Home » Explorer » Beckwourth, James Pierson

Beckwourth, James Pierson

Born: 1798 AD
Died: 1867 AD
Nationality: American
Categories: Explorer

1798 – Born in April 26th in Virginia. American mountain man who lived for an extended period among the Indians.

1810 – His father took him to Louisiana Territory and eventually to St. Louis and there apparently manumitted him, for he was thereafter regarded as a “free Negro”.

1823 – Beckwourth signed on as a groom with a fur-trading expedition.

1824 – He was hired to handle the horses on an expedition to the Rocky Mountains.

1833 – He returned to white settlements, apparently abandoning his Indian wives.

1848 – He established a route through the Sierras for Easterners en route to California after gold was discovered there.

1855 – Began ranching, mostly with stolen horses, until he was chased out by vigilantes.

1856 – He encountered a wandering journalist, Thomas D. Bonner, who recorded many of the frontiersman’s yarns and recollections in a book that made his subject famous for a time: The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth, Mountaineer, Scout, Pioneer and Chief of the Crow Nation of Indians.

1859 – He returned to Missouri but soon joined the flood of settlers bound for Colorado.

1864 – He served, probably as a guide and interpreter for U.S. troops, in the Cheyenne War, then settled near Denver.

1867 – Died on Denver, Colorado.

         – His death during a visit to the Crow is variously described as occurring on a hunting trip or by poison at the hands of a former wife.