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Trader Craigie

Trader Craigie

A Scots trader named Craigie earned an admirable reputation during his sojourn in the northern Rockies. In the late 1840s through the 1850s he served as the fort master at Fort Walla Walla on the Oregon Trail. Craigie arrived in America as a common laborer with the Hudson Bay Company and rose steadily in the ranks. His home by the Boise River brought him the occasional salmon, but he and his Panack (Bannock) wife existed marginally on hunting and a few vegetables. He had almost no contact with whites save those who came through on the trail.

Craigie’s reputation derived from his understanding of Christian stewardship. Over the years he housed and cared for a number of exhausted travelers who surely would have perished without him. When English visitor Henry J. Coke rode to Oregon in 1850, he found Craigie caring for a Swiss who had been severely injured when his rifle exploded. "Many are the instances of his charitable deeds," Coke wrote, "and many are the travellers on these plains who survive to pray for blessings on this disinterested and generous being, to whom they owe their preservation."



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