William Lewis Sublette

September 21, 1799 - July 23, 1845

Sublette, William Lewis, frontiersman (Sept. 21, 1799-July 23, 1845). Born near Stanford, Kentucky, he moved in 1817 with his parents to St. Charles, Missouri. He joined Ashley in 1823 and escaped death in the Arikara fight on the upper Missouri River, accompanying Jedediah Smith and others on a cross-country expedition toward the Crow region, trapping in the spring of 1824 on the Green River and tributaries. Sublette accompanied Smith in 1824-1825 to the far northwest, reaching Hudson's Bay Company territory; he continued trapping through the mountains until 1826 when he joined Smith and David E. Jackson in acquiring the Ashley interests. Sublette went to St. Louis in early 1827, bringing supplies out for the rendezvous that summer, trapped the Snake-Salmon country and returned to St. Louis in mid-1828, returning with supplies in 1829. He again obtained supplies in St. Louis in 1830, bringing them in wagons to the Green River, the first appearance of the vehicles in the Rockies. The partnership was dissolved in favor of a new company and Sublette returned to St. Louis in the fall of 1830. He tentatively entered the Santa Fe trade in 1831, but Smith was killed enroute and Sublette abandoned that business. He took a supply train to the mountains in 1832, being accompanied by Nathaniel Wyeth; Sublette was wounded in the Blackfoot battle at Pierre's Hole July 18. He then entered the upper Missouri fur trade with Robert Campbell but soon sold out to the American Fur Company. Sublette took still another supply train to the Rockies in 1834. he then entered business at St. Louis, became interested in politics, established a progressive stock farm, and accompanied William Drummond Stewart to the Rockies on a pleasure trip in 1843. He died at Pittsburgh and was buried at St. Louis.


John E. Sunder, Bill Sublette, Mountain Man. Norman, Univ. of Okla. Press, 1959