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Yellowstone: Bibliographies

Guide to the Yellowstone Collection at L. Tom Perry Special Collections


Old Faithful


John Colter (1774-1812), with the Lewis and Clark Expedition 1803-1806. Hunter and guide. First known white European to enter the Yellowstone Park area.  

An American trapper and guide, Colter was born in Augusta County, Virginia about 1774. Sometime around 1780, Colter’s family moved to Kentucky near present-day Maysville. In 1803, Colter enlisted in the Lewis and Clark Expedition as a private with a salary of $5.00 per month. During the expedition, Colter was considered to be one of the best hunters and scouts in the group, and was routinely sent out to hunt game and scout possible trails.

As the expedition was returning to St. Louis, Missouri in 1806, they were met by two trappers by the names of Forest Hancock and Joseph Dickson, who were headed to the Yellowstone River. Colter, not ready to return to “civilization,” was granted a discharge to join them, and the trio began the journey in August.

The next year, as Colter was making his way to back to St. Louis, he met Manuel Lisa, and his party of trappers of the newly formed Missouri Fur Company.

Colter was hired to guide them to the mouth of the Big Horn River. Once again, the mountain man turned back leading the party into present day Montana, where they built Fort Raymond on the Yellowstone River, a short distance above the mouth of the Bighorn River.

In October, 1807, Lisa sent Colter out to meet with the winter Indian camps, alerting them to the presence of the Missouri Fur Company and desire to trade. Though his exact route is uncertain, Colter traveled alone with only his rifle and pack, covering an estimated 500 miles. During the winter, with the help of Indian guides, he was thought to have crossed the Wind River Mountains, the Teton Range, and was probably the first white man to see Jackson’s Hole and Yellowstone Lake.  Arriving back at Fort Raymond in the spring of 1808, he described the thermal wonders of Yellowstone to the rest of the party, and though most were skeptical of his descriptions, Yellowstone soon became known as “Colter’s Hell.”



Daniel T. Potts, chronicler of the fur trade, 1822-1828, and the earliest confirmed explorer of Yellowstone Park / Bagley, Gerald C.-- 378.2 B146 1964—BYU THESIS

Daniel Trotter Potts: Rocky Mountain Explorer, chronicler of the fur trade and the first known white- man to publish about Yellowstone Park area; also, two additional eye-witness reports: Beaver Dick Leigh and white man's sickness, 1858-1876 [and] The slaughter of the buffalo, 1871-1878 / Bagley, Jerry.  LEE-LIB--F 722 .B23 2000


Life in the Rocky Mountains / Ferris, Warren Angus, 1810-1873.

Life in the Rocky Mountains, 1830-1835 / Ferris, Warren Angus, 1810-1873. F 592 .F47 1940b

Life in the Rocky Mountains: a diary of wanderings on the sources of the rivers Missouri, Columbia, and Colorado from February, 1830, to November, 1835 / Ferris, Warren Angus, 1810-1973. F 592 .F472 1940

          YELLOWST--F 592 .F472 1940

Ferris Map


Journal of a trapper: or, Nine Years in the Rocky Mountains, 1834-1843; being a general description of the county, climate, rivers, lakes, mountains, etc., and a view of the life led by a hunter in those regions / Russell, Osborne, 1814-1892.  F 597 .R93 2013

YELLOWST--F 597 .R93 1921


A fur trade history of Yellowstone Park: notes, documents, maps / Gowans, Fred R., 1936-  F 722 .G68x 1989

YELLOWST--F 722 .G68x 1989

AME--F 722 .G68x 1989

Rocky Mountain rendezvous: a history of the fur trade rendezvous, 1825-1840 / Gowans, Fred R., 1936-//-- F 592 .G68 1985

AME--F 592 .G68 1985,, F 592 .G68 2005