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News and Interesting Items
Page Three
For Newer Items, Return to News Page One

Since July, 2004, Frémont's Long Camp is now a Geocache site.
Click the Geocaching icon to visit the page.
Anyone with a GPS device can participate in this popular new hobby. There are probably many geocaches right near you. Geocacher MarshallOD found it:
I parked at the three way junction about 1/4 mile below the cache to walk and stretch my legs. I appreciate the opportunity to stand at this historical place and imagine Fremont's passage through the area. My pen wouldn't give up any more ink, so I took a photo of the cache, which I'm attaching as my "log."


Antiques Roadshow, April 4, 2005 (and rebroadcasts)
Program #911
Reno Sparks Convention Center
A model 1835 mountain howitzer tube dug up in a back yard near the California-Nevada border!
The tube was marked "C. A. & Co. [Cyrus Alger], Boston."
Just right, so far!
However, the serial numbers indicated that this was "464" in Alger's production, and "87" in Alger's mountain howitzer production. It is marked by the proofer, Louis A. B. Walbach and carries the date 1853--the only year that Walbach was a proofer.
So not Frémont's Lost Cannon, but these are still showing up in the region!
Roadshow appraiser Christopher Mitchell put the value at $35-45,000.


Peter Lathrop of Minden, NV has spent years hiking the Markleeville/Carson Pass area--winter and summer--and has been looking at that part of the Sierra crossing route in detail. Usually accompanied by his mountain goat daughters ("Brittney and Heather never go around when they can go over"), Peter is collecting much new information on the western Nevada portion of the 1843-44 Frémont expedition--derived from Frémont's latitude determinations, the Report narrative, and extensive fieldwork.

That work has now been extended to an examination of the west slope route beyond Carson Pass.
A good place to start following the Lathrop adventures is with this initial page, which contains links: an email from Peter Lathrop.

Peter's material can also be accessed by searching this website using the search button at the top of this page


March, 2004. A side trip. A visit to the 1846 Hastings Adobe--the second oldest structure in Solano County, and one time home of Lansford W. Hastings, author of the Emigrant's Guide to California, and one of the framers of the Constitution of California.

An important historic site in grave danger of being lost forever.
go See it.


FRONT PAGE NEWS in 1842.--Frémont scales, and measures, a nearly 14,000' peak in the Rocky Mountains.

No one had previously measured a peak of anywhere near that height in North America. The highest peak in the east was Mt. Washington at 6,288'. Frémont determined the height by making a series of barometric observations. The identity of the particular peak has been debated over many years. The American Alpine Society made a determination for Mt. Woodrow Wilson in the 1960s. But it was not Mt. Woodrow Wilson. Frémont's series of 12 barometric observations, when mathematically reduced by modern method, show conclusively that the peak was not Mt. Woodrow Wilson, but the nearby peak today called Fremont Peak, elevation 13,745'.

go See the route that the expedition took to the mountain, and a modern examination of Frémont's barometric observations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

N. C. Wyeth for Charles Scribner's Sons, c.1940.


Dayton, Nevada, January 29, 2002.
"I am working on a song with the working title of Frémont's Cannon. I know a good deal about the events of the 43-44 expedition and have researched the net and library for additional information. I also had the good fortune of working as a range technician for the forest service at the Bridgeport Ranger District and have ridden or driven a good deal of the eastern slope of the Sierras. All this brings me to my question. Was the original cannon abandoned by Frémont ever found? Obviously you have done an incredible amount of research on the subject and I would really enjoy your thoughts on the matter." Richard Elloyan.

August 28 2005. Richard's latest CD, Back in Heaven [Lake Tahoe].
"Hello, Bob. I guess this has taken about three years from inception to completion. I hope you like it, regardless of the artistic license I used in telling the story. It is difficult to compress all this into a 5-minute song. Richard."

I do like it! On Track 8, Frémont's Cannon [5:23], Richard has the history very correctly. He wasn't kidding when he promised it would be "very dramatic." He takes the listener right up Burcham Flat Road south of Bridgeport to where the Cannon was left in the snow on January 29, 1844. The chorus, which begins "Rock upon rock; snow upon snow," quotes the old Washo's warning to Frémont in Charity Valley on February 4, 1844.

November 2005: "My Back in Heaven CD has just made it to #9 on the Western Music charts for albums, and Addicted to the Dust is the #5 song.
A really big Thank you! to all my fans! Richard"


OCTOBER, 2000, Saint Louis, Missouri.
Several emails regarding Frémont's mountain howitzer were recieved from Lt. Col. Paul R. Rosewitz, Field Artillery, U.S. Army, Military Education Quota Manager, in St. Louis, MO. The communications, because of their definitive nature, are posted on the website in their entirety.

go See the article Mountain Howitzer.


SEPTEMBER, 2000.
go Grover's Hot Springs to Charity Valley:
This is an on-site examimation of the Route to Carson Pass as traveled by the Expedition between Markleville and Carson Pass. The same route was traveled and described by Joseph LeConte on his trip from Yosemite to Lake Tahoe in 1870.
Pictured are landmarks recorded by Frémont while led by his Washoe guide Mélo, the location from which the Pass was pointed out, and the location of the campsite of February 4th, 1844.

The latitude determination of February 5th, which is the key to reconciling the Preuss detail map of the Sierra Crossing, is shown in an overview of the route from:
go Markleeville to Carson Pass.


JULY 13, 2000 - Hope Valley. AND UPDATE
Tom Howard:
goProfessor Howard presented a slide show and talk on his book, SIERRA CROSSING: FIRST ROADS TO CALIFORNIA (University of California Press); the first book to deal comprehensively with the crossing of the Sierra Nevada from trails to highways.
The talk was given at Sorensen's Hope Valley Resort, which is situated on the West Fork of the Carson River at the top of Carson Canyon--just east of the Pickett's Junction.
The next morning we did some hiking in the area; to my Frémont campsite, and down the original wagon route from Carson Pass to Red Lake. Click image to find Sierra Crossing at amazon.com

go See my photos of some of the historic roads written about in Tom's Book


JULY 2000 - Hope Valley.
Early this year the Department of Defense eliminated the Selective Availability of civilian access to the Global Positioning System. Because of the increase in accuracy, it now makes sense to set the receiver to deg/min.mm, as opposed to the classic deg/min/sec.
Elevations are now very good - better than a pocket aneroid and contour map!
The refined coordinates made at the Frémont campsite are:
The snow hole N38° 41' 02"; W119° 57' 22"; el. 8070' (EPE=6')
Preuss vantage N38° 41' 01"; W119° 57' 18"; el. 8087' (EPE=6')

Frémont's Long Camp is now a Geocache site. Click the Geocaching icon to visit the page.
Anyone with a GPS device can participate in this popular new hobby. There are probably many geocaches right near you.

Dunkerque, December 30, 1795.
Precision is painstaking work. It demands precautions, stratagems planned like war. [Jean-Baptiste-Joseph] Delambre used astronomical theory to prepare his observations. He verified the verticality of his [Borda's repeating] circle by three different methods. He drew up formulas to correct his data for refraction and temperature. He estimated in advance the best precision he could expect. And only then did he begin his sightings of Polaris, a star particularly suitable for assessing latitude because its proximity to the pole meant that its angular height as it crossed the celestial meridian would, with only minimal correction, supple the angular distance of the observer from the equator.--or, in other words, his latitude.
His thirty-eight observations of Polaris as it transited the celestial meridian below the pole gave him a latitude of 51° 3' 16.66", which shifted by a minuscule 0.06 seconds when he removed his least reliable data. The two hundred results for its transit above the celestial pole were trickier, due to the cloud cover, and differed by one full second with the earlier results. But when he excluded the less reliable data, the difference narrowed to within .5 seconds (or some twenty-five feet. It was another demonstration of the repeating circle's precision, as well as a testament to Delambre's preparation, skill, and integrity.
Ken Alder, The Measure of All Things

go Frémont and Polaris and latitude


MAY 23, 1999 - Carson Pass
Tom Chaffin
(pictured) accompanied Bob Graham to Frémont's "Long Camp" site near Carson Pass. Professor Chaffin, of Emory University in Atlanta, was returning home from nine months at the Huntington Library in San Marino, where, under an Andrew Mellon postdoctoral fellowship, he has been researching a new biography of Frémont (see below).
It was from this campsite on February 14, 1844 that Frémont and Preuss climbed Red Lake Peak (right) and recorded the first sighting of Lake Tahoe.
go The discovery of Lake Tahoe
go See an article by Tom Chaffin about visiting this campsite in the April 2000 issue of OUTSIDE MAGAZINE.


MAY 24, 1999 - Bodega Bay.
Dr. Kent Lightfoot (foreground), head of the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, called a press conference to announce the results of a magnetometer sweep of Brian Kelleher's (white hat in center) Drake Landing Site at Campbell Cove. The survey's indications of habitation were strong enough that the State of California will conduct a "dig" within the next few months under the direction of archaeologist Breck Parkman (red jacket). Erika Radewagen, survey and remote-sensing specialist, demonstrates the use of the magnetometer
go Bob Graham's article on Drake's sixteenth century navigation.
go And, the results of his experiment in the determination of latitude using an astrolabe at Campbell Cove.
 Read an email to this site by a descendant of Drake's crew.


 
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Bob Graham