Jessie Benton Frémont

Jessie Benton Frémont

By: Marguerite Higgins
Edited by: Sterling North
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Company
Publication Date: 1962
Series: North Star Books
Series Number: 32

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In her mid-teens, Jessie Anne Benton was a beautiful, gracious, high-spirited girl -- and very much her father's daughter. Thomas Hart Benton, the fiery-tongued Senator from Missouri, could be rough on his enemies, but he was tender toward his children. He taught Jessie to love the classics, to read and speak French fluently, to be just and compassionate -- but to fight valiantly when a cause was at stake.

Both Benton and his daughter were very close to Andrew Jackson, staunch members of his party and ardent westward expansionists. Like Old Hickory himself they had quick minds, hot tempers, tart tongues, and undying loyalties.

When John Charles Frémont of the U.S. Topographical Corps was invited by the Senator to attend a concert, the handsome young Lieutenant met Jessie for the first time. Frémont, already mildly famous for his exploration of the wild plateau region between the upper Mississippi and the Missouri had never succumbed to the dangers of the frontier. But he surrendered completely to Jessie's young charms. As Frémont told a friend, "I have fallen in love at first sight . . . She has delicacy and winsomeness, alluring gaiety and a hint of fire underneath."

Although the Senator greatly admired young Frémont, he frowned on the match. Frémont had neither family nor wealth. He was brilliant, yes; and brave! But his rise in the army would be slow. Jessie could take her choice of many more suitable matches.

Jessie and Lieutenant Frémont eventually eloped, then returned to brook old Benton's fury. Standing together before him, Jessie turned to her new husband and recited the moving words of Ruth in the Bible: ". . . whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge  . ."

Senator Benton realized he must accept the inevitable. Working as a team, these three had much to do with our nation's march to the Pacific.

This is but the prologue to an unforgettable life story filled with historical significance, high adventure and unexpected turns of fortune. Frémont's expeditions across the pathless West, his fight to win California, his unjust court martial and his race for the Presidency are expertly retold, with Jessie shown as the brilliant and creative partner in every chapter of the story. And throughout their lives, Jessie kept that pledge of Ruth: "Whither thou goest . . . "

From the dust jacket



Jessie Benton Fremont: California Pioneer Reprint

Jessie Benton Fremont: California Pioneer        
Reprinted in 2008 by Beautiful Feet Books
Available formats: Paperback
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