The first white woman in the hills…
It was argued the first one was the wife of Andrew Drips on June 2nd 1830, while with him on a fur-trapping trip. They camped "above the mouth of Laramie’s Fork, at the foot of the Black Hills." This is not the truth because Margaret Drips was actually at least part Otoe, an Indian, (named Macompemay), before the marriage. As far as I am concerned, she should be declared the first "white woman" that was documented to have been there. Although there were others before her, they were just not correctly wrote down or accurately placed within the Black Hills!
Two things are to be kept in mind as this is discussed! First, if Margaret married a white man and raised four children back east, she should be considered white… or "civilized," that is what was accepted at the time.
If you married an Indian woman and remained with them, or in the frontier the rest of your lives, your wife and children were not considered white! Sorry, I am not making the rules, just repeating them as understood...
There were other women, of other colors than red, which did reach this part of the country several times before and after this time as well. And they will not be considered either because they did not enter what we know as the Black Hills of today. Or at least we do not know for sure that they did, often the better fur trapping was in the Laramie, Bear Lodge, or other Mountain ranges to the west and south of the Black Hills.
I like to think the first truly white woman to enter the hills was the daughter of a French trapper, having her here was a bit tricky to say the least and we will call her just that… Tricky.
She was pretty and had red hair, something the Indians had not seen before, at least the Indians that saw her at this time in this place anyway!
They thought she must be of their kind, what with the red color and all. The Frenchman should have taken her back east, but as the story is told, he would surly have been killed by the family of his wife. Who were against him stealing her away in the first place and said she would not make it in the wilderness. They were right about that part, although it is not known why she died, most say it may have been his fault, therefore he was left raising this child!
I do not have two different sources for this story, only one, and it is private, so you take it for what you want, it may not be entirely true, and the re-creation of the pictures may not be real!
The French trapper's wife had died along the trail, he was left alone to raise this child who was now 19, and almost 20... (Past the marriage age in those days... he was worried).
Each morning she went down to the red water river and wondered what she would do!
Then the soldiers came along and she thought she was saved... from what I do not know...
Notice: These movies will save on your drive, and you can make other movies with them. But do not portray this young lady in a derogatory matter, someone will get you for it if you do!
Now this may or may not have happened at the red water or a stream close to Bear Butte or even somewhere else at another time, I am not saying for sure where it happened. But I do have a story told about some soldiers who saw this, from some Indians that saw it too! But the ending did not turn out so good for the soldiers, or the girl and the French trapper for that matter, depending on how you look at things... (They became like the Indians), after they saved the girl from some fellows that had been too long away from women, and only wanted to share!
Until about the middle of the 1800’s the Black Hills region included almost everything from the middle of the Nebraska panhandle up to and including some parts of southwestern Montana. We will have to limit the search to the Black Hills of today if we want to accurately declare what happened and when!
Most accounts of the first documented white people read more like this column often reprinted and quoted…
About 1000 men, (1000 rough men and one woman), rode with
General Custer to explore the Black Hills area of the Dakota Territory in 1874.
They were not, by a long shot, the first white men in the area. Indeed, they
might never have entered the region at all, had not rumors of gold lured them
there. Hints of the fabulous riches hidden in "them thar hills" had
been circulating for more than a century -- possibly since the Verendrye
brothers scaled Bear Butte to gaze upon the Hills, in 1742.
And so, it's not clear just who was the first white man in the Black Hills. But the claim of being the first white woman in the Hills is clearly stated. Sarah Campbell accompanied the Custer party, employed as cook for sutler John Smith. She was known by the men as "Aunt Sally."
Like many of the gems populating the local mythology, Campbell is remembered for both her tough and tender facets. When the Custer party discovered gold on French Creek, she boasted of "scrabbling gravel" right along with them. She staked "Claim #7 Below Discovery," though she apparently never visited it again. It's not certain just when she returned to the Hills, living near Deadwood -- first in Camp Crook, and finally in Galena. She adopted a 10-year-old wastrel boy and helped nurse many children through various smallpox epidemics. Again, she was fondly called "Aunt Sally," and that's the name marking her grave when, in 1888, she was buried in Galena's Vinegar Hill Cemetery.
During an interview for publication in eastern newspapers, Aunt Sally called herself the first white woman to visit the area. She also stated that she didn't join the Custer junket for gold, but simply because she always dreamed of seeing "them Black Hills." And why did this dream impel her so? What was the kinship she felt for a wild region she'd never seen? You'll understand, when you know that Sarah Campbell -- Aunt Sally -- was also Black.