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Notes The Song of Three Friends Dedication: Translation from the Greek by Paul Roche, The Love Songs of Sappho (New York: New American Library, 1966), 94. i. Ashley’s Hundred 1. William H. Ashley recruited one hundred men in the winter and spring of 1822 to accompany Andrew Henry up the Missouri. Ashley placed this now-famous advertisement in the St. Louis papers: To Enterprising Young Men The subscriber wishes to engage one hundred men, to ascend the river Missouri to its source, there to be employed for one, two, or three years.—For particulars, enquire of Major Andrew Henry, near the Lead Mines, in the County of Washington, (who will ascend with, and command the party) or to the subscriber at St. Louis. Wm H. Ashley. See Dale L. Morgan, Jedediah Smith and the Opening of the American West (1953; repr., Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1964), 19–20. 2. Cheap; spurious; insignificant. 3. Dirty; soiled; mercenary. 4. Neihardt writes that “the vast plains of my native country are as a mystic scroll unrolled, scrawled with a cabalistic writ of infinite things.” See The River and I (1910; repr., Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1968), 2. 5. Ashley (c. 1778–1838) played a prominent role in the American fur trade of the 1820s and 1830s. He supplied but did not join his partner, Andrew Henry, in an expedition up the Missouri in April 1822. Ashley later commanded an expedition to the mouth of the Yellowstone, arriving there in October. An ill-fated expedition in 1823 encountered resistance from the Arikaras (Rees), and Ashley was forced to withdraw. Because he and Colonel Henry Leavenworth were unsuccessful in an attempt to gain control of the river, Ashley sent Jed Smith and others to the Green River by an overland route. Ashley then made his way back to St. Louis. In 1826 he sold his company to Smith, Davey Jackson, and William Sublette. Ashley served in the House of Representatives but failed twice to become governor of Missouri. See Richard M. Clokey, William H. Ashley: Enterprise and Politics in the Trans-Mississippi West (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980), 3–121; and Harrison Clifford Dale, The Explorations of William H. Ashley and Jedediah Smith, 1822–1829 (1918; repr., Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991), 57–88. 6. A reference to the belief that Peru held great cities of gold. See Neihardt , Splendid Wayfaring (1920; repr., Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1970), 29; and Morgan, Jedediah Smith, 29. 7. The source of the Missouri is located in present-day Montana. 8. The Sirens, in book 12 of Homer’s Odyssey, are sea nymphs who by their singing fascinate those who sail past their island and lure them to their deaths. According to some accounts, they are half-bird, half-maiden. 9. Having a sharp fall or rise; extreme. 10. Preserved as treasure. 11. Vanguard. 12. Considered the gateway to the West, St. Louis had a population of about four thousand by 1820. See Neihardt, Splendid Wayfaring, 24–25. 13. A sailboat with a flat bottom. 14. The upper edge of the side of a boat. 15. A flat-bottomed riverboat, sixty to eighty feet long, with a beam of sixteen to eighteen feet, a heavy keel that ran from bow to stern, and a high mast. Keelboats moved upriver by sail, poles, sweeps, and cordelles (ropes attached from the boat to men or horses walking along the shore). See Don Berry, A Majority of Scoundrels: An Informal History of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade (Sausalito ca: Comstock, 1961), 11. 16. Neihardt places his story in a genre of verse and prose narratives commonly associated with Iceland and Norway. Sagas, often tragic, focus on heroism, loyalty, family feuds, and revenge. 17. French boatmen famous for their ability to move a keelboat vast distances in treacherous waters. See Morgan, Jedediah Smith, 30. 18. Jason and his Argonauts—including young heroes like Heracles, Orpheus, Castor, and Pollux—endured great suffering in their epic pursuit of the Golden Fleece. The story appears in the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes. 19. A character of an ancient alphabet; of mysterious meaning. 20. Gaze intently. 21. Words of a chant used in rituals and magic. 22. Backcountry. 23. Certain to happen; unrelenting; unalterable. ii. The Up-Stream Men 1. Major Andrew Henry: (c. 1775–1833) helped to organize the St. Louis Fur Company in 1809 with partners William Clark, Manuel Lisa, 602 notes to pages 3–6 and Pierre and...


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