JOHN CHARLES FREMONT. the first Republican candidate for president, was born in Savannah, Georgia, January 21,
1813. He graduated from Charleston College (South Carolina) in 1830, and turned his attention to civil engineering.
He was shortly afterward employed in the department of government surveys on the Mississippi, and constructing
maps of that region. He was made lieutenant of engineers, and laid before the war department a plan for penetrating
the Rocky Mountain regions, which was accepted, and in 1842 he set out upon his first famous exploring expedition
and explored the South Pass. He also planned an expedition to Oregon by a new route further south, but afterward
joined his expedition with that of Wilkes in the region of the Great Salt Lake. He made a later expedition which
penetrated the Sierra Nevadas, and the San Joaqnin and Sacramento river valleys, making maps of all regions explored.
In 1845 he conducted the great expedition which resulted in the acquisition of California, which it was believed
the Mexican government was about to dispose of to England. Learning that the Mexican governor was preparing to
attack the American settlements in his dominion, Fremont determined to forestall him. The settlers rallied to his
camp, add in June, 1846, he defeated the Mexican forces at Sonoma Pass, and a month later completely routed the
governor and his entire army. The Americans at once declared their independence of Mexico, and Fremont was elected
governor of California. By this time Commodore Stockton had reached the coast with instructions from Washington
to conquer California. Fremont at once joined him in that effort, which resulted in the annexation of California
with its untold mineral wealth. Later Fremont became involved in a difficulty with fellow officers which resulted
in a court martial, and the surrender of his commission. He declined to accept reinstatement. He afterward laid
out a great road from the Mississippi river to San Francisco, and became the first United States senator from California,
in 1849. In 1856 he was nominated by the new Republican party as its first candidate for president against Buchanan,
and received 114 electoral votes, out of 296.
In 1861 he was made major general and placed in charge of the western department. He planned the reclaiming of
the entire Mississippi valley, and gathered an army of thirty thousand men, with plenty of artillery, and was ready
to move npon the confederate General Price, when he was deprived of his command. He was nominated for the presidency
at Cincinnati in 1864, but withdrew. He was governor of Arizona in 1878, holding the position four years. He was
interested in an engineering enterprise looking toward a great southern trans con tinental railroad, and in his
later years also practiced law in New York. He died July 13, 1890.
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.
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