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Gaines, George Strother (1784–21 January 1873), frontier trader and Alabama businessman, was born in Stokes County, North Carolina, the son of James Gaines, a revolutionary war captain, and Elizabeth Strother, farmers. Major General Edmund Pendleton Gaines, who was a prominent army officer on the western and southern frontiers between 1797 and the Mexican War, was his brother. At age ten Gaines moved with his family to Tennessee, where he later gained employment in a Gallatin general store. In 1804, Joseph Chambers, the factor of the U.S. Choctaw Trading House, invited Gaines to become his assistant. Subsequently Gaines relocated to St. Stephens on the Tombigbee River in the Mississippi Territory. In 1806 he succeeded Chambers as factor....

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James, Thomas (04 November 1782–17 December 1847), fur trader and Mexican trade merchant, was born in Maryland, the son of Joseph Austin James and Elizabeth Hosten. In 1803 James traveled west with the rest of his family, first to Kentucky and then to the Illinois country, entering Missouri Territory in 1807. The family settled near the village of Ste. Ferdinand (San Fernando), later known as Florissant. James heard of the adventures of Lewis and Clark’s successful expedition after their return to St. Louis in 1806. He determined to sign up with the Missouri Fur Company for a trading trip to the reaches of the upper Missouri River. After conflicts with his employers, he returned from the Missouri country in August 1810....

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Menard, Pierre (07 October 1766–13 June 1844), frontier trader, merchant, and politician, was born at St. Antoine, Quebec, Canada, the son of Jean Baptiste Menard, a French-born merchant, and Marie Françoise Cirée, a Canadian. He had a common school education. Following in the footsteps of his father, who had supported the American side in the American Revolution and served in the American army, Menard, at age twenty-one, moved from Quebec to find opportunities on the American frontier as a trader or merchant. Rather than following those among the French Canadians who, in response to the Treaty of Paris, tried to continue trading under British control and protection in the western Great Lakes and the Mississippi River valley, Menard moved to Vincennes, Indiana, around 1787 and actively sided with the Americans in their relations with the British and Indians. Menard was employed by Colonel François Vigo ( ...

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Schuyler, Peter (17 September 1657–19 February 1724), Indian trader and merchant, was born in Albany (then called Beverwyck), New Netherland, the son of Philip Pieterse Schuyler, a successful Indian trader, and Margarita Van Slichtenhorst, the daughter of Brant Aerts Van Slichtenhorst, director of Rensselaerswyck. It is unclear what formal schooling Peter Schuyler had, but living at his father’s home and trading center, “The Flatts,” he learned enough about the Iroquois, including their language, to become one of only three European colonial New Yorkers trusted by them. Called “Quidor” by those unable to pronounce his given name, he derived much of his influence in the province from his special relationship with the Indians. While Schuyler was alive, no governor could negotiate with the Five Nations without him....