Part II. Jedediah Strong Smith (1798-1831) He was probably a member of William Henry Ashley's first fur trading expedition out of St. Louis in 1822. Smith was over 6 foot tall, a devout Christian, and an expert rifleman. With two partners, he bought out Ashley in 1826. In 1827, he led another party to California, then northwest to open a new coastal route to Fort Vancouver. In 1830, he sold his share of the fur-trading business. Smith was killed by Comanches on the Cimarron River in 1831.