the
trading party discovered a Mexican merchant at the Santa Fe market
offering several of Smith's personal belongings for sale.
When questioned about the items, the merchant indicated that he had
acquired them from a band of Comanche hunters. The Comanches told the
merchant they had taken the items from a white man they had killed near
the Cimarron River, south of today's Ulysses, Kansas.
What do you know about Jedediah Smith? Try this quick quiz.
1. What is one of Smith's best known findings?
2. Where was he the first explorer to reach?
3. How did the significant facial scarring happen?
4. Why did Smith's two expeditions to California in 1826 and 1827,
land him in trouble with the authorities?
5. Where is Jedediah Smith buried?