The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933 Page: 236

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

either Indian or his interpreter. The tragedy belongs wholly to
the Indian, and comes from his inability rather than from his
unwillingness to live by the white man rule.
Broken Hand: The Life Story of Thomas Fitzpatrick, Chief of
the Mountain Men. By LeRoy R. Hafen and W. J. Ghent.
(Denver: The Old West Publishing Company, 1931. Pp.
xi, 316.)
The place of Thomas Fitzpatrick in history cannot be told in
brief better than the authors have told it in one paragraph of
their preface.
He was with Ashley on the second voyage up the Missouri. He
was one of a little party that in March, 1824, made the effective
discovery of South Pass, the future gateway to Oregon; he was a
leader of trapper bands, an explorer of the wilderness, an Indian
fighter, the head of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. He
guided the first two emigrant trains that set out for the Western
Coast by the Oregon Trail, and he took Father De Smet and his
fellow-missionaries all the way into the remote country of the
Flatheads. He was . .. guide and adjutant to Fremont
. . . showed Kearney . . . the way to South Pass . . .
led Abert . . . from Bent's Fort . . . to Fort Gibson,
guided the Army of the West, under Kearney, to Santa
Fe, and the California expedition as far as Socorro, [and] was
the first agent appointed for the wild tribes of the plains.
This Thomas Fitzpatrick-who, because of an accident which
cost him a part of his hand, was known to the Indians as Broken
Hand-was born in Ireland in 1799 and died in Washington,
February 7, 1854.
It is easy to see from the paragraph quoted above that Fitz-
patrick's value lay in his service to others. He guided, directed,
shielded, or extricated. For a short period he was head of the
Rocky Mountain Fur Company, but in practically all other un-
dertakings he was an adjunct-albeit an indispensable one. The
point is that he did not write reports or keep records. The Ash-
leys, De Smets, Fr6monts, and Kearneys could not give him
special attention in their reports. Fitzpatrick was too busy until
the day of his death to make records or to write reminiscences.
He was too busy with living.


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933, periodical, 1933; Austin, Texas. ( accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.