Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2000


Published in Great Plains Research 10 (Spring 2000). Copyright © 2000 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


More than a mere archeological site report, this volume is an important contribution to the history and archeology of the fur trade of the American West. It tells the story of two early nineteenth-century trading posts that operated, sometimes in competition with one another, during the same approximate time and in the same region. Cabanne's Post was situated near the mouth of Ponca Creek north of present-day Omaha, Nebraska. Fontenelle's was located about fifteen miles to the south and gave one of its several historical names to the present city of Bellevue. Although the ownership of each post changed over time, both remained important provisioning points for traders and trappers ascending the Missouri River and traveling westward to the Rocky Mountains through the Platte River Valley from about 1822 to 1838. Traders at these posts also engaged in trade with the local Omaha, Oto, and Pawnee Indians, as well as with the nearby military community at Fort Atkinson. Fontenelle's Post was purchased by the government in 1832 for use as the Upper Missouri Agency of the Office of Indian Affairs, but continued its trading function as well. The author directed excavations for the Nebraska State Historical Society at both sites in the early 1970s.