Jackson Hole was part of Oregon Country when Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (1804-1806) searched for a inland waterway route to the Pacific.
Living off the Land
Their reports began to lure people west. Independent mountain men in search of beaver traversed Jackson Hole and wrote the first accounts of this region. They exported beaver and other animal hides to the eastern United States and Europe for the manufacture of hats.
While no trappers’ rendezvous took place in the valley, the mountain men crossed and recrossed Jackson Hole between 1810 and 1840 to go to beaver trapping sites The fur trade declined around 1840 and there is virtually nothing in the historical record about Jackson Hole again until after 1860.
Local legend has it that the valley was named for fur trapper David E. “Davey” Jackson in 1829, perhaps earlier. It was one of Jackson’s favorite beaver-trapping haunts. Jackson was a partner of Jedediah Smith and William Sublette; when they sold their fur trapping firm later it became known as the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. The valley was originally called Jackson’s Hole.