Mountain Men and Life in the Rocky

Subject Guide


Mountain West

Malachite’s Big Hole

Celebrity Guns & Horses:

A Mountain Man generally wouldn't name his horse (after all you don't get friendly with something you might need to eat)  In actuality, favorite horses and mules did receive names as did guns.  Here are a few such monikers:  

Fetchem: Bill Williams gun.  "Thyar I war and nary time to git my shootin' iron, Fetchem, en no chanct ter fight them varmints." From Old Bill Williams: Mountain Man.  

Bullthrower: The name given by John L Hatcher to his short heavy rifle with an unvarnished stock. Recorded by Lewis Garrard in Wah-To-Yah and the Taos Trail.

Old Straightener: Rufus Sage "I am quite confident we shall find game. If so, as my rifle bears the name of Old Straightener, and it has never been known to fail in a case of emergency, I know she will maintain her ancient honor," in Rocky Mountain Life.

Knock-Him-Stiff:  Zenas Leonard in the Narratives of the Adventures of Zenas Leonard, writes while as a clerk with Joseph Walker's expedition to California in 1833 that two men came upon five grizzly bear while stalking elk.  "But as one of them was an old practitioner in such matters, having a good gun, carrying an ounce ball, which he called "Knock-him-stiff," ...," stood quite composed (bidding his companion, who was about to run, to stand his ground) until the bear came within reach of him when he discharged it with the muzzle in her mouth - which, as our hero said, gave her a very bad cough."

Old Bill:  was the name given by William Ashley to his Super-Hawken, a .68 caliber rifle with a 42 inch barrel (Described in The Hawken Rifle Its Place in History by Charles E Hanson Jr.)

Ginger:  Moses "Black" Harris gun as related in Ruxton's Life in the Far West. "Hyar goes for meat,' says I, and I jest ups old Ginger at one of them singing birds..."

Flopear, and Santyafee: names of the mule and horse respectively belonging to Ol Bill Williams.  "First off I keered for ol' Flopear, that war my mule, and Santyfee, that war my hoss..." in Old Bill Williams: Mountain Man

All Fours:  Name of the horse belonging to Umentucken, Joe Meeks wife in River of the West

Too Shebit:  Joe Meek’s horse documented by Osborne Russell in Journal of a Trapper.  

Black Hawk:  The name given to the horse of William Marshall Anderson (Reference),  

Grohean was Jim Bridger's favorite race-horse, a Comanche steed of great speed and endurance according to Joe Meek in River of the West. 

David, a mule belonging to Mr. Folger, recorded by Lewis Gerrrard in Wah-To-Yah and the Taos Trail.  "Mr. Folger, another of our company, was a gentleman so wedded to a roving life on the prairie that he has accompanied Mr. St. Vrain for several years, in pure love of adventure.  His mule, “David,” was a comical, antiquated animal; the study of the expression of his grizzled phiz was truly laughable; and much merriment was caused by the master’s sensible and affectionate advice and consolation to David.

Paint, the first horse owned by Lewis Garrard on setting out on the Santa Fe Trail (Reference).  "Frank DeLisle, le maitre de wagon sold me for fifty dollars a horse which, from his fanciful color, brown and white spots, and white eyes, was designated by the descriptive, though not euphonious name, of Paint.  He was a noted buffalo chaser, and I anticipated much excitement through his services." Paint was also the name of the second horse used by William Marshall Anderson (Reference).

Otholoho, was the name given by Sir William Drummond Stewart to a favorite running horse (Reference)

Diabolique, riding mule possessed by Garrard in the spring of 1847 (Reference). "In the morning we gathered the stock, and lassoed the riding animals.  My large beast, Diabolique (for never mule gave more trouble)..."  For a full description of an incident involving this "refractory" mule, click here.  

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