Did you ever hear of John Colter? Would you like to meet him and perhaps even hear him tell about his adventures?
Well, if you attend the Newtonia Battlefields Protection Association meeting on Thursday night, Aug. 28, you can do just that.
John Colter was an American mountain men who went with Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their famous Voyage of Discovery in 1802-1804. Later, he earned his own fame as an early explorer in the Rocky Mountains. He is believed to be the first white man to see what today is Yellowstone National Park and the Teton Mountains.
On the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Colter fell in love with the mountains and was able to find passes through them for the Expedition. Although born in Virginia, he took to the mountains like he had been born in them. While the Lewis and Clark Expedition was on its return trip, they stopped in North Dakota at the Mandan villages where they had added Sacagawea and her husband, Toussaint Charbonneau to their party. There they found two trappers, Forest Hancock and Joseph Dickson, on their way west.
Lewis and Clark gave Colter a two-month honorable discharge, allowing him to return to the mountains with the Hancock and Dickson. Colter served as their guide in what would become the big business of beaver trapping. They party didn’t stay together long and Colter started back east. Along the Platte River he met Manuel Lisa (every kid who studied in Missouri schools should know Manuel Lisa). Colter joined with Lisa and returned to the Rockies.
Charles Wesley Parker, of Joplin, will present his portrayal of Colter at the meeting and may possibly talk about his experience as a character actor.
Several years ago, Parker saw a re-enactment at the Pea Ridge National Battlefield and thought that he, too, could be a re-enactor. He chose to do John Colter.
Everyone is welcome to the meeting, which starts at 6:30 with a potluck supper.