January 16, 1847 — John C. Frémont (January 21, 1813 – July 13, 1890) is appointed Governor of the new California Territory today. However, he was convicted in court martial for mutiny and insubordination. President Polk commuted his sentence.
A military hero, Frémont led four expeditions into the American West, and the media and historians accorded Frémont the sobriquet, The Pathfinder. Later, he became the first candidate of the anti-slavery Republican Party for the office of President of the United States.
Frémont acquired his massive wealth during the California Gold Rush, but he was soon bogged down with lawsuits over land claims, between the dispossession of various land owners during the Mexican-American War and the explosion of Forty-Niners immigrating during the California Gold Rush. These cases were settled by the U.S. Supreme Court allowing Frémont to keep his property.
Words of Wisdom for January 16, 2017
“[John] Frémont has touched my imagination. What a wild life, and what a fresh kind of existence! But ah, the discomforts!”
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1842