Robert Stuart

February 18, 1875 - October 29, 1848

Stuart, Robert, fur trader (Feb. 18, 1785-Oct. 29, 1848. A nephew of David Stuart, he migrated to Canada in 1807, joined the North West Company and in 1810 with his uncle went with Astor's Pacific Fur Company as a partner. He and David shipped for Oregon aboard the Tonquin, whose irascible captain, Jonathan Thorn, Robert once threatened with a pistol to save his uncle. The Stuarts had a creditable role in founding Astoria, Robert taking on missions of increasing responsibility. June 29, 1812, he headed the Astorian party returning overland with dispatches, discovered South Pass, reaching St. Louis April 20, 1813, "after a most remarkable journey." Stuart married Elizabeth Sullivan at New York, continued with Astor, in 1822 was placed in charge of the American Fur Company's Great Lakes Division at Michilimackinac, retaining its direction until Ramsay Crooks bought out Astor in 1834. He then moved to Detroit, held public office, prospered in business, was superintendent of Indian Affairs for Michigan from 1841 to 1845, and fathered a family of nine children. Stuart was intensely loyal to his comrades and employers, intelligent, honest, and while sometimes imperious, won respect from white and Indian alike. His influence was distinctly positive.


Gabriel Franchere, Adventures at Astoria 1810-1814. Norman, Univ. of Okla. Press, 1967; Washington Irving, Astoria, ed. by Edgeley W. Todd. Norman, 1964.