The Curious Case of the Missing Fremont Historical Marker

By an edhat reader

Years ago, I posted the notice that the Historical marker that noted Fremont’s troops camped at that spot was missing. It still is, unless maybe relocated? Likely not.

This was a very large heavy (bronze?) marker, standing vertical in a base located at the top of Highway 154, on the left side of Stage Coach Road, opposite the East Camino Cielo turn off. At the time I posted, there were various comments and ideas to explain the absence. One that was reasonable, mentioned storms may have softened the earth and allowed the heavy marker top topple forward, that it was likely stored away for future repair.

Other believable input was stolen and sold for scrap metal! Actually not hard to believe, but this thing was very big, and would take a machine to lift. In any case, does anyone know more about that missing marker? It is simply something out of this area’s past and so many things like it just fade away.

2019 photo of the boulder where the marker used to be

2019 photo of the boulder where the marker used to be

The intact marker seen in December 2018 (Photo by an edhat reader)


Written by 26tpi

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  1. That dude led MULTIPLE massacres of indigenous people, estimated in the thousands. Screw that plaque and the heroification of disgusting people who committed disgusting acts against humanity. I hope it was stolen and destroyed, and if not, it should never be replaced. He was not a hero, he was a murderous pioneer. His story belongs as a villified section in a history book, not as some plaque that tells one sentence of his history and ignores his extreme wrongdoings against innocent indigenous people.

    • @11:38: It was truly sickening what General Fremont was known for: trampling native Americans to death with his horse. I cannot think of anything more cowardly than using an animal to kill another human being. We should all be ashamed of what he did with such glee. I understand that many folks overlook his murderous ways because of his many expeditions, but c’mon….trampling??? with a horse??? Sorry, no rewards for you!

  2. If Fremont is remembered at all, it should be as a cruel and incompetent blowhard. That is how most contemporary observers saw him and his actions confirm that. After his expeditions he acted like he single-handedly took the West and let being a mid-ranking commander inflate his ego to that of a king. He was court martialed and removed by force after refusing to give up being CA governor. Then ran against Lincoln and lost miserably, yet was appointed to command the western theater and failed repeatedly. Even his walkover “victory” in Santa Barbara was preceded by him trying to cross the pass during a storm and losing dozens of mules loaded with ammo and supplies. A pathetic excuse for a historical figure who only got where he was due to chance and a major drive to feed his gigantic ego.

    • Quite a dramatic comment. It’s a rock with a plaque that fell or was pushed over. No big secret. Fremont “happened,” unfortunately for everyone who crossed his path.
      What is it about Fremont that yo think is so great that he should be celebrated in spite of his disturbing life?

  3. Aside from rants about Fremont…
    Does anyone know if the location of the (missing) marker was actually the place where Fremont camped?
    Does anyone know if the Fremont Trail (from Paradise Road to E. Camino Rd.) is actually the trail?
    Is there any detailed historical record specifying locations of any of this?

  4. THE EXPEDITIONS OF John Charles Fremont
    © 1973 University of Illinois.
    “Guided by Foxen, the battalion crossed the Santa Ynez ridge by way of San Marcos Pass. The artillery had to be unlimbered and carried by the men over the pass and down the precipitous mountain. During the descent “the wind blew almost with the force of a tornado” (bryant, 380). JCF has been unjustly accused of poor judgment in taking the San Marcos Pass instead of the road through Gaviota. The latter pass is a narrow one, and rumors were afloat that the Californians intended to make a stand there. Furthermore, to take the route through Gaviota would have limited his mobility—he would have had the ocean on one side and the steeply rising hills on the other.”

  5. A heavy rainstorm toppled the monument. The plaque was saved by members of a historical group and will be remounted when a suitable boulder can be found and moved into place. The plaque did not mark Fremont’s Trail nor where he camped, it simply noted: “In honor of Lt Col John C Fremont, soldiers and guide W. B. Foxen who marched over the San Marcos Pass Dec. 25., 1846 and took possession of Santa Barbara while the Californians waited for them in ambush in Gaviota Pass – Santa Barbara Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution – 1926”
    Re: Fremont’s Trail – Yes, from Paradise Road to East Camino is more or less the route taken.
    Re: Fremont’s Camp – Fremont’s men were spread all over the Painted Cave area. Some camped at Laurel Springs others were off of West Camino Cielo/Kineven Rd/Windemere Ranch area.
    Re: Gaviota Pass Ambush – Absolutely no truth to that story. Neither Foxen, Dana or anyone else warned Fremont of a possible ambush as there was no one waiting, planning or even thinking of ambushing Fremont at the Gaviota Pass.
    Re: Foxen the Guide. Yes, Foxen and one of his sons, believed to be William Joseph Foxen, did guide Fremont to the trail(s) through the mountains, There was nothing close to a recognizable “Pass” at that time.

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