[transcribed from Missouri Intelligencer, Vol. II, No. 101, Franklin, Mo. (June 25, 1821), p. 3]
An article for the government of a company of men destined to the westward for the purpose of trading for Horses & Mules, and catching Wild Animals of every description, that we may think advantageous to the company.
Sec. 1 Every man will fit himself for the trip, with a horse, a good rifle, and as much ammunition as the company may think necessary for a tour or 3 months trip, & sufficient cloathing to keep him warm and comfortable. Every man will furnish his equal part of the fitting on for our trade, and receive an equal part of the product. If the company consist of 30 or more men, 10 dollars a man will answer to purchase the quantity of merchandise required to trade one.
No man shall receive more than another for his services, unless he furnishes more, and is pointedly agreed on by the company before we start. If any young man wishes to go the trip, and is not in a situation to equip himself, if he chooses to go for any person that may think proper to employ and equip him with every necessary requested by this article, the employer shall receive an equal dividend of the benefits arising from our trade. There will be no dividend until we return to the north side of the Missouri river, where all persons concerned shall have timely notice to attend and receive their share of the profits. It will be necessary that every man shall be bound in a penalty of fifty dollars, to be recoverable in any court in this state, and the money appropriated in the use of the company, if he signs and does not perform the trip, unless some unavoidable accident occurs; in such a case timely notice must be given to any officer belonging to the company, and it shall be the duty of the officer to discharge such a man on his giving satisfactory proof that it is not in his power to comply with this article, and the officers shall fill the vacancy as soon as possible.
It is requisite that every 8 men shall have a pack horse, an ax, and a tent to secure them from the inclemency of bad weather.
I think it necessary for the good order and regulation of the company that every man shall be bound by an oath to submit to such orders and rules as the company when assembled shall think proper to enforce. It shall be my business to apply to the governor for permission to proceed on as far as we wish to go. Signers to the amount of 70 will be received until the 4th of August, when every many wishing to go is requested to meet at Ezekiel Williams’s, on the Missouri, about five miles above Franklin, where we will [ ] and appoint officers in the company.
[transcribed from Missouri Intelligencer, Vol. III, No. 4, Franklin, Mo. (Aug. 14, 1821), p. 3]
A company of 17 men met at Ezekiel Williams’s, on the 4th of August destined to the westward. W. Becknell was chosen by a unanimous vote as Captain to the company. On the 18th inst. we are all to meet at Mr. Shaw’s, in Franklin, where two Lieutenant’s will be elected. We have concluded that thirty men will constitute a company sufficiently strong to proceed as far as we wish to go. All those who signed their names to the first article, and did not appear on the 4th of this month, are excluded from going in this company, and excused from paying any fine. On the first day of September the company will cross the Missouri at the Arrow Rock. Any persons who wish to go will do well to meet at the place appointed on the 18th. No signers will be received after that day.
August 14, 1821.