John C. Fremont
C. Fremont traveled the roughest parts of the West to put new places on
the map. He discovered many places in his time, including Las Vegas.
Fremont heads west
John C. Fremont
Photo courtesy of
was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1813. As a young
man, he helped map the country between the Upper Mississippi
and Missouri rivers. Then in 1843, the United States Congress
approved money for a U.S. Army expedition into the West to map
the area between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
along with Christopher "Kit" Carson, set out to map out a wagon
and railroad route across North America. On their way, they explored the
Truckee and Carson river basin and discovered Pyramid Lake in Northern
In 1844, Fremont headed south to find the Old
Spanish Trail. He traveled to a place known to the Spanish as "Las
Vegas," or "the meadows." There he rested at the Las
Vegas Springs and noted the trails he took to get there on a map.
Putting Las Vegas on the map
Fremont's band of explorers faced many dangers during the expedition.
They survived Indian fights, starvation and thirst. But the route through
Las Vegas became well traveled because of Fremont. Once Fremont returned
to Washington, Congress printed thousands of copies of his journal and
the map of his trip. The route through Las Vegas became famous as part
of the "Old Spanish Trail."
John C. Fremont went on to have many more adventures.
He led more expeditions to California, fought battles against the Mexican
government and even ran for president of the United States. He fought
as a general in the Union army in the Civil War and was appointed governor
of Arizona in 1878. His explorations led people to call him "the