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Front St.Trails Section - Clovis Free PressBack St.
Vol. 17  No. 21 Final Edition
Clovis Free Press
March 23, 2000
First Impressions
John C. Fremont's visit to Clovis region remembered.
By Howard Hobbs, Ph.D. Valley Press Media Net

John C. Fremont by  Matthew Brady , 1844     CLOVIS -- Engineer, explorer John C. Fremont passed this way 156 years ago, today. The trail he was following brought him within sight of what was then the rich wetlands which would one day dry-up. Part of that wetland would become Pollasky St. in Old Town Clovis. Fremont liked what he saw on April 7, 1844 and wrote down his observations.
     He and his party of Mountain Men were crossing from the San Joaquin River basin on the way to the King's River. With him were guides Thomas broken hand Fitzpatric, Kit Carson, and Alex Godey.
     This was a party of surveyors and scouts. Mapping the way for Westward expansion. The trail he blazed in the region would serve as the guide for later railroad construction in this area. The trails would also be used by settlers coming to Clovis.
     Eventually, over 100 years later the iron and steel rails that followed Fremont's engineering notes into the Clovis area disappeared. This year, the rails were finally removed and 14 miles of pristine trail reintroduced by the enlightned Clovis City Hall, and its well informed and energetic citizens.
     While a portion of Fremont's trail has been restored, its environs are lost forever. Fremont described his view of the Clovis region in his journal. He wrote of seeing, "...a vast prairie with great bands of Elk, wild horses, and Antelope." He obsered, "Wolves nearby."
      In 1846 he was again in the region when the Mexican-American War started. He recruited a Valley rancher, James D. Savage who later became a trader and friend of the Yosemite area Miwok Indian tribes.
      Savage would become the civilian Commander of The Mariposa Battalion militia and would eventually discover the hidden Arch Rock portal entry to Yosemite Valley along the boulder-strewn shoreline of the Merced River wilds.
      In time, Fremont gained recognition as a Pathfinder, served as a U.S. Senator from California. In 1856 he became the very first Presidential candidate of the newly organized California Republican Party on the anti-slavery platform, losing to Buchanan by 500,000 votes.
      Ironically, Fremont later served as Territorial Governor of Arizona [1878-1883]. On June 23, 1984 the Jim Savage Chapter - 1852 E Clampus Vitis engraved a large granite memorial honoring Fremont. It now stands in Kearney Park near the Mansion house.

Letter to the Editor

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