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Frémont has particularly touched my imagination. What a wild life, and what a fresh kind of existence! But, ah, the discomforts! Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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April 16, 2016. A 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

go 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.

go Who mapped the course of the Humboldt River on the Frémont-Preuss 1848 Map of Oregon and Upper California?
Preuss was not on the third expedition.
Was Frémont there on the Humboldt?

go 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. 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 the comfort of my bed early one January morning.

go March, 2013. More farmer astronomy.
Did you know that longitude was determined at sea on Francis Drake's voyage of circumnavigation in 1577-80.
Longitude at sea? In the 16th century?
Three accounts of a lunar eclipse observed in the Pacific near the western entrance of Magellan's Strait on September 15, 1578.


go July, 2012. See the vantage of 3rd expedition artist Edward "Ned" Kern's beautiful 1846 drawing of the Sutter Buttes identified. Also called The Buttes of the Sacramento, and Los Picos de Sutter, the Buttes were Frémont's headquarters during the days that led up to the Bear Revolution--a rallying point for the settlers because they could be seen for over 100 miles in any direction. They are sometimes referred to as the world's smallest mountain range, and sometimes as the southernmost volcano of the Cascade Volcanos.

 Sept 4, 2011. Some fun. My daughter Clara, a software developer for an international investments company, wrote:

Hey Dad,
For work, I had to figure out how to use the Google® maps API and how to build web pages that can reformat themselves when an iPhone rotates. For the proof-of-concept, I built a page using some of the coordinates from longcamp.com, and thought you might be interested in seeing it! I've attached the files if you want to upload it to your site and play around with it. You can add and remove data points and paths (and modify their titles and descriptions) by editing the data.xml file. Clicking on a marker or pathway will show the associated title and description text. The name of the XML file is passed in from the .html file, so you could have multiple HTML files for the different expeditions without much difficulty. It may not work in all browsers--I mostly tested it in Chrome and mobile Safari, and a little bit in Firefox.)

go So, notwithstanding the fact that he had never played with css and xlm files before, and didn't know what API meant, Dad did do some of Clara's suggested editing: here it is :-)

And coming. The exploratory route of the spring of 1846 from Sutter's Fort up the Valley as far as Redding--this has also never been put to a map.
This valley route will make use of deseños (land plats) of the Mexican grants made to settlers in the 1840s.
Here a portion of a contemporary sketch made of Lassen's Rancho Bosquejo by William B. Ide. Some of the science done here was as follows:
"From the 30th of March to the 5th of April, the mean temperature was 40° at sunrise, 52°.5 at nine in the morning, 57°.2 at noon, 59°.4 at two in the afternoon, 58°.4 at four, and 52° at sunset; at the corresponding times the dew point was at 37.°0, 38.°1, 39.°6, 44.°9, 40.°5; and moisture in a cubic foot of air 2.838 grs., 3,179 grs., 2,935 grs., 3.034 grs., 3.766 grs., 3.150 grs. respectively."

go June, 2010. Thanks to Russ Gray of Reno, NV, we now have the location of the recovery of the parts from the Model 1835 Watervliet Arsenal built carriage of Frémont's "lost cannon" and new photos.
The parts are on public display at the Ranger Station in Bridgeport, CA, a few miles south of where they were found--right where Frémont said he left it.


go July 1010. Never mapped before. The route of Frémont's 3rd expedition as it crossed the Sierra into California in December 1845. The route taken in that year was across the pass used by emigrants that became known as Donner Pass. However, Frémont's exploratory descent route taken from that pass to Sutter's Fort was south of the emigrant road, and actually anticipated the route of the Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) and the wagon road built in the 1860s to build that railroad, today's Interstate 80.

go Frémont's contributions to the new sciences of meteorology and climateology.
And on April 14 and 16, astronomical observations were made which became one of the four Astronomical Stations upon which the 1848 Frémont-Preuss map of the west was constructed: N39° 57' 04", W121° 56' 44".
Following this will be the route from Peter Lassen's to Klamath Lake.

 Richard. V. Francaviglia, Mapping and Imagination in the Great Basin: a Cartographic History, University of Nevada Press, Reno, 2005. "A description of the daunting physical realities of the Great Basin with a cogent examination of the ways humans, from early Native Americans to nineteenth-century surveyors to twentieth-century highway and air travelers, have understood, defined, and organized this space."
In this very excellent book of early maps and mapping of the Frémont's "Great Basin," author Richard V. Francaviglia suggests and discusses the possible explanations for just what was intended to be represented by a nonexistent transverse range depicted on the watershed 1848 Frémont-Preuss map of the West.

go Here we take a further in depth look at how that range was originally depicted, how the Great Basin was defined, and how Frémont himself corrected the map on his 5th expedition.

October 24, 2009, painting my wagon.
I have been invited to travel 437 miles north to Bend, Oregon to participate in an upcoming symposium on John C. Frémont hosted by The Deschutes County Historical Society. A number of presenters will explore the route and impact of Frémont's journeys in the West--particularly his 1843 route through Central Oregon. The event will be held Saturday, October 24, 2009. Those interested can find all the details here including an attendance form download

 September 20, 2008.
At Drake historian Brian Kelleher's request, I will be at Campbell Cove, at the entrance to Bodega Harbor. Brian will be addressing the Bodega Historical Society and the new Harbor Master. As part of this presentation I will repeat my determination of latitude at meridian transit as it would have been determined by Francis Drake in June/July 1579. Preparing for this means bringing the published 1574 solar declinations forward 432 years using the rule of obliquity of the ecliptic.
We have done this publicly on a number of occasions, including large gathering in July 2000 following an announcement by Carl Nolte of the San Francisco Chronicle, and in February 2001 for the filming of a History Channel show on Drake's circumnavigation.
(It rained. Yep; cutting room floor :-)

go Learn more about this very interesting 16C determination of latitude.

July 2008: Now you see it: now you don't. A previously unknown national treasure suddenly appears. An 1864 portrait of Frémont by S. N. Carvalho--the first photographer in the Far West on Frémont's 1848 5th winter expedition through the Rocky Mountains, and an important portrait artist.

And then....................... poof!

go More about the Carvalho portrait, and photos.
go Mark Mysliwiec of Chicago regains his lead in the JCF Look-alike contest.

go Its back! August, 2009. Now we know where it went. The Carvalho portrait, now cleaned, and with the frame "reguilded" (looks like gold paint!), has reappeared on the market from Anthony's Fine Art in Salt Lake City.

go 2008: Frémont's famous lost cannon parts finally found?

Herb Kuehne of Kirkwood, CA tells us of items on display at the Humboldt-Toyage National Forest Ranger Station in Bridgeport. Herb took photographs of the parts and of three iron tires. They have been identified by Lt. Col. Paul Roswitz as the axle strap and trunnion plate of a pre-1848 US-made copy of the French mountain howitzer carriage.


go 2008: "Facts more terrible than thunder! Lightning, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions! Hear! Hear! Great news! War! Capt. Frémont of the United States Topographical Corps with sixty or more mounted riflemen has fortified himself on the heights between San Juan and Don Joaquin Gomez' rancho..." Capt. Weber to John Marsh.
The beginnings of a new and deeper look at the location of the Gabilan [Gabvilan, Hawks] Peak incident of March 1846. This is in progress, and will contain input from Darrell Boyle, a local landowner (Gabilan Cattle Company) and California State Parks historian Matt Bischoff. There will be photos added after a perusal of the area.


2007--2010: I have not been as busy as usual with this Frémont project, because I have become involved with a group tracing out and mapping the remaining evidence of the 1852 Johnson Cut-off--the first wagon road across the Sierra on today's Hwy 50 alignment (more or less). The group of about 10 volunteers is led by Ford and Ellen Osborn and Eldorado National Forest archaeologist Krista Deal. This makes for great outings, fresh air, Nature, and a lot of fun. I have even been able to implement some of the barometrical work I have previously done regarding Frémont's routes in helping locate a site on the Johnson route. Here, a reenactment of the barometric data gathering of a survey of the Johnson road by civil engineer George H. Goddard in 1854. Goddard's use of the aneroid barometer on his survey was pioneering use of that instrument.
At right, trying to keep my feet dry. Didn't, though :-)

go The FIRST (and little-known) biography of Kit Carson, 1847.

go 1844 route from Red Lake to "THE PASS" (Carson Pass), nearly snowless in winter, has been developed by Peter Lathrop.
As readers of The Report may have noted, there is no mention in the 1844 narrative of having to build a road through the snow between the Long Camp and the summit of the pass. Peter locates that summit of February 1844.

go And Peter, in another Special to loncamp.com, wearing his geologist's hat, takes you up Red Lake Peak with Frémont and Preuss on Valentine's Day 1844 to discover Lake Tahoe.

go See the Frémont Longcamp site on Google Maps!

go Some notes on Frémont's contributions to the then emerging science of Geology.

go Frémont's 1842 adventure in rafting on the Platte River is told on this website. It also makes up a chapter in Tom Rea's newly published book Devil's Gate: Owning the Land, Owning the Story published by the University of Oklahoma Press, 2006.

go The Crossing will be available at the Eldorado National Forest Interpretive Association (ENFIA) information center on highway 88 at Carson Pass. The Carson Pass center is staffed from late spring through fall.
In the Placerville area you can find a copy year-round at Placerville News Co, 409 on historic Main Street; right by the bell tower. Placerville News stocks a great selection of local histories.
Also in the Hope Valley/Carson Pass area at Sorensen's Hope Valley Resort. Or call 1-800-423-9949

go August, 2005. Attention lost cannon hunters.
Award-winning Cowboy Poet, singer and songwriter Richard Elloyan has sent us a copy of his smashing new CD Back in Heaven with a track entitled Frémont's Cannon. The lyrics are a roadmap to where the Lost Frémont Cannon was abandoned north of Bridgeport in 1844. Richard may also be the first to refer to the Washo Indians in popular song. Follow this link to details.

Did Frémont's cartographer Charles Preuss make use of the camera obscura?

My longcamp.com DRAKE ANNEX

go The 1579 Drake California Landing Site pages. It has been a long time since I have made any changes to these, but I have recently added some maps and graphics. This is pretty interesting stuff on 16th Century (pre optics) celestial navigation. Drake was one of the most accomplished navigators of his day.
Frémont had finished his own his training in celestial navigation and hypsometry under Joseph N. Nicollet--a student of Laplace and former chief astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Paris.
In my Drake landing site latitude study, you won't find any conspiracy theories--just an objective look at 16C latitude determination and at the potential accuracy of observations reduced by someone in 1579 who had sailed 8 hours backward in Time by the time he had arrived on the coast of California (think about it).
go A response to the above articles from the Drake Navigators Guild (DNG). This page includes my analysis of the Guild's accepted latitude.
go Peter Bailey, retired United States Coast Guard and area resident comments.

An email from Peter Lathrop of Carson City. Peter has spent years hiking the Markleeville/Carson Pass area--winter and summer--and has been looking at that part of the Sierra crossing route in detail.

go Peter now looks at the routes of five 1844 Frémont Expedition climbs to the heights of the Sierra Nevada.
go Sept, 2004: updates the route to the Pass with photos.
go Mount Diablo--Carson's the little mountain? An examination by Bob Graham and Peter Lathrop.
go Frémont's camp of January 31 to February 2, 1844 near Dresslerville Nevada. His gateway to the high Sierra mountains in his historic winter crossing.
go 2005: the descent camps of February 21st and 22nd.
go 2006: The 1844 route from Pyramid Lake to Bridgeport.

go Latest in the Frémont Slept Here Department: Eldorado National Forest 41-mile Tract recreational cabin area below Strawberry on US 50.

go Monday, Jun 28, 2004, The Reno Gazette, Frémont at Churchill Butte, by Laura Tennant.
Most of the information in this article was provided by Peter Lathrop of Minden, NV. Search this site (above) for other contributions by Peter relating to the understanding of the 1844 Frémont route.

go Since July, 2004, Frémont's Long Camp is now a Geocache site.
Anyone with a GPS device can participate in this popular new hobby. There are probably many geocaches right near you. Geocacher MarshallOD found it:
I parked at the three way junction about 1/4 mile below the cache to walk and stretch my legs. I appreciate the opportunity to stand at this historical place and imagine Fremont's passage through the area. My pen wouldn't give up any more ink, so I took a photo of the cache, which I'm attaching as my "log.

go A side trip: A visit to the 1846 Hastings Adobe--the second oldest structure in Solano County, and one time home of Lansford W. Hastings, author of the Emigrant's Guide to California, promoter of the Hastings Cut-off, and one of the framers of the Constitution of California. An important historic site in grave danger of being lost forever.

go There were many blacks associated with the early exploration and opening of the West: African born Esteban de Dorantes with Álvar Núñes Cabeza de Vaca and Fray Marcos de Niza; York with Lewis and Clark; and men such as Jim Beckworth--mountain man and Crow Chief. With Frémont was Jacob Dodson.

go Running rapids on the Platte River in 1842. Wow!

go Some important updates on the 1842 Wind River Frémont Peak (WY) page--Front Page news in 1842..
Did the Frémont's 1st Expedition climb Frémont Peak, or Mt. Woodrow Wilson?

go The above update also has a link to this new page which examines the approach route from the astronomical station established near Two Buttes. And graphical correlations of the Preuss drawings.
go What is a camera obscura, and what does it have to do with climbing mountains, anyway?
5 cent commemorative stamp issued in 1898

go The 1846 Standoff at Gabilan Peak. Where was it; Frémont Peak (CA)?
New information on the location added from the little-known W. F. Swasey account.

go And what did Joe Walker have to say about it?

go See the current leader in JCF Look-alike Contest.

go First contact: A record of the 2nd Frémont expedition contacts with the Indians of the Great Basin in central Oregon and western Nevada. In many cases, the Indians that the expedition met had ever seen a non-Indian.
ADDED--1845 3rd Expedition first-contacts in Nevada.

Note: Alan H. Hartley, a researcher for the Oxford English Dictionary, from Duluth, Minnesota, tells us at longcamp.com that Frémont's Reports (The Expeditions of John Charles Frémont, Jackson & Spence edition), Geographical Memoir upon Upper California, and Memoirs of My Life, and Torry's Plantae Frémontianae have yielded nearly 600 citations for possible inclusion in the OED.
Honest mistakes, errors, and just plain Boloney Department

go "Jessie really wrote the Report."
This particular bit of sniggering calumniation dates from charges by the Know Nothing Party and the pro-slavery elements of the Democratic Party during the 3-party 1856 presidential campaign.
But calumny lingers still, at an Idaho State University website.

go Frémont climbed Mount Woodrow Wilson in the Wind River Range in 1842. It wasn't.
go Frémont and Charles Preuss discovered Lake Tahoe from Stevens Peak (or Waterhouse Pk.) on Valentine's Day in 1844. It wasn't.
go The Gabalan Peak stand-off with Gen. José Castro in March, 1846 was at Frémont Peak, in Frémont Peak State Park, CA. It wasn't.

go "Frémont, morally and physically, was the most complete coward I ever knew. I would call him a woman, if it were not casting an unmerited reproach on the sex. "
Mountain Man Joseph Reddeford [Rutherford] Walker.

go The search for the Buenaventura River. "JFC's recurring journal entries about his search for the fables river...and his final conclusion that the river did not exist, seem almost like a deliberately introduced element to add to add continuity and suspense to the Report. It is hard to resist the suspicion that Jessie Benton Frémont's flair for the dramatic is somehow involved." Donald Jackson and Mary Lee Spence

An email from Diane Elder of Summer Lake in southern Oregon. Diane was doing local history research on the 2nd Expedition route for the 2003 Mosquito Festival in the town of Paisley.

go For the 2006 season, The Crossing will again be available at Eldorado National Forest Interpretive Center at Carson Pass. Also available at the center, will be a 2nd printing of the Hiking in the greater Carson Pass Region, which contains (p. 55-56) an entry for, and hiking map to, the Long Camp site.

go 2nd Expedition campsites in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.

go Hypsometrical results from the 1855 Sierra Nevada wagon road survey by George H. Goddard and Sherman Day.

go Excerpts from The Crossing. This will change to other date ranges from time to time.

An email from Shane Lennard of New South Wales, Australia. Shane found a very practical use for my hypsometrical spreadsheet which can be downloaded from this website.

go An assessment of the practicality of the 1844 Frémont route across the Sierra, which includes a link to a cross section of the route across the mountains.

go Handy formulas to determine elevation by barometer or boiling point and to reduce upper level barometric readings to mean sea level equivalent.
You can also download an Excell spreadsheet to do this for you.

go Frémont Peak Wyoming: Four views on the peak climbed, including an examination of the 1960 Bonney & Bonney determination for Mt. Woodrow Wilson.
And much new material added through links.

go SNOWSHOES. Frémont used them to scale the Sierra Nevada in the winter of 1844. Where did he get them?

go Frémont's contributions to BOTANY. "Among Frémont's most lasting and important works are those in the field of botany, a field largely ignored by his boigraphers." Stanley L. Welsh

An examination of previous attempts at locating the 1844 route and camps by Smith, Dellenbaugh, Nevins, Gudde/Gudde, Gianella, Farquar, Jackson/Spence.)

go There are now brief bios on some of the men: Frémont, Carson, Preuss, Godey, and Fitzpatrick.

go How bad does a starved mule taste without salt?

go WHO DISCOVERED CARSON PASS?--the route across the Sierra Nevada used by Frémont in 1844, the Mormon Battalion in 1848, and by tens of thousands of "49ers."

go The Mexican War--A Dichotomy?

go The Famous Ride of Frémont, Jacob Dodson, and Don José de Jesús Pico.

go LAKE TAHOE DISCOVERED!--Two accounts: Frémont's narrative of February 14, 1844, and recent climbs of Red Lake Peak by Peter Lathrop of Carson City.


go The complete narrative of the Reports of Frémont's 1st and 2nd Expeditions online at the University of Michigan--Smucker, Samuel M, A. M., The Life of Col. John Charles Frémont and His Narrative of Explorations and Adventures in Kansas, Nebraska, Oregon and California, Miller, Orton & Mulligan, New York, 1856.
This is one of the three larger Frémont biographies published for the 1856 presidential campaign. This one contains all of the narrative of the official government Reports of Frémont's 1st (1842) and 2nd (1843-44) expeditions.
go And from Project Gutenberg.
And, it is searchable, and is editable text!


Navigation snippets--notes within various articles:
go Re. the Drake landing site project, see a comparison of the 16th Century TABLES OF SOLAR DECLINATION by Martin Cortes with those of William Bourne. Pretty neat!



How polaris has moved 2 degrees closer to the celestial pole during recorded California history, and why Frémont got up at 3:00 a.m. to sight polaris--wasn't it there all night long?

go Frémont's contributions to meteorology, and relatated:

go The Mountain Barometer. A description of Frémont's barometers and of a remarkable field repair in 1842.

go A kitchen experiment in Frémont's use of the thermometer in determining elevation on the 2nd Ecpedition.

THE LOST FRÉMONT CANNON: an email about dolphins (re Preuss drawing) on mountain howitzers (On this website, I said there was "no such thing.") from Jiggs Caudron, Wrightwood, CA.
go This button takes you direct to the place on that page.

go THE LOST FRÉMONT CANNON: read some early history (colorful) and newspaper accounts(also colorful) of the Nevada State Museum Howitzer.

go Drawings of the 1828 French 12 lb and the 1835 US mountain howitzer.
And a new contender?

go There is much added to the Mountain Howitzer page and an email from Wayne Stark of Baden, PA--author of a book on Civil War era artillery.
And, near the bottom of the page, the information most asked for by cannon seeking visitors.

Antiques Roadshow, April 4, 2005
Program #911
Reno Sparks Convention Center
A model 1835 mountain howitzer tube dug up in a back yard near the California-Nevada border!
The tube was marked "C. A. & Co. [Cyrus Alger], Boston."
Just right, so far!
However, the serial numbers indicated that this was "464" in Alger's production, and "87" in Alger's mountain howitzer production. It is marked by the proofer, Louis A. B. Walbach and carries the date 1853--the only year that Walbach was a proofer.
So not Frémont's Lost Cannon, but these are still showing up in the region!
Roadshow appraiser Christopher Mitchell put the value at $35-45,000.

go Many additions of entries and maps to the article on the determinations of coordinates.

go The Bibliography has been updated with links to complete online text when available; included is the complete text of Frémont's 1st and 2nd Expeditions (1842, 1843-44).

go A Highway Guide to the route across the Sierra in 1844. Visit many of the sites on paved roads by automobile.

go The Route From Markleeville: A walking examination of the route of the 2nd Expedition from Markleeville to Charity Valley and the Carson Pass. Contains photographs, maps, and the location of another new campsite discovery--that of February 4th, 1844. This the place where the Washo Indians told Frémont that he could not cross the mountains; "Rock upon rock. Snow upon snow."

go And an overview of the entire route from Markleeville to Carson Pass.

go I have added information and photographs on the historic roads through the canyon of the South Fork of the American River along the route that the Frémont Expedition traveled between February 23rd and 26th in 1844. From 1852 until present, this has been an area of intense road building.

go Help solicited--what road is this? ( and a response)

go An interesting early Highway 50 site is added.

go Cool mapping techniques. A sample of route maps rendered from USGS DEM files of 7.5 minute quadrangle topo maps.
Just added another image showing Brewer's ascent of Pyramid Peak from Slippery Ford House in 1863.

go Updates re Frémont's Emancipation Proclamation and The Capitulation of Cahuenga.



©1999, 2015
Bob Graham