|Birth: ||Apr. 6, 1798|
|Death: ||Oct., 1866|
One of America's first African-American frontiersmen. Beckwourth was a rugged individualist and a trailblazer who played a major role in the early exploration and settlement of the American West. He was born a slave in Fredricksburg County, Virginia the third of thirteen children to a mulatto mother and white father. Beckwourth's father was a officer in the Revolutionary War, and his mother was a slave in the service of his father's household. Beckwourth's family later moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he completed four years of schooling, and later was apprenticed to a blacksmith for five years. At eighteen, he ran away after a dispute and had trouble finding work because of his mixed blood. In 1823, Beckwourth joined the expedition of General William Henry Ashley's Rocky Mountain Fur Trading which penetrated the western wilderness. He left Ashley's expedition in 1825 and went to live among the Indians in the Crow Nation for six years. The Crows made him a chieftain and called him "Bull's Robe." Beckwourth became a mighty warrior and took part in their tribal wars and according to Beckwourth he "lifted the scalp of many an enemy." In 1837, he grew tired of savage life, returned to civilization, and established two trading posts. During this time period Beckwourth helped in the founding of the town of Pueblo, Colorado. He later fought in the Seminole War in 1842 and the California Revolution in 1846. In 1848, while traveling with his wife Luisa Sandoval, Beckwourth met General John C. Freemont and became his chief scout. On this expedition he a made a discovery that should forever secure him a place in Western history. In 1850 in the Sierra Nevada, Beckwourth found an important and safer pass that led pioneers and gold seekers to the fields of California (now called "Beckwourth Pass"). There he built a ranch and trading post. Although there were many people of many races and nationalities on the frontier, Beckwourth was the only African-American who recorded his life story, and his adventures which took him from the everglades of Florida to the Pacific Ocean and from Southern California to Northern Mexico. He dictated his autobiography "The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth" to an intinerant Thomas D. Bonner Justice of the Peace. The Book was published in 1856 and the book apparently achieved a certain amount of popuar success, for a French translation was later printed in 1860. Beckwourth's last adventure took place in 1866 when he fought in the Cheyenne War. He died in early October of that same year of mysterious causes while visiting the Crow Indians along the Bighorn River. (bio by: Curtis Jackson)
Search Amazon for James Beckwourth
Crow Indian Settlement
Plot: Buried on an elevated platform customary of the Crow indians.
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Curtis Jackson
Record added: Nov 15, 2002
Find A Grave Memorial# 6931072
|Photos may be scaled.|
Click on image for full size.
Do you have a photo to add? Click here