Picturing the past: Robert Siniard, fur trapper, trader
In Brevard’s “Sylvan Valley News” between 1911 and 1913, there were semi-frequent mentions of Robert Siniard passing through parts of the county buying fur. This was Robert G. “Dougan” Siniard, born in 1890, and the older brother of Samuel Hale Siniard Sr.
Dougan, or “Doog,” was a fur dealer, buying pelts from individual trappers and travelling around Transylvania County on horseback. It is unknown whether he was working as an agent for a fur buying company or (more likely) as an independent “country buyer.” Either way he was one cog in a wheel of intermediaries between the individual trappers and the buyers who would eventually acquire the furs at auction to then be made into garments. Newspapers across western North Carolina like the “Sylvan Valley News” frequently included advertisements from companies offering to buy furs, some as close as Asheville and others as far away as New York City.
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