Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Wyeth became involved in the fur trade in 1832; traveling from the east coast to Fort Vancouver and passing just south of Montana. Before leaving on this journey, Thomas Nuttall requested Wyeth to collect a few plants, so on his return trip Wyeth collected plants while crossing portions of Montana. His travels took him along the Clark Fork, Flathead, and Bitterroot Rivers. He then crossed the Divide into the Big Hole drainage and crossed it again going into Idaho. Wyeth re-entered Montana along the Bighorn River and traveled down the Yellowstone to the Missouri (Figure 6). Although Wyeth's journal while in Montana is very brief, he was a careful observer and recorded some natural history notes on bison, elk, and grizzly bears. In 1834, Wyeth headed another expedition to the west, this time accompanied by the botanist, Thomas Nuttall, and ornithologist, John Kirk Townsend. This expedition followed the Oregon Trail and never crossed the Montana border. This classic expedition was well documented by both Wyeth and Townsend. Townsend's journal is above average for natural history content and frequently contains information on bird species not recorded by other explorers.
Biedleman, R.J. 1957. Nathaniel Wyeth's Fort Hall. Oregon Historical Quarterly 58:197-250 Hulbert, A.B. 1934. The call of the Columbia. Denver, CO. [Contains a reprint of Wyeth's 1832 journal and Townsend's 1834 journal.] McKelvey, S.D. 1955. Botanical explorations of the trans-Mississippi west, 1790-1850. Arnold Arboretum of Harvard Univ., Jamaica Plain, MA. Nuttall, T. 1834. A catalogue of a collection of plants made chiefly in the valleys of the Rocky Mountains or Northern Andes towards the source of the Columbia River, by Mr. Nathaniel B. Wyeth , and described by T. Nuttall. Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 7:1-60. Thompson, L.S. 1985. Montana's Explorers: The pioneer naturalists. The Montana Magazine, Helena. Thwaites, R.G. ed. 1905. Townsend's narrative of a journey across the Rocky Mountains, to the Columbia River. in: Early western travels, 1748-1846. 21:105-369. Townsend, J.K. 1839. Narrative of a journey across the Rocky Mountains to the Columbia River and a visit to the Sandwich Islands, Chili with a Scientific Appendix. Henry Perkins, Philadelphia, PA. 259 pp. Young, F.G. ed. 1899. The correspondence and journals of Captain Nathaniel J. Wyeth, 1831-1836. A record of two expeditions for the occupation of the Oregon country. Sources of the History of Oregon I: parts 3-6. Eugene: Oregon Historical Society.