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Isaac Slover

1780 - 1854) Isaac Slover was an American 19th century fur trader. He was one of the first American trappers officially allowed into New Mexico, as part of the expedition of Hugh Glenn and Jacob Fowler. Slover is known for his association with many other trappers in the American Southwest, including Ewing Young and William Wolfskill working the tributaries of the Colorado River in 1824, and James and Sylvester Pattie on the Gila River in 1828. He was one of the first trappers to take up formal residence at Taos, New Mexico. From New Mexico, Slover crossed the southwest into California, and helped open overland trading between that province and New Mexico. By 1843, Slover had established himself and his family in California, settling near San Bernardino. He continued to trap and hunt in the region, and died of injuries received in a bear attack in 1854.
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On 14 December 1849, a group of emigrants from Iowa arrived in California's San Bernardino Valley, exhausted after navigating Cajon Pass. Luckily for them, they stumbled upon the homestead of Isaac Slover and his wife, María Bárbara Aragón Slover, who regularly assisted travelers on the Old Spanish Trail. Isaac opened his smokehouse and supplied the famished travelers with bacon and squashes, a feat of generosity that seems to have been a regular occurrence. New settlers found that the Slovers would help them survive until their own crops had been planted and harvested.
Slover Canyon, Lone Pine Canyon, Cajon Pass, Swarthour Valley
Slover Canyon

Perhaps the Slover's own history motivated them to be helpful. Born in Pennsylvania, Isaac made his way to Taos in the 1820s, where he met the widow María Bárbara Aragón (and her two children). The Mexican government was beginning to grow weary of outsiders, but Slover's eventual marriage to Aragón, his conversion to Catholicism, and his acceptance of Mexican citizenship provided him with the means to trap and trade freely along the Old Spanish Trail. They relocated to California's San Bernardino Valley in 1837, and--along with other New Mexican emigrants--founded the communities of Agua Mansa and La Placita de los Trujillos in the 1840s.

In addition to hungry emigrants, established figures like Judge Benjamin Hayes and Captain Jefferson Hunt of the Mormon Battalion visited regularly. Hayes noted that Doña Bárbara’s home was a place that “one first comes to and never leaves without regret”; he also complimented her ability to make “the lightest tortillas, wheat or corn.” When Mormon emigrants entered the San Bernardino valley in 1851, the Slovers sent them two wagons loaded with enough food and supplies to get them through the winter; reportedly, Isaac and Bárbara visited them throughout that winter to look after their well-being. The Mexican-American War eventually disrupted trade and travel over the Old Spanish Trail, but the Slover homestead remained a beacon of hospitality on a restless and ever-changing frontier.

SIGNIFICANCE: Important figure on the Old Spanish Trail
PLACE OF BIRTH: Pennsylvania
DATE OF BIRTH: 1780
DATE OF DEATH: 1854

(Special thanks to University of New Mexico PhD candidate Angela Reinche for compiling this information)
NPS- https://www.nps.gov/people/issac-slover.htm

-Notes---------


Don Pablo further stated that he knew Cristobal Slover very well; was a neighbor of his where they lived with the New Mexican colonists just south of Slover Mountain in Agua Mansa ; this mountain took its name from him ; he was buried at its southern base, but no mark is there to show his grave. He killed the bear and the bear killed him was the brief summary of the last bear hunt this Rocky Mountain hunter and trapper was in; he wounded the grizzly, then followed him into a dense brush thicket where the bear got him.

[History of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties Vol II, pg 680]

Cristobal Slover, the noted hunter and trapper of the Rocky Mountains, settled with his wife Dona Barbarita, at the south end of what is now known as Slover Mountain, near Colton, San Bernardino County, about the year 1842. He belonged to that class of adventurous pioneers who piloted the way blazing the trails, meeting the Indian, the grizzly, the swollen rivers, the vast deserts and precipitous mountains, all kinds of trials, privations and dangers in opening the way for others to follow and establish on these Western shores a civilization the nation can be proud of.

In the book entitled "Medium of the Rockies," written by his old Rocky Mountain companion, John Brown, Sr., may be found a brief and interesting historical reference to Mr. Slover in the simple and exact words of the author which are here given: "A party of fur trappers, of whom I was one, erected a fort on the Arkansas River in Colorado, for protection and as headquarters during the winter season. We called it 'Pueblo.' The City of Pueblo now stands upon that ground. Into this fort Cristobal Slover came one day with two mules loaded with beaver skins. He was engaged to help me supply the camp with game, and during the winter we hunted together, killing buffalo, elk, antelope and deer, and found him a reliable and experienced hunter. He was a quiet, peaceable man, very reserved. He would heed no warning and accept no advice as to his methods of hunting. His great ambition was to kill grizzlies—he called them 'Cabibs.' He would leave our camp and be gone for weeks at a time without any one knowing his whereabouts, and at last he did not return at all, and I lost sight of him for several years.

"When I came to San Bernardino in 1852 I heard of a man named Slover about six miles southwest from San Bernardino, at the south base of the mountain that now bears his name, so I went down to satisfy my mind who this Slover was and to my great surprise here I again met my old Rocky Mountain hunter, Cristobal Slover, and his faithful wife. Dona Barbarita. We visited one another often and talked about our experiences at Fort Pueblo, and of our other companions there James W. Waters, V. J. Herring, Alex Godey, Kit Carson. Bill Williams, Fitzpatrick, Bridger, Bill Bent, the Sublette and others, and where they had gone, and what had become of them.

"Mr. Slover's head was now white, but his heart was full of affection. He took my family to his home and made us all welcome to what he had. His wife and mine became as intimate as two sisters, and frequently came to visit us.

"He never forgot his chief enjoyment in pursuing the grizzly ; when no one else would go hunting with him he would go alone into the mountains, although his friends warned him of the danger.

"One day he went with his companion. Bill McMines, up the left fork of the Cajon Pass almost to the summit where he came across a large grizzly and Slover fired at close range. The bear fell but soon rose and crawled away and laid down in some oak brush. Slover after re-loading his rifle began approaching the monster in spite of the objection of McMines. As the did experienced bear hunter reached the brush the bear gave a sudden spring and fell on Mr. Slover, tearing him almost to pieces. That ended his bear hunting. Frequently the most expert hunters take too many chances, as was the case this time. McMines came down the mountain and told the tale, and a party went back and cautiously approached the spot ; found the bear dead, but Slover still breathing but insensible. He was brought down to Sycamore Grove on a rude litter and there died. The scalp was torn from his head, his legs and one arm broken, the whole body bruised and torn. He was taken to his home and buried between his adobe house and the mountain the spot was not marked, or if so has rotted awav so that I have been unable to locate the grave after searching for it, so to place a stone to mark the resting place of my old Rocky Mountain associate, Cristobal Slover, as I have brought from Cajon Pass a granite rock and placed it at the grave of my other companion, V. J. Herring, more familiarly known as "Uncle Rube." My other Rocky Mountain companion, James W. Waters, more familiarly known as "Uncle Jim," has also passed on ahead of me and has a fine monument to mark his resting place adjoming my family lot, where I hope to be placed near him when I am called from earth, both of us near our kindred for whom we labored many years on earth."

[History of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties Vol II, pg 681, 682]


On 14 December 1849, a group of emigrants from Iowa arrived in California's San Bernardino Valley, exhausted after navigating Cajon Pass. Luckily for them, they stumbled upon the homestead of Isaac Slover and his wife, María Bárbara Aragón Slover, who regularly assisted travelers on the Old Spanish Trail. Isaac opened his smokehouse and supplied the famished travelers with bacon and squashes, a feat of generosity that seems to have been a regular occurrence. New settlers found that the Slovers would help them survive until their own crops had been planted and harvested.

Perhaps the Slover's own history motivated them to be helpful. Born in Pennsylvania, Isaac made his way to Taos in the 1820s, where he met the widow María Bárbara Aragón (and her two children). The Mexican government was beginning to grow weary of outsiders, but Slover's eventual marriage to Aragón, his conversion to Catholicism, and his acceptance of Mexican citizenship provided him with the means to trap and trade freely along the Old Spanish Trail. They relocated to California's San Bernardino Valley in 1837, and--along with other New Mexican emigrants--founded the communities of Agua Mansa and La Placita de los Trujillos in the 1840s.

In addition to hungry emigrants, established figures like Judge Benjamin Hayes and Captain Jefferson Hunt of the Mormon Battalion visited regularly. Hayes noted that Doña Bárbara’s home was a place that “one first comes to and never leaves without regret”; he also complimented her ability to make “the lightest tortillas, wheat or corn.” When Mormon emigrants entered the San Bernardino valley in 1851, the Slovers sent them two wagons loaded with enough food and supplies to get them through the winter; reportedly, Isaac and Bárbara visited them throughout that winter to look after their well-being. The Mexican-American War eventually disrupted trade and travel over the Old Spanish Trail, but the Slover homestead remained a beacon of hospitality on a restless and ever-changing frontier.

SIGNIFICANCE: Important figure on the Old Spanish Trail
PLACE OF BIRTH: Pennsylvania
DATE OF BIRTH: 1810s
DATE OF DEATH: 1854

(Special thanks to University of New Mexico PhD candidate Angela Reinche for compiling this information)
NPS- https://www.nps.gov/people/issac-slover.htm

PERSON

Issac Slover
Old Spanish National Historic Trail










Agua Mansa cemetery


Slover Mountain - 1904

Slover Mountains - 1940s


Also see:
Agua Mansa
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