1842 - Fremont Expedition

John C. Freemont, known as 'The Pathfinder', was guided on his adventures in the West by Thomas Fitzpatrick and Kit Carson.

           The legendary bombastic senator from Missouri, Thomas Hart Benton, convinced Congress to finance an adventure of exploration led by his son-in-law, John Fremont, from Independence, Missouri, to South Pass, in the mountains of present-day Wyoming…the first half of the Oregon Trail.  

North Platte River.jpg

Watershed of the North Platte river

           Fremont was led by the diminutive guide, Kit Carson, and returned five months later with tales to tell.  "Fremont made a flamboyant report about the trail west in his A Report on an Exploration of the Country Lying Between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains on the Line of the Kansas and Great Platte Rivers.  The report was reprinted in newspapers up and down the East Coast, and the news struck a nerve with tens of thousands.  Fremont reported on picturesque Indian customs, a hospitable prairie and desert that was paved with wild flowers.  "Fremont has touched my imagination," wrote poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  "What a wild life, and what a fresh kind of existence."