-- 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
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
©2000 Clovis Free Press. All rights reserved.