Just exactly where the original fort was built has been debated among
historians. However, from the evidence give before the British and American
Joint Commission, appointed under the Treaty of 1st July, 1863 it is
clear tht the position was on the left bank of the Snake River, some miles above
the mouth of the Portneuf River. Chittenden give the distance as nine miles on
page 478 of "The American Fur Trade.."
Fort Hall was established by Nathaniel J. Wyeth of Boston, who first went to the Columbia Valley in 1832.
Wyeth selected the site fro the trading post on 15th July, 1834. Building was started on 16th July, and on 6th August,
Wyeth entered in his diary:
"Having done as much as was requisite for safety to the fort and drank a bale of liquor and named it Fort Hall in honor of the oldest partner of our concern, we left it and with it Mr. Evans in charge of eleven men and fourteen horses and mules and three cows."
There is no bill of sale in the Hudson's Bay Company Archives, but the Company bought Fort Hall from Wyeth sometime in 1837.
Aftert he settlement of the Oregon Boundary Question in 1846 Fort Hall came into the territory of the United States, but the Company continued to operate south of the 49th parallel in order to maintain their possessory rights.
In the 1840's trading in the Snake River Country began to be carried on under difficulties. Beavers were becoming scarce, and in addition the skins had become almost valueless on the London market owing to the decline in the fashion of beaver hats and the introduction of the silk hat. Up to this time beaver had been used in the manufacture of hats and had not been marketed as fur.
Sir George Simpson wrote to Chief Trader Richard Grant at Fort Hall on 30 June 1849, and remarked that the Indian tariff price at that place of a blanket for four beavers was too high to make any profit and he added: "…as you get neither martens, foxes, otters nor other small furs, the fur trade of the Snake Country is more than unprofitable…".
Since the massacre of Dr. Marcus Whitman and some of the inmates of this Mission in 1847, the Indians of that district had been in an very unsettled state. As a result United States troops were sent into the Snake County and they were stationed near Fort Hall.
In 1854 the Indians were again troublesome an attacked a party of American immigrants near Fort Boise, thereby causing much alarm in the district. The United States troops were sent to punish the Indians and they succeeded in taking some prisoners. As it was considered unsafe for the Company people to remain a Fort Boise after the departure of the troops the post was abandoned in the summer of 1855 and Fort Hall was abandoned in the sumnmer of 1856 for the same reason.
The following Company buildings were at Fort Hall in 1847:
1 2 storey, adobe dwelling house, 22 x 12 feet.
1 2 storey adobe store, 44 x 12 feet.
1 range of adobe buildings, 47 x 10 feet (vis., 2 dwelling houses and 1 meat store).
1 range of adobe buildings 57 x 10 feet (vis., 2 dwelling houses; 1 mill house and lumber room).
1 range of adobe buildings, 36 x 10 feet (viz., 2 dwelling houses and 1 blacksmith's shop).
2 2-storey bastions (10 x 10 feet and 8 x 8 feet).
1 2 storey, 12 x 12 feet (store house, etc.).
Wall (adobe) of the Fort 13 high by 19 inches thick; length 100 X 80 feet.
1 1 dwelling house, 35 x 10 feet.
1 1 horseyard or park, 130 x 60 feet high by 19 inches thick.
1 1 horseyard or park, 165 x 130 feet, enclosed by adobe wall 5 feet hight by 19 inches thick.
Sent to Jack Alvord, 1961.