Bear Valley, California, John Charles Frémont

Bear Valley, California

The area of Bear Valley, California, has gone by several other names such as Haydenville, Biddle’s Camp, Biddleville, Simpsonville, and Johnsonville. Bear Valley was named after John Charles Frémont’s involvement with the “Bear Revolt”, after the town was established as Frémont’s headquarters within Mariposa County, after he purchased the Rancho Las Mariposas Grant. Frémont built a home called “The White House” and a hotel, near the “Oso House”, which hosted famous patrons such as Ulysses S. Grant, within Bear Valley.

John Charles Frémont, Lake Lahontan, Numu Native Americans, Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake – A Geographical Formation Named By Explorer John Charles Frémont

John Charles Frémont’s expedition party at Pyramid Lake in 1844.

Pyramid Lake is a remnant of the ancient Lake Lahontan, which covered some 8,450 square miles in western Nevada during the Earth’s Ice Age. In ancient times, Lake Lahontan reached out to eastern California and up to southern Oregon.

Along the shores of Pyramid Lake, cave and rock shelters have yielded evidence of Numu Indians, also known as Northern Paiute Indians, living at the Pyramid Lake area for thousands of years. The Numu Indians are known to have a language that is derived from the Uto-Aztecan language family, which is most closely related to the language of the Owens Valley Paiute and to the Mono Paiute, also known as the Monachi Paiute and as the Kutzadika Paiute, a dialect which is spoken directly on the other side of the Sierra Nevada.

On January 10, 1843, John Charles Frémont came upon Pyramid Lake, during his second trip to the Black Rock Desert, on and named it for the pyramid-shaped island just off the east shore. The Numu called the pyramid formulation (sic) Wono. In 1859, the Pyramid Lake Indian Tribe Reservation was created as a site for the Numu Indians, after the conclusion of the Pyramid Lake War.

Author’s Note:

In August 2019, author Philip Andrew Hamilton visited Pyramid Lake, for his first time, on his way to Burning Man Metamorphosis.

Felton, California, John Charles Frémont, Monterey, California, Mountain Charlie

Mountain Charlie Helped John Frémont Pass Through Mexican Authorities In Big Trees And Monterey

In 1847, Charles Henry McKiernan, who had gotten his nickname of “Mountain Charlie” from engaging in hand to hand combat with a California grizzly bear and winning, helped guide John Charles Frémont from the Big Trees wooded area in the future town of Felton to the capital of Mexican California in Monterey.

John Charles Frémont, Juan Chrisostomo Galindo, Maria Zacharias Bernal y Berryessa

The Berryessa Adobe

Experts believe that the Berryessa Adobe was built in the 1840s by Juan Chrisostomo Galindo, one of the first Spanish colonists to arrive to the Santa Clara Valley with the Juan Bautista de Anza Expedition.

Portrait of Santa Clara Pioneer Juan Chrisostomo Galindo.

However, in “Old Santa Clara Valley: A Guide to Historic Buildings from Palo Alto to Gilroy” by Phyllis Filiberti Butler, it says, “According to local lore the building was once a mission jail for unruly Indian field hands. And since it has an outside staircase leading to an upstairs garret, not unlike Vancouver’s description of the Indian ‘apartments’ of 1792, the structure may in fact have been constructed earlier than is generally supposed.”

The Berryessa Adobe has changed ownership a multitude of times over the past two centuries. It was first sold to Maria Zacharias Bernal y Berryessa.

Painting depicting the American settlers’ takeover of the Mexican government in Northern California.

Berryessa then gave the home to her son, Fernando, who was later killed in San Rafael on the order of John Charles Frémont during the Bear Flag Revolt.

In 1970, a historical marker was placed by the Berryessa Adobe.

In 2002, the adobe was dedicated as a musuem with descendants of the families who once lived in the structure present. The musuem consists of the histories of the families that once lived there.

Fort Sutter, Johann Augustus Sutter, John Charles Frémont

Fort Sutter in Sacramento

In 1834, Johann Augustus Sutter fled Switzerland due to debts he was unable to repay. Sutter moves to America to begin life anew with various business ventures on Mexican Lands. In 1840, Sutter began construction on Fort Sutter in Sacramento by utilizing Hawaiian and Nisenan Indian laborers whom were cohersed to work for him.

John Charles Frémont, before he ran for President as a Republican, had utilized military forces to take over Fort Sutter during the Mexican-American War. Sutter was allowed to stay on the fort grounds as a lieutenant. After the war ended Sutter took charge of his fort again.

Over time, Fort Sutter was abandoned and became a California State Park.

In present day, Sutter Fort has a replica of an emigrant wagon that had been used by individuals moving to California during the gold rush.

Author’s Note:

Johann Augustus Sutter purchased Fort Ross from the Russian government in 1841.

Dr. Robert Burn Fisher, Fremont Museum of Local History, John Charles Frémont

The Fremont Museum of Local History

The Fremont Museum Of Local History was created utilizing Dr. Robert Burn Fisher’s historical collection. Dr. Fisher archived many photographs and maps of the Fremont area.

Fremont has had various fossils found in the area by archeologists.

The Museum has an exhibit on explorer, militiaman, and former Governor of California John Charles Frémont, who was the first ever politician to run for President as a Republican.

Various movies were filmed in Fremont, including classics with Charlie Chaplin.

The motorcycle chase scene in “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” was filmed with former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in Fremont. The musuem has not mentioned that part of modern film history in its facility.

The museum had an exhibit regarding the first Apple mass production factory which was in Fremont, California before manufacturing was outsourced to China to companies like Foxconn.

The plant had manufactured Apple Macintoshes at an automated rate of one computer every 27 seconds.

In present day, there is is a Tesla Factory in Fremont, which I have been visited in 2017, that manufactures Tesla electric vehicles.

Author’s Note:

As a member of the Santa Clara California Pioneers, I found it amusing that this museum had a membership poster for an individual who was a member of the pioneers in the 1800s.