James Beckwourth, also known as Jim, was an African American mountain man, fur trader, explorer and author. If you were to ask me to describe him, I would say he was a jack of all trades. James Beckwourth, a mixed-race slave, was born around 1798 in Virginia. When he was in his late 20’s, he was freed by his slave master and father, Jennings Beckwith. James would later change the spelling of his last name to Beckwourth.
I found it interesting that James lived amongst Native Americans, the Crow to be exact, and he was at one point admitted into their tribe. How so? Because he was mistaken as the long lost son of the Crow chief. It came as no surprise to me that James, along with the rest of the Crow nation, saw the Blackfoot nation as their enemy during that time.
During his time with the Crow nation of people, James married two Native American women and became an established and esteemed fur trader. At one point in time, he was also married to an African American woman and a Hispanic woman. From some of those unions, he had four children.
I was a little bothered by the notion that he was in some way affiliated with the Sand Creek Massacre; a massacre that killed up to 500 of the Cheyenne and Arapaho nation of people. His demise in his late 60’s is said to be the cause of poisoning. Poisoned by who? The Crow nation of people. Why? Because of his affiliation with the U.S. Army. The U.S. Army is largely to blame for the Sand Creek Massacre.
James Beckwourth’s life story is quite interesting and even a little intriguing. I can’t in no way share it all on here. When you get a chance, you should definitely read a little more about him.
Until next time…