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John FremontCapt. John Fremont’s fall and winter 1843 expedition from The Dalles through Central Oregon and on into the Great Basin will be featured in an illustrated presentation by Loren Irving, on Thursday, July 11, from 5-7 p.m., at Great Earth Natural Foods in downtown Madras, at 46 S.W. D St.

Irving’s talk is the second in a series of “history pubs” presented by the Jefferson County Historical Society. It is free and the public is cordially invited.

Fremont’s expedition was the first official journey of exploration east of the Cascades. Sponsored by the U.S. War Department, and involving a company of over 20 men (including famous “mountain men” Kit Carson and Thomas Fitzpatrick, and 18-year-old Billy Chinook, later a Warm Springs chief), many horses, mules, and cows, and a 500-pound wheeled howitzer, the expedition crossed what is now the Warm Springs Reservation, camping near Simnasho and then on Seekseekqua Creek, and then traveled up the Metolius River and the Upper Deschutes. It moved on south into Klamath country and then turned east and south into what is now Malheur County, and then into Nevada.

Ultimately, Fremont and his party made the first winter crossing of the Sierras, and ended up in Central California at Sutter’s Fort.

His detailed observations and records on the terrain, geology, and plant and animal life along this route and the meticulous mapmaking of his German topographer, Carl Preuss, laid the foundation for all future surveys and explorations of the region.

Loren Irving has systematically followed out the expedition’s route through Oregon, for the first time locating and photographing each of his 39 campsites, and producing a magnificent video narrative, which he will show and comment on at the July 11 history pub.

According to Jefferson County Historical Society President Jarold Ramsey, “Irving’s careful coverage of Fremont’s progress through Central Oregon, and his discoveries about the expedition’s campsites, and spectacular photographs of the route, make his work a must for anybody interested in our local history and how Central Oregon first ‘got on the map.’ “

Irving, a resident of Bend, is a graduate of Oregon State University, and worked for many years as a timber buyer and broker in this area. He is an active member of the Deschutes County Historical Society, and in 1997, was honored as “Bend Citizen of the Year.” Besides his photography business, “Loren Irving Photography,” he has a popular musical group, “The Quincy Street Band.”

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