El tema central de este Blog es LA FILOSOFÍA DE LA CABAÑA y/o EL REGRESO A LA NATURALEZA o sobre la construcción de un "paradiso perduto" y encontrar un lugar en él. La experiencia de la quietud silenciosa en la contemplación y la conexión entre el corazón y la tierra. La cabaña como objeto y método de pensamiento. Una cabaña para aprender a vivir de nuevo, y como ejemplo de que otras maneras de vivir son posibles sobre la tierra.

viernes, 3 de febrero de 2012

Jim Baker, un trampero del viejo oeste y su cabaña

Jim Baker - Mountain Man
Jim Baker 1818-1898
Trapper, scout and guide was a friend of Jim Bridger and Kit Carson and one of General John C. Fremont's favorite scouts. He was one of the most colorful figures of the old west.
Born in Belleville Illinois, at 21 he was recruited by Jim Bridger as a trapper for the American Fur Company and on May 22, 1839 left St. Louis with a large party heading for the annual rendezvous in the mountains. In August of 1841 he was involved in a desperate fight at the junction of Bitter Creek and the Snake River when 35 trappers beat off a large band of Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho.
The decline of the fur trade in the early 1840s drove many the trappers to quit, but Baker stayed on. Little is known of his movements after 1844, but in 1855 he was hired as chief scout for General William S. Harney of Fort Laramie, and he was part of the Federal Army sent against the Mormons. In 1873 he built a cabin with a guard tower near the Colorado Placers of Clear Creek where he raised livestock until his death in 1898. His grave marked with a stone near Savery, Wyoming.
Baker was married six times, each time to an Indian woman, one of whom was the daughter of a Cherokee  chief; he had a number of children.
(Fuente: http://www.franksrealm.com/Indians/mountainman/pages/mountainman-jimbaker.htm)

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"Jim Baker," illustration for A Tramp Abroad, 1880

(...) Jim Baker
There was a value or purpose, however, to wiping the grease and other substances on the clothing. David Lavender in Bent's Fort described the trapper's clothing:

"Down to his shoulders hung the hunter's hair, covered with a felt hat or perhaps the hood of a capote. He liked wool clothing, for it would not shrink as it dried and wake him, when he dozed beside the fire, by agonizingly squeezing his limbs. But wool soon wore out and he then clad himself in leather, burdensomely heavy to wear, fringed on the seams with the familiar thongs which were partly to decorate but most utilitarian, to let rain drip off the garment rather than soak in, and to furnish material for mending. Further waterproofing was added by wiping butcher and eating knifes on the garments until they were black and shiny with grease. Upper garments might be pull-over type or cut like a coat, the buttonless edges folded over and clinched into place with a belt. No underclothes were worn, just breechclout. In extreme cold a Hudson's Bay blanket or a buffulo robe was draped Indian-wise over the entire costume."

Some of the early mountain men never did get used to modern hygene. Jim Baker (1918-1898), who served in the Fremont Expeditions, ultimately settled down in a two-story log blockhouse between Dixon and Savery.

Baker Cabin, Dixon, Wyoming, 1899.

As noted above, the cabin was originally constructed between Dixon and Savery. In 1917 the State Legislature appropriated $750.00 to purchase the cabin. It was moved to Frontier Park in Cheyenne.

Baker Cabin, Frontier Park, Cheyenne, July 1920. Photo by Lt. Flag A. Drewry, courtesy of Mary Carol Schrupp.

The above photo was taken by Lt. Drewry while he was on temporary duty for ten days at Fort D. A. Russell. He was at D. A. Russell for examination for commissioning in the regular army. He was successful.

In 1976, the cabin was again moved from Cheyenne to Savery "on loan" from the Wyoming State Museum. The various moves probably account for the concrete foundation visible in the next photo.

Baker Cabin, Savery Museum, 2003, photo by Geoff Dobson
Jim Baker began construction of his cabin fortress in 1873, this scenic valley was not only the home of Baker and his family but also contained the teepees of the Snake or Shoshone Indian tribe which adopted him.

In the late 1800's, Baker was as famous as Jim Bridger. His stories were quoted by numerous writers including Mark Twain and Theodore Roosevelt. One of the more famous was his observations on blue jays:

You may call a jay a bird. Well, so he is, in a measure—because he's got feathers on him, and don't belong to no church, perhaps; but otherwise he is just as much a human as you be. And I'll tell you for why. A jay's gifts, and instincts, and feelings, and interests, cover the whole ground. A jay hasn't got any more principle than a Congressman. A jay will lie, a jay will steal, a jay will deceive, a jay will betray; and four times out of five, a jay will go back on his solemnest promise. The sacredness of an obligation is a thing which you can't cram into no blue-jay's head.
In 1895, Baker and John Albert, another early mountain man, were invited to serve as marshals for Denver's very first Festival of Mountain and Plain. The committee put him up in one of Denver's finest hotels. When it was suggested he might like to take a bath, he informed them he did not need one -- he had one this year. Additionally, he refused to sleep in the bed, preferring the floor, and refused to use the flush toilet, preferring the alley behind the hotel. (...)
(Fuente: Rendezvous From Wyoming Tales and Trails. http://www.wyomingtalesandtrails.com/fur2.html)

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(...) Jim Baker's Cabin was built in 1873 among tepees of the Shoshone Indian tribe who adopted baker. Baker was born in 1818, died in 1898 and is reputed to have saved the lives of 35 trappers. He married several different Indian women and left a number of children. The Baker Cabin was originally located just a few miles from its current location at the Little Snake River Museum. (...)


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