John C. Frémont Symposium July 25-26, 2014.
Registration due by June 30 for this Nevada 150 Signature Event.

By Jeri Chadwell

One of the signature sesquicentennial events in July, the John C. Frémont Symposium (July 25-26) at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City, features lectures and presentations from several of the nation’s foremost Frémont scholars.

Frémont—whose expeditions into the American West earned him the sobriquet The Pathfinder—was an explorer, military officer, and the first presidential candidate of the anti-slavery Republican Party. His expeditions were crucial to the expansionist movement’s goal of fulfilling Manifest Destiny.

The two-day symposium includes nine lectures and presentations—with a possible 10th surprise presentation. A Dutch oven lunch of chili, cornbread, roasted root vegetables, and fruit cobbler is scheduled for the first day of the symposium. Dinner and entertainment are scheduled to take place in the Nevada Room of the Governor’s Mansion after the second-day closing panel discussion. The Tahoe Ridge Winery of Gardnerville is catering the dinner. Alastair Morley Jaques is to give a Chautauqua performance as John C. Frémont, followed by a performance from cowboy poet and musician, Richard Elloyan. Registration for the symposium is $100 per person, with the closing dinner and entertainment costing only is $40. Registration forms can be accessed by clicking here.

Among the scheduled presentations are the following:

Frémont and Preuss: Navigating into the Unknown
By Paul S. Pace, Frémont Howitzer Recovery Team

This presentation includes a look at the respective backgrounds of Frémont and the cartographer who accompanied him on his expeditions, Charles Preuss. Pace also discusses the navigational techniques and equipment used by the Army during reconnaissance of the American West during the 1830s and 40s, and the equipment employed by Frémont and Preuss in particular. Pace is a member of the Frémont Howitzer Recovery Team and a professional surveyor.

Lieutenant Fremont’s Howitzer…“of the kind invented by the French…”
By Colonel Paul R. Rosewitz, U.S. Army

This presentation uses French and US archival materials to discuss the design of the famous Mountain Howitzer that Frémont abandoned in the Sierra Nevada Mountains during his second expedition. Colonel Rosewitz explains and advances the conclusions of earlier Frémont Howitzer researchers in order to clarify the type of cannon Frémont took on his expeditions. The presentation concludes with a discussion of recovered howitzer artifacts and whether these pieces could have been part of the famous Frémont howitzer.

John Charles Fremont: The Story Behind—and Beyond—The Maps
By Richard Francaviglia, Professor Emeritus

This presentation examines the relationship between Frémont and the cartographer, Preuss. Also discussed are Frémont’s interactions with other cartographers, including the Mormon mapmaker, John Steele, who provided Frémont with important geographical information during his expeditions. Francaviglia coordinates the maps from the expeditions with narratives from Frémont and others in order to create a clearer picture of the explorer, before drawing comparisons between Frémont and others who helped chart desert frontiers on behalf of their expanding nations.

Frémont and the Art of Seeing
By Andrew Menard, Author

This presentation focuses on the descriptions of the American West that Frémont made in the official reports of his expeditions. Menard discusses Frémont’s use of language, which was intended to combat his contemporaries’ perceptions of the west as the Great American Desert, painting it instead as a picturesque land ripe for settling.

John C. Frémont Symposium (July 25-26)
Nevada State Museum
600 N. Carson Street, Carson City, NV, 775-687-4810