Jed’s Accomplishments in the West

Jed Smith (1799-1831) was a trapper, trader, explorer, and leader from 1822 to 1831. Historian Dale Morgan calls him “an authentic American hero.” More specifically . . .

North American Beaver
A North American Beaver (Castor Canadensis)
  1. Jed explored more of the West than any other American during his time.
  2. In 1824, with help from the friendly Absaroka (Crow) tribe, he rediscovered South Pass (the first “effective” discovery), located at the southern tip of the Wind River Mountains in today’s Wyoming, and he made public the opportunity for overland travelers to go west to California and to Oregon Territory. Between 1841 and 1869 some 350,000 to 500,000 emigrants travelled through this pass.
  3. In 1826 Jed became the first American to enter California overland from the East.
  4. In 1827 he became the first non-native American to cross the Sierra Nevada near Ebbetts Pass (State Route 4 today).
  5. In 1827 he became the first American to trek across the Great Basin, located between the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains.
  6. From 1826 to1828, he became the first known person to traverse the West Coast by land from San Diego to the Columbia River.