Andrew Henry and William Ashley were partners in a gunpowder manufacturing business, who in 1822 advertised for ‘one hundred enterprising young men’ to discover the source of the Missouri River. Their joint expedition tracked the Missouri, establishing Fort Henry en route; on the return journey, an Arikara Indian ambush claimed the lives of 14 of the party. In 1824–25 both Ashley, and Etienne Provost, from his base in Taos, New Mexico, separately explored Utah: Provost found Great Salt Lake; Ashley, Utah Lake. Jedediah Smith made the first white American crossings of the Sierra Nevada, and the Mojave Desert, surviving three Indian massacres before finally succumbing to the Comanche in the comparative security of Kansas. Robideau and Young also lost most of their company to Indian attack in 1826. Undaunted, their travelling companion, Sylvester Pattie set out again with his son, reaching the Gulf of California before dying in a Mexican jail.
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