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John C. Frémont on the Boise River


The "Pathfinder of the West,"  John Charles Frémont (1813-1890), was a young lieutenant in the U.S. Army when assigned the task of mapping the Oregon Trail.  The explorer Robert Stuart had found the most practicable route from Missouri to Oregon in 1812, but it was another 30 years before Americans in any great numbers began trekking west on that trail with their wagons, their children, and their worldly possessions.  In 1843, Frémont was given the job of making a comprehensive map of the route.  The trail passed through the Boise valley through the site of the future city of Boise and then followed the stream to its juncture with the Snake River.  There was located Fort Boise, a fur-trading post established by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1834.  Frémont wrote about his experiences in the West in a report he submitted to Congress.  It was published by order of the U.S. Senate in 1845 under the title Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842, and to Oregon and North California in the Years 1843-'44.  Reproduced at the links below is Frémont's account of his travel through the Boise valley, October 7-8, 1843.


View Frémont's map of the Oregon Trail through the Boise valley

This is but a portion of the "Topographical map of the road from Missouri to Oregon...Section VI" (1846)

View the web exhibit, The Boise River on 19th Century Maps

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Special Collections • 1910 University Drive • Boise, ID 83725-1430 • Phone: 208-426-1204 • Email: Archives