American Fur Company

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American Fur Company,

chartered by John Jacob AstorAstor, John Jacob
, 1763–1848, American merchant, b. Walldorf, near Heidelberg, Germany. At the age of 16 he went to England, and five years later, in 1784, he arrived in Baltimore, penniless.
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 (1763–1848) in 1808 to compete with the great fur-trading companies in Canada—the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company. Astor's most ambitious venture, establishment of a post at AstoriaAstoria
. 1 Commercial, industrial, and residential section of NW Queens borough of New York City, SE N.Y.; settled in the 17th cent. as Hallet's Cove. It was renamed for John Jacob Astor in 1839.
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, Oreg., to control the Columbia River valley fur trade, was made under a subsidiary, the Pacific Fur Company. His early operations around the Great Lakes were under another subsidiary, the South West Company, in which Canadian merchants had a part. The War of 1812 destroyed both companies. In 1817, after an act of Congress excluded foreign traders from U.S. territory, the American Fur Company commanded the trade in the Lakes region. An alliance made in 1821 with the Chouteau interests of St. Louis gave the company a monopoly of the trade in the Missouri River region and later in the Rocky Mts. (see mountain menmountain men,
fur trappers and traders in the Rocky Mts. during the 1820s and 30s. Their activities opened that region of the United States to general knowledge. Since the days of French domination there had been expeditions to the upper Missouri River, and in the early 19th
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). The company was one of the first great American trusts. It maintained its monopoly by the customary early practice of buying out or crushing any small company that threatened opposition. When Astor withdrew in 1834, the company split and the name became the property of the former northern branch under Ramsey Crooks, but popular usage still applied it to succeeding companies. The American Fur Company strongly influenced the history of the frontier, not only by preparing the way for permanent settlement but by opening Great Lakes commercial fishing, steamboat transportation, and trade in lead.


See G. L. Nute, Calendar of the American Fur Company's Papers (1945); B. DeVoto, Across the Wide Missouri (1948); H. M. Chittenden, The American Fur Trade of the Far West (3 vol.; 1902, repr. 1954); J. U. Terrell, Furs by Astor (1963); D. S. Lavender, The Fist in the Wilderness (1964); P. C. Phillips, The Fur Trade (1961, repr. 1967); P. Stark, Astoria (2014).

References in classic literature ?
In the meantime, the success of this company attracted the attention and excited the emulation of the American Fur Company, and brought them once more into the field of their ancient enterprise.
When he eventually took steps to return to the white culture he worked for one year for the American Fur Company.
This period of intense HBC-NWC rivalry overlapped from 1817 onward with a Montreal-area hiring push by the New York City-based American Fur Company (AFC) for its trade in the southern Great Lakes and Upper Missouri and Mississippi regions.
His epic journey is tied up in the Oregon Dispute and the collateral struggle for dominance by two fur trade behemoths: the HBC and the American Fur Company (AFC).
Steere Room-- contains such resources as American Fur Company correspondence from the early to mid-1800s, the complete "Jesuit Relations" (early documents that chronicled Jesuit missions in New France), and an archive of historical photographs, which I pored over while making selections for my book.
Scotsman Dawson (1817-71) was the central figure in the waning days of the fur trade in what is now North Dakota, and his retirement from the Upper Missouri Outfit of the American Fur Company in 1864 signaled the end of that trade.
Clark Company's outstanding Western Frontiersmen series, "This Far-Off Wild Land: The Upper Missouri Letters of Andrew Dawson" is a 336 page biographical compendium featuring original correspondences of a young man of 24 years who, in the mid-1800s, found himself far from his home in Scotland and working for the American Fur Company on the upper Missouri River.
This had recently been established by the Pacific Fur Company, a subsidiary of John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company.
Several groups were then lusting after Native land, including the American Fur Company, white settlers, railroad barons, and the US Army.
By the 1840s, Wilson was working with the American Fur Company on Madeline Island, another of the Apostles.
This trading season was described in detail by Prince Maximillian of Wied-Neuwied, who was present as a guest of the American Fur Company.
As Astor's business grew, eventually he was able to establish the American Fur Company, an empire that stretched across the country.

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