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This Week in History: October 11

It’s all business this week at Campbell House.  This is a letter from Robert to his associate, Major John Dougherty where he talks about a successful sale of furs.  “Mrs. Campbell’s situation” that he refers to is the impending birth of son Hazlett on November 23rd.  (This was the first Hazlett…..he would die of measles on his third birthday.)  Major Dougherty was the sutler at Bellvue along the Missouri River.  A “sutler” is a merchant who sells goods to mountain men or soldiers.  Bellvue was depicted by Swiss artist Karl Bodmer in the print below.


Saint Louis Oct 18th 1853

Bellvue, Mr. Dougherty's Agency

Major John Dougherty

Dear Sir
Your favor of 8th inst was duly received and the Buffalo Robes and Beaver came to hand and have been sold I think remarkably well. I sold the Robes at 350/100 each and the Beaver at 250/100 and the large Wolf at 1.25 each the small Wolf at 75.
The Robes will not hold out in count – this is in part to be accounted for from 30 half Robes having evidently been counted as whole Robes – there were also 6 Red Calf.  I have had a count which makes the Robes 2162 and 6 Red Calf but when the Robes are all baled up we can then count them over again and correct the present count. I consider the sale the very best that I have made this season considering the lateness of the period that they came to market – Chouteau & Co would only give 331/100 for the Robes.

I have taken the Fort Kearny Robes myself at $360/100 each as I considered them worth more than the general average. This you will write me your opinion about as they belong to us jointly.  I do not think it possible for me to visit you this season as Mrs Campbells situation will keep me at home next month. It is understood that Maj Ruff will be placed at Jeff Barracks and this will doubtly bring you here – our business should be settled.
I agree with you that Mr Vaughan had no right to trade in cattle on his own account whilst hired to us – we are entitled to the benefit

Robert Campbell

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