Category: Waypoint  Listing Date: 2013-07-28
Jedediah Strong Smith
The term waypoint has only came into common use in recent years and generally is any single specific location. This waypoint sign marks an approximate location of historic significance. The photo was taken on July 28, 2013 by Otto Bochman.
If you look closely at the sign you can see bullet holes. One has to wonder what shooting a sign proves.
South of Rapid City on Highway 79 is a waypoint sign with the following:
JEDEDIAH STONG SMITH'S ROUTE - - 1823
The first white man in the Black Hills, this courageous and brawny beaver trapper in 1823 led a dozen Mountain Men from Fort Kiowa to Yellowstone. His party entered the Black Hills via the old bison trail through Buffalo Gap near here.
Born in New York State in 1799, Jed Smith came West from Ohio in 1822 to join the Ashley expedition from St. Louis up the Missouri River. Later he found the South Pass and was first white man to reach California by the overland route. He is also credited with extensive exploration of the West Coast north to Canada.
This skillful hunter, successful fur trader, and pioneer explorer of the American West was a man who feared God and loved peace. His Bible was his constant companion. Jed Smith was a trail blazer whose three driving ambitions were to serve God, to provide for his family, and to explore the unmapped American West. He was successful in attaining all three goals.
During the course of his Western exploration, Jed Smith survived many perilous experiences, including an encounter with a grizzly bear near this spot. In 1831 near the Cimarron River, he was killed by a Comanche lance. His body was never found.
"When others lost their way or gave up the struggle, he ate the bread of faith and drank to the bottom from the cup of the Lord's will."*
*QUOTATION BY DONALD CULROSS PEATTIE, COPYRIGHT 1960
ERECTED 1976 BY THE JEDEDIAH SMITH CORRAL - WESTERNERS INTERNATIONAL, HOT SPRINGS, THE SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, AND THE S.D. HISTORICAL SOCIETY.