Jacques La Ramee Article

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Jacques La Ramée
Coureur de bois.jpg
Jacques La Ramée was a coureur des bois, similar in appearance to this woodcut by artist Arthur Heming
BornJune 8, 1784
Died1821 (aged 37)
Nationality Canadian
Other namesJacques Laramée, Jacques La Ramie, Jacques La Rami, Jacques La Remy, Jacques Laramie
Occupationvoyageur, frontiersman, coureur des bois, trapper, fur trader, hunter, explorer
Employer North West Company, La Ramée family free trapping company
Parent(s)Joseph Fissiau dit Laramée and Jeanne Mondou

Jacques La Ramée (June 8, 1784 – 1821), was a French-Canadian coureur des bois, frontiersman, trapper, fur trader, hunter, explorer, and mountain man who lived in what is now the U.S. state of Wyoming, having settled there in 1815. His name appears in several spellings, including La Ramee, Laramée, LaRamée, La Ramie, La Rami, La Remy, and Laramie, La Ramée is credited as an early explorer of the Laramie River of Wyoming and Colorado. The city of Laramie, Wyoming, with an Americanized spelling, is named for him.

Early life

Jacques La Ramée was born on June 8, 1784, in Québec, British Canada, to Joseph Fissiau dit Laramée and Jeanne Mondou.[ citation needed]

The North West Company registry cites[ when?] two Laramée brothers, Jacques and Joseph. [1] A variant of the name La Ramée first appeared in the western United States in 1798, referring to a canoe man who worked until 1804.[ citation needed] This probable relative may have been Francois Laramée, who is also listed in the registry of the company.[ citation needed] This La Ramée had several sons, who ventured west into Wyoming and Idaho. According to Joachim Fromhold, one of the sons was Jacques La Rami, for whom the Laramie River is named. [2]

Jacques La Ramée organized a group of independent, free trappers, who set out in 1815 for the headwaters of the North Platte River in the United States Unorganized Territory of present-day Wyoming

Fur trader and explorer

According to historian C. G. Coutant, Jacques La Ramée worked as a voyageur and fur trader, for the North West Company and the John Jacob Astor & Co. fur company the American Fur Company. [3] [4] [5] Employees of the North West Company and its rival, the Hudson's Bay Company, were in competition, and disputes at times turned violent. In 1821 the two feuding companies merged. [6] La Ramée was known for his character and peaceful reputation. He organized a group of independent, free trappers, who set out, in 1815, for the headwaters of the North Platte River, in the United States Unorganized Territory of present-day Wyoming. [7] Coutant writes that La Ramée and his band of peaceful trappers befriended many Native American tribes who would sell pelts to La Ramée's operation. This enterprise established the free trapper rendezvous in Wyoming, where trappers represented themselves without middle-man or umbrella company. [8] According to journalist Jim McKee (citing Robert Stuart from 1812), free trappers would rendezvous each May on the Oregon Trail pathway along the shore of the North Platte River, and La Ramée was the trappers' spokesperson, responsible for assigning trapping areas to free traders. [5]

LaRamée's Rendezvous

In 1815, La Ramée organized a free-trapper rendezvous at the junction of the North Platte and what is now named the Laramie rivers; these later became annual events at this location. [9] For five years these events grew in size, establishing a trade market as well as routes to and from supply depots. [9] In May, following the rendezvous, the pelts would be transported to Saint Louis on bullboats via the Missouri river, and supplies returned by keelboat or bullboat. [9] La Ramée would then distribute supplies to the free trappers, and assign their geographic trapping area for the coming season. [9] In 1821, La Ramée was not present at the rendezvous, which initiated a search for him. [9]


In 1820, La Ramée set off to trap along what is now known as the Laramie River and its tributaries. [9] [10] In the following year, 1821, he failed to arrive at the trappers' rendezvous, and a search party was organized. He was never seen alive again. [11] Speculation on his disappearance and death vary. It was said that he slipped on ice and fell into the Laramie River; or that his body was found in a small cabin; or that he was found "stuffed under a beaver dam"; or that he was killed by rival trappers or traders and thrown into the Laramie River. An alleged eyewitness account, from Pierre Lesperance, stated that LaRamée's camp was attacked by Arapahos, which they vigorously denied. [12] [13] [14] [15]


Several geographic sites in Wyoming were named for La Ramée (anglicized to Laramie), including the Laramie River, the city of Laramie, Wyoming, Fort Laramie, Laramie Peak, and Laramie County. [16] [17] [18] [19]

In popular culture

In James A. Michener's 1974 historical novel, Centennial and the 1978-1979 NBC television mini-series, of the same name, the colorful, French Canadian or French Metis, coureur des bois, from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, named "Pasquinel", was introduced, as an early, frontier mountain man and trapper, in 1795 Colorado, Spanish Upper Louisiana Territory of Mexico, now the present-day state of Colorado. Pasquinel was portrayed, in the NBC television mini-series, Centennial, by American TV actor, Robert Conrad. The fictional character of Pasquinel was loosely based on the life of French-speaking fur trader Jacques La Ramee.[ citation needed] Pasquinel explains to his son Jacques that Jacques was named for Pasquinel's friend and former trapping partner, Jacques La Ramee.[ citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Hafen, LeRoy R. (1966). The Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West, Vol. VI. Glendale, California: Arthur H Clark Company.
  2. ^ Fromhold, Joachim (2012). Alberta History – The Old North Trail (Cree Trail), 15,000 years of Indian history 1750-1822. Canada: First Nations Publishing. p. 366. ISBN  978-1-105-65418-3.
  3. ^ Coutant, C. G. Dr. (1899). History of Wyoming and (The Far West). New York: Argonaut Press, Ltd. ISBN  1293790222.
  4. ^ Bettelyoun, Susan Bordeaux; Waggoner, Josephine (1999). With My Own Eyes: A Lakota Woman Tells Her People's History. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 24–33. ISBN  0803212801.
  5. ^ a b McKee, Jim (February 18, 2007). "Fort Laramie was in territory from 1854–1867". Lincoln Journal Star.
  6. ^ Eddins, Ned O. "Mountain Men Fur Trade Exploration History". The Fur Trapper. Archived from the original on 2015-05-07.
  7. ^ Fetter, Richard (1982). Mountain Men of Wyoming. Boulder, CO: Johnson Publishing Co. ISBN  0933472641.
  8. ^ McDermott, John D.; Hafen, Leroy R. (ed.) (1982). "J. LaRamee" in The Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West (Vol. VQ. Spokane, CA: Arthur H. Clark Co. pp. 223–225.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Shumway, Grant Lee (1921). History of Western Nebraska and its People, Volume II. Lincoln, Nebraska: Western Publishing and Engraving Company. pp. 12–13. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  10. ^ Allen, Charles W. (2001). From Fort Laramie to Wounded Knee: In the West that Was. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN  9780803259362. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  11. ^ Spearman, Frank K. (1904). "The First Transcontinental Railroad". Harper's New Monthly Magazine. 109: 717. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  12. ^ Pitcher, Don (2000). Wyoming Handbook (Fourth ed.). Emeryville, CA: Avalon Travel Publishing, Inc. Hafen, LeRoy (1968). The mountain men and the fur trade of the far west. Spokane, WA: Arthur Clark Co.
  13. ^ Chittenden, Hiram H. (1935). The American Fur Trade of the Far West. Lincoln, NE, and London UK: University of Nebraska Press.
  14. ^ Thrapp, Dan L. (1988). Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography, Volume 2 G-o. Glendale, CA: A.H. Clark Company. p. 813. ISBN  0-8032-9417-4.
  15. ^ Robertson, Roland G. (1999). Competitive Struggle: America's Western Fur Trading Posts 1764-1865. Tamarack Books, Caxston Press. p. 144. ISBN  978-087004-5714. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  16. ^ National Park Service (2000). NPS Historical Handbook: Fort Laramee. United States National Park Service. |access-date= requires |url= ( help)
  17. ^ University of Wyoming. "Jacques LaRamie Historical Marker Site near Wheatland, WY". Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  18. ^ Hardee, Jim. "The Fur Trade in Wyoming". Wyoming History. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  19. ^ Fisher, James J. (October 2, 1986). "For was a rest stop before the peaks". Indiana Gazette. The Kansas City Star.

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