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Bob Graham
Sacramento, CA

I have attempted to make this web site easy to use. Over the past five years, like Stowe's Topsy, it just growed. It still grows, and takes some trouble to keep manageable. I have dropped the frames format and added a navigation bar to the top of each page. When following notes and links, it will return you right to where you left off.

I have also added Google® to the navigation bar, so that this site may be searched with key words. Google® is, without doubt, the Mother of all Search Engines! It takes a couple of days for updates and additions to become indexed, so a list of the most recent of these can be found with the recents button.

There are plenty of historians, so my personal niche in this history business has been to make use of published historical mathematical data, because no one else had done it or was doing it.

Previously, if a determined coordinate or elevation did not fit a place, the response was "he did it wrong" or "he read his sextant wrong," or "his barometer was off."
As if a sextant told one his latitude or a barometer indicated elevation! These observations are only starting data to be used in a mathematical reduction.
If something was wrong, why was it wrong?

In the case of Frémont's thermometric observations for altitude, I back-calculated every determination to find that he and Engelmann used a constant of 644'/1deg below the sea level boiling point at one standard atmosphere. A constant obviously won't work where the scale is logarithmic!

Nicollet would have known better, and converted the observed boiling point to tension in "Hg from Steam Tables, and then made the usual reduction by applying some published algorithm employing the Laplace [Nicollet's own mentor] theorem. Knowing that, I can then recalculate all the raw observations.

I read this morning that a similar technique to that that I have used in analyzing Drake's determinations of latitude has been recently applied to explain the placement of kivas in remote positions in the Southwest. In the Drake case, I first had to determine by actual use the resolving power of the instruments of the time in determining my own latitude from current tables of solar declination. Then, by the use of the rule of the obliquity of the ecliptic, move the published 16C declination tables of William Bourne forward to the present date. I can go where Drake went, in deed or virtually, and repeat the same observation for any day in any year and then use that determined true altitude to make the mathematical reduction to latitude.
Very pretty, I think :-)

I started out making web pages with simple text editors after my daughter (then 12 years old) taught me some hand coding. You can see one of these early pages in the first link below. But for some years now, I have used Claris Homepage®. I have tried many website authoring applications, but still prefer Homepage because of its ability to instantly switch between preview and html modes--I still like to hand code sometimes. See Claris HP in action!

go My first website--two pages that Clara made for me when she was thirteen. She thought it was pretty funny. It is. I have kept if as part of my site by adding a link forward.

My first computer was an Apple Powerbook 100 (16 MHz processor, 6 MB of RAM) that my daughter Clara had outgrown about 1994. At 5.1 lbs, it was the World's First Laptop. Although recently selected as the Greatest Gadget of All Time by Mobile PC magazine, my present website wouldn't fit on that 40MB (mega, not giga) hard drive today! But I learned to use Microsoft Word on it and created my first version of The Crossing.

Then a Powerbook 1400 (hot-rodded CPU) that trickeled down when my wife Jane and daughter Clara both got first-generation iMacs. My first computer that was really mine was a used two-year-old purchased used on eBay--the original Powerbook G3 (code name KANGA), which in 1996 was the World's Fastest Laptop.

Today I use a MacBook Pro that I have upgraded with an ADATA solid-state drive--note the desktop image is from a painting of Espresso Metropolitan, to which I bike every morning for my cappuccino and my morning read-- except for longcamp.com, where I use a PPC powered iBook G4, which can still run the incomparable and irreplaceable Claris Home Page.

go See Claris Home Page at work.
Oh, I'm not the only Luddite still using the PowerPC chip: there is quite a following.
PowerPC Access, PowertPC Software Archive, Mac POWERPC
And, a space hardened version of the PowerPC 750 processors used on early Apple computers are now the brains behind the Mars Rover Curiosity. Not bad company :-)

What do I get out of this, anyway?
No cookies--No ads

I have a lot of fun with these projects; it is just a hobby, and puts no money in my pocket, which means that, from a pecuniary vantage, it sure beats my old profession of farming! Though I have contacts with many history groups, I have, over many years, looked at these issues quite independently, using my own resourses, and following my own leads. From this web site, I have made many interesting contacts and met many interesting people--hikers, historians and history buffs, astronomers, surveyors, treasure hunters, botanists, geologists....
At right is my HQ (den?), 70' behind the house at the back of the lot. Born as a potting shed about 1930, it now houses my computer, history library, a number of musical instruments, TV, hi-fi, and other neat stuff that wives really don't want in the house. And my 1971 Raleigh Sports tethered to a granite block.

 an email from a Forest Service nature guide.


I am gratified to find that my site has acquired links from many educational web sites and resource sites, including he following:
  • The National University of Singapore
  • The University of Bonn
  • Celestial Navigation in the Classroom
  • World Book online
  • Lehrstuhl für Didaktik der Physik Würzburg
  • Columbia University
  • Southern Polytechnic (Georgia)
  • United States Corps of Topgraphical Engineers
  • University of California San Diego
  • Education on the World Wide Web
  • Trails West --Markers of the California Trail
  • Indigenous Peoples Institute
  • Education America Network
  • The University of Kansas
  • Four Directions Institute
  • Plebius - Architecture of the Mind
  • BigTome.com
  • Lassen County California: History and Culture
  • Minnesota Public Radio: The Writer's Almanac
  • ENFIA -- The Eldorado National Forest Interpretive Association
  • Mill Valley Schools
  • Wirtualna Polska
  • Museum of Local History; Fremont, CA

[Editor's note: Bob tells me that the Long Camp site is his hobby. And what a hobby!
The camp site referred to above is depicted on the site in a photo that Bob took after hiking to it in snowshoes!! The site has a number of other Fremont-related links.. DSS]

And in these recently published books:

Pathfinder; John C Fremont and the Course of American Empire, Tom Chaffin's 2002 classic in a new University of Oklahoma Press edition.

A very nice mention and the URL to this website on the first page of the introduction. Wow!

John Charles Frémont: Western Pathfinder, Barbara Witteman, Capstone Press: Bridgestone Books, Part of Exploring the West Biographies, New York, 2002

This one is from a series of youth books. It contains links to the publisher's accompanying Internet search feature--FactHound--which leads to this website. A credit and url are also in the book.

Devil's Gate: Owning the Land, Owning the Story , Tom Rea, University of Oklahoma Press, 2006.

The history of the Sweetwater River valley in central Wyoming--a remote place including Devil's Gate, Independence Rock, and other sites along a stretch of the Oregon Trail.

And the Eldorado National Forest Interpretive Association's new guide, Hiking in the Greater Carson Pass Region, contains a map and hiking directions to Frémont's Long Camp, the historic site first discovered and presented on this website.

Navigational Aids, Linda D. Williams, Cavendish, Marshall Corporation, 2007

A look at tools used to get from one place to another, dating 5000 years ago right up to the present.

Andrew Menard, Sight Unseen: How Fremont's First Expedition Changed the American Landscape will be published by the University of Nebraska Press in Fall 2012.

Way Across the Mountain: Joseph Walker's 1833 Trans-Sierran Passage and the Myth of Yosemite's Discovery, Scott Stine, Arthur H. Clark, San Francisco, and the University of Oklahoma Press.

Over the decades the tale of Walker's discovery of Yosemite 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...
It's an Earthshaker!

©1999, 2007
Bob Graham