1994 29¢ Legends of the West John Frémont
US #2869i – Frémont stamp from the famed Legends of the West sheet

Explorer and soldier John C. Frémont died on July 13, 1890, in New York City.

1994 Laramie Cancel, John Fremont PFCD
Item #4902017 – First Day of Issue Proof Card

Frémont was born on January 21, 1813 in Savannah, Georgia. As a child, he was described as “precious, handsome, and daring.” After his father died, when he was just five years old, a family friend helped to pay for his education. Frémont attended Charleston College, but didn’t graduate despite his talent for math and natural sciences. After leaving school in 1831, Frémont took a job teaching math aboard the USS Natchez. He was then made a second lieutenant in the United States Topographical Corps. Between 1838 and 1839, he joined Joseph Nicollet on expeditions to the land between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.

1898 5¢ Trans-Mississippi Exposition: Fremont in Rockies
US #288 pictures Frémont raising the US flag over the Rocky Mountains.

Frémont married Jessie Benton, daughter of Senator Thomas Hart Benton, in 1841. Benton championed the expansionist movement known as Manifest Destiny. Benton and Frémont believed the entire North American continent should belong to the citizens of the US – that it was the nation’s destiny. Benton arranged for Congressional appropriations to fund expeditions to the Oregon Trail, the Great Basin, the Sierra Nevada Mountains and California. Using his influence, Benton also arranged for Frémont to lead each expedition.

1994 29¢ John C. Fremont Mystic First Day Cover
US #2869i – Mystic First Day Cover

During these four expeditions, Frémont became known as “The Pathfinder,” exploring the vast territory west of the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. While on his first expedition to Wyoming in 1842, he met frontiersman Christopher “Kit” Carson, who later became his trusted companion and guide.

1998 5¢ John C. Fremont on Rocky Mountains
US #3209d – 1998 Trans-Mississippi Reprint

Frémont’s “Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains” described his adventures and established his reputation as a seasoned explorer. These early travels helped him develop the first scientific map of the American West. Pioneers who dared to head west later traveled on his recorded trails, and were guided by his excellent descriptions.

1998 5¢ John C. Fremont on Rocky Mountains Classic First Day Cover
US #3209d – Classic First Day Cover

War with Mexico was imminent when Frémont organized his second expedition to California in 1845. Aiding Commodore Robert Stockton and General Stephen Kearny in the conquest of California, he played an important role in the development of America’s 31st state. Settling there briefly, he gained significant wealth from the Gold Rush and served as one of the state’s first two senators.

1994 19¢ John Fremont Postal Card
US #UX186 – John Fremont Postal Card

In June 1856, Frémont became the first presidential candidate of the newly formed Republican Party. Although he had also been asked to be the Democratic presidential candidate, he refused because the party supported slavery. Fearing that his election would cause the Southern states to secede and possibly lead to a civil war, the Democrats strongly opposed his nomination. Although he carried eleven states, Buchanan, his Democratic rival, carried 19, and Frémont lost the election.

1851 3¢ Washington (#11) on John Frémont Portrait Cover to Paris, N.Y.
Item #MRS1601 – Washington stamp on John Frémont Portrait Cover to Paris, NY

Frémont also served during the Civil War. He was the commander of the Department of the West for five months before being dismissed by President Lincoln.  ollowing the Civil War, Frémont retired from public life to devote himself to finding a possible transcontinental railroad route. In 1878, he was appointed territorial governor of Arizona, a position he held until 1881. In early July 1890, Frémont suffered from a brief illness brought on by a hot summer day. He died days later on July 13, 1890.

1989 John C. Fremont Cover
Item #81916 – Frémont Commemorative Cover cancelled on his 176th birthday

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8 Comments

  1. Fremont murdered/slaughtered countless Native American men, women, and children. He’s no hero of mine.

    1. Wow. Singling him out why? That was the Manifest Destiny. “54-40 or fight?” Get off your 21st century woke ass.

      1. Come on, Riss, you probably don’t even know what “woke” means. To help you out and others understand, inc. a couple of presidential candidates, “woke” is defined as “being aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and societal justice). Slaughter of native American men, women, and children certainly fits that description. I hope that helps you out.

      2. Riss, it sounds like you aren’t too sure just what “woke” means. I’ll help you out. “Woke” is defined as being, “aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice). Being aware of the murdering and slaughtering of Native American men, women, and children certainly qualifies under this definition. I hope that this has been helpful to you.

        1. I agree with Mr. Gaunt’s assessment. I am now retired and over the years as a collector of coins and a recent stamp enthusiast who enjoys history, I’ve noticed these once great hobbies rapidly decline. Both are now dominated by old gray hair farts like me. There is no diversity in order to expand and young people are MIA and probably never will return since email and social media has replaced letter writing. Unfortunately, these two groups of people are also turned off by the bigotry within our hobby. There are still some decent folks in our hobby but I don’t go to many collector’s shows or stores anymore because I just got tired of hearing all the ignorance on display. There’s no place in the future for that kind of thinking and I’m afraid our hobby will go with them.

  2. The third paragraph says that Fremont was going to explore the “Sierra Nevada Mountains.” That is a redundancy. “Sierra” means mountain range. Saying Sierra mountains is like saying Rio Grande River.

    1. The blending of so many influences is part of what makes English, and especially American English, so darn fun.

  3. I like the word cognizant rather than ” woke”. Using the word woke sounds like an uneducated individual. Woke does not bring to mind a sense of power. It’s almost lazy talking.

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