Handsome, intelligent and capable, John Charles Fremont acquired valuable navigational and mapping skills while still in his twenties, as a member of the Army Topographical Corps’ exploration of the immense northern sections of the Louisiana Purchase— today the northern Midwest. In 1842 He was Continue reading J. C. Fremont
Edwin Bryant, the author of What I Saw in California (published in 1848) was a Kentucky journalist who undertook the perilous overland journey in 1846 as a literary mission, intending to write a first-hand report on the advantages and disadvantages of life on the new frontier. “Westering fever” was already drawing Continue reading The Pioneers: Edwin Bryant
Scots-born John Sinclair had been the resident manager of the 44,000-acre Rancho del Paso for two years when 16-year-old, English-born, Mary Eyre appeared at Sutter’s Fort in January 1844 with fellow wagon train companions who were headed to the Napa Valley. As Sutter’s closest neighbor just two miles Continue reading The Sinclairs of Rancho del Paso
The Mexican-American War began in May, 1846, following a formal Declaration of War by the United States. The issue was the Texas Republic’s request for annexation to the United States, compounded by a dispute over international boundaries. Mexico had never recognized the Lone Star Republic’s independence from Mexican ownership ten years previously, and now vehemently insisted that the boundary was not the Rio Grande, but the Rio Nueces farther north. President James Polk very much wanted Texas for the Union, and California as well. Leaving nothing to chance, he sent naval warships into California waters. The war ended in Mexico City in September 1847, with the United States victorious. The formal treaty to end hostilities was signed February 2, 1848 at Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico—granting the future states of California, Nevada, Utah, most of New Mexico and Arizona, and the disputed Texan regions, to American sovereignty for a payment of $15 million dollars in gold and silver.
The Bear Flag Revolt was a short-lived, quasi-military action in northern California. It began when a group of anxious American immigrants decided to start an armed insurrection against California’s Mexican Continue reading June Events: The Bear Flag Revolt, 1846