In 1868, John Baptiste Richard was fifty-eight years old. He had been on the frontier for over four decades. He seems a rather unimposing figure in this photograph taken at the signing of the Fort Laramie Treaty. Still a cagey adversary, he was no longer the wiry, tougher-than-nails mountain man that adventurer Francis Parkman wrote about more than twenty years earlier. Pictured left to right: unidentified boy (with dog); seated behind him, Josephine Richard (John’s daughter who married “Big Bat” Pourier the following year); John Baptiste Richard (standing); John’s grandson, Alfred Richard (son of John Richard Jr., seated at his feet); and wife, Mary Gardiner Richard (seated behind Alfred). This is one of many photographs featured in the Spur Award Winning non-fiction book, RESHAW: The Life and Times of John Baptiste Richard, Extraordinary Entrepreneur and Scoundrel of the Western Frontier, by Jefferson Glass and available at major booksellers. The photograph is published courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society.
Baptiste “Little Bat” Garnier was born in the spring of 1854 at Reshaw’s Bridge. Following his father’s death in 1856, Little Bat became somewhat a surrogate son of John Richard (Reshaw) and lived with the Richard family for several years. Thus, began his education into a lifelong career as a scout and interpreter. Little Bat was an exceptional hunter. By the age of fourteen he contracted with the US Army as a hunter, supplying wild game for the troops at Fort Laramie. By the 1870’s he was one of the most renowned scouts in the Army’s employ. In this photograph Little Bat is wearing an ornately beaded outfit made by his wife, Julia Mousseau. Little Bat Garnier, unarmed was killed by the bartender in Deitrich’s Saloon on December 16, 1900 in Crawford, Nebraska. There is a plaque on the exterior of the building remembering the murder. This photograph is published in RESHAW: The Life and Times of John Baptiste Richard, courtesy of the Wyoming State Archives, Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources. RESHAW was the Winner of a Spur Award from Western Writers of America in 2015. It is available from all the usual outlets or directly from the publisher at HighPlainsPress.com. A kindle edition is also available at Amazon.com.
“Jefferson Glass brings to light the long-overlooked story of John Baptiste Richard, mountain man, fur trader, and entrepreneur, whose career spanned more than half of the nineteenth century and ended with his tragic death late in 1875. This well-researched and compelling history details Richard’s integral role in nearly every phase of economic development as well as the dramatic events on the Northern Plains in the mid-nineteenth century.”
Susan Badger Doyle, Ph.D., Emigrant trails scholar, author, and editor.
“John Baptiste Richard in an important character in both Wyoming and mid-nineteenth century western history. Glass has provided us with an in-depth study of Richard, his family, business partners, and his interactions with native tribes of the area.”
Richard L. Young, Museum Manager, Fort Caspar Museum, Casper, Wyoming.