By Don. A Berry
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Additional info for A Majority of Scoundrels: An Informal History of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company
At the winter camp, so the story goes, Carpenter and Fink got into a brawl (which is likely) over a woman (which is not; there were none around). It was made up, but broke out afresh when they returned to the Yellowstone fort the next spring. Made up again; in testimony of their friendship, Fink proposed that he and Carpenter resume one of their old friendly games, one shooting a cup of whiskey off the other’s head. A flip of the coin decides Fink shall have first shot; Carpenter informs Talbot he is about to die, marches bravely out to face Fink.
The keelboat was, like St. Louis, a product of the river, the river designed it. Or advised in the design, rather, by destroying those that didn’t meet her fancy. Over a period of years the form of the keelboat was standardized, and by the time of this narrative all were built to roughly the same pattern, with variations in size. Henry’s boat was probably anywhere from sixty to eighty feet long. Larger ones are on record, but that was about average. Her beam was about a quarter, say sixteen to eighteen feet.
His advertisement appeared in the Missouri Gazette & Public Advertiser on February 13th, 1822, and began to run in the St. Louis Enquirer two weeks later. Altogether it appeared in St. Louis papers for six weeks running. By March 27 it had done its work; the general had recruited his men, opened a great era of American history, and ensured the permanence of his own name. He would not have been entirely pleased. In fact, if someone had been able to tell him he would take his place in history as the author of that advertisement and its results, the good general might well have frowned.