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Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth

Wyeth, Nathaniel Jarvis, 1802–56, American explorer and trader in the far West, b. Cambridge, Mass. A businessman in Boston, he was fired with a desire to go to Oregon by the eloquence of Hall J. Kelley. When Kelley's plans for an expedition were long delayed, Wyeth formed one of his own and in 1832 crossed the continent, at the same time sending a ship around Cape Horn. The vessel, carrying all the supplies and some of his party, was never heard from, and after spending the winter at Fort Vancouver Wyeth returned to Boston. In 1834 he outfitted a new expedition, with grandiose plans for establishing fur-trading posts, a salmon fishery, a colony, and other developments. He founded Fort Hall (July, 1834) and built Fort William on the Columbia River; although his ship reached the Columbia and was used in trade, he was unsuccessful in competition with Dr. John McLoughlin of the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1836 he returned to the East, discouraged. His journals and letters have been edited by F. C. Young (1899).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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