Jedediah Smith Society

OBJECTIVES OF THE
JEDEDIAH SMITH SOCIETY
A California non-profit organization founded January, 1957, with these objectives:

Preservation
To acquire, preserve, and make available for scholarly research and public display the original journals, letters, records and personal belongings of Jedediah Strong Smith, 1799-1831, early American explorer, cartographer, and mountain man;

Research
To encourage scholarly research and writing, with particular emphasis on the accomplishments of Jedediah S. Smith and other early fur traders and explorers, by offering appropriate awards, scholarships and grants for meritorious study and research;

Education
To foster, through public meetings, publications, or other events or activities, appropriate and effective educational programs to promote public awareness and understanding of the career and accomplishments of Jedediah S. Smith and other early fur traders and explorers.

MEETINGS
The Society holds two regular membership meetings per year, one in April at the time of the California History Institute at UOP, and a fall “rendezvous” in late September, early October or November at a historic location on or near one of Jed Smith’s known campsites. In addition, the Board of Directors meets on call.

HEADQUARTERS
The business office of the Society is:
Jedediah Smith Society
1322 Shattuck Ave.  Apt 401
Berkeley, CA 94709

STAFF
The Society is headed by a president and other officers elected annually, by a board of directors elected every three years.

twotraders2019 Officers

President:  Kevin Kucera
Vice President:  Jim Smith
Secretary:  Milton von Damm
Treasurer: Milton von Damm

Board of Directors

Kevin Kucera
Jim Smith
Milton von Damm
Rich Cimino
Luke Kucera
Bob Shannon
Sheri Wysong

Executive Committee
Kevin Kucera
JIm Smith
Milton Von Damm

Click here to see photos of our past Rendezvous and Upcoming Events 

17 thoughts on “Jedediah Smith Society”

  1. Hello JSS Mgmt, Our family is descended through my mom’s great grandfather Charles Edw. Strong b in 1820s CT. He came to California BY 1854. WE HAVE OVER 18 WIDE SASMPLES OF HIS AUTOSOMAL DNA NCESTRY, but there is not one record of his birth, parents, siblings, even his marriage to Mary Eliz Wiles of Perry, Wyoming NY b @ 1833. Her family was in CT (Clothier Squier)and Seneca, Ontario Co NY by 1793. The Family search fan chart of Jedidiah S Smith has most of the names we find in our cousin matches In the town (Perry NY)1812-1840s was a Rufus H Smith and Elisha Smith who traded PROPERTY. We have many close enough Smith Cousins here in early California, incl the BORAX King, his great grandson matches us. Francis Marion Smith (February 2, 1846 – August 27, 1931). JED Smiths fan chart has almost all the names we have via all our cousin matches on FTDNA- MY HERITAGE- ANCESTRY There was a Strong minister in Santa Cruz County CA from CT in the 1850s near our C. E. Strong., who also was in Hayward, Alameda , CA 1860 census and 1870, where Francis and his dad; Henry Grovier Smith b sep 1810 White Creek, Washington, NY
    died 1890 San Jose, Santa Clara, CA where ours died 11 miles north in Mt. View, SC, CA ABT1896. An unrelated cousin has placed our Charles Ed. Strong’s father as Braddock Strong & Mary Clark but no tie at all and should have disappeared. He still has not been tied in the Strong family records. Although all cousins lead to Elder John Strong and wife Deane & Ford and even our Mary Wiles grandmother with CE Strong, was a desd of a Mary Dean & Seba Squier b abt 1764 they are buried in Seneca, Ontario, NY coming from Litchfield Co CT in 1793+ Hopefully I will find why we are related to JS Smith
    as told by the granddaughter about 1910.

    1. I have been searching for information that might be helpful to Terry Bohme and discovered that there is a book by Benjamin Dwight titled The History of the Descendants of Elder John Strong of Northhampton, Massachusetts. Surprisingly there is a paperback copy for sale at Amazon.com.

  2. Hello my name is Joe Kierst I’m a fur trade historian and reenactor. I’ve been wondering lately, and thought this would be a good place to start digging, about what has become of Jed Smiths guns? Are they in a museum or private collection or simply disappeared in the tides of time? I’m refering to the ones he carried on the the Santa Fe trail, which were taken from him by the Comanches that killed him, who traded them to a Comanchero who in turn had them on his trade blanket in Santa Fe where Jeds friends and brothers noticed them and learned of his death from the Comanchero. I believe he was carrying a Hawken rifle and a pair if dueling pistols. Any help is appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Hi, my name is Milton von Damm and I collect fur trade arms and trade goods. Jed purchased two percussion pistol from Creamer sometime before he led a freight caravan to Santa Fe. After he was murdered by Indians en route, one of his brothers subsequently found his pistols and rifle for sale in the Santa Fe marketplace. His brother Ira took one pistol and we don’t know what happened to the second. The first one was stolen from a museum in San Diego and has never been recovered. The type of rifle is not known, but it couldn’t have been Hawken because Jed was murdered in 1831, too soon for Hawken. Jed’s uncle said it was a colt revolving rifle, but that was also before they were manufactured. It might have been a Billinghouse revolving rifle, but slightly too soon. The common assumption is that the rifle was a Creamer, but there is no verification and I have not found evidence of a Creamer western plains rifle. Hope this helps.
      Milt, Secty/Treas Jedediah Smith Society

    2. Check the Pacific Historian. Vol 28, No. 4. Winter 1984.

      “The Pistol of Jedediah Smith.” By Troy S. Tuggle.

      Very good article. Names the San Diego police officers involved originally.

    1. Just saw your post. We print maps on demand on strong paper that could be framed or secured to backing that could then be used as a poster. Milton von Damm.

  3. Dear Jedediah Smith Society ,
    I think it is cool how this website takes its time to learn all about Jedediah Smith.

  4. Dear jedediah smith society
    My name is isaiah and I am a middle school student currently learning about the history of the American West. We are doing a research project about any area of the American West that we find interesting and my group has decided to research jedediah smith While doing our research we came across your museum, and were hoping that you could lend your expertise on our subject and answer a few questions we have about it. If you would be able to help further our research please email us back and thank you for your time!
    Sincerely,
    isaiah

    1. Hello Isaiah,
      By any chance are you working with Turner on this project?
      Jim Smith, our JSS President has written a letter to Turner which he asked me you forward to you.
      We are interested to hear the types of questions you might have. Please read the thread below.

      Hello Turner,
      I received your email. I would be happy to work with your group as you learn about Jedediah Smith. I’ll try to answer any questions you may have. You didn’t mention the name of your school or the town you live in. That might help me.
      But please email with your questions. I hope you are finding the web site interesting and useful.
      Kindest Regards,
      Jim Smith,
      Jedediah Smith Society.
      406-949-1002

  5. Hi, Mayor David Ogden here in Richfield Ut.. We opened a
    visitor center June 27th. We had over 2,000 visitors before November. By any accounts it has been a big success. We have helped travelers find their way and also educated many on the importance of the Mountain Man/ Traders Trapper era. In our center we are creating a diorama of a mountain man/ beaver/traps and we intend that it be as good as possible. I need some assistance if possible. I have a very talented taxidermist who is helping with the project. I would love to teach about Jed Smith at the same time. I am prepared to purchase what I need to do this. I need best ideas for clothing etc. We have a beautiful beaver caught by government trapper and being tanned now. I plan on having the framed wall map of Jed’s travels. We will purchase a full size mannequin but I would appreciate any advice for our project. Thank you very much. Dave Ogden

    1. This may be nothing, but I recall my 5th grade teacher in Lawson, Missouri telling me that Jed Smith’s brother, her grandfather started the Lawson bank,in 1883…or perhaps the next generation, due to that 1883 date. Her name was Cleo, born 1900. Her grandson later married my sister(2010). Any truth here? I suppose the history of Lawson bank may lend some credibility. I have a Lawson history book from a centennial in 1971 that may shed light if I find it. It may be of some interest.

    2. Professor William Swagerty is a member of the Jedediah Smith Society and co Chair of the History Department at the University of the Pacific, located in Stockton, California. The Arthur Clark company published his two volume set about the Lewis and Clark Expedition titled ” The Indianization of Lewis and Clark”. It is relevant to your quest to have an authentic display because Swagerty describes in detail how the food they ate, the clothing they wore and all aspects of their daily living had to adapt to where they were and how the Indians were living in various locations along their route. Using clothing as an example, what they were wearing when they began had no resemblance to what they were wearing when they returned.
      Based on reading these thoroughly researched books, my suggestion is to follow Jed’s route from where he was coming from when he passed through your area. If he was traveling East from California he would have worn a cloth shirt made from material obtained at a mission. He probably would have been wearing hand made moccasins, probably made from cow hide. It was common for trappers to wrap a black silk handkerchief over their heads. For a coat, they might have still had a copote made from a three point trade blanket, or a leather coat made from an animal skin and a leather breech clout. I would be surprised if he would have been wearing anything red because it would stand out and be an obvious target. His accouterments would include a hunting pouch, a fire starting kit that included a flint, a steel and a magnifying glass, dark glasses similar to welders glasses, a small ax with a pole top that could be used as a hammer, a small wooden handled all purpose knife with an Indian beaded sheath hanging from a sting of leather around his neck with the knife just below his chin, a larger Bowie type knife, a flintlock pistol, probably military surplus, a full stocked flintlock rifle that was probably made in Lancaster, PA, plus personal items such as a razor, pipe, tobacco, and probably a bible. His saddle would probably have been a Spanish saddle tree with a buffalo hide to sit on which would also be his sleeping blanket. He would probably also be carrying a looking glass as well as pen and paper to maintain his daily journal. Carrying water was an unsolvable challenge for man and animal. He may have had a gourd, a sack of some type, or an animal horn. If he was traveling with a brigade of men from the East they would have had pack animals that were carrying food, camp tools and supplies, beaver traps, lead, powder and trade goods.
      Assembling an outfit of original artifacts would be costly, but spectacular if feasible. There are online sources that market reproduction items to fur trade rein actors. An online search would yield some names. Once you compile a shopping a shopping list, EBAY might be a good source for many items.
      One last suggestion, if you must use a manikin I would not include a head. It’s just my personal opinion but I think it would cheapen the exhibit.
      I hope this helps,
      Milt

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