The first part of Jean Baptiste's
life was well documented in the journals of
Lewis and Clark.
William Clark took a real liking
to the boy and called him "Little Pomp" probably taken from a Shoshoni
word meaning "Leader". At the end of the Lewis and Clark adventure,
Captain Clark made an offer to Sacagawea to help raise the boy in St.
Louis and to give him an education. Sacagawea took him up on the
offer and brought Jean Baptiste to St. Louis in 1809, when he was four
the time Jean Baptiste turned 18 he was living in Kansas City, Kansas area
working at a trading post. This is where he met Paul Wilhelm, Duke
of Wurttmberg, Germany. The Duke was studying plants and animals in
America. Paul Wilhelm was so impressed by Jean Baptiste that he
invited him to his home in Germany. In Germany Jean Baptiste learned
the language and helped the Duke with his studies. In 1829 Jean
Baptiste was back in St. Louis working as a fur trapper and back in the
environment he loved.
Jean Baptiste had a few jobs in his lifetime, most were in
the great outdoors, hunting, fishing and guiding. One of the few
office jobs Jean Baptiste held was that of a public administrator and
judge in California. He had a hard time in the position, because he
didn't care for the way the local ranchers treated the Indians. This
job lasted only a year and soon Jean Baptiste was off to find gold in
Sacramento, a place he called home for 18 years.
The gold bug bit again when Jean Baptiste was 61, and he
packed up and headed out to find his fortune in Montana. He never
made it however. Jean Baptiste Charbonneau died along the trail at
Danner, Oregon of pneumonia.
Today, Charbonneau's grave and five others have recently
been restored by the Oregon Chapter Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage
Foundation, and has been added to the list of famous historical sites.
Visit Pompeys Pillar
National Historic Landmark
28 miles east of
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