President’s Message

The Jedediah Smith Society: Moving Forward in 2024

The years 2022 and 2023 have brought renewed energy to the Jedediah Smith Society, and I am confident we will be a dynamic organization for many years to come. Our Board of Directors will continue to work diligently on behalf of all members and the public to make our society worthy of Jed Smith’s legacy.

  • We recently approved an amended set of bylaws to clarify our operational procedures.
  • We chose a new editor of publications who has created an electronic newsletter to apprise our members of work in progress, announcements, and news of interest. He has also reconstituted Castor Canadensis as a printed journal. This new Castor encourages members and others who are interested in historical research to submit their writing for publication.
  • We have published an extensive annotated bibliography of sources about Jed and the fur trade. This bibliography also includes maps, photos, and a special section of primary sources held in the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives.
  • We held a Rendezvous field trip tracing Jed’s route from the northern California border to Fort Vancouver. Bob Zybach and board member Rich Cimino organized this West Coast odyssey for both members and nonmembers.
  • Because of the determined efforts of board members Jim Ahrens and William Horst, and a generous donation by member Therese Melbar, a new Jedediah Smith monument was installed in Panorama Park located in northeast Bakersfield, California.
  • Two board members pledged up to $1,500 to match, on a dollar-to-dollar basis, donations received through 2023.
  • The society also received a generous $5,000 donation from member Philip Berolzheimer to start an Endowment Fund, the purpose of which is to enhance the society’s ability to educate the public about Jed Smith.
  • Finances are being ably managed by treasurer Arthur Hurley.
  • Our website has been improved to serve as a curriculum aid, to foster membership growth, and to solicit donations.
  • We are making plans to redesign and expand the interactive maps on this website. Multidisciplinary narratives will augment reader interest in the sites shown on the maps, and other innovations will provide an interesting story of life in the Far West during the 1820s.

For these, and many other reasons, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as the president of the Jedediah Smith Society. Enjoy your visit to our site!

Milton von Damm, president