Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2001-07 > 0995596567

Subject: Re: John C. Fremont
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 22:36:07 EDT

In a message dated 7/18/01 3:09:55 PM,

<< In a message dated 7/18/01 2:05:28 PM, writes:

<< The biography of Jessie Benton Fremont who was the daughter of Thomas
Hart Benton, a U.S. Senator, and Elizabeth Preston McDowell, is not very
flattering to General/Colonel Fremont. He was unsuccessful in nearly all of
his ventures and there is some doubt about his actions in California. He
left Jessie penniless and she had to become an author to support her family.

Is "unsuccessful" harsh enough?

"In his memoirs, Fremont said that 'Captain Sutter received me with the same
friendly hospitality which had been so delightful to us the year before'--a
fair sampling of the inaccuracies found in his Memoirs and Expeditions. The
published accounts of his life and travels are polished, fascinating, and
humane. He and his wife were careful to delete... unsavory elements....For
instance, in April of 1846, Fremont authorized Kit Carson to lead an attack
on a Wintu village near Reading's Rancho, and 175 Indians were slain." (H.H.
Bancroft, History of California, vol.5, 22) This was one of the worst
massacres in California history, but Fremont usually characterizes himself as
generous and tolerant toward the Indians." A few months later came the
murders of Jose de los Reyes, father of the alcalde of Sonoma and the DeHaro
twins. These three were killed for no reason as they disembarked a boat with
their saddles on their shoulders. Jasper O'Farrell, standing next to Fremont
at the time of the cold-blooded killings wrote a letter to the Los Angeles
Star referring to Fremont as a man "I must always look upon with contempt and
consider as a murderer and a coward."

Before calling Fremont "conqueror of California," as an earlier poster did,
one might read some other accounts of his actions and of the "Bear Flag
Revolt" such as found in Alan Rosenus' _General Vallejo and the Advent of the

Bonnie (sorry to prolong a non-medieval subject)
Oakland, California

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