OBJECTIVES OF THE
JEDEDIAH SMITH SOCIETY
HISTORY OF THE
The Spring Breakfast was initiated to be a part of the annual California History Institute. The first annual Rendezvous was held on September 1958, upstairs in the Anderson Y reception room (currently 2nd floor of the Presidents Office). It was a dinner, at which Dr. Warren Atherton spoke on Jedediah Smith, followed by a Tiger football game in Memorial Stadium. Over the years the fall rendezvous has been held at various historical sites in California as well as on the Stockton campus of the university. Some of these sites have been locations where Jedediah had traveled.
The Society financially participated with the San Dimas Festival of the Arts in the erection of a statue in San Dimas honoring Jedediah in Southern California. In the early years the newsletter was included as part of the Pacific Historian which was prepared by R.R. Stuart and printed by his brother-in-law, the renown press of Lawton Kennedy of San Francisco. Later this publication has become Castor Canadensis. Other publications have been monographs published through the Center for Western Studies and the Society.
A major benefactor of the Society has been the late Julian Smith Bacon, Jr., "Smitty" was the great grandson of Peter Smith, younger brother of Jedediah. His contributions include personal effects of Jedediah and the Smith family now residing in the archives of Special Collections of the Holt Atherton Library.
The Society influenced the creation of Jedediah Smith State Park located on the Pacific Coast south of Eureka, California. Dr. Robert Burns, and C. M. Goethe of Sacramento donated property to the State of California with the proviso that the State acquire and set aside the remainder of the land necessary to establish the park for public use into perpetuity. A State Park ballot measure was passed to financially support the California State Park system and Jedediah Smith Park came into being on the Smith River. Geoethe was also instrumental in the establishment of the Jedediah Smith Trail along the American River in Sacramento. Geoethe (pronounced Gatey) had emigrated to the U.S. as the Nazi party rose to power. The Jedediah Smith Trail along the American river in Sacramento was one of his many projects for the land, people, and freedom of this country.
The 200th birth year
of Jedediah was celebrated throughout the nation in 1999. Dinner with
a speaker took place in Washington, South Dakota, and California. At his
birthplace, Jerrico NY, now called Bainbridge, teacher Mary Drachler wrote
a play and song that was performed several times for local audiences.
Her elementary school classes, 4-6, made this a memorable community event.
The California History Institute at the university held a symposium on
the Fur Trade Era. Relatives of the Smith family in attendance were honored
at the lunch banquet with an appropriate birthday cake. An essay contest
was held with students in three California counties participating in locally
held competitions. Finally the fall rendezvous was held in Red Bluff and
Redding, California in his honor. The speaker, Joe Molter presented "Jed's
trip to the Coast."
Currently our work
includes awarding an annual endowed scholarship at the university, the
Julian Smith Bacon, Jr. and Jedediah Smith Society Scholarship. This scholarship
honors the late 'Smitty' Bacon and his Smith family relatives. It provides
a stipend for an upper division or graduate student studying in the field
of teaching and/or Western U.S. History. In addition to future publications,
the Society members are involved in work at the Oregon "Encounter/Massacre
Site" on the Umpqua River and locating Jed's route east over the
Yours, Richard S. Cimino,
Upcoming Events of Others:
The San Bernadino County Museum
Beaver fur was a highly valued commodity in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. In North America, beaver was first acquired by trade with Native Americans, but in the early 1800s fur companies began organized trapping expeditions. These companies were so efficient that beaver quickly became scarce, and the search for new beaver streams began.
Mountain man Jedediah Smith set off in search of beaver streams in 1826, and his path south brought him to the Colorado River and across the Mojave Desert to Mission San Gabriel, the first American to enter California overland. His trailblazing path was followed by other trappers and traders, at first seeking fur, then California horses and mules, and finally gold.
The San Bernardino County Museum is at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 am to 5pm. General admission is $10 (adult), $8 (military or senior), $7 (student), and $5 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, call (909) 798-8608 or visit www.sbcountymuseum.org. The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.