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"Jim Beckwourth a black heroes in the old West"

Updated on September 18, 2013

"Jim Beckwourth a heroe in the old west"

Jim Beckwourth the most famous black in the old west. He was a jack of all trades.
Jim Beckwourth the most famous black in the old west. He was a jack of all trades.

"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

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    • creativeone59 profile image
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      benny Faye Douglass 6 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you so much Linda, for your visit, comment and feedback. I appreciate you. Godspeed. creativeone59

    • profile image

      Linda Phillips 6 years ago

      We were privileged to publish "Black Cowboys" in 1986. Paul Stewart and Yvonne Ponce were the writers and contributors. Too bad Mr. Beckwourth was left out. He sounded like quite the colorful character.

    • profile image

      Kevin Schofield 7 years ago

      Hi Creativeone. What an amazing man! I'd never heard of him before reading your hub. You definitely hit the nail on the head when you say he "lived a full life" His epic life and adventures would make great material for a Western film. Thanks for this historical gem. Kindest regards, Kev.

    • creativeone59 profile image
      Author

      benny Faye Douglass 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you pmccray, I see you're enjoying yourself reading about our black western history. thank you for your comment and deedback. Godspeed. creativeone59

    • pmccray profile image

      pmccray 7 years ago from Utah

      Excellent hub on Beckwourth...he was one heck of a cowboy who did it all. I just love these hubs about black history and the west. Thank you so much creativeone59

    • creativeone59 profile image
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      benny Faye Douglass 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank so much for this info, I wasn't aware of Major Taylor, thank you for bringing him to my attention. blessings to you. creativeone59

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Nice history lesson. I'm a cyclist and many people don't know about Major Taylor. He was a world champion cyclist at the end of the 1800s and early 1900s. He was the fastest man alive and black. So he was before Jackie Robinson and others but our history has more turns than Chubby Checker in a blender. Keep the hubs turning!

    • creativeone59 profile image
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      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you fastfreta, for you comment, feedback and your support. creativeone59

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      What a great hub. I am getting an enormous lesson in history reading hubs like these, please keep them coming. Never heard of this person til now, but I'm now glad that I did. Thanks for sharing your research with us.

    • creativeone59 profile image
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      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you SoftcornHippo, I really thank you for you comment and feedback. creativeone59

    • SoftCornHippo profile image

      SoftCornHippo 8 years ago

      Ya sexy ol man, that Beckwourth! I don't envy those guys livin in the ol' west, do you? I mean, a bath once a week IF yo're lucky? peeyuuu! Shees! an "Bloody Arm"? name like that might as well jus' STAY out on the farm! I probly woulda wanted a name like "little black snake" an it probly woulda alredy been taken!

    • creativeone59 profile image
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      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you Helen for your comment and feedback. creativeone59

    • creativeone59 profile image
      Author

      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you Hello hello for your support and comment. creatvieone59

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      I absolutely love these stories about people. Thank you so very much.

    • Helen Cater profile image

      Helen Cater 8 years ago from UK

      Great hub and very interesting detail about Jim Beckwourth.

    • creativeone59 profile image
      Author

      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you for your comment and support. Godspeed. creativeone59

    • magdielqr profile image

      magdielqr 8 years ago

      Interesting articles.

    • creativeone59 profile image
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      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      You're welcome, and thank you dear, for your comment. creativeone59

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for this important lesson in history!