John C. Fremont

Abstracted from "History of the State of Idaho," by Cornelis J. Brosnan, published by Charles Scribner's Sons, 1918; p. 45-47.

87.John C. Fremont. John C. Fremont was one of the noted explorers to pass through Idaho. Unlike some of his predecessors, he came neither in search of furs nor riches, but as an expert surveyor and map-maker, working under the direction of the national government. On account of the ever-expanding Western migration and the fresh interest in the " Oregon Question," the federal government decided tD send out exploring-parties to discover the best routes to travel across the plains and mountains of the far West. Fremont was selected to lead three of these journeys of exploration. It was while he was conducting the second of these official expeditions, in 1843, that he passed through Idaho.

88. Fremont Through Idaho, 1843.When Fremont, in company with his friend and guide, Kit Carson, explored southern Idaho he followed the 1843 migration over the Oregon Trail and kept an accurate record of all the interesting things he saw. These observations were later published in a book called "Fremont's Journal." One of the most entertaining passages in this journal describes his visit at Fort Boise one fine October day in 1843. Francis Payette, the hospitable clerk of the Hudson's Bay Company, was in charge of the fort. He proved himself to be a most gracious host. He escorted the exploring-party into his well-stocked dairy and presented them with a supply of fresh butter. While Fremont is not wanting in gratitude to his courteous host, he reminds us that the Fort Boise butter was "by no means equal to that of Fort Hall—probably from some accidental cause."

89. Fremont's Achievement. While Fremont's pet tite, "The Pathfinder," is an exaggeration, yet he was a benefactor to the West. He made the course of our Western trails plain to countless emigrants. He helped remove the delusion from the minds of Eastern people that our West was a vast desert. His records became immensely popular and were widely circulated. Parkman, in his "Oregon Trail," tells us that in 1846 he found the men at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, using the pages of Fremont's journal to make firecrackers for a Fourth-of-July celebration.

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