At the California Trail Center in Elko, NV, we love introducing you to extraordinary people like John C. Fremont, who was an adventurer from the start of his life and bound to make great things happen around him. He was an afterward explorer, soldier, map maker, politician, leader, and much more. If you enjoy learning the history behind this trailblazer, we hope you’ll consider paying us a visit to experience more stories of trial and hope and as other people just like you traveled along the California Trail.

Who Was John C. Fremont?

John was born on January 21, 1813, in Savannah, Georgia. He spent most of his childhood in Charleston, South Carolina. He later married Jessie Benton and they had 5 children together. He traveled throughout the United States before passing away in New York on July 13, 1890. This sounds like a full life in itself, but wait, John C. Fremont filled his life to the brim with adventures, disappointments, trials, and accomplishments. Let’s take a quick glance at his legacy.

Education & Explorations

John was an educated man and attended the College of Charleston where he focused his learning in the Science Department and was on track to graduate when he was expelled in 1831 because he didn’t pay attention to his studies. He was very good at mathematics thought which allowed him to become a teacher for the midshipmen of the navy.

Fremont wasn’t one to stay still for long and soon became an explorer. In 1838-39, he was appointed to the Corps of Topographical Engineers which helped the Army with map and survey work.

In 1842, he embarked on an expedition guided by Christopher “Kit” Carson to map the Oregon Trail and find a route through the South Pass. It took several years and 2 expeditions to complete this mapping. In the winter of 1849, John led an expedition, at his own expense, in searching for a railway passage through the mountains where an attack from the Native Americans was a real threat to their survival and so was starvation when they became lost.

A few more interesting facts:

  • He was involved with the California Gold Rush(1848-1855).  He became very wealthy from the gold found in Monterey.
  • John was a major in the US Army.
  • Fremont was asked to lead the Department of the west Armies by President Abraham Lincoln.
  • John Fremont was the first Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States in 1856.

Learn More About John Fremont & The California Trail

These are just a few interesting facts about John C. Fremont who was an amazing part of US history and of the California Trail. To learn more about others like him, come visit us at the California Trail Interpretive Center in Elko, NV and share in the rich history we offer. We offer something interesting for everyone including school groups, family history buffs, and the budding historian in you. Stop by and see us today.

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