Explorer Jed Smith

Although he never settled in California, renowned mountain man-fur trapper Jedediah Strong Smith explored many regions of the state in the 1820s, opening new paths in the interior plus other trails leading north to Oregon Territory and east to present-day Utah.  Born January 6, 1799, the sixth of fourteen children, young Continue reading Explorer Jed Smith

The Trail Blazers

Companies of wide-ranging American fur trappers were the trail blazers for subsequent explorers, gold rushers and settlers.  The mountain passes they crossed, the routes they trod, and the valleys where they camped became the routes and stopping places that others followed.  When the fur trade declined in the mid-1840s, many of these adventurous mountain men became emigrant guides to caravans of covered wagons.

The Pioneers: Jacob Leese

Ohio-born Jacob Primer Leese, aged 21, was a trapper in Arkansas and soon afterwards a trader in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He first came to Mexican-owned California in 1833 to transport mules between New Mexico (also a Mexican province) and Southern California, returning in 1834 to settle briefly in Los Angeles. Two Continue reading The Pioneers: Jacob Leese