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Mojave Desert History: People

Historical Figures

A - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Aguereberry, Pete - Prospectors & Miners
... and just a month later was headed up to Ballarat with Shorty Harris. Along their journey Pete found a ledge that looked promising, and indeed ...

Antonio, Chief Juan - Indians
“I come not here as a child,” he said. “I wish to punish my people my own way. If they deserve hanging, I will hang them. If a white man deserves hanging, let the white man hang him. I am done.”

Armijo, Antonio - Spanish
It took the vision and courage of Mexican trader Antonio Armijo to lead the first commercial caravan from Abiquiú, New Mexico, to Los Angeles late in 1829. ...

Austin, Mary - Others
One of the early nature writers of the American Southwest, her classic The Land of Little Rain (1903) describes the fauna, flora and people – as well as ...

B - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Baldwin, 'Lucky'

Beatty, Montillus

Beale, Edward F. - Explorers and Surveyors
Within the next two years, Beale made six more journeys across the country. On the second of these (July-September 1848), he crossed Mexico in disguise to bring the federal government proof ...

Beaudry, Victor

Beckwourth, James - Explorers and Surveyors
James Beckworth enjoyed nature and adventure, and it was not long before he set out to explore the vast expanses of what would become that which kept the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans apart.

Belshaw, Mortimer

Bender, Bill

Bristol, William

Brown, Charles - Others
As a young man Charles was a sheriff in the mining town of Greenwater. Later, he married Stella Fairbanks, the daughter of 'Dad' Fairbanks and became a ...

Brown, John - Pioneers
Pioneer, toll-road builder, Victor Valley resident.

Burcham, Charles and Rose

C - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Campbell, Elizabeth
Recognizing that road improvements were bringing more homesteaders and visitors to the area and increasing the likelihood of damage to archeological sites, ...

Carleton, James Henry
From 1851 to 1856 he served in New Mexico with the First Dragoons. After duty in the East he was back in 1859 at Fort Tejon, California, with the 1st Dragoons.

Carson, Christopher 'Kit' - Explorer
Lindsey Carson's death reduced the Carson family to a desperate poverty, forcing young Kit to drop out of school to work on the family farm, as well as engage in hunting. At age 14, ...

Coleman, William Tell

Crowley, Fr. John
A Catholic priest who served in the Owens Valley and desert area in the 1920s and ’30s, instrumental in dispelling the "Water Wars" of the Owens Valley.

Curtis, Edward S. - Photographer/Ethnographer


D - E - F - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Daggett, John - Lieutenant Govenor

Dibblee, Thomas Wilson - Geologist

Earp, Wyatt

Evans, Dale

Fages, Pedro - Spanish
Fages led an expedition along the edge of the western Mojave along the northern foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains looking for ...

Fairbanks, Ralph Jacobus "Dad"

Frasher, Burton - Photographer

Fremont, John Charles - Explorers and Surveyors
Frémont's Second Expedition was an even greater success. It included many men from his First Expedition, including cartographer Charles Preuss, and Kit Carson.

French, Dr. Darwin - Others
In 1850, he provided Manly and Rogers with supplies to return and guide the rest of the Lost Forty-niners from their ...

G - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Garces, Fr. Francisco - Spanish
In 1775, Garcés, became the first European to meet the Mojave Indians, who accompanied Garcés on his journey to ...

H - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Harris, Shorty - Prospectors
While the sun sank slowly into the purple haze that filters over Death Valley at twilight and taps sounded in the clear air of this mysterious land he knew so well ...

Hoffman, Lt. Col. William - Miitary
... at the head of a column of six companies of infantry, two of dragoons, and some ...

Holcomb, William F. - Prospectors & Miners
When the gold excitement spread through the country he determined to seek his fortune in California.

Hunt, Jefferson - Pioneers
Captain in the Mormon Battalion - Led the Mojave/San Joaquin Company (Mojave Sand-walking Company) to Southern California, a portion of this company became the ill-fated 'Lost 49'ers'.

I - J - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Irataba (Irrateba) - Indians
On the edge of the throng sat a tall, well formed man, naked save for a breech clout. Now and then his eyes turned toward the white men in ...

Ives, Joseph Christmas - Explorers and Surveyors
From 1857 to 1858 Ives commanded an expedition to explore up the Colorado River from its mouth. At Robinson's Landing he built then used the 54 foot paddlewheel steamboat ...

Jackson, Helen Hunt - Others
She was sent west as part of a federal commission to investigate conditions among the Mission Indians in 1882, and ...

K - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Keane, Jack - Propectors & Miners
Discoverer of the Wonder Mine ...

Keys, Bill - Others
Rancher in the area that became Joshua Tree National Park

Knott, Walter

L - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Lane, Aaron G. - Pioneers
Pioneer of the Mojave

Lang, Johnny - Prospectors & Miners
Discovered the Lost Horse Mine

Lugo, Don Antonio Maria

M - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Manly, William Lewis - Pioneers
Known for rescuing the Bennett-Arcane party from Death Valley in 1850.

Mitchell, Jack - Others
Developer of Mitchell Caverns

Montgomery, Bob

Moraga, Don Gabriel - Spanish
In 1800 he commanded a small party sent against the Indians from Monterey, and he became one of the most ...

Muench, Josef - Photographer

N - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Nadeau, Remi - Others
Freighter hauling bullion to Los Angeles

Nuez, Fr. - Spanish
Accompanied the Moraga party of 1819, who went out from the mission on a punitive expedition against ...

O - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Oatman, Olive - Pioneers
Kidnapped by the Yavapai, sold to the Mohave ...

Ogden, Peter Skene - Explorers & Surveyors
During his many expeditions he explored parts of Oregon, Washington, Nevada, California, Utah, ...

P - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Pattie, James Ohio


Q - R - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Queho - Indians

Rosenberg, Harry
Autobiography of a resident of the Amargosa Valley.

Rogers, Roy

Ruess, Everett - Others
He disappeared into what is probably the most uninhabited, unvisited section of the United States.

S - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Schmidt, William 'Burro' - Prospectors & Miners
Eccentric miner who spent 38 years digging a tunnel through a mountain.

Schneider, Dr. Joan

Scott, Walter 'Death Valley Scotty' - Others
"Death Valley Scotty" certainly remains Death Valley's greatest legend for his flamboyant and outrageous character. ...

Searles, John - Pioneers
Discovered and developed Borax deposits at Searles dry lake in Trona

Sitgreaves, Lorenzo - Pioneers
Conducted the first scientific expedition across Arizona in the early 1850's. ...

Siva-Saubel, Dr. Katherine

Slover, Isaac
Slover is known for his association with many other trappers in the American Southwest, including ...

Stewart, William M.

Stoddard, Sheldon - Pioneers
For many years he was engaged in freighting and carrying the United States mail between San Bernardino and Salt Lake City, crossing ...

Smith, Francis Marion 'Borax'
Uniting with his brother, he organized a Chicago firm, erected a small plant and went into production, hauling the borax by mule teams to the nearest railroad.

Smith, Jedediah - Explorers and Surveyors
In what was to be his first trip across the Mojave, Smith and his band wandered along the eastern Great Basin Desert through ...

Smith, Thomas L. - Explorers and Surveyors
"Peg Leg" Smith was a mountain man who, serving as a guide for many early expeditions into the American Southwest, ...

T - U - V - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Tecopa, Chief - Indians

Vasquez, Tiburcio - Others
Last of the Mexican banditos to terrorize California in the 1870s

W - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Walkara - Indians
Leading his band of followers with his talents and intimate knowlege of the southwest became "the greatest horsethief in history."

Walker, Joseph Reddeford - Explorers and Surveyors
Scout for General Fremont. Walker found Walker Basin and Walker Pass in 1834.

Weaver, Pauline - Explorers and Surveyors
He is known in Arizona history as a famous guide and mountain man. ...

Whipple, Amiel W. - Explorers and Surveyors
In command of the exploration from Fort Smith, Ark., to Los Angeles for a projected transcontinental railroad route near ...

White, Michael/Blanco, Miguel

Williams, Bill - Explorers and Surveyors
Williams was a hunter and trapper who was tall, gaunt, redheaded, and fairly well educated ...

"Willie Boy" - Indians
The greatest manhunt.

Wolfskill, William - Explorers and Surveyors
Mountain man and orange pioneer.

Wright, Lauren - Geologist

X - Y - Z - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Young, Ewing - Explorers and Surveyors
Young's journey to California with traveling companions crossed Arizona, the Colorado River, the Mojave Desert and arrived ...

Yount, George C. - Explorers and Surveyors
He was the true embodiment of all the finest qualities of an advancing civilization ...

Zabriskie, C.B. -
He was too restless and ambitious to stay in one place for very long and soon moved to ...


Deserters from the Spanish army were the first Anglo to enter the Mojave Desert. They were rumored to be living with the small bands of Indians living in the western Mojave. ...

Explorers and Surveyors

In 1827, another trapping party came through Mojave land, ignoring the tribe’s requests for goods in exchange for trapped animals. The resultant conflict left victims ...


Wagon parties of note during this period were the Bennett-Arcane party and Rose-Bailey. Bennett-Arcane had decided to try an ambiguous short-cut which ended in stranding them in Death Valley ...


In 1850, southwestern territory was annexed by the U.S. Army, the beginning of military encroachment on the region. New transportation routes were critical to an expanding nation, ...

Prospectors and Miners

During the mid-19th century, mining in all areas of the Mojave created boom towns with colorful names and characters. ...

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