I am standing in front of the original Wetherill Trading Post at Oljato 10 miles east of current Goldings Resort in Monument Valley. John Wetherill and his brother-in-law John Wade encountered a group of navajos on horseback carrying rifles and were told to leave. The two men were in search of a location to establish a new trading post which would be the farthest location west for their trading business with the Navajo people. The following web address is the story of the result of their encouter.
John’s wife Louisa is a major interest in the story. She became so fluent in the difficult Navajo language that she was adopted by Chief Hoskininni who believed that she was actually Navajo at birth. The Wetherills were Quaker and delt so peaceably with the Deneh that they developed a major impact on the Navajo people and came to discover the many ancient residences of the ancient ones (Anastazi) in the Four Corners area. After five years at Oljato they moved their post to Kayenta, Arizona all the time growing in impact.
A Journal of Gary Fillmore’s wanderings on the Colorado Plateau -and beyond.
Gary’s article on The Slim Woman opens the life of Louisa Wetherill. Louise expressed her Quaker Faith through her love of the Navajo people with who she and her husband, John, lived and served. They developed trading posts in Four Corners area in the late 1800s eventually permanently settling in Kayenta, AZ.
John Wetherill is credited with having dicovered Mesa Verde and many of the Anasazi dwellings in area. Louisa, on the other hand, became fluent in the difficult Navajo language, and recorded many of their stories and legends. She was so genuinely interested in and loved the people that she was accepted as a family member of the Dine.
Insight into the lives of these incredible adventurers can be discovered in Traders to the Navajos, by Frances Gillmore and Louisa Wetherill.