Beckwourth, Jim

orig. James Pierson Beckwith

born April 26, 1798, Virginia, U.S.
died 1867?, Denver, Colo.

U.S. mountain man.

Born a slave, the son of a white man and a slave woman, he was taken by his father to St. Louis and set free. In 1823–24 he was hired by trading expeditions in the Rocky Mountains. He married a series of Indian women and lived among the Crow for about six years. During the California gold rush (1848) he established a route through the Sierra Nevada. In California he met Thomas D. Bonner, who in 1856 published many of Beckwourth's stories and recollections.

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▪ American explorer
byname of  James Pierson Beckwith  
born April 26, 1798, Virginia, U.S.
died 1867?, Denver [Colorado, U.S.]

      American mountain man who lived for an extended period among the Indians.

      He was the son of a white man, Sir Jennings Beckwith, and a mulatto slave woman and legally was born a slave. His father took him to Louisiana Territory in 1810 and eventually to St. Louis and there apparently manumitted him, for he was thereafter regarded as a “free Negro.” His features were said to have resembled those of an American Indian.

      In 1823 Beckwourth signed on as a groom with a fur-trading expedition. The following year, he was hired to handle the horses on an expedition to the Rocky Mountains. While in the West, he married a series of Indian women and eventually settled down for about six years to live among the Crow Indians. According to his own testimony, Beckwourth greatly impressed the Indians with his strength and skill. Other evidence supports this claim, although Beckwourth was universally considered to exaggerate wildly.

      He returned to white settlements in 1833, apparently abandoning his Indian wives. He established a route through the Sierras for Easterners en route to California after gold was discovered there in 1848. There he encountered a wandering journalist, Thomas D. Bonner, who recorded many of the frontiersman's yarns and recollections in an 1856 book that made his subject famous for a time: The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth, Mountaineer, Scout, Pioneer and Chief of the Crow Nation of Indians. After participating briefly in the Mexican War, he returned to Missouri but soon joined the flood of settlers bound for Colorado in 1859. He served, probably as a guide and interpreter for U.S. troops, in the Cheyenne War of 1864, then settled near Denver. His death during a visit to the Crow is variously described as occurring on a hunting trip or by poison at the hands of a former wife.

Additional Reading
Bernard DeVoto, Across the Wide Missouri (1947, reprinted 1998), is an account of the fur trading in the American West that includes the role played by Beckwourth.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Beckwourth, Jim — orig. James Pierson Beckwith (26 abr. 1798, Virginia, EE.UU.–¿1867?, Denver, Col.). Montañés estadounidense. Nacido esclavo, hijo de blanco y esclava, su padre lo llevó a St. Louis, donde quedó libre. En 1823–24 lo contrataron diversas… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Jim — /jim/, n. a male given name, form of James. * * * (as used in expressions) Beckwourth Jim Bowie Jim Bridger Jim Brown Jim Henson Jim Wong Tung Jim Jim Crow Law Jones Jim Morrison Jim Player Gary Jim Thorpe Jim * * * …   Universalium

  • jim — /jeem/, n. the fifth letter of the Arabic alphabet. [ < Ar] * * * (as used in expressions) Beckwourth Jim Bowie Jim Bridger Jim Brown Jim Henson Jim Wong Tung Jim Jim Crow Law Jones Jim Morrison Jim Player Gary Jim Thorpe Jim * * * …   Universalium

  • Jim — (as used in expressions) Beckwourth, Jim Bowie, Jim Bridger, Jim Brown, Jim Henson, Jim Wong Tung Jim Jim Crow, ley de Jones, Jim Morrison, Jim Player, Gary (Jim) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Beckwourth (Kalifornien) — Beckwourth …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jim Bridger — (* 17. April 1804 in Virginia; † 17. Juli 1881 in Washington, Missouri), eigentlich James Bridger, oft auch Old Gabe und von Indianern Casapy oder Blanket Chief genannt, gilt als einer der fähigsten Mountain Men, Trapper …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jim Bridger — James [Jim] Bridger Retrato de Jim Bridger Nacimiento …   Wikipedia Español

  • James Pierson Beckwourth — (* 26. April 1798 oder 1800 als James P. Beckwith in Frederick County, Virginia; † 29. Oktober 1866 im Norden Colorados), auch Jim Beckwourth, war ein Sklave, Trapper, Indianer Häuptling, Soldat, Händler, Gastwirt und Scout im Wilden Westen. Er… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • James Beckwourth — James Beckwourth. James Pierson Beckwourth, Jim Beckworth o James P. Beckwith ( * 26 de abril de 1798, Virginia 29 de octubre de 1866, Denver) fue un hombre rural de los Estados Unidos, recordado por su obra The Life and Adventures of James P.… …   Wikipedia Español

  • James P. Beckwourth — James Pierson Beckwourth (* 26. April 1798 oder 1800 als James P. Beckwith in Frederick County, Virginia; † 29. Oktober 1866 im Norden Colorados), auch Jim Beckwourth, war ein Sklave, Trapper, Indianer Häuptling, Soldat, Händler,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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