Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Jedediah Strong Smith

We commented on the wonderful job that is being done for the Mayflower events and mentioned the work being done by the NEHGS. That will be something to watch. Of late, after reading of Judge Thompson spending time out west, I have been paying attention to events of the past 200 years. As, we have the opportunity to celebrate those while the 400th stream of fetes rages for several decades.

The Judge's sojourn to the left coast and back, plus Col. Higginson's travels out to the wild west, are examples from a long period of history leading to now. I was just digging yesterday into the 'Sooner' events that were associated with the 1983 Land Rush where the Cherokee Territory was parceled out to a greedy bunch of people. There are tales to tell; fortunately, the www allows people to publish what they know. The usual caveats are in order, albeit that the Thomas Gardner Society would like to be involved with efforts a providing a 'clean, safe' web source.

You see, from the research mode, there are many things to discuss. However, a triad of culture, history, and genetics/genealogy rises to fore, in our opinion. These will be discussed further, as we go along. Culture is a human trait of long-standing interest. So, in a sense, memes trump genes? Well, lots to look at, however history does have a huge role. Actually, it deals with people and their dealings. People, of course, are the major players, but each generation comes and goes. We have to look at the broader scope of things. Humans have many cultures, most of which are age-old.

Both Thompson and Higginson were late, comparatively, to the subject guy. They were around during the pre-Civil War times. And, both were heavily New England in pedigree. One thing to remember is that after the Revolution, we had lots of people coming here. In fact, D.A.R. has many members whose patriot ancestors came sometime in the 18th century prior to the uproar. But, we also had the Spanish here for a few centuries by that time. And, people came from all over.

Just like now. And, given some of the discussions that I see, we really need educational thrusts related to the hidden history of the U.S. So, let's go back a few decades prior to these two guys. One of the early explorers, a mountain man, was out west in the 1820s. He started in St. Louis working in the fur trade business. Then, he went west and covered a whole lot of territory. He took notes, drew maps, and even wrote letters. And, he has a New England pedigree which needs to be researched further. I looked at some reports and provide a brief list of families: Smith, Strong, Partridge, Mather, Ingersoll, Langley, Adams, Kilborne, Foote, Eddy. Like many, he has oodles of cousins.

Jedediah did not have descendants, but his siblings did.

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Now, let's switch to an example society that is doing very good work. In 1957, a group in California decided to found a group to research this guy and others like him and more. This is their website.


It's partly based in Berkeley (CA). They use WordPress nicely. But, their research work is real nice. There is some discussion, below. But, they have a Rendevouz that is planned and allows people to walk in Jedediah's steps, if you would. And, he covered a whole lot of western states, as an early traveler. I will look at one, below, a little.  

Being brief, just like the NEHGS helps lead the way, the JSS shines, too. Jedediah Smith was born in 1799, so he's a post-Revolution baby. His parents were in New York. They both have New England pedigree. By 1822, he was in St. Louis. Mind you, this was before the trails kicked in (see Gardner, KS at the split). After that, he went many places. He helped establish the Oregon Trail's route.

As we look at the filling in of the middle of the U.S., we can look at what was going on in New England. Like we know of Higginson, that he was one of the secret supporters of John Brown. By that time, there was regular publishing in eastern papers of articles sent from the west. Jedediah was before any of that.

His death was in 1831, in Kansas. There is a river that runs out of New Mexico into Colorado and then wanders east until it meets with the Arkansas River that comes out of Colorado, too. He was killed while drinking water from the Cimarron River during a parched time. His body was never found, however reports of this death traveled back quickly. In that area, they were laying out the Santa Fe trail

Area where Jedediah was killed, 1831
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It might be of interest to mention, now, that Jedediah and his crew were the first U.S. citizens to cross the Mojave Desert. And, this was in the summer.

After being detained and questioned by the New Spain Governor, Jedediah went north.

Jedediah maps out the Interstates
I had to include this map, which came from the JSS website. For those who may be familiar with the area, the long south to north line is, essentially, today's I5. Then, in the lower area, we see what is now I15. And that northern line is I80 which goes across the whole continent ending up in New York City.

There are similar maps of other areas created by researchers who have been studying Jedediah and his times.

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As an aside, the JSS still uses checks for their membership payment and contributions. They have a nice newsletter, too, and published papers.

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Jedediah was forgotten for a long while. One article is noted as having been written in 1922 by a grand-nephew who live in Kansas not far from where Jedediah was slain. But, once the JSS was formed, it has been in action to get Jedediah recognized.

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We see a similar role with regard to Thomas Gardner and the Cape Ann crew, especially with regard to the Old Planters Society. That is, do not let the world forget early New England. Lots of research has been done the past 100 years or so. Too, there is a huge stack of pending research. Using the www for coordination goes along with its purpose and facilities. 

Remarks: Modified: 07/17/2018

07/17/2018 -- Continuation of the theme: culture | history | genetics/genealogy

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