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Trader Joe

In the 18th century a great man was born, a man by the name of Joe Johnson, Joe was born in a small town on the Western United States. When Joe was 8 his mom died of starvation and his father was in war. Joe lived with his aunt Sue and ran away from home when he was 13 when he found out that his father would not be returning from the war. Joe became a great mountain man, trapping and trading beaver pelts he quickly received a nickname of Trader Joe.

When Trader Joe was 18 he was trapping in a steep canyon on a cold day in January. Trader Joe went to set his last trap on a small beaver damn and just as he was done setting the trap he stumbled, reaching back Trader Joes left hand landed on his trap, Trader Joe fell backwards off the damn making it impossible for him to reach the chain connecting the trap to a large tree that Trader Joe had secured the trap to. Trader Joe was stuck. The large snare trap had broken Trader Joes left hand and nightfall was coming soon. Trader Joe yelled for help hoping anyone would come to find him. Trader Joe got back to his camp at 3 am, carrying 4 beavers and his gun in his right hand Trader Joe had worked his hand free using a large stick that was stuck in the side of the beaver damn. Trader Joes left hand had three broken fingers. Doctors amputated Trader Joes left hand 3 months later due to a bad infection he had acquired over the winter.

 Trader Joe thought he would never trade again. He began working with Indians and other Traders teaching them how to trap hoping to make a living it was a desperate move during desperate times. Trader Joes idea did not work well for his first winter he was beside himself and new something needed to change. Trader Joe built a large cabin along a small river now know as Johnsons Pass. Trader Joe met his wife Betty Johnson the next spring. Betty was a smart young lady that new how to cook and clean, Trader Joes cabin became one of the biggest establishments for new traders that had come to the Rocky Mountains to make a living, Because of the war Beaver was worth over $6 a pound and had really driven the economy. New traders found themselves needing many supplies after there trip.

Trader Joes

Trader Joes

Trader Joe new where to send the new trappers and could make extra money guiding and training the new generation of trappers. Most trappers ended up working for trapping companies. Trader Joe new that they would never make a decent living and worked hard to keep a lot of the trappers free. The trappers that worked for the companies were almost considered slaves as they were contractually obligated to give all there pelts to the company they worked for, the companies became rich and the trappers had to work hard to survive. The free trappers that had been taught by Trader Joe always came back to Johnsons pass to get supplies and food as they were rich and always respected Trader Joe.  Trader Joes wife began to cook recipes that she learned from the Indians serving all trappers had become a great success.

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