St. Stephen's Catholic
/ Fremont Township
Township was the eighteenth town organized in
the county, and was created by the county board of supervisors
on the 11th day of March, 1874. In the order
describing the boundaries of the town the county board
neglected giving the new town any name. It became known
as Fremont, presumably named after General John Charles
Fremont, who was extremely popular at the time because
of his exploration of the Great West. The town consists
of township No. 25, R 1 E. The first town meeting was
held at the Heathville
John Charles Frémont, sometimes called "the pathmarker",
was an American explorer, soldier, and political leader.
He was born in Savannah, Georgia and became a
skilled mathematician who taught the U.S. naval cadets
before becoming an assistant on a surveying expedition
(1838–39) between the upper Mississippi River and the
He eloped with Jessie Benton, the daughter of Senator
Thomas H. Benton in 1841. Once her father became reconciled
to the marriage, he helped his son-in-law secure the
command of an expedition to explore the Des Moines River.
The next year (1842) Frémont headed an expedition to
the Rocky Mountains with Kit Carson serving as guide.
His informative reports stirred wide interest in the
In 1845 he returned to California and participated in
a revolt against the Mexican authorities and set up
(1846) the Bear Flag republic at Sonoma. Stephen W.
Kearny and Commodore Robert Stockton quarreled, as both
had explicit orders which placed them in command. Frémont
sided with Stockton, accepting an appointment as civil
governor. After Kearny received orders which indicated
that Stockton was not his superior, Frémont was
arrested, court-martialed, and found guilty. President
Polk remitted that penalty, but Frémont, ever proud,
resigned from government service.
In 1848 he led an effort to locate passes for a transcontinental
railroad. His fortunes climbed once gold was discovered
on his California estate, but he was deprived of some
of his wealth by the trickery of others. He served as
one of the first U.S. Senators from California (1850–51),
and in 1856, the Republicans chose him as presidential
candidate. During the Civil War he was given command
of the Western Department, but was removed because of
his radical policy toward slaveholders. He was given
a new command, but resigned. Around 1970, his unsuccessful
attempts to construct a railroad to the Pacific—accompanied
by actions of his agents that roused suspicion—cost
him his fortune.
Financially devastated, he struggled on, supported by
his wife's earnings from writing and by an appointment
as governor of the Arizona Territory (1878–1883). In
1890 he was given a belated pension for his Civil War
Service, but did not live long to enjoy it. He is one
of the most controversial figures of Western history.
His critics called him a braggart and thief; his supporters
admired his courage, his handling of men, and his sheer
determination to explore the West.
Charles Fremont's fame as the "pathmarker" was the result
of his informative documentation of the West.
The first Yankee explorers of the western territories,
had only brought back sketchy maps. Fremont retraced
the routes of the former explorers and with his skillful
map making, his supremely accurate surveys helped later
pioneer American's find their way West.
John Charles Fremont, 1813-90.
Was a soldier, explorer, and politician.
General Fremont was the first Republican
candidate to run for the presidency of the
United States of America. He died
in New York City, July 13, 1890.
History of Clark County, WI, World Book Encyclopedia
& Family Records.