By 1820s, there were full-on fur trading wars in the Indian Territory, including the area that makes up modern-day North Omaha. Manuel Lisa, easily the most important trapper of the upper Missouri River, had died in 1820
While Lisa served as a sort of ambassador for the US Government during these times, soon he wasn’t alone. A Frenchman named John Pierre Cabannè opened a post less than a mile away and directly on the river in the late 1810s. It was funded by the American Fur Company. Cabannè’s Trading Post traded almost exclusive with the Otoe.
Cabannè’s ambassorial role might have started in 1823, when the German explorer and aristocrat Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied stayed at the post. The post kept operating until the 1840, providing provisions to troops at the nearby Fort Atkinson, and feeding the growing stream of explorers and pioneers moving upstream towards Montana. That year the owners consolidated it with Fontenelle’s Post, twenty miles south in present-day Bellevue.
An artist named Karl Bodmer traveled with Prince Max, painting scenery across eastern Nebraska and elsewhere along the trip. However, its his portraits of American Indians that have lasting value. Committed to portraying his subjects accurately, Bodmer’s art is renowned for its lifelike details. Today, the Joslyn Art Museum has a large collection of his works from eastern Nebraska. He may have painted a variety of works while staying at Cabannè’s Post.
There is no sign of the post remaining today, and the spot where it was sits on private land. The Nebraska State Historical Society discourages people from visiting the area. However, there is a historical marker at the entrance to Hummel Park.
- A Short History of North Omaha’s Fort Lisa
- A History of Fur Trading in North Omaha
- A History of Native Americans in North Omaha
- PODCAST #1: Fur Trading