Gregg, Josiah

Gregg, Josiah,

1806–50, American trader and historian of the Santa Fe TrailSanta Fe Trail,
important caravan route of the W United States, extending c.780 mi (1,260 km) from Independence, Mo., SW to Santa Fe, N.Mex. Independence and Westport, Mo., were the chief points where wagons, teams, and supplies were obtained.
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, b. Overton co., Tenn. He moved with his family to Illinois (1809) and then to Missouri (1812). He gained wide knowledge from his diverse readings. He journeyed to Santa Fe for the first time in 1831 and later, having become a trader, made many expeditions, sometimes going as far as Chihuahua, Mexico. He recorded his observations, which were published as Commerce of the Prairies (1844, new ed. 1954), later regarded as a classic of American frontier history and literature. He served under Gen. John W. Wool in the Mexican War and 1849 joined the California gold rush. He died when leading a prospecting party across the Coast Range in the winter.

Bibliography

See his diary and letters, ed. by M. G. Fulton (1941–44).

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Gregg, Josiah

(1806–50) trader, author; born in Overton County, Tenn. He made frequent journeys along the Santa Fe Trail (1831–41) and wrote a frontier classic, Commerce of the Prairies (1844). He served in the Mexican War and died of exposure after crossing the Coast Range of California.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.