Across the Fence: John Colter, the first mountain man


In the early 1930s, Idaho farmer William Beard was clearing a field in Tetonia, Idaho, just west of the Teton Mountain Range. While working the field William unearthed a rock of rhyolite lava in the shape of the profile of a man's head. The stone, 13 inches long, 8 inches wide and about 4 inches thick, is carved with the name "John Colter" on one side and the date "1808" on the other. It is possible that the Colter Stone may well be a piece of rock graffiti carved by John Colter himself. Experts allow that the inscriptions were likely etched into the stone in the year indicated, but it is v...

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