Smiling Star stood close to her mother as they looked around George Croghan's Trading Store. The one room log cabin store was full from top to bottom of wondrous sights. From half of the ceiling rafters on one side of the store hung fur pelts like the ones that Smiling Star's Father and Mother had just carried into the store. Native Americans could trade animal skins for English made goods. Smiling Star had helped her mother scrape fur off of the deer buck skins that would be sent to England and made into leather belts, breeches, purses, and wallets. Indian Fur Traders, like Mr. Croghan, fixed their prices based on a single deer buck skin.

In 1761, you could trade four buck skins for a wool blanket. A match coat would trade for three buck skins and a ruffled shirt for four buck skins. This is the origin of our use of the word "buck" to mean a single dollar bill today. The beaver fur was barbed and could be made into felt hats that were water-proof. Smiling Star and her mother were both delighted in looking at reflections of themselves in a small hand mirror in the store. Smiling Star"s father carefully inspected a rifle that would make his hunting for pelts easier. The pelts of mink, fox, muskrat, and raccoon were silky and warm. The otter fur was dark and sparkling, soft and shiny.

If you never saw a mirror before, would you trade it for an animal skin that you had spent days in cleaning?


u Shawnee, Delaware, and Mingo Tribes lived in the area know as the Forks of the Ohio. These Native Americans first encountered French fur traders and then, by the 1730s, English fur traders began arriving.