"Jim Beckwourth a black heroes in the old West"
"Jim Beckwourth a heroe in the old west"
"Black heroes in the West"
We are blessed to have black American heroes in the old west according to author: Lillian Schlissel:
"Jim Beckwourth": lived with the Crow Indians and became a tribal leader.
Jim Beckwuoth, one of the most famous, of all mountain men. Was born in Virginia in 1798, the son of an Irishman and a mulatto slave. Beckwourth was a jack -of-all-trade who joined his first expedition to the Rocky Mountains as a scout, hunter, and black smith when he was twenty-four. Once, Beckwourth and a party of trappers were camped in the mountains when they were encircled by blackfoot Indians.
Beckwourth managed to break through the Indian lines and come back with a rescue party. That single act made him a legendary among trappers who said he had an uncanny way of following a trail. A friend told a Crow Indian chief that Jim was the chief"s long - lost son kidnapped years before by the Cheyenne.
Whether or not the story was believed, the chief invited Jim to live among the Crow Indians. Beckwourth learned the tribes language, married a Crow woman, and became one of their leaders. After six years he left but he often wore Indian clothes and moccasins and kept his hair in long braids. Beckwourth went to Florida where settlers were waging war against the Seminloes tribe.
This time he fought on the side of the settlers, signing on as guide with the U.S Army in the Seminole war. During his lifetime Jim Beckwourth had many Indian names.... Bull's Robe, Medicine Calf, Bloody Arm, Knife, and Knife- with-white-handle. He lived with the Blackfoot, Crow, and snake Indians, and learned what they could teach him.
At other times he fought with the U.S. army against Indian tribes and pledged his loyalty to white settlers. Beckwourth worked at different jobs. On the Santa Fe Trail he ran a trading post and a saloon. In Colorado he loaded wagons. He prospected for gold and trapped big game and never stayed in one place very long.
In 1843 Beckwourth met the explorer John Charles Fremont, when they were both camped in the mountains. A few years later Beckwourth gathered a small band of guides and trappers and joined Fremont in the Bear Flag Rebellion against Mexico for control of the recrosssed California's Sierra Nevada mountain range. In 1849 when gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill, he was one of the most sought after guides in the gold rush.
Beckwourth's pass near Reno, Nevada, was named in his honor and Jim opened a hotel there. Guest remembered his stories of adventure and close friends said they had seen his body covered with scars. Jim Beckwourth died in1866. Some believe he was poisoned by Indians, who thought he had betrayed them Others said Jim Beckwourth died peacefully at home. However, he died Beckwourth had lived a full life. He had been a trapper, scout, guide, wagon master, fighter, and interpreter. He ran a ranch, a hotel, and a saloon. He lived with some Indians and he fought against others. The frontier was full of the unexpected and that suited Jim Beckwourth very well.
Benny Faye Douglass