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Wild, Wild West
Thomas Fitzpatrick, AKA Broken Hand, Part 1



Thomas Fitzpatrick, AKA Broken Hand, Part 1
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.28

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    mid-nineteenth, profit, primary, trapping, expedition, prominent, agreement, decline, trader, trade, nearly, sacks, focus, debt, century, business
     content words:    North America, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Missouri River, James Bridger, Rocky Mountain Fur Company, William Sublette, American Fur Company


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Thomas Fitzpatrick, AKA Broken Hand, Part 1
By Joyce Furstenau
  

1     For nearly three hundred years, the fur trade was one of the most important industries in North America. Fur was a major source of warm clothing during that time. The Indians traded furs with early explorers to North America. These explorers brought the furs home where they were made into hats, coats, and garment decorations. Beaver fur was the most popular. Europeans used it to make hats. By the 1580s, beaver "wool" was the main material used in French felt hats. During the 17th century, North America became the major supplier of these furs.
 
2     By the early part of the mid-nineteenth century, the fur trade was the primary focus for business in North America. These fur traders were also the first to explore the West. One of the most accomplished of these traders was Thomas Fitzpatrick.
 
3     Born in Ireland, he arrived in America at age seventeen. Little is known about his earlier life. At around the age of twenty-four, Fitzpatrick went with William Ashley's fur trading expedition up the Missouri River. He continued trapping for the next seventeen years.

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