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Jim BridgerA trail guide a fur tracker and hunter and a fur trader Jim Bridger may have been one of the best outdoorsmen of all times James Bridger was born on March 17 1804 In 1812 Jims parents moved to the vicinity of St Louis He was orphaned at age 12 and became a blacksmiths apprentice In 1822 attracted by an ad in the Missouri Republican 18 year old Jim joined Gen William H Ashleys fur tracking expedition to the head waters of Missouri In 1824 while searching for fur in the Rockey Mountains Jim allegedly became the first person to see the Great Salt Lake Later on he and a friend were one of the first white men to see the place which became Yellow Stone Park During the next 20 years Jim Trapped in the west as a partner in fur companies In 1843 when fur sales declined he set up a fort in southwest Wyoming as a way station to supply immigrants on the Oregon trail In the next 40 years he married 3 times to American Indian women none of whom survived with him Bridgers vast knowledge of many trails gave him a job as a scout and he helped the army when fighting the Indians Bridger strongly opposed the Mormons and guided United State troops into Utah during a conflict that has been called the Utah war or Mormon war In 1865 he guided the powder river expedition And also became the first person to measure the bozeman trail 600 miles from fort laramie Wyoming to Virginia City Montana James Bridger was just about the most famous explorer of the American West In honor of his travels The Bridger Mountains Bridger pass and Bridger National Forest are among the places named for him And on July 17 1881 James Bridgers life came to an end just near Kansas City
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