Talk: Fremont, Foxen and the San Marcos Pass
By Neal Graffy
One hundred and seventy-three years ago, on the very night of this presentation, “The Pathfinder,” Lt. Col. John C. Frémont, and his recently assembled California Battalion were encamped some 20 miles below Mission San Juan Bautista. Their goal? Head south and liberate Santa Barbara and then Los Angeles from the forces of General José María Flores.
To do so, for the next twenty-three days Frémont and his men would embark on an historic and nearly comical march of 230 miles culminating in a Christmas Day descent from the Santa Ynez mountains in a torrential rainstorm to the foothills of La Goleta Rancho. According to legend, Benjamin Foxen warned Frémont of a trap at Gaviota Pass and then led Frémont and the battalion safely over the “San Marcos Pass.”
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