By Ilene Stone
whilst Sen. Thomas Hart Benton, one among Missouri’s first senators and the great-uncle of the recognized regionalist painter of a similar identify, used to be waiting for his moment baby in 1824, he was hoping it might be a boy. even if he used to be graced as an alternative with a moment woman, he named her Jessie (in honor of his father, Jesse) and raised her extra like a son than a nineteenth-century daughter, introducing her to the major politicians of the day and ensuring she acquired an schooling that emphasised historical past, literature, and languages. Jessie and her father have been shut; Senator Benton used to be the most impact in her existence till 1841, while, on the age of seventeen, she married military explorer John Charles Frémont opposed to her mom and dad’ needs. a point of reconciliation happened while Benton promoted Frémont’s recognized explorations of the good West. Jessie remained in Missouri with the couple’s younger daughter, Lily, yet she later helped to jot down and edit stories of her husband’s adventures, and those narratives unfold the entice of the West to nineteenth-century the United States. In 1849 Jessie and Lily made a harrowing and treacherous trip around the Isthmus of Panama to rendezvous with Frémont in San Francisco. With source of revenue from their gold mines, the Frémonts tested a house in California. In 1856, with the rustic on the point of civil struggle, Frémont’s antislavery place was once instrumental in his being selected because the Republican Party’s first presidential nominee. Jessie was once a staunch campaigner for her husband’s unsuccessful presidential bid, which her father, a lifelong Democrat, refused to suggest. while President Lincoln appointed Frémont because the commander of the dep. of the West in 1861, Jessie served as his unofficial aide and closest adviser. In a very dramatic incident, she rushed to Washington, D.C., for a gathering with Lincoln during which she argued passionately for her husband’s inspiration to emancipate the slaves in Missouri. After the Civil warfare, the Frémonts’ monetary state of affairs took a downturn. Undaunted, Jessie supported the relations by means of writing approximately her adventures within the American West in such works as A yr of yank trip and Souvenirs of My Time. Like many girls of her period, Jessie lived her targets principally via her husband’s profession, yet she additionally made a reputation for herself as a author and a company opponent of slavery.
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Additional info for Jessie Benton Fremont: Missouri's Trailblazer (Missouri Heritage Readers)
His career led him to explorations of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and he became an ardent westward expansionist, which in turn brought him to the attention of influential people who held similar views. One of those people was the senator from Missouri, Thomas Hart Benton, who had a long-standing belief in the importance of manifest destiny—the conviction that it was the obvious duty of the United States to expand from the East Coast to the West. Jessie wrote in Souvenirs: “It became my father’s fixed idea, with a growth proportioned to the greatness of the subject, that this great West must be opened to emigration, and, when possible, a good harbor secured on the Pacific.
This option was much more expensive. Steamship prices for sailing from New York to the port of Chagres, on Panama’s east coast, ranged from $100 to $150. Then there were other costs: to cross the isthmus the usual fee was $35, and the voyage from Panama to California brought another charge ranging from $150 to $300. Most settlers or “forty-niners” could not afford this route to the West. In addition to the numerous expenses, it was also a daunting and arduous journey. While Benton could not make the voyage with his daughter, he did travel to New York in March 1849 to see her and six-yearold Lily off, but this did not ease Jessie’s trepidation about the trip.
This was true even if the request was in Spanish, because she was fluent in that language, having learned it and other foreign languages as a young girl. Most of these camping ventures were undertaken during the drier weather, which made travel easier and helped restore Jessie to robust health. However, as the time approached for what passes for the rainy season in California, the Frémonts headed home to Monterey. Besides, there was business to oversee. The Frémonts were forty-niners, too, though not in the usual sense.