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The River

texasedu

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Here is some history that I've been trying to track down and document.

There is a river that flows down the west slope of the Rockies in Colorado. It was called the Grand River and frontiersmen knew where it connected up with the Gunnison River at that junction. The name they applied was "Grand Junction". Well that is pretty simple. Grand Junction Colorado took its name from the preceding sentences.

Then my assumption is that the trappers and skinners and explorers most certainly didn't stop trapping and skinning and and exploring when they arrived at Grand Junction Colorado. They continued down stream to Utah/Arizona and perhaps beyond. So to them the river they followed was the "Grand River".

Now to be sure the junction of the Grand River with the Green River creates a problem since the Green River contributed nearly twice the flow downstream yet it seems no one was willing to name the river at the aforementioned junction the Green River. Instead it remained being called the "Grand River".

Now as an aside the Grand River got its name changed to the "Colorado River" by an act of congress in 1925 when the State of Colorado petitioned them for the name change. It was granted. And so the Colorado River today is called the Colorado River by that act. It is important to accept his if I am to remain credible here.

So and therefore I propose that the aforementioned frontiersman verbally spread the story of their adventures that were south and west of Grand Junction CO to other frontiersmen returning to St Louis MO who "possibly" got the story out to others, some of which were interested in venturing west could have heard their stories about what lay south and west of Grand Junction thereby getting people back east very exited of the broad and deep canyons that were known to be there on the "Grand" river. AKA The "Grand Canyon".

Of course the prevailing and most published opinion is that John Wesley Powell floated down the Green River into the Grand River and far beyond and named the huge canyons the Grand Canyons.

Now I have to agree that Powell deserves the credit for for the naming of The Grand Canyon because he published his stories about the grandeur of what he saw. Nevertheless I propose that the verbal stories of a huge canyon on the Grand River worked their way back east that "could" have been foretold by his reading of frontiersman verbal stories.

I am looking for these stories.

Do you have something for me?
 

Threegoofs

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The Grand River was not going thru the Grand Canyon.

The Grand was the part of the Colorado before it merged with the Green River in UT. Powell rafted the Colorado.

Powell also went thru it decades after it was well known.
 

texasedu

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Did you bother to read the post.
The GRAND RIVER (as it was called in the frontier days was INDEED flowing southwest into) the Grand Canyon.
Do you ever argue with logic?
 

Threegoofs

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Did you bother to read the post.
The GRAND RIVER (as it was called in the frontier days was INDEED flowing southwest into) the Grand Canyon.
Do you ever argue with logic?

Well, the broken English makes the post pretty challenging to interpret.

But the Colorado River below the confluence of the Grand and Green was known as the Colorado well before Powell rafted it. In fact, this guy named it in the 1500’s.

Eusebio Kino - Wikipedia


It was known as other things, too, but never the Grand.
 

texasedu

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The point is that the frontiersman and trappers had no knowledge of Colorado River. For them the frontier was the frontier and they explored it without maps or books. In fact it would be pretty hard to find one who could read. So when they went exploring down stream of Grand Junction they were "in their minds" roughly following the Grand River looking for some good trapping country and so when they came upon what we call The Grand Canyon today they came back and told stories of the huge canyons they saw on what they considered to be the Grand River.

Those stories could have easily made their way back to St Louis by word of mouth and may very well have been published or otherwise put to print such that someone who read about it would be sure there was a big Canyon on Grand River known by locals as the Grand River Canyons.

The history that may or may not be here is the possibility that John Wesley Powell may have been predisposed to the rumor of an existing Grand Canyon and may not have named it for the grandeur. He may have named it what the trappers had called it a century or more before.

So although I give Powell credit the name he could have read or heard about the existence of it long before he got there. As yet I have not been able to find anything in print that easterners could have read in a newspaper.
 

Threegoofs

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The point is that the frontiersman and trappers had no knowledge of Colorado River. For them the frontier was the frontier and they explored it without maps or books. In fact it would be pretty hard to find one who could read. So when they went exploring down stream of Grand Junction they were "in their minds" roughly following the Grand River looking for some good trapping country and so when they came upon what we call The Grand Canyon today they came back and told stories of the huge canyons they saw on what they considered to be the Grand River.

Those stories could have easily made their way back to St Louis by word of mouth and may very well have been published or otherwise put to print such that someone who read about it would be sure there was a big Canyon on Grand River known by locals as the Grand River Canyons.

The history that may or may not be here is the possibility that John Wesley Powell may have been predisposed to the rumor of an existing Grand Canyon and may not have named it for the grandeur. He may have named it what the trappers had called it a century or more before.

So although I give Powell credit the name he could have read or heard about the existence of it long before he got there. As yet I have not been able to find anything in print that easterners could have read in a newspaper.

The Grand Canyon was well known before Powell’s time.

Here’s a detailed map from 1858- over a decade before he explored it.

He wasn’t exploring some rumor.

9e9c64909fa1d8ed35599bd813b6c2e2.jpg


Note: it’s named the ‘Big Cañon of the Rio Colorado’
 
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texasedu

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The Grand Canyon was well known before Powell’s time.

Here’s a detailed map from 1858- over a decade before he explored it.

He wasn’t exploring some rumor.

9e9c64909fa1d8ed35599bd813b6c2e2.jpg


Note: it’s named the ‘Big Cañon of the Rio Colorado’


I do not believe we are communicating here so lets start over.
John Wesley Powell gets credit for naming the Grand Canyon "presumably" because of its grandeur. He was "presumably" the first person to apply that moniker when he wrote the name in his diary on site.This is textbook knowledge, yes?
So if you can find on that map or anywhere else in print that it had "that" name in English before Powell wrote it down then please tell me because I am contending the possibility that fur trappers on the west slope of the Rockies could have discovered it and named it verbally before Powell named it in print.

Adding here also that because of the great canyons on the Grand River west of Grand Junction (Canyonlands National Park) their exploring could have commenced looking for new mountain ranges like the La Sal's to the southwest. They could have kept on exploring until they arrived near the same point on the South Rim the Spanish did before them.

I am simply speculating that many of the trappers and wanderers who returned to St Louis maybe brought back the story of the Grand River canyons that they saw and that perhaps this led him to name it like he had heard of or about it.

To sum it up I wish to find out if "The Grand Canyon" was an authentic name penned by Powell or if he had heard stories about it before hand.


Cheers

Tex

PS all of this is not original thinking on my part. My ranger neighbor, who is retired from GCNP, brought it up on a camping trip a few years ago. I have been trying to substantiate it since. Keeps me thinking.
 

Threegoofs

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I do not believe we are communicating here so lets start over.
John Wesley Powell gets credit for naming the Grand Canyon "presumably" because of its grandeur. He was "presumably" the first person to apply that moniker when he wrote the name in his diary on site.This is textbook knowledge, yes?
So if you can find on that map or anywhere else in print that it had "that" name in English before Powell wrote it down then please tell me because I am contending the possibility that fur trappers on the west slope of the Rockies could have discovered it and named it verbally before Powell named it in print.

Adding here also that because of the great canyons on the Grand River west of Grand Junction (Canyonlands National Park) their exploring could have commenced looking for new mountain ranges like the La Sal's to the southwest. They could have kept on exploring until they arrived near the same point on the South Rim the Spanish did before them.

I am simply speculating that many of the trappers and wanderers who returned to St Louis maybe brought back the story of the Grand River canyons that they saw and that perhaps this led him to name it like he had heard of or about it.

To sum it up I wish to find out if "The Grand Canyon" was an authentic name penned by Powell or if he had heard stories about it before hand.


Cheers

Tex

PS all of this is not original thinking on my part. My ranger neighbor, who is retired from GCNP, brought it up on a camping trip a few years ago. I have been trying to substantiate it since. Keeps me thinking.

The name isn't some stroke of genius.

Its a pretty generic name, and I'm sure it had been used before.... I mean, the map I have says its the 'Big Canyon'. "Grand' was a common descriptor in the day, and Powell certainly named it the Grand Canyon, and the name stuck, since he was really the only guy who explored it for decades. I cant imagine that he never heard of the giant canyon before he explored it NOT referred to as The (or 'a') Grand Canyon.
 

texasedu

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The name isn't some stroke of genius.

Its a pretty generic name, and I'm sure it had been used before.... I mean, the map I have says its the 'Big Canyon'. "Grand' was a common descriptor in the day, and Powell certainly named it the Grand Canyon, and the name stuck, since he was really the only guy who explored it for decades. I cant imagine that he never heard of the giant canyon before he explored it NOT referred to as The (or 'a') Grand Canyon.

My conjectural thesis still remains that the GRAND part of the Grand Canyon moniker COULD be based on the name of the river that until 1925 was called the GRAND river. I have never said different. I have only endeavored to explain how that may have come about.

So why be so obtuse?

Maybe because I spanked you a little with my response about your rather insipid take on my post? All you have done since is an attempt to prove you are not are not as dumb as I thought you were.
That has not worked.

However why not just respond to the conjecture of this? No one has certitude here. It is just a guess on our part. Why not just say, "I don't think there is a possibility that the GRAND river had any part in the naming of the Grand Canyon?
 

Threegoofs

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My conjectural thesis still remains that the GRAND part of the Grand Canyon moniker COULD be based on the name of the river that until 1925 was called the GRAND river. I have never said different. I have only endeavored to explain how that may have come about.

So why be so obtuse?

Maybe because I spanked you a little with my response about your rather insipid take on my post? All you have done since is an attempt to prove you are not are not as dumb as I thought you were.
That has not worked.

However why not just respond to the conjecture of this? No one has certitude here. It is just a guess on our part. Why not just say, "I don't think there is a possibility that the GRAND river had any part in the naming of the Grand Canyon?

Seems like a River hundreds of miles to the east of an already established river named the Colorado really wouldn’t play a role in the naming.

But whatever dude.
 

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At that time, there was already a "Grand River", the Rio Grande.

The name of this river was divided between the Rio Bravo, and the Rio Grande. But the Rio Grande stuck, and any other rivers that might have shared the name changed to other names. Ultimately it does not matter what English-American-French trappers may have called it, the name the Spanish gave it farther downstream in their territory is the one that stuck for the entire river.

This kind of naming change is not unusual, when different parts of a geographical feature are discovered by multiple people, in multiple places and multiple times. The Snake River also had the names of Mad River, Shoshone River, and Saptin River. When it was first "discovered" in 1800, it was the Shawpatin River. Lewis and Clark named it the Lewis River. Eventually it became known as the Snake River, both for the winding course it took, as well as the name of the local tribe by other local Indians (the Shoshone were commonly known to other tribes as the "Snake People").

And the source of the name is unlike that of the Sioux-Lakota people. The Shoshone were not considered deceitful, but got the nickname from their hand sign for themselves. The North American Indians developed a sophisticated sign language that allowed them to converse and trade with other tribes even if they did not share a common language. Their own sign for themselves was moving the hand back and forth in an S pattern, which other tribes interpreted as the movement of a snake. In reality, the sign was to signify the movement of salmon swimming upstream. This is why in their journal of their travels, Meriwether Lewis recorded them as the "Sosonees or snake Indians" (Sosonees was actually the name of the grass that grew in the region). And it is the same name that is known in California as Suisun, the origin of the city of Suisun and the Suisun Bay as well as the Suisun Indians.
 

texasedu

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Seems like a River hundreds of miles to the east of an already established river named the Colorado really wouldn’t play a role in the naming.

But whatever dude.

How is it that you respond in the manner, "dude"? Is it that you feel the freedom of the keyboard far overlaps and hides your intelligence? Your response is similar to others here who are completely simian in their prehensile reasoning and void of "what-the-****-if" postulates. This post began with an hypothesis that no person who has thus responded to has bothered to read... are you aware what a hypothesis is? Stop thumping their chest, simian. Begin to speculate... to ask questions.. to see if history is possibly different than reality. That is all this post was... a what if? For "YOU" to supply "ME" with google searched maps about the history of the southwest is the most puking thing I have to endure so far on this forum.
THREE goofs does not do you numerical justice.
 

Threegoofs

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How is it that you respond in the manner, "dude"? Is it that you feel the freedom of the keyboard far overlaps and hides your intelligence? Your response is similar to others here who are completely simian in their prehensile reasoning and void of "what-the-****-if" postulates. This post began with an hypothesis that no person who has thus responded to has bothered to read... are you aware what a hypothesis is? Stop thumping their chest, simian. Begin to speculate... to ask questions.. to see if history is possibly different than reality. That is all this post was... a what if? For "YOU" to supply "ME" with google searched maps about the history of the southwest is the most puking thing I have to endure so far on this forum.
THREE goofs does not do you numerical justice.

It took you four months to come up with that comeback?

Wow.
 

Oozlefinch

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The point is that the frontiersman and trappers had no knowledge of Colorado River. For them the frontier was the frontier and they explored it without maps or books. In fact it would be pretty hard to find one who could read.

First of all, are you even aware that the literacy rate of the US by 1800 was over 80%? So in reality, you should have said something like "In fact, it would be pretty had to find one who could not read."

And no, most of them did not go "down" the Colorado River. That was generally their terminus, their trapping grounds were further upstream, not down. And in fact, most of them never really traveled to the Colorado at all, it was outside of their ranges. Those to the West of the Rocky Mountains generally took one of the rivers that led to the Pacific, either the Columbia or Sacramento Rivers being the most common. Those to the East of the Rocky Mountains took rivers that led to the Missouri River, and then to St. Louis.

It makes absolutely no sense that even your imagined "illiterate mountain man" would choose to get on a river that had almost no game of note, and take it through some of the most severe desert on the continent. Especially since there is absolutely no port where the river meets the Gulf of California. And this can be seen in the history of it's exploration. Originally by Conquistadors looking for treasure, then later by missionaries looking to convert the Indians. And yes, it was trappers sent out by Brigham Young that explored it extensively in the 1850's. But they were looking for easy to use crossing sites for what became known as the Mormon Trail. They had absolutely no interest in navigating the river, only in crossing it.

The Frontiersmen and Trappers by and large worked their trade in either the Sierra Mountain Ranges, or the Northern Rocky Mountains. Either Central California North to Canada on the West Coast, or from Montana-Idaho north along the Rocky Mountains. There was simply not enough game of interest for them from the Nevada-Utah region south.

You might actually know some of these things if you had ever bothered to do any research. Having grown up in Idaho, such things were simply part of our local history. We were generally in the "middle region", where the trappers would go either West to Fort Vancouver, or East to the Great Rocky Mountain Rendezvous in Missouri. Probably the most Southern of these Rendezvous was the great one in the Cache Valley in northern Utah. That was pretty much the southernmost extent of the beaver range, and the pelts were then taken to the Pacific via the Snake (then Columbia) rivers.
 

Threegoofs

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First of all, are you even aware that the literacy rate of the US by 1800 was over 80%? So in reality, you should have said something like "In fact, it would be pretty had to find one who could not read."

And no, most of them did not go "down" the Colorado River. That was generally their terminus, their trapping grounds were further upstream, not down. And in fact, most of them never really traveled to the Colorado at all, it was outside of their ranges. Those to the West of the Rocky Mountains generally took one of the rivers that led to the Pacific, either the Columbia or Sacramento Rivers being the most common. Those to the East of the Rocky Mountains took rivers that led to the Missouri River, and then to St. Louis.

It makes absolutely no sense that even your imagined "illiterate mountain man" would choose to get on a river that had almost no game of note, and take it through some of the most severe desert on the continent. Especially since there is absolutely no port where the river meets the Gulf of California. And this can be seen in the history of it's exploration. Originally by Conquistadors looking for treasure, then later by missionaries looking to convert the Indians. And yes, it was trappers sent out by Brigham Young that explored it extensively in the 1850's. But they were looking for easy to use crossing sites for what became known as the Mormon Trail. They had absolutely no interest in navigating the river, only in crossing it.

The Frontiersmen and Trappers by and large worked their trade in either the Sierra Mountain Ranges, or the Northern Rocky Mountains. Either Central California North to Canada on the West Coast, or from Montana-Idaho north along the Rocky Mountains. There was simply not enough game of interest for them from the Nevada-Utah region south.

You might actually know some of these things if you had ever bothered to do any research. Having grown up in Idaho, such things were simply part of our local history. We were generally in the "middle region", where the trappers would go either West to Fort Vancouver, or East to the Great Rocky Mountain Rendezvous in Missouri. Probably the most Southern of these Rendezvous was the great one in the Cache Valley in northern Utah. That was pretty much the southernmost extent of the beaver range, and the pelts were then taken to the Pacific via the Snake (then Columbia) rivers.

I’m beginning to see the deal with Texas public education controversies now.
 

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The Grand Canyon was well known before Powell’s time.

Here’s a detailed map from 1858- over a decade before he explored it.

He wasn’t exploring some rumor.

9e9c64909fa1d8ed35599bd813b6c2e2.jpg


Note: it’s named the ‘Big Cañon of the Rio Colorado’

Wow that is an incredibly detailed map for being hand drawn...
 

Oozlefinch

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I’m beginning to see the deal with Texas public education controversies now.

This is actually quite common in every state in the country. You have "US History" which gives a decent covering of the major aspects of history. Then you have your local state history, which only covers things of interest to your state. But many more aspects are never covered at all.

Everybody knows of the California and Alaska gold rushes. But how many know of the Nevada Silver Rush? Or the Georgia Gold Rush? Or the Idaho Gold Rush, which saw over 90 tons of gold out of that territory? Of course, the Idaho Gold Rush is largely forgotten because it started in 1860, and the country was largely concerned with the Civil War when it was going on. This is why one town in Central Idaho bears the name of "Atlanta", being founded by largely Southerners at the time of the Battle of Atlanta (which early on was believed to be a Confederate victory).

These are things that most outside of Idaho would never know, because it was only taught in schools in that state. So I place no blame on somebody in Texas not knowing things like this, or the history of the Mountain Men, because it was not taught to them. But what I can blame is somebody making almost completely ignorant posts, because they do not bother to do any research first. People like Jim Bridger, Jim Beckworth, Kit Carson, Jedediah Smith, John "Liver Eating" Johnson (the inspiration for the movie "Jeremiah Johnson", and a real person), George Droullard, John "Grizzly" Adams, and even "Buckskin Bill" Heart, who was considered the "Last of the Mountain Men" when he died in 1980.

A great many trappers of the era were highly literate, and often supplemented their trapping income by writing in various ways. "Tourist guide books" and articles to Eastern newspapers was a lucrative business for them. And a great many were "Easterners", highly educated individuals who simply had a wanderlust and desire to explore what was over the next mountain. Men like John Muir as well can be counted amongst them.

But unless somebody grew up in the Rocky Mountain region (or grew up watching the Grizzly Adams TV show), they probably know little to nothing about who and what the Mountain Men were. In many ways, they were not unlike many of the prospectors that traveled through the South-West looking for gold. Not the miners who built large mines to get rich, but the prospectors. Who largely worked alone and were only interested in finding enough gold to continue their life of solitude and exploration.

The "Mountain Men" are largely dead now, a victim of hunting laws and the restrictions of building cabins on public lands. But you still have prospectors even today. Traveling through the West and South West, often living in a truck and using simple equipment to find enough gold to fund their next exploration. We see them here in Northern California constantly. One I know works the rivers around Oroville in the winter, and in another few months will be heading to Idaho to work the placer fields up there.

But the idea that such individuals would have used the Colorado for transit is simply not true. Navigable rivers were the "Super Highways" of the 17th through 19th centuries. And the only ones that people generally used were going somewhere they wanted to go. The Missouri lead to the Mississippi, or up to the Great Lakes and eventually through the Saint Lawrence Seaway. The Snake River lead to the Columbia, and from there to Portland. These were the rivers that they used. Not the Colorado, which led to nowhere.

That is why even some rivers like the Green River in Wyoming were generally avoided. Many worked the region because it was good trapping and hunting grounds. But the river itself went to the Colorado, then to the Gulf of California. So the trappers would haul their pelts either over into Idaho for transit to the Pacific, or to Montana for transit to St. Louis. But for all it's fame today by rafters, nobody really bothered to travel either the Green or Colorado rivers. They saved that for the rivers that went somewhere, like the Salmon, Snake, and Boise rivers.
 
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