Bent's Fort

Bent's Fort,

trading post of the American West, on the Arkansas River in present-day SE Colorado, E of Rocky Ford and La Junta and several miles above the mouth of the Purgatoire. The trading company headed by Charles BentBent, Charles,
1799–1847, American frontiersman, b. St. Louis. He entered the fur trade of the Missouri River and became one of the mountain men. His interests turned to the Southwest, and he led expeditions on the Santa Fe Trail.
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 and Ceran St. Vrain, one of the most successful in the West, also included William BentBent, William,
1809–69, American frontiersman, b. St. Louis. One of the younger brothers of Charles Bent, he was for many years the manager of Bent's Fort, while Charles Bent lived mainly in Taos.
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 and two other Bent brothers. They had their first post in the area in 1826 and in 1833 moved to the completed fort, often called Bent's Old Fort. Because William Bent was the manager and chief trader in all the years of its prosperity, it is also sometimes called Fort William. Within its adobe walls came all the famous mountain men of the later period, as the fort on the mountain branch of the Santa Fe Trail came to dominate the trade of all the Native Americans S of the Black Hills as well as that of the Mexicans and the arriving Americans. Kit Carson was a hunter there from 1831 to 1842. S. W. Kearny and Sterling Price each briefly used the fort for their troops in the Mexican War. According to the generally accepted story, the Native American trade fell off and William Bent attempted to sell the fort to the U.S. government; he reached no satisfactory conclusion and in anger abandoned the fort and set the powder in it on fire, partially destroying it. In any case the fort was abandoned by 1852. William Bent erected a new establishment farther down the Arkansas in 1853. That post (Bent's New Fort) he leased to the government in 1860. Fort Lyon was afterward built around it.


See D. S. Lavender, Bent's Fort (1954, repr. 1968).

References in periodicals archive ?
Vrain had established Bent's Fort in the early 1830s (the exact date remains difficult to ascertain) on the Arkansas River in what is now eastern Colorado.
For his first ten years George Bent lived at Bent's Fort where he came into almost daily contact with the most numerous and powerful Southern Plains tribes.
I have heard a Southern Cheyenne leader say that the establishment of Bent's Fort was the beginning of the ruin of his people.
Bent's Fort, an early trading post on the Santa Fe Trail and a National Historical Site, is about 15 miles up the river.
They were researching adobe homes when his wife found etchings of an 1830s trading post called Bent's Fort that was built on the Colorado plains.
After intertribal peace councils were held at Bent's Fort, it became a neutral gathering place for Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, and Comanches, and later, like Fort Lamed, an Indian agency headquarters.
Together, Pat and Karalee turned out museum quality replica clothing and shooting bags for such historical sites as Bent's Fort, Colorado, Fort Sutter and Fort Ross in California, Fort Necessity, Pennsylvania, and Fort Laramie, Wyoming.
George Bent, whose father operated Bent's Fort on the Arkansas River in southeastern Colorado, noted that some silver crosses were originally made in Mexico, along with silver bridals.
Bent's Fort was one, situated on the Arkansas River border with Mexico.
From Bent's Fort, he marched unopposed into the Santa Fe plaza on August 18, 1846, establishing American rule over the entire route.