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BOGY, JOSEPH (ca. 1749-?)

An early French-Canadian settler and trader of the Three Forks area, Joseph Bogy (Baugy, Bougie) was born in Canada around 1749. Bogy, whose paternal great-grandfather had arrived in Canada circa 1650, was baptized in Quebec in 1752. He married Marie Plasy or Duplasy at Kaskaskia in present Illinois in 1788. They raised several sons, including their first-born, also named Joseph. The younger Joseph received his education at New Orleans, where he married Marie Bauvais in 1805 and was the father of Sen. Lewis Vital Bogy of Missouri.

By 1786 the elder Bogy had traveled to Arkansas Post in present Arkansas, at that time part of Spanish Louisiana, to make his living as a fur trapper and trader. He also served as secretary for Juan Ventura Morales, the Spanish administrative official of Upper Louisiana. Knowledgeable in the lay of the land, Bogy appraised and assessed the Arkansas Post area for an inventory conducted by Capt. Francisco Casa y Luengo. That listing was given to Lt. James B. Many, the U.S. commander at Arkansas Post, following the transferral of Louisiana from France to the United States in 1804.

Bogy extended his business dealings to the Three Forks vicinity of present Muskogee County, Oklahoma, where the Verdigris, Grand, and Arkansas rivers merge. The Arkansas River route provided an advantage to shipping furs to New Orleans and St. Louis. Bogy was successful in the business of trade and dressed the part of a traditional Canadian boatman. He was well mannered, courteous, and generous to visitors and explorers.

On January 7, 1807, while trading with Osage Indians, Bogy had approximately nine thousand dollars in merchandise taken by Choctaw Indians under the leadership of Pushmataha. In defense of his actions, Pusmataha rationalized that Osage were enemies of the Choctaw, and, therefore, any connections with the Osage were just cause for retaliation. Based on a provision in his trader's license, Bogy brought a claim before the U.S. government for reimbursement of damages and ultimately realized compensation. Following the confrontation with the Choctaw, Bogy constructed a "poteau style" establishment of mud-chinked, vertically set logs for his trade goods. He employed Joseph Robin and Joseph Duchasin to skin trapped animals and pack pelts for trade.

An industrious entrepreneur, Joseph Bogy was instrumental in settling the Three Forks region. In 1819 botanist Thomas Nuttall encountered him at Arkansas Post. Bogy later escorted Nuttall from Fort Smith to the Three Forks where, at the estimated age of seventy, Bogy remained an active figure in the business of trade and commercialism. The date of his death is unknown.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Grant Foreman, Pioneer Days in the Early Southwest (Cleveland, Ohio: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1926). Grant Foreman, "The Three Forks," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 2 (March 1924). Wayne Morris, "Traders and Factories on the Arkansas Frontier, 1805-1822," Arkansas Historical Quarterly 28 (Spring 1969). Thomas Nuttall, A Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory During the Year 1819, ed. Savoie Lottinville (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980).

Betty L. Kuhlman

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