||Rogers, Harrison G.
||The Journals of Harrison G. Rogers
||Dale, Harrison Clifford (editor). The Ashley-Smith Explorations and the Discovery of a Central Route to the Pacific, 1822-1829. (Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1918). Pages 197-271.
||76 / 2 (1 table)
Nothing is known about Harrison G. Rogers’ birth or early life prior to
his appearance in these documents as a member of Jedediah Smith’s trading party.
Expedition of 1826-1827
Rogers and Smith spent almost a year on this journey, leaving
Great Salt Lake with fifteen men on a trapping and trading expedition
on August 22, 1826. The trip is documented in the first of the two
journals given here and a letter of Smith to William Clark (see
Passing southwest through lands belonging to the Ute, Paiute,
and Mohave nations they reached the Colorado River in early
October. Crossing the Mohave Desert, they arrived at the Spanish
mission of San Gabriel, near present-day Los Angeles, the
following month to spend the winter. Rogers’ first journal
(pages 197-228 in this document) describes part of their sojourn
at the mission of San Gabriel. Because the Spanish would not let
Smith trade in their coastal settlements, the party traveled
north up the central valley before climbing through the Sierra
Nevada Mountains at the end of May, crossing Nevada close to the
route of modern-day U.S. Highway 6, and entering Utah near present-day
Grandy. They reached the rendezvous site near Great Salt Lake
again in July, 1827.
Expedition of 1827-1828
After this trip, Smith and Rogers immediately retraced their
route with another group of traders, but half were killed before
they reached California. Smith, Rogers and the survivors
continued north from California into Oregon and up the Pacific
Coast; this portion of the trip is described in Rogers’ second
journal (pages 237-271 in this document). On July 14, 1828, all
but four of the group, including Rogers, were killed by Umpqua
Indians in present-day Douglas County, Oregon.
After Rogers’ death, his journals were taken by the Indians
who killed him. With the help of British authorities in
Vancouver, they were given to Smith several months later and he
carried them back to St. Louis. When Smith was himself killed in
1830, his business partner and executor, William Ashley,
retained them. A descendant of Ashley’s gave them to the
Missouri Historical Society. They were first published in the
volume excerpted here.
Other Internet and Reference Sources
The best online source for further information about Smith,
Rogers and their travels is the “Mountain Men and the Fur Trade
Virtual Research Center” at
which contains dozens of diaries, narratives, and letters of
their contemporaries. It offers books, maps, pictures, email
discussion groups, and links to other sites on the Web related
to the history of the fur trade in the far West during the early
The standard books about these events are George R. Brooks,
ed., The Southwest Expedition of Jedediah S. Smith: His
Personal Account of his Journey to California 1826-1827
(1989) and Leroy R. Hafen and Harvey L. Carter, eds.,
Mountain Men and the Fur Traders of the Far West (1982).