Tag Archives: Rocky Mountains


When you’re in a car for hours and hours and hours on a long road trip, conversation is bound to produce a few ideas, some better than others. Sometimes, you actually remember some of these crazy ideas after the road trip is over. The 2,500-mile drive Executive Director Andy and Intrepid Researcher Tom™ took over the summer to Robert’s old stomping grounds in and around the Rocky Mountains was no exception.

Since Andy and Tom were heading west to visit some of the rendezvous grounds Robert visited when he was in his early twenties, the question arose: What did Robert look like when he was a twentysomething? The only images we have of Robert are when he was a mature man, in his 50s and 60s. When Tom returned to St. Louis, he started researching what he could do to get a picture of a young Robert.

After sifting through many websites, Tom found PhoJoe, a company that specializes in photo restoration, colorization, age progression (making the subject look older) and age regression (making the subject look younger). Obviously Tom was interested in age regression, so he sent their artists the pictures we had of Robert. After some minor tweaking, this is what they came up with:

Robert, age 25.

To give you a comparison, here are some of the pictures Tom sent to Phojoe:

Detail of a painting that was done by A.J. Conant between 1879 and 1888, after Robert died. Robert died at the age of 75 in 1879.

A pastel of Robert that hangs in Virginia Campbell’s bedroom.

Sure, when Robert was spending months at a time in the wilds of (what is now) Wyoming, he probably wasn’t that clean shaven or wearing a suit, but it’s an interesting image to consider. This youthful man was the Robert who fought in the Battle of Pierre’s Hole. This was the Robert whose exploits were immortalized in Washington Irving’s The Adventures of Captain Bonneville. What do you think of the composite? Any ideas for what we should do with our new picture of Robert? Send your strokes of brilliance here by leaving a comment, or send an email to shelley@campbellhousemuseum.org.

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Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Tour

By Andy Hahn

A few weeks ago Campbell House docent Tom Gronski and I returned from a 2,500 mile trip West, visiting the important sites of Robert Campbell and Rocky Mountain fur trade.

Red Rocks Canyon on the road up to the South Pass through the Wind River Range of the Rockies.

We followed the route of the Oregon Trail, which had been blazed by Campbell and other mountain men and fur traders during the 1820s and 30s. Our first stop was at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska. The Joslyn holds one of the most important collections of art of the American West, including works by Karl BodmerAlfred Jacob Miller and George Catlin.

Following a 500-mile drive along the Platte River through Nebraska we arrived at Fort Laramie, where we met Alan McFarland, Robert Campbell’s g-g-g-grand nephew, fresh off the plane from his home in Northern Ireland. Alan has a special interest in his uncle’s career in the fur trade and has made numerous research trips to America. Fort Laramie was the perfect place for our meeting because Campbell and his partner Bill Sublette founded Fort Laramie (originally called Fort William) in 1834. At this National Historic Site we were able to view an authentic fur trade encampment recreated by members of the American Mountain Men. The group later created tableau vivant from one of Alfred Jacob Miller’s artworks depicting a fur trade camp.

A little further west we followed the Sweetwater River across Wyoming towards the Wind River Mountain Range and the South Pass. Bill Sublette was the first person to take a wagon this far into the Rocky Mountains in 1830, setting a course for thousands that would follow the Oregon and Mormon Trails. The next few days were spent in the vicinity of Jackson, Wyoming where we visited most all of the sites of the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous. The highlights included visits to the Museum of the Mountain Man where we were able to see some original Campbell letters and Pierre’s Hole, site of the 1832 Rendezvous and subsequent battle.  Campbell heroically saved his friend Bill Sublette’s life during the battle as recounted by Washington Irving in the Adventures of Captain Bonneville. Our trip ended with visits to other Rendezvous sites at Bear Lake, Cache Valley and finally Fort Bridger.

Enjoy the pictures and follow us West!

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