Stuart, Robert

Stuart, Robert,

1785–1843, American explorer, b. Scotland. He emigrated (1807) to Canada and became a fur trader. He joined in John Jacob Astor's Astoria venture, and in 1812 he led the overland party east. This party was the first known to have used the South PassSouth Pass,
broad, level valley (alt. c.7,550 ft/2,301 m), SW Wyo., cutting across the Rocky Mts. It was used by trappers and explorers before Jedediah Smith inaugurated its use as a route for settlers.
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 and to have followed the main route of the Oregon Trail. Later, as a partner in the American Fur CompanyAmerican Fur Company,
chartered by John Jacob Astor (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 Astoria, Oreg.
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, he directed trade around Mackinac, and he also did much for the development of Michigan.


See P. A. Rollins, ed., The Discovery of the Oregon Trail (1935, repr. 1972); K. A. Spaulding, ed., On the Oregon Trail (1953).

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Stuart, Robert

(1785–1848) trader; born in Callander, Scotland. He emigrated to Canada (1807) and joined the Pacific Fur Company (1810). He was active in the Astoria colony (1810–12) and headed the American Fur Company in the upper Great Lakes area (1820–34). He settled in Detroit and became superintendent of Indian affairs for Michigan (1841–45).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.