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Jedediah Smith Index


"I wanted to be the first to view a country on which the eye of a white man had never gazed and to follow the course of rivers that run through a new land."

Jedediah Smith was a young, religious, mountain man traveling more miles of unexplored territory than any other single mountain man. He is credited with being the first American to travel overland to California through the southwest and the Mojave. In a most amazing journey, he also came back from California across the desert of the Great Basin.

In 1823, a 23 year old Jedediah Smith first turned up in Sante Fe, New Mexico in response to an advertisement asking for enterprising young men wanting to be fur trappers. Immediately he displayed courage and cleverness in leading men. He was described as, "a bold, outspoken, professing, and consistent Christian." Also, "No one who knew him doubted the sincerity of his piety."

In what was to be his first trip across the Mojave, Smith and his band wandered along the eastern Great Basin Desert through what Smith called, "the land of starvation." Crossing the Colorado River and into Arizona, He traveled south along the mountains until reaching a Mojave Indian village (near Needles, California).

All went reasonably well, he traveled along a branch of what became known as the Mojave Indian Trail, up the fickle Mojave River and into southern California.

Returning east by a northern route, he made another trip through the Mojave. On this trip his party was attacked as he crossed the Colorado River. Ten of his men were killed and the two women with the party were kidnapped. Smith and the few remaining men of his band were forced to cross the Mojave with sparse supplies. Related pages:

Cajon Pass
Later, explorer/trapper Jedediah Smith. Next, the Mormon Battalion in search of land in which to expand -- Then Mormon settlers, and those eager to find ...

ZZYZX Mineral Springs - Mojave Desert, Mojave Preserve
Over 50 years later, Jedediah Smith passed south of the springs up into Afton Canyon (he instructed his Mohave indian guide to take him the most direct ...

Mojave Road
In 1826 Jedediah Smith trod these trails to become the first white man to reach the California coast overland from mid-America. The routes became a military ...

History of Hoover Dam
Jedediah Smith and other trappers came looking for beavers in 1826, gold miners on the way to California followed in 1849, and Mormon settlers arrived in ...

Mojave Indian History - Explorers
Between 1826 and 1831, Mojave territory was visited by Jedediah Smith and Harrison Rogers (1826 and 1827); Ewing Young in 1827; George C. ...

Serrano / Vanyume Indians of the Mojave Desert
They ranged along the Mojave River from Victorville/Hesperia to east of Barstow. The Vanyume (Wanyuma) are mentioned in the journal of Jedediah Smith as ...

Early History of the Chemehuevi
The next mention of possible Chemehuevi in the literature is Jedediah Smith's account of coming across two "Paiute" lodges at a place in the Mojave River ...

Journals of Jedediah Smith

Mojave Desert crossing, journey to California - 1826-27

The Man Who Dared to Cross the Ranges

Biography of Jedediah Smith

Courtesy Jedediah Smith Society

Notes - Jedediah Smith

Utah to Go

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