Known as the “The Great Pathfinder”, John Charles Frémont was born in Savannah, Georgia, on January 21, 1813, and he was one of only two native Georgians that fought for the U.S. Army during the Civil War. During the years before the war, Frémont led several exploratory expeditions into the West. His goal was to create surveys and maps for the U.S. westward expansion.
During 1838 to 1839, he assisted Joseph Nicollet, a well-known scientist, in surveying the Upper Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Frémont became famous for his campaigns into the west during the 1840s, including one that involved crossing the Sierra Nevada during the winter. He was instrumental in securing California for the U.S. during the Mexican-American War, capturing the cities of Presidio, Santa Barbara and sections of Los Angeles.
Frémont was fortunate to strike gold during the California gold rush and was a California senator from 1850 to 1851. He unsuccessfully ran for president of the U.S. in 1856, becoming the first Republican Party candidate.
After the Civil War (1878 to 1887), Frémont would become the territorial governor of Arizona. He died on July 13, 1890.
Historic Marker Inscription
One of two native Georgians who served as generals in the U.S. Army during the Civil War, John C. Frémont was born nearby on January 21, 1813. As an army officer, his 1840s explorations of the American West gained him fame as the “Pathfinder.” During the U.S.-Mexican War, Frémont seized California for the U.S. and was elected one of its first Senators in 1850. Opposed to slavery’s expansion, he ran unsuccessfully in 1856 as the first Republican presidential candidate. During the Civil War, Frémont’s 1861 proclamation freeing all Confederate-owned slaves in Missouri was annulled by President Lincoln. After lackluster performance as a combat commander, Frémont resigned from the U.S. Army in 1864. He later served as governor of the Arizona Territory (1878-1881) and died in New York in 1890.
Erected for the Civil War 150 commemoration by the Georgia Historical Society, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and the Georgia Battlefields Association
131 Yamacraw Village, Savannah, GA, 31401
32° 4′ 57.740″ N, 81° 5′ 55.900″ W