John Gantt

1790 - February 14, 1849

Gantt, John, fur trader (1790-Feb. 14, 1849). Born at Queen Anne, Maryland, and taken by his parents to Kentucky, he was commissioned in the army in 1817, remaining 12 years and rising to captain. He served at frontier posts, and was with Leavenworth on the Arickara campaign; Gantt was on Atkinson's Yellowstone expedition of 1825. On May 12, 1829, he was found guilty by court martial of falsification of pay accounts and was dismissed from the army. In 1830 he joined Jefferson Blackwell in a fur gathering partnership, in 1831 began operations in the upper Rocky Mountains but shortly transferred to the upper Arkansas River, establishing a trading post, being the first to trade with the Arapahoes and Cheyennes in any volume. The Gantt-Blackwell firm went out of business in 1834, as Bent was establishing his fort. Gantt guided Henry Dodge's 1835 expedition to the Colorado Rockies. He was agent for the Potawatomis at Council Bluffs in 1838-1839, guided emigrants to Fort Hall in 1843, went on to California where he became a worthy pioneer. He died of heart trouble at George Yount's ranch in the Napa Valley.