WSP-62 The Bead Sellers
The Rendezvous was an annual gathering, at various locations held by a fur trading company at which trappers and mountain men sold their furs and hides and replenished their supplies. Held every summer, the trappers came together for the Rendezvous (pronounced “Rondy-Voo”) It was a celebration like Christmas, New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July all rolled into one.
The large fur companies put together teamster driven mule trains which packed in whiskey and supplies into a pre-announced location each spring/summer and set up a trading fair- the Rendezvous.
Not only was the Rendezvous a place where the trappers could sell and trade their furs for all sorts of commodities, such as clothing, saddles, bridles, tobacco, and whiskey, but it was a place to meet traders who might wish to engage their services for the coming year.
These Rendezvous were known to be lively, joyous places where all were welcome, fur trappers, Indians, native trapper wives, and children, travellers, and even tourists who would venture from as far as Europe to observe the festivities. By the mid-1830s, the annual event would attract up to 500 men.
They were described as events “full of myrth, songs, dancing, shouting, trading, running, singing, racing, target-shooting, yarns, frolics, with all sorts of extravagances that white men or Indians could invent!” These events include many of the activities that were necessary for survival, centering on shooting, guns and shotguns; throwing knives and tomahawks; primitive archery; as well as cooking, dancing, singing, the telling of tall tales and of past rendezvous.