Mudcat Café message #28790 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #4257   Message #28790
Posted By: Art Thieme
19-May-98 - 10:26 PM
Thread Name: Origin: Shenandoah
Subject: RE: Song info:
FOR YEARS I SANG IT THIS WAY:

Old Bridger loved an Indian maiden, With furs his canoe was laden./

He told the chief, "I love your daughter, We want to cross the sparkling water."/

The chief he made an awful holler, Didn't want the trapper's dollars./

Gave the chief some rotgut whisky, Got him drunk and stole his daughter./

Traveled 'cross the Rocky Mountains, Settled by some crystal fountain./

"My wife, my love, I'll never leave you, My wife, my love, I'll not deceive you." Across the wide Missouri./

Jim Bridger was a part of the Ashley expedition that went up the Missouri River in 1820 (?) He was about 19 or 20. Some say he was the fellow left with Hugh Glass to care for him after the latter was badly mauled by a griz. (He left Glass alone thinking he'd surely die but he recovered miraculously---another legend of that era.)

Bridger became a well known mountain man and, later, the operator of Fort Briger, a famous spot where immigrants heading west could get stuff (which ticked off Brigham Young to no end as Bridger got to sell to 'em before they got to Salt Lake).

Later, when the beaver were gone --& the fashion changed in Europe and nobody wanted beaver hats, Bridger was a scout for the U.S. Army. The young recruits saw him as an archaic old relic of another time and made fun of his tales--many of which were true. So Jim started to embellish his tales & subsequently became a notorious tall tale teller.

As an old man, Jim Bridger went blind and sat on his daughter's porch in Kansas City until he died! Not a single author or reporter came to interview this man who had been present for so much early American western history!

Jim was "married" to a Native-American woman and they had several children. Those children were enrolled at the school run by the missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman called "The Little Log Schoolhouse On The Williamette" in the Oregon country. Those children, along with the Whitmans, were killed in the rebellion by the Indians of that area who had seen their tribe nearly wiped out by the disease infected blankets distributed to them by the whites.---(I'm hopin' this is accurate: it's how I remember it.)

Art