Explorers and Trappers

Beaver Dick Leigh and his family

Beaver Dick Leigh with Jenny Leigh and their family

Richard and Jenny Leigh

Richard “Beaver Dick” Leigh, a British expatriate and fur trapper, arrived in Teton Valley, Idaho with his Shoshone wife Jenny in 1863. The Hayden Expedition of 1872 named Leigh and Jenny lakes for their assistance, breaking from the tradition of naming landmarks after expedition team members. Jenny and their six children died of smallpox in 1876. Later, Beaver Dick expressed his grief in a letter to a friend: “i am all alone and i keep doing at some thing from day light to dark every day. i am very lonsome.”


John Colter

Little is known about John Colter. He may have passed through the valley in 1807 over Teton Pass after he split off from the Lewis and Clark Expedition from Fort Manuel. In 1931, a farmer plowing a field unearthed a stone inscribed "John Colter" on one side and "1808" on the other side near Tetonia, Idaho. It is not clear if Colter actually carved this stone or not. Read more about the Colter Stone.

Did You Know?