Edward Rose

c. 1786 - c. 1832

Rose, Edward, mountain man (c. 1786-c. 1832). One of the more famous mountain men, Rose, a mulatto, became very influential among the Crows, and "no more colorful or reckless character ever roamed the trans-Mississippi wilderness." Son of a white man and a Cherokee-Negro woman, Rose grew up near Louisville and at 18 made his way to New Orleans, perhaps at this time receiving the wound that gave him the nickname, "Cut Nose." He reached St. Louis in 1806 and joined Manuel Lisa in 1807, helped build the fort on the Big Horn, and was sent to winter with the Crows. Upon his return to the fort in the spring he was principle in a grand melee after which he fled to his Crow friends, assuring his place with them by leading a war party in a savage battle against the Minnataree Sioux, securing five scalps personally. In 1809 he was interpreter for Andrew Henry among the Crows, served Wilson Price Hunt briefly in the same capacity, then joined the Omahas for a time. His excesses led to his being arrested and taken to St. Louis in chains, after which some considered him an outlaw. Rose rejoined the Crows, remaining with them until about 1820, though living with the Arikaras periodically. Rose earned the favor of both Ashley and Leavenworth for his role during their combats with the Arikaras on the Missouri in 1823. He guided Jedediah Smith who wintered among the Crows in 1823-1824, finding Rose very influential indeed among that people. Once captured by the Blackfeet, Rose escaped narrowly. He was interpreter for Atkinson who visited the Crows and was still living with that people when Zenas Leonard saw him in 1832. rose was killed, probably by Arikaras, on the Yellowstone in 1832.


Harold W. Felton, Edward Rose: Negro Trail Blazer. N.Y., Dodd, Mead & Co., 1967; Bernard DeVoto, Across the Wide Missouri. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1947.