Peg Leg Smith
Peg Leg Smith built or took over a small trading post along the east bank of the Bear River west
of Big Hill in 1848.  It consisted of 4 log cabins which were abandoned prior to 1850.  There
were also some Indian lodges by the trading post.  Smith received his nickname after
amputating his own leg with a Bowie knife following a severe accident.

“Smith was one of the legends of the Oregon Trail.  A bona fide mountain man, he worked
quietly and efficiently, but failed to gain the great fame of the other Smith, Jed.  In the late 1820’
s he was forced to amputate his own leg, sealing up the arteries with a red hot bullet mold.  In
his younger days Smith became skillful at kidnapping Indian babies and younger children to
sell as slaves to the Mexican trade.  Isaac Wistar, who journeyed to California in 1849, met
Smith in Independence on the way out and lived to tell about it.  Smith got himself all juiced up
one night during the period when the trains were forming.  He ended up in one hell of a fight.  
Four toughs tried to keep him from entering a saloon from which he had been banned.  When the
smoke cleared Peg Leg had killed two of them with his wooden leg.  He managed to find a gun
and shoot a third as he was retreating from the saloon.”
 The Oregon Trail Revisited, pages 292-293


…a stream about 20 yards wide, three to five feet deep, rapid and running N.W. to a beautiful
valley from five to six miles wide.
 Pierson Reading,                1843
         Blazing A Wagon Trail To Oregon, page 112


Today we traveled all day. About noon we came to Smith's Fort on Bear River. Smith is a jolly
but one-legged man commonly known as Peg-legged Smith. His fort is 125 miles north of Salt
Lake I here got a bowl of bread and milk from a Mormon woman. It was quite good. Prescribed
for a Frenchman who lives here with a squaw. Saw a Delaware Indian, Jim Hill, a fine looking
fellow. He is married to a Nez Perce squaw. He had not been home for eight years. Smith has
many horses and cattle. To him I sold a pint of brandy for P. Decker for $4. It rained In the
afternoon and I got wet.
   Dr. Charles E. Boyle                 June 24, 1849
                   The Gold Rush Diary of Dr. Charles E. Boyle

         
…Smith’s trading post… This Old Smith who lives here has a cork leg—a rough looking man he is
too.  The place is better known as Smith’s trading post.  A Salt Lake Mormon & wife  were here
for the purpose of trading with the Emmegrants, & several Frenchmen.
 James A. Pritchard                      June 27, 1849
         Historic Sites Along The Oregon Trail, pages 289-290


After crossing the valley and stream, we encamped near a trading post occupied by a
mountaineer named Smith…  Smith is a fleshy, shrewd looking man, about 50 years old, and as
rough as the tawny customers with which he is surrounded.  He has for a wife one of the ladies,
or squaws, from a neighboring tribe of Indians.  This country is claimed and occupied by the
Shoshones, or Snake Indians, who are a peaceable, harmless tribe, and generally friendly to
the whites.  Several lodges of these Indians are encamped in this vicinity.  The females are
engaged in dressing skins.
 Amos Batchelder                        August 14, 1849
         Emigrant Trails of Southern Idaho, page 160        


The old mountaineer,--‘Peg Leg Smith,’ came into camp:  he has a cabin on the bank, some
distance below, and trades with cattle, whiskey, &c.  His leg was injured and he out knife &
amputated it himself, and afterward dressed [it], and fortunately recovered… He has fitted a
wooden leg—(hence the appelation, by his comrades,) and a socket to the stirrup, permits him to
ride as smartly as ever.
 J. Goldsborough Bruff                August 15, 1849
         Historic Sites Along The Oregon Trail, pages 289-290
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