BENT, William W., American fur trader and pioneer: b. Marietta, Ohio, 1809; d. near Las Animas, Colo., 19 May 1869. He became a trader and trapper on the Upper Missouri and, in 1826, with his brothers, Charles, Robert and George, helped to organize and establish the business of Bent, St. Vrain & Company in the valley of the Upper Arkansas, near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The permanent trading post of this firm, known as Bent's Fort, was built lower down, where the valley of the Arkansas emerges upon the Great Plains, 1828-32, and became one of the most noted places in the history of the surrounding region during the ensuing quarter century. In 1835, William Bent married Owl Woman, a daughter of White Thunder, the venerated keeper of the sacred bundle of "medicine arrows," the national talisman of the Cheyenne tribe. He gained great influence among the Indians, continuing to operate the trading busi ness at Bent's Fort after the death of his brothers. He served a brief term as govern ment agent for the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche and Kiowa tribes, in 1859-60, and, at various times he acted as a mediator in the settlement of troubles with the people of those tribes. In October, 1865, he served as a mem ber of the government peace commission which negotiated new treaties with the chiefs and head men of the tribes of the Southern Plains in the council which was held at the mouth of the Little Arkansas River. Bent
County, Colo., was named in his honor. Con sult 'Bagkin's History of Arkansas Valley, Colorado' ; also Kansas Historical Society Collections' (Vol. VII, p. 327• Vol. VIII, p. 491; Vol. IX, p. 564; Vol. ) , p. 113; Vol. XI, p. 311).
(Agrostis), a genus' of grasses usually regarded as weeds except in soils which cannot produce better. Common bent-grass or red-top (A. vulgaris) is a narrow leaved species with trailing stems rooting at the joints, and small thin panicles of purplish satiny flowers. It is sometimes sown for lawns or for hay. March bent, white bent, or florin grass (A. stolonif era), has broader leaves than com mon bent, a much closer and larger panicle, and green or pale flowers. It is very common in low, damp places, which it overruns with its compact, trailing, rooting stems, and is a useful grass in newly reclaimed bogs or land liable to inundation. Brown bent-grass (A. canna) is known in the United States as Rhode Island bent-grass, and is highly prized as a lawn grass.