History of Fur

Beaver, wolf, marten, mink, fox, lynx; all were names that lured European men into the North American wilderness long before Jefferson and Franklin met in Philadelphia. The French went up the Saint Lawrence and over the Great Lakes and onto the Canadian Plains and north to the Yukon; all for the purpose of finding fur. Early American colonials crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains, went south of the Great Lakes and across the Great Plains into the Rocky Mountains and the Northwest; looking for fur. Why? Fur was in great demand back in the Old Country. Fur was used for coats for fine ladies and hats for gentlemen. Fur was needed to trim coats for workingmen and their families. Mufflers for children and blankets for babies were all made with fur. Fortunes were made and names like Hudson Bay Company and Jacob Astor became part of our history. Our first information of what lay in the interior of this continent came from fur traders who bargained with the Indians and trappers. Most trappers today represent families where these traditions and lore have been passed down.

To this day many annual trapper meetings are known as a ‘rendezvous’. They continue to provide us with some of the most historically accurate samplings of what rural life in early America was like, and are sought out for historic demonstrations and educational fairs and exhibits. The lure of fine fur has never faltered. We all share in this rich and varied history and the traditions that were the cornerstone of this great nation from it’s beginning, when you wear or use fur.