John Colter Memorial – New Haven, Missouri

John Colter Memorial.jpgJohn Colter Memorial – New Haven, Missouri. John Colter was one of the first to join with Lewis and Clark on their explorations west. Born about 1774, near Staunton, Augusta County, Virginia.

He was recruited by Captain Lewis at Maysville on October 15, 1803 – one of the "Nine young men from Kentucky" a nd a permanent member of the expedition. When the expedition was enroute home, Colter was honorably discharged on August 13, 1806.

In the spring of 1807, Colter started for St. Louis alone, and by July he was at the mouth of the Platte River when he encountered, and joined, Manuel Lisa’s trapping party bound for the Yellowstone. They arrived there in October 1807, and Lisa immediately dispatched Colter to the Crow Indians then on the Bighorn River. During 1808-1809, Colter trapped the area around the Stinking Water (Shoshoni) River.

Back in Missouri, probably in early 1811, he married a woman named "Sallie," they settled on a farm near Charette, Franklin County, Missouri.

John Colter died about November 22, 1813. Story has it that although he was buried in a cemetery near Dundee, Missouri, on Tunnel Hill, which was located between the Big and Little Boeuf creeks. A railroad cut was lat er made which eliminated all trace of this cemetery. Actually Fee Fee Baptist Church Records show that there is a tombstone in his name with his information. The church and cemetery are at Bridgeton, Missouri, not far from Colter’s farm at Charette. No trace of the headstone has been found, but the records show it was there at one point in time.

John Colter was the first white man to venture into Yellowstone. In describing the geysers and other geothermal phenomena, it became known as “Colter’s Hell.” He eventually became a heroic figure among the trappers, traders, and mountain men who settled the American West.

The center and museum contain art exhibits featuring John Colter and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Native American artifacts and Missouri River history are also topics included in the museum.

The memorial adjoins a river walk which extends a quarter mile along the Missouri River levee. Interpretive signs along the river walk provide information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition and local history.

Hours: open April through October WEDNESDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. SUNDAY, 12 noon to 4 p.m.

Location: the corner of Main and Miller Street New Haven, Missouri