Born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1804 (the same year that the Lewis and Clark Expedition began), Jim Bridger moved to St. Louis, Missouri, during his childhood; after his parents died, Jim joined a fur trapping company at the age of 16 and spent most of his life exploring the Rocky Mountain region, from Southern Colorado to Canada.
Despite having received little formal education, Bridger became fluent in French. Spanish and various Native American languages. In 1842, he and his fur-trapping company established a trading post in Southern Wyoming on the Blacks Fork of the Green River; this was an important supply center on the Oregon Trail and would later become Fort Bridger, a military post. After a life in the wilderness, Jim Bridger settled in Kansas City where he died in 1881.
Anyone who travels through the Rocky Mountain region encounters evidence of Bridger's historic importance. Among the natural features named for this intrepid explorer are the Bridger Range, NNE of Bozeman, Montana, the Bridger-Teton National Forest, a major component of the Yellowstone ecosystem, Bridger Pass, near the south end of the Great Divide Basin (in southern Wyoming) and Bridger Peak (11,004 feet), the highest summit in the Wyoming portion of the Sierra Madre Range (which extends southward into north-central Colorado). For an uneducated orphan, Jim Bridger accomplished a great deal during his 77 years on this planet!