Sweetwater River
Title:Sweetwater River
Other Names:Eau Sucree
County:Fremont; Sublette; Natrona
Feature Category:Water Features
Origin Of Name:In 1822 ... General William H. Ashley of St. Louis, a man of large business capacity, thought he saw an opportunity to successfully enter the fur trade. His plan was to make friends with the Indians and employ them to trap in his service. Early in the spring of 1822 he started with a select company of able men for the mountains. He went up the Missouri, established a trading post on the Yellowstone, and from that base of operations covered the country to a considerable distance to the south with his trappers, going up the Big Horn and its tributaries as far as the Wind River Valleytrapping on Big and Little Wind Rivers, Big Popo Agie, Little Popo Agie, North Fork and Beaver Creek. He returned to St. Louis late in the fall. The following spring (1823) he started again for the mountains by way of the Platte River Route, and on reaching the forks of that stream he detached a small party to go up the South Fork and proceeded himself with the main body up the North Fork and thence up the Sweetwater. This stream had not yet been named. The trappers found the water superior for drinking purposes and claimed that it left a pleasant taste in the mouth. General Ashley consequently named it Sweetwater, which name it bears today. I have heard other traditions as to the name of this river. One is that a party of trappers in early times were going up its banks, having with them a mule loaded with sugar. The animal fell into the stream and his load dissolved in the waterhence the name Sweetwater. I have been told by old pioneers who lived with the Indians in early days that the red men claim the name Sweetwater is the English for the Indian appellation. My own opinion is that Ashley discovered the excellent quality of the water and gave the river its name, and my reason for thinking so are that his men suffered greatly from drinking the alkali water between the place of crossing and the Sweetwater. After they started up the Sweetwater they came to other streams that were unfit for drinking purposes. All these facts were noted by General Ashley. It must be admitted that he was an explorer as well as a fur trader. (Coutant) River in Wyoming, so named because its waters have a sweet taste. (Gannett, 1905) The French name, Eau Sucres, sugared water is supposed to have derived from the circumstance in which a pack mule, laden with sugar lost its load in the stream. (WPA)
Link:Search Wyoming Places
Document ID:11139662

Digital Library:
© 2018 Wyoming State Library; all rights reserved.
Wyoming State Library