He would have eagerly awaited his return, but his eagerness no doubt turned to trepidation as he saw his tidy sum of money begin to disappear on the necessities of St. Louis. By the time De Smet returned, things weren’t as they had once been.
Show Me the Money
His efforts paid off and he even found more funds from generous Catholic churches on his return westward, as well as needed supplies. He accumulated at least $3,340 and possibly more, a tidy sum for the time. It was enough to convince Father Verhaegen to give his final stamp of approval for the mission. Now it was time to formulate exactly what the goals of this Rocky Mountain Mission were.
De Smet’s Missionary Goals
De Smet wasn’t alone on his foray into the wilderness; he had with him Father Gregory Mengarini, Father Nicolas Point, and three fellow Jesuit missionaries, Charles Huet, Joseph Specht, and William Claessens. No doubt the three men were chosen for their abilities with wood and metalworking, and the two priests for their abilities with languages and medicine. They began what would become the very first permanent white settlement with little more than five carts and wagons of supplies, a few horses and mules, their faith, and their determination.
Baumler, Ellen. Montana Moments: History on the Go. Montana Historical Society Press: Helena, 2010. p 125.
Carriker, Robert C. Father Peter John De Smet: Jesuit in the West. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman, 1995. p 31-64.
“History of St. Mary’s.” Historic St. Mary’s Mission & Museum. Web. Retrieved 7 June 2013 from Stmarysmission.org: http://www.saintmarysmission.org/history.html
Malone, Michael Peter; Roeder, Richard B.; Lang, William L. Montana: A History of Two Centuries. The University of Washington Press, 1976. p 62-3.
McLynne, Frank. Wagons West: The Epic Story of America’s Overland Trails. Random House: London, 2002. p 58-78.
"Pierre Jean De Smet." Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Retrieved June 07, 2013 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404701747.html
Toole, K. Ross. Montana: An Uncommon Land. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman, 1959. p 57-61.