rendezvous.gif (23178 bytes)

Rendezvous is a French word meaning a predetermined place and time for meeting. It had much greater meaning to the trappers and traders of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. While the English and even the Spanish were involved in fur trade, the French held the most influence over that industry. The "rendezvous" was held for commerce; it was an opportunity for the trappers to meet the trader or sutler and exchange furs for supplies, trade items, whiskey, and sometimes gold. Whether the trappers worked independently or with a team, the rendezvous was more than a business market; it was the social event of the season. Partaking of libations, gambling, story swapping, and spirited competitions along with singing and dancing were the norm for a week-long rambunctious time called the rendezvous.

In the territories now known as Oklahoma fur trade was conducted at established trading posts and not at rendezvous locations as was the case in the northwest. The first trading posts were Ferdinandina on the Arkansas River and San Bernardo on the Red River established about 1779. The most prominent trading post was established by Jean Pierre Chouteau (the founding father of St. Louis) on the Saline branch of the Grand River in 1796. Chouteau's son later established three other trading posts and remained a successful trader through 1850.

As westward migration progressed and resettlement of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory took place, trading posts sprang up along travel routes. Doaksville was established in 1821, prior to the founding of Fort Towson, on the Kiamichi River. Edwards' Trading Post on the Little River and Canadian River junction was established in 1834 along with two trading posts on the Red River, Coffee Station and Warren's Trading Post. These trading posts remained active until about 1846.

Fort Washita, a Virtual Tour     Fort Washita Index