Towns Named for Western Heroes

There are at least 5 population centers in the United States named after Western characters of note.

Bowie, Texas, a town of about 5,000 people was named after Jim Bowie. Part of his fame derives from the Bowie knife. This town began in 1882 with a post office named for a man who died defending The Alamo. Bowie offered to lead volunteers to protect it and died as a result. This town became an important market and banking center between Fort Worth and Wichita Falls and remains so. Despite his fame as a frontier hero, Bowie died a relatively poor man who left only a small estate. Regardless, he became a legend for defending The Alamo.

Carson City, Nevada, this state’s capital, was named for Kit Carson. He was a frontier mountain man who achieved fame during his lifetime. This is a city of about 55,000 people accessibly south of Reno. Ruth & I visited there earlier in 2021 because we wanted to learn more about the increasingly famous Stewart Indian School. Stewart was an off-the-reservation boarding facility from 1890 to 1980. Because it is still largely intact (see the last photo), it has developed a museum and welcomes visitors but remains a controversial place that will be in the news for a long time. Carson filled many roles on the frontier. He was a fur trapper who became a noted frontiersman and guide who also had a career as an army officer and soldier.

The smallest community of the 5 is Bridger, Montana. This town of less than 1,000 is in the Billings area. Bridger is perhaps the least well known of the 5. He was a scout, mountain man, and trapper who discovered the Great Salt Lake in 1824. He thought he had found the Pacific Ocean. The year before that he established Fort Bridger in Wyoming. It became an important stop for travelers on the Oregon Trail. He had 3 wives all of whom were Native American women, and he lived a long life.

Crockett, Texas, was named for Davy Crockett, another hero of The Alamo. The 5th oldest city is the Lone Star State, Crockett is midway between Houston and Dallas. Crockett camped near the future site of this town named after him on his way to The Alamo where he became a legend like Jim Bowie. He died defending this landmark. Today, Crockett is a Texas town of about 6,200 people.

Pierre Choteau Jr. is not commonly listed among western heroes, but I think he was. He provided beaver pelts to the hat industry. One of the more famous streets in my hometown, St. Louis, is named after him. He lived in this city during his lifetime. He also established the frontier fort called Benton. Because he also built Fort Pierre, which became surrounded by the town that became the capital of South Dakota, he qualifies as a Western hero in my estimation. He pioneered the use of steamboats on the Missouri River among other accomplishments. The town of Choteau, Montana, was named for Pierre Choteau, Jr. who was born in St. Louis. It’s a town of nearly 1,800 people that was named for this fur trader and explorer.


About roads-rus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roads-rus

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