Published by The Independent Journal June 21, 1990
THE WAY WEST BEGAN IN POTOSI
The cutting edge of the American frontier moved steadily westward from the Atlantic, and in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, Potosi, historic mining settlement in interior Missouri, was the “far West”, and from its ranks sent settlers scurrying even further west to the Pacific.
Historian Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, in 1818, described Potosi as “the last village of white inhabitants between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean,” and the village at the time was home for the Austin Family; for Major Andrew Henry and Colonel William H. Ashley; for Spaniard Pedro Vial, scooting in and out of Missouri between trips blazing the Santa Fe Trail; and for many others who helped swell their ranks on “the way West.”
The major contribution to the expanding America came from the Austin’s and the Ashley-Henry men.