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News and Interesting Items
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December 2016.
On the night of December 16, 1843, in descending from Winter Ridge down to Summer Lake in Oregon (Frémont's coinages,) Frémont wrote that "night had closed in before the foremost reached the bottom, and it was dark before we all found ourselves together in the valley."
Loren Irving and Rick Sampo did a bit of research on this question and and found the following:

"The Moon's phase on night of Dec. 16, 1843 was 25% waning crescent, moonrise at 2:25a.m. (the US Naval Observatory. ) So, the moon was no help!"

For the story of that descent, see...


November 2016, Billy Chinook; new information sent by Loren Irving:
Frémont mentions second and third expedition member Billy Chinook was about 19 years old. It's interesting that Pastor Perkins mentions him as part of his family for four years. Until seeing the followiing information, I have thought he was someone Perkins had helping around the mission, but it looks like he felt he was part of his family and had been for some time. I have always had the feeling that Fremont had regard for Perkins and did this as more or less a favor, taking along this young Indian man.
"In the book People of the Dalles, The Indians of Wascopam Mission, by Robert Boyd,University of Nebraska Press, 2004, there is a reference to Billy Chinook. The original documents come from Perkins Journal 1843-1844 Book 2. In the Appendix on page 292 there is a reprinting of the original documents of the Journal of Pastor Perkins of the Methodist Mission at The Dalles, Oregon. On the day of Dec. 4, 1843 Perkins wrote a letter to a fellow Missionary, a Mr. Pitman, in which he stated the following:

More recently, we have had the pleasure of an acquaintance with Lieut. J.C. Fremont who had been here on a topographical survey for Government, with a party of 25 or 30 men.  He left us a few days since to return, via the Clamat Lake south.  An Indian boy, who has been a member of my family about four years, being very desirous of visiting the States, I have committed him to Mr Fremont's care.  He is an enterprising lad & I hope the journey may prove beneficial to him.


For the 2016 season, The Crossing is again available atop 8600' Carson Pass at the log cabin of the

Eldorado National Forest Interpretive Association

Right where it happened!
Almost, anyway: Frémont actually crossed over about 400 feet higher on the upper flanks of Red Lake Peak, as Peter Lathrop has determined with exact botanical and geological matches to Frémont's narrative description.


April 16, 2016. Another new Special to longcamp.com from Peter Lathrop of Minden, NV.
Peter's latest, Frémont's Route from Grovers to the Long Camp, gives the locations of the campsites for February 4th through the 10th, 1844

The locations of Fremont's campsites of his 2nd expedition during the years of 1843 to 1844 from February 4th through the 10th have been somewhat of an enigma. These uncertainties are based on the vagueness of the drainages shown on Preuss's map.


January, 13, 2016.
I am saddened to have learned of the passing of Gary Miller of Silver Spur Publishing in Camarillo, CA. For many years Gary had researched the life and exploratory routes of Joseph R. Walker and published volumes of original information. Frémont twice had hired Walker as a guide, and his own routes had frequently coincided with or crossed Walker's routes of a decade earlier.


January, 2016.
Our old friend Loren Irving of Bend, OR continues with his project of Finding Frémont in Oregon and Nevada. Working from the Pathfinder's narrative and maps, Loren searches for where he was and what he saw, and records the places in photographs. After exhibitions in Carson City, NV, Bend, OR, and currently in The Dalles, OR, Loren is now posting these by calendar day on his Facebook pages. The photo at right is from his earlier project in tracing Frémont's second expedition route into the canyon of the Metolious River-- today a reservoir called Lake Billy Chinook. Billy Chinook was a Chinook Indian traveling with the expedition. Frémont actually managed to lower the mountain howitzer down there.

And April 6 in Lakeview, OR, and April 7 at Paisley Auditorium, talking about the first person to document a trip through Lake County, OR in 1843. Watch here on YouTube


October, 2015.
I have heard from USGS geologist James G. Moore of his having visited and studied the prehistoric salt making site I discovered on the South Fork of the American River near Whitehall and reported to the Eldorado National Forest. Jim has studied many of these sites containing man-made basins in granite for, almost certainly in this case, the making of salt. When the site was visited by Eldorado National Forest archeologists, and graduate students from Sonoma State University last summer, salt was actively precipitating from brine collected in the basins. This site is perhaps somewhat different than others, because the salt in the springs is calcium chloride rather than sodium chloride. Each of the basins required many hundreds of hours to construct for a stone age people; but when, and by whom?


August, 2015, Scott Stine's A Way Across the Mountain: Joseph Walker's 1833 Trans-Sierran Passage and the Myth of Yosemite's Discovery, published by Arthur H. Clark, San Francisco, and the University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, is now available.

From publisher's blurb: Following Walker's death in 1876, an alluring tale arose concerning his trans-Sierran route. In the course of the crossing, goes the story, Walker found himself on the northern rim of Yosemite Valley at the plungepoint of North America's tallest waterfall, staring into the most awesome mountain chasm on the continent. Over the decades since then, this time-honored tale has hardened to folklore. Dozens of historical works have construed it as a towering moment in the opening of the West.
But in fact this tale of Yosemite's discovery has no basis or support in firsthand accounts of the 1833 Sierran crossing. Moreover, there is much in those accounts that contradicts Yosemite lore, and much that points to a trans-Sierran route well north of Yosemite Valley...

It's an Earthshaker!

go Frémont and Joe Walker
go Scott Stine's project mentioned on this website in 2004


Friday, May 1, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm Deschutes Historical Museum, 129 NW Idaho Ave Bend, OR 97701.
Join the Deschutes Historical Museum for an after-hours event on Friday, May 1 celebrating our new exhibit, Finding Frémont, and spend time with exhibit curators Loren Irving, Frémont Researcher and Photographer, and Eugene Hattori, Curator of Anthropology, Nevada State Museum. Call 541.389.1813 for details.
$25.00 per person/$45 for couples | Hearty hors d'oeuvres and beverages provided. Purchase your tickets online today.
The display will continue through December 31.

Frémont translated, and mapped, Riviere des Chutes as "Fall River"--In all our journeying, we had never traveled through a country where the rivers were so abounding in falls; and the name of this stream is singularly characteristic. At every place where we come in the neighborhood of the river, is heard the roaring of falls. The rock along the banks of the stream, and the ledge over which it falls, is a scoriated basalt, with a bright metallic fracture.


Update, February 24, 2015. Jupiter is back setting in the same casement window, behind the same muntin bar, a month later than last year. The setting time has increased, indicating a greater angular diameter: ie., it is now closer to Earth in their respective orbits. See link below for more.


Early 2014.
What do longcamp.com and NASA's Mars
Curiosity Rovery have in common?
Both continue to run on the venerable
PowerPC chip, created in 1991 by an Apple-IBM-Motorola alliance.

A 2 1/2" bisque bust of Frémont from the Civil War era.

Since its good enough for NASA, as part of my personal battle against obsolescence, I have recently made hardware changes in how longcamp.com is produced. For my web work (only), I have purchased for $67 on ebay a pristine little 1.33GHZ Apple G4 iBook Snow with Motorola 7450 PowerPC CPU running both Apple OS 10.4.11, and simultaneously! OS 9.2.2, so that I can continue to use pre Pentium and pre OSX software, like the incomparable and irreplaceable Claris Home Page, for its seemless integration of WYSIWYG with java hand-coding (see this page on the screen in the image), and for mapping software MacDEM and PovRay. For convenience in image editing, the iBook also runs Adobe Photoshop CS and Image Ready. A 1.33GHz PowerPC chip with 1.5MB of RAM is really f-a-s-t running pre bloatware applications--Claris launches in just 2 seconds, and Photoshop CS in 6. The iBook is networked via our home wireless network to my MacBook Pro with Intel processsor running OSX. The desktop image on the MacBook Pro is from a painting of Espresso Metropolitan, to where I bike 2 miles most mornings for my cappuccino and my morning read. A month later, I picked up another equally clean G4 iBook, also with maxed RAM, as a $45 low-budget back-up. See Claris Home Page at work.


A new University of Oklahoma Press edition of Tom Chaffin's already classic Pathfinder: John Charles Fremont and the Course of American Empire. With a new, additional, updated introduction by the author.

"The most eloquent, understanding, and yet very candid biography of Frémont that has appeared to date"--Howard R. Lamar, Yale University
A recent review of this reissue

And now two new publications from Tom Chaffin! http://www.tomchaffin.com/
--Giant's Causeway, Frederick Douglass's Irish Odyssey and The Making of an American Visionary, and
--Met His Every Goal? James A Polk and the Legends of Manifest Destiny

Looking back to 1999, Tom Chaffin visits Frémont's Long Camp on snowshoes.


October, 10 2014. Email from a Kansas history sleuth.
Hi Bob,
I believe I have found the site that Fremont mentioned in his journal on June 18, 1842. It is a Kanza village near the junction of the Kansas River and the Vermilion River. I have found a religious medallion that may have come from a nearby mission at St. Mary's, and also found a preform for a catlinite pipe.* The Vermilion River was straightened in the 1930s. The course of the river as Fremont would have seen it is still visible as a meandering tree line about half a mile west of the current river.
I've had a lot of fun putting the history together with the geography.
Wayne Donohoe
*In 1838, on the Nicollet survey of the upper drainages of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, Frémont visited the pipe stone quarry in Minnesota, now a National Monument.

Frémont: The morning of the 18th was very unpleasant. A fine rain was falling, with cold wind from the north, and mists made the river hills look dark and gloomy. We left our camp at seven, journeying along the foot of the hills which border the Kansas valley, generally about three miles wide, and extremely rich. We halted for dinner, after a march of about thirteen miles, on the banks of one of the many little tributaries to the Kansas, which look like trenches in the prairie, and are usually well timbered. After crossing this stream, I rode off some miles to the left, attracted by the appearance of a cluster of huts near the mouth of the Vermilion. It was a large but deserted Kansas village, scattered in an open wood, along the margin of the stream, chosen with the customary Indian fondness for beauty of scenery. The Pawnees had attacked it in the early spring. Some of the houses were burnt, and others blackened with smoke, and weeds were already getting possession of the cleared places.

The coordinates sent with Wayne Donohoe's email place the finds not far from the old (today rerouted) river course when viewed with Google Earth.

Fremont continues: Riding up the Vermilion [sic.] river, I reached the ford in time to meet the [expedition] carts, and, crossing, encamped on its western side. The weather continued cold, the thermometer being this evening as low as 49°; but the night was sufficiently clear for astronomical observations, which placed us in longitude 96° 04' 07", and latitude 39° 15' 19". At sunset, the barometer was at 28.845, thermometer 64°.

Frémont's determined latitude by double altitudes of Polaris made at his camp at "the ford" of the Vermilion is smack on-the-money, the site being an historic site on the old Oregon Trail (today Oregon Trail Road) where Louis Vieux later established a trading post. The historic elm tree stump is visible using Google Earth at the coordinate. His determined longitude is off by almost 10 arc minutes, or about seven miles This was a problem in fast-moving surveys using pocket chronometers, but sufficient at the scale of their mapping. For our purposes, the second line of position is the determined latitude where it intersects the river.

Thanks, Wayne. I just love this stuff!


HTML anchors made visible to demonstrate
October, 2014. When I started using Apple's OSX 10.1 Puma back in late 2001, I borrowed Apple's then revolutionary Aqua GUI style in designing my longcamp link buttons with rollover changes.
The current Apple OSX 10.10 Yosemite has the first rewrite of the user interface since OSX 10.0 Cheeta in early 2001. It now looks similar to Apple's iOX. So, after 13 years, I too have updated. Why? Because I can, and at my age, I haven't a lot better to do, anyway :-)
Try the then vs. now styles and rollover effects with your cursor in these two same-page links to nowhere. (I have made the HTML anchor tags visible)
a--go Apple OSX 10.0 Cheeta 2001 through 10.9.5 Mavericks 2014.
b--go Apple 10.10 Yosemite style, 2014.
For more fun with Photoshop®, see the next item.


August, 24, 2014.
Every man his own Richter
.
In the early hours of Sunday morning (0322 local time) a magnitude 6.0 earthquake centered in the Napa Valley shook a large area of northern California including the San Francisco metropolitan area. 50 crow miles east, in Sacramento, we slept through it, but awoke to find two pendulum clocks had stopped, indicating the very minute that the shock waves reached our house.
For many years I have maintained this little mahogany cased c.1870 Waterbury Clock Company 8-day gothic steeple clock that originally belonged to Jane's great grandfather. The same principle that stopped our pendulum clocks this morning was incorporated in a seismometer invented in AD132 by Zhang Heng and presented to the Han Court.
And in March of 1835, at the town of Concepcion on the coast of Argentina, a young Charles Darwin, naturalist on HMS Beagle, made observations of fallen vs. standing walls to determine the direction from which the shock waves had came: those in line were standing, whereas those crossing had fallen.


August 11, 2014.
I really did live to see it !

(In spite of many close-calls in the intervening years
)
Salt: update thirty years later.

Archaeologists from the Eldorado National Forest, and Sonoma State University, under the direction of Placerville District archaeologist ~Karen Klemic, made an initial survey of the prehistoric salt manufacturing site on the South Fork of the American River near Alder and Fry Creeks discovered and reported many years ago by longcamp.com.

On the day of this visit, the salinity of the brine in the basins had reached the point where course salt crystals were precipitating out of solution and settling to the bottom. A manufactory, still working away, unattended, for who knows how many centuries. go See the original story.


January, 2014. Frémont routinely made telescopic observations of Jupiter timing the immersions and emersions of its Galilean moons Calisto, Europa, Io, and Ganymede to determine his longitude. go Here is a naked-eye observation of Jupiter, apparently never recorded in the history of astronomy, which measures, in time, the angular diameter of the planet. And made from bed early one January morning.


From the Nevada State Museum website, Carson City.
January 29, 2014 and continuing through October 2014:
Finding Frémont: Pathfinder of the West, in celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Nevada's Statehood. Photography by Loren Irving, is on display in the South Changing Gallery. Experience the excitement of following the footsteps of the explorer, John C. Frémont. Irving researched Frémont's 1843-44 journey through Oregon and Nevada, visited his campsite locations, and captured the mood, color, and seasonal light through the lens of his camera. Each image includes a descriptive passage from the narrative of Frémont's Report.

The Museum will feature an important exhibition on the explorer John C. Frémont and his lost cannon. The US mountain howitzer was abandoned among the piñons* in deep snow on the east side of the West Walker River January 29, 1844. On display are the recovered parts from the howitzer carriage. Experience an exciting time in the history of westward expansion. Discover original reports, maps, and documents from the 1843-44 expedition, plus full-color contemporary photographs of Frémont's campsite locations by Loren Irving. The exhibit is planned in partnership with the Des Chutes Historical Museum, the US Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management.

On July 25-26 the museum hosted a Frémont Symposium with leading scholars from across the country and the world. Presenters includedLoren IrvingAndrew MenardRichard FrancavigliaPeter LathropPaul PaceTom HowardGene HattoriScott StineLt. Col. Paul Rosewitzand entertainment byRichard Elloyan, Nevada cowboy poet and musician.

*Pinus monophylla, Torr. & Frém., (the nut pine, piñon pine)--first collected and catalogued by Frémont on this expedition. January 25, 1844, E. Walker River, Bridgeport Valley--"The timber consists principally of nut pines, (pinus monophyllus) which here are of larger size--12 to 15 inches in diameter; heaps of cones lying on the ground, where the Indians have gathered the seeds."
"Remarkable among the true pines for its solitary leaves." John Torrey, FLS, Plantae Frémontianae, Smithsonian, 1853. Frémont's botanical collections.


Update, January 14, 2014. Peter Lathrop writes that the place described below has been accepted by the committee of the Nevada State Board on Geographical Names. This will now be submitted to the US Geographical Service.

September 10, 2013, Nevada State Board on Geographical Names.
At a meeting before the members of the Nevada State Board on Geographical Names, Peter Lathrop of Minden, NV successfully argued his case to have the board rescind it's January 8th application to the US Geological Survey to name a small mountain near Dayton, NV "Fremont Lookout."
In 2005, Peter had already demonstrated that the peak on the Carson River that John Charles Frémont had climbed on January 20, 1844 to survey the surrounding country was the west peak of Churchill Butte, approximately 8 miles east of the site suggested to the board by Dayton Valley Historical Society members Stony Tennant and Guy Rocha. This despite retired State Archivist Rocha's having gone on the record as having "little respect for Frémont."
Peter's determination, which will now be submitted to the State Board, had been based on:
--the Frémont-Preuss 1845 map of the expeditionary route,
--the confirmed coordinates of the camp made on the previous day,
--the expedition record of the miles traveled daily,
--and his own confirmation of the narrative description of the view as recorded by Frémont.
Peter Lathrop's original article on the January 20 route on the Carson River, and the climb and view, published here in 2005.

Frémont, January 20, 1844: "We ascended a peak of the range, which commanded a view of this stream [Carson River] behind the first ridge, where it was winding its course through a somewhat open valley, and I sometimes regret that I did not make the trial to cross here; but while we had fair weather below, the mountains were darkened with falling snow, and, feeling unwilling to encounter them, we turned away again to the southward."
(Frémont was looking for the Rio San Buenaventura)

A few of Peter Lathrops other articles, including the Frémont route over Carson Pass, and the climbing route to the discovery of Lake Tahoe on February 14, 1844.


August, 2013 An update from Frémont tracker Stephen Schell
In October, 2012 my wife and I found the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC. I discovered that Charles Preuss, Thomas Fitzpatrick, and Joseph Nicollet are buried there. They escorted me to the sites. They did not know who Preuss was, and he doesn't have a stone. The head of the place said I might get one for him through the USGS. Last week, I finally got authorization from the US Army Corps of Engineers to be sent to the cemetery--they confirmed that Preuss was in their employment.
On July 25 this year, with the help of many volunteers and contributers, I completed my two year mission to erect a grave stone for Charles Preuss.
History is served. :-)


I just learned of this factory engraved Smith & Wesson No 2 .32 caliber rim fire revolver that sold at auction for $57,500.00 in December, 2006. The pearl grips are engraved Presented to Major General John C. Fremont by his Friends Through the Metropolitan Fair in Aid of the U.S. Sanitary Commission New York April 14th, 1864 and Animus Opivusque Parati.
At the time of the Civil War, the .32 rim fire S&W was the largest caliber cartridge revolver made. Never issued, it was, however, very popular with officers.

Cowan's Auctions: The Midwest's Most Trusted Auction House / Antiques / Fine Art / Art Appraisals

This is not the only association of Frémont and the Civil War Metropolitan Fair in Aid of the Sanitary Commission of New York. Here a portrait of Frémont by his 5th expedition artist/photographer Solomon N. Carvalho that was auctioned a few years ago.


May 3013.
In the spring of 2013 it was reported in an article by Larua Tenant in the Reno Gazette-Journal, and picked up by the Associated Press, that it has been proposed by Stoney Tenant and Guy Rocha of the Historical Society of Dayton Valley, NV to the Nevada State Board on Geographic Names that a low mountain along the Carson River about 25 miles east of Carson City be named Fremont Lookout. This despite retired State Archivist Rocha's having gone on the record as having "little respect for Frémont."
However the site Dayton Valley site suggested is approximately 8 miles too far west of the route of Frémont's 2nd expedition as it travelled between the Carson and Walker Rivers. The correct site, at Churchill Butte, is shown here, as determined by Peter Lathrop in 2005, and verified by the tables of distances travelled and determined longitudes in the 1845 Senate edition of Frémont's report.


April 2013.
This document box with the applied name J. C. Fremont. was acquired by its present owner at an auction of a Diego, CA library that was closing. The auction description by the library was that it was a "dispatch box." It most certainly was not: it is a common stationary supply item of the turn of the 19th and early 20th centuries. That it is so marked, suggests that it was from a legal office, where client's documents were often so stored.


First public announcement (October 2010!)
Andrew Menard writes,"I've just written a book Sight Unseen: How Fremont's First Expedition Changed the American Landscape. which will be published by the University of Nebraska Press in Fall 2012.
UPDATE--NOW AVAILABLE.
At the same time, the Bison Book division of the press will publish a facsimile edition of the 1845 Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842, and to Oregon and North California in the Years 1843-'44.
My book is mainly an examination of the first expedition (1842), focusing on the report itself--its science, its aesthetic, the way it changed our view of the Great American Desert and Manifest Destiny, its contribution to the transcontinental railroad; with a broader consideration of American politics and culture from about 1825 to 1875. Read an excerpt from the publisher.

Praise: "Eloquent, lively, and learned, with an intellectual breadth as wide as a Rocky Mountains horizon, Andrew Menard's Sight Unseen ably reconnoiters geographies of both imagination and terra firma. This fascinating book recovers the American West as John Frémont found it and shows us how the explorer taught us to see American landscapes--and America itself--anew." Tom Chaffin, author of Pathfinder: John Charles Frémont and the Course of American Empire

 


looks to be a banner year!
In addition to Sight Unseen, Scott Stine's long anticipated A Way Across the Mountain: The 1833 Sierran Crossing of Joseph R. Walker is due to be released at about the same time.
Richard Orsi, CSUEB professor emeritus of history, praises the book as "One of the best examples I've ever seen of interdisciplinary research."


Email March 7, 2012.
My name is Marlies Bugmann
and I reside in Tasmania, Australia. I translate German travel fiction of the 1800s; the author in question, Karl Friedrich May (1842-1912), had an extensive library with publications of/by many American explorers, although much has been lost during the past century, and two world wars. It is fairly certain that, among the sources of the German author, there were accounts of Captain John C. Frémont's expeditions.
The query I have, and which I have not been able to get even near to answering despite continued search on the Internet, is an apparent connection to the name Florimont. In the fiction novel, a character (only mentioned) by the name of Florimont (cf. Frémont) was also known as "Track-Smeller" (cf. Pathfinder)...................
Here are some of the Karl May books that Marlies has translated.
And her website.


September 20, 2011, Lake Tahoe.
At the invitation of Joan and Dick Young, I joined Peter Lathrop at Camp Richardson in his talk to the Lake Tahoe Historical Society about the Frémont and Preuss first view of Lake Takoe on February 14, 1844 from Red Lake Peak at Carson Pass. About 60 people attended. Peter presented a slide show of his photographs made on Frémont's route from Bridgeport (Jan 26, 1844, to Carson Pass, (Feb. 20, 1844) and the descent to near Strawberry (Feb. 23, 1844).
Peter, who lives in Minden, NV, has been a major contributor to this website, and to the fund of knowledge of the Frémont routes of exploration, since 2000.


June, 2011. The news of the recovery of parts of the Frémont "lost cannon" is for many of us equally exciting as further evidence of the January 1844 route between the Devils Gate and Antelope Valley. Russ Gray, of Reno, has been devoting much time in examining a feasible descent route to the point where the howitzer was abandoned allowing it to get into the Deep Creek canyon where it was discovered. After many miles of following every conceivable route, Russ has come up with only one that seems possible. That route is a descent into Cottonwood Creek and following that to, or near, the confluence with Deep Creek. Here is a map showing that route with Frémont's description.
In a recent email Russ added, "By the way, my wife does not want to hike the area of the canyon rim anymore: she tore some ligaments in her knee on our last outing, so just me and my son rest of summer.  She blames Frémont."

May, 2012.
The Fremont Howitzer Recovery Team is still at it. The team is now working under the direction of Dr. James M. Allan, a Research Fellow at the Archaeological Research Facility of the University of California and Director of the Institute for Western Maritime Archaeology.


More--Earlier items, back to 1999
News Page Two


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Bob Graham