A Tale of Two Toms: On the Uses and Abuses of History

While we strive to approach our discipline objectively—to maintain distance—we also want to bridge the gap between ourselves and the past. We want to understand it, to feel it, and distance makes that empathy difficult.

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“It is by what one creates and what one writes that we best know them.”

Thomas McEnery, California Cavalier, preface.

What historian has not dreamed of a similar scenario? During the 1978 restoration of the family home of Thomas Fallon, an early mayor of San Jose, California, workers discovered an old manuscript secreted in a cavity behind the fireplace mantle. They gave it to Tom McEnery, a San Jose city councilman and history buff who had championed the restoration of the home. As McEnery looked over the faded pages, he became increasingly confident that what he held in his hands was the personal diary of Thomas Fallon—a window into the early history of San Jose that McEnery had done so much to uncover. Fallon was not only an early mayor, but also the man who raised the American flag over the seat of Mexican government in San Jose during the Bear Flag rebellion of 1846, signaling the new era of American government. McEnery first read the manuscript early in the summer of 1978, spent the next few months editing and researching the historical context of the journal, and published it before the end of the year, a task that he mused was “a worthy and timely accompaniment to the restoration of the Fallon Home itself. . . .  in a very true sense the return of both the man and the house to the way they were over a century ago.”

Figures 1a and 1b: Thomas Fallon house, 175 West Saint John Street, San Jose, Eugene Zelenko, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons and Eugene Zelenko, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Only it wasn’t. While the apparatus of the book declared it to be an edited historical document, it was actually an elaborate ruse that served a particular purpose—to bolster the character of a man Tom McEnery intended to be the historical mascot for a revitalized San Jose. Fallon’s was an American story, inspiring in much the same way that the Broadway smash hit Hamilton is inspiring: an immigrant makes good. Fallon emigrated from Ireland as a child. Embracing his new nationality, he Americanized his name from O’Fallon to Fallon. He traveled west, worked as a fur trader, joined John C. Fremont’s second expedition, arrived in California just in time to raise the American flag over the Juzgado in San Jose, befriended leading Latino citizens and business leaders, and married and raised a family with Carmel Castro Lodge, daughter of a prominent Californio landowner. To McEnery, Fallon appeared to be the perfect unifying symbol for the multicultural city of San Jose. Under his direction, Fallon’s historical monuments in San Jose would grow to include the restored mansion, a proposed educational curriculum, and a heroic-sized bronze sculpture of Fallon on horseback, carrying the American flag. (Figure 2 side)

Figure 2: Fallon Statue, San Jose, CA. City of San Jose, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

But not everyone shared McEnery’s conviction that Fallon was an apt mascot for the town. Between 1987 and 2022, controversy over Thomas Fallon roiled San Jose repeatedly, twice leading the city council to banish the statue to storage. McEnery’s concocted journal, based on historical research and meant to flesh out the story of Fallon, helped spark this controversy, providing a modern fable about the uses—and abuses—of history.

McEnery pulled his readers into the deception from the book’s cover onward.  Beneath the title “The Journal of Captain Thomas Fallon” was the attribution “edited by Thomas McEnery.” In the preface, the “editor” detailed the discovery of the manuscript, commented on the condition of its pages (smudges obscured the left edge of the manuscript, and some entries were “damaged” by water and time), and recounted McEnery’s growing realization of the “immense value of the document I held in my now dusty hands.” The preface also laid out McEnery’s editorial choices (“I have not taken any liberty, nor would I desire to, with the actual text”), and the authoritative “Ed.” preceded his emendations and speculations throughout the book.

Few casual readers would guess that the journal was an invention, but there were hints throughout, some subtle and some playfully overt. In McEnery’s preface, he noted the tedium of plowing through the manuscript: “Boredom quickly turned to skepticism, and for a moment the idea of a ruse casually crossed my mind.” Later, McEnery (as Fallon) bemoaned the death of his mother-in-law’s third husband, writing an entry tantalizingly similar to a line from Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest: “To lose one husband is a misfortune. To lose two a tragedy. But to lose three seems to be a case of pure carelessness.” Then, with tongue firmly in cheek, McEnery (as editor) noted the fact that Oscar Wilde was touring the Bay Area at the very time Fallon wrote the journal entry and was likely the “British lad” of a “ready wit and a good knowledge of Dublin” who Fallon mentioned chatting with in his next entry. Thus, McEnery claimed that the source of the famous line Wilde would pen a decade later was Thomas Fallon himself. The broadest hint McEnery left was in the book’s Afterword, page 106 of the 112-page publication, where he wrote, “All of the major events both local and national actually happened just as this Journal has recorded it. Perhaps there might be a question as to whether the lost leather-bound Journal actually fell from its hidden compartment early in the summer of 1978. This is quite normal. And to those skeptics I can only say that if it did not—it certainly should have.” 

Figure 3: Oscar Wilde, circa 1882, around the time of his Bay Area trip. Martin van Meytes, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

By and large, McEnery’s ruse seems to have been successful. Research and public libraries responded to the book’s 1978 publication with immediate orders, shelving it beside other primary sources of early Californiana, even securing it in their Special Collections. No one seemed to have suspected it was not genuine until 1987. In that year, according to one newspaper report, an opponent of the plan to erect a statue of Fallon challenged McEnery to produce the manuscript. Soon afterward, a second edition of California Cavalier was published with “by Thomas McEnery” on the cover and title page rather than “Edited by Thomas McEnery.” This edition also included a small text box on page 106 stating, “Although as firmly based on an exploration of Thomas Fallon’s life and personal letters as possible, this Journal is a work of fiction.” Even then the ruse showed remarkable staying power. According to WorldCat, only twelve libraries purchased the second edition published by the San Jose Historical Museum Association. The remaining fifty-eight libraries owning the book had the first edition, which lacked the acknowledgement. As late as 2022, despite the fact that WorldCat cataloged the book as fiction, many research institutions, including the Huntington Library, Yale, Stanford, and Berkeley, continued to list it as a historical document on their own library websites. It is hard to keep a good forgery down.

Figure 4: Cover for the first edition of California Cavalier: The Journal of Captain Thomas Fallon (1978).

It is no surprise, then, that some of my own relatives were taken in. In 2002, my cousins found the first edition of the published journal in their local library. Thomas Fallon was a name they recognized. He was the man who killed Baptiste Exervier, our fourth-great grandfather. The murder was no secret to anyone who knew anything about Fallon. Three witnesses—Rufus Sage, John C. Fremont, and Theodore Talbot—mentioned it in their journals, and it was described in my third-great-grandmother’s obituary. But I’d never heard of a Thomas Fallon diary before. My relatives made copies of the first few pages of the journal and gave them to my grandmother, who showed them to me. The journal’s very first entry described the murder:

4th July 1843  Fort Lancaster

Xervier was nearly turned completely around by the bullet as it tore into his back. He was lifted off the ground and crashed into a chair smashing it into several pieces. As he lay flat staring up at me I felt a strange exhilaration—I was breathing heavily and my heart pounded against my chest. I knew it was right to kill him and I had killed before but never at so close a range. The shirt he wore was steaming with powder burns.

As I read the pages, reason and emotion played tug-of-war in my mind. Fallon’s words were so self-consciously literary, even stagey, that I immediately questioned whether the journal was a legitimate historical document. At the same time, I was horrified by the account, which not only described the killing but justified it. Fallon wrote, “It is well known to all the character of Xervier and the size of the welts on the Shoshoni woman’s back attest to it. I would do it again.”

Figure 5: Fort Lupton (originally Fort Lancaster), Dr. K.L. Clock, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Shoshone woman, Exervier’s wife, was my fourth-great grandmother, Sally Exervier Ward.

Distance is an important tool in a historian’s study of the past. We are trained to remember that our worldview, preconceptions, and values are not shared by our subjects, who are distant from us in time, geographic space, and culture. But distance is also a barrier to a historian’s study. While we strive to approach our discipline objectively—to maintain distance—we also want to bridge the gap between ourselves and the past. We want to understand it, to feel it, and distance makes that empathy difficult. Being biologically, culturally, or sympathetically connected to people we study in the past intensifies the desire to bridge the distance, but that sense of connection—of identification—can threaten objectivity. I am a historian; I strive to be objective, but it is not surprising that my first reading of the entries in Fallon’s journal hit me like a slug in the gut. 

Even now, knowing that the journal is a fake, I feel sick when I read “the size of the welts on the Shoshoni woman’s back.” I suspect that the reason for my visceral reaction to the fictional beating is that it is plausible. A generation of scholarship, including Karen Anderson’s evocatively titled Chain Her By One Foot, made it clear that many Native women suffered abuse at the hands of their Euro-American husbands. Indeed, that history is what made McEnery’s literary choice believable. It created a possible past painful for me to contemplate because of my family connection to Sally and to Exervier.

I never found any corroboration of that fictional claim. Over the years, I tried several times to reach Tom McEnery through email, with no success. Finally, in 2016, I located a business address for him and sent an old-fashioned letter in an envelope asking if I could interview him about his work on Fallon. A week or so later a message appeared on my answering machine: “Tom McEnery in San Jose, you know, Capt. Fallon’s last disciple out here in the Far West.” He invited me to call and left a phone number.

Among a number of questions I asked McEnery when I called him back was the one that had been gnawing at me for years: Had he uncovered any evidence that Baptiste Exervier abused his Shoshone wife?

No, he replied. That was just literary license. In what sounded like a rueful voice, McEnery said he never imagined he would be speaking to a descendant of Exervier.

For Tom McEnery, the choice to depict Exervier as abusive was not about Exervier, but about Fallon, a man for whom he had developed a self-confessed “obsession.” Both men shared Irish heritage, both were charismatic mayors of San Jose, and both had a strong commitment to civic improvement. It didn’t make sense to McEnery that such a man would kill someone in cold blood.

All of us construct narratives, whether we are writing history or fiction. As historians we select the details that help us make sense of the past. McEnery was convinced, from his reading of history and of letters provided by Fallon’s grandson, that Fallon was an honorable man. The trope of the abused fur trade wife offered a compelling explanation for the violence that, not coincidentally, placed Thomas Fallon in a heroic light. He had killed Exervier to protect a Native American woman. Given the prevalence of the abused Native wife trope, this certainly could be true, and it was decidedly more heroic than the explanation fur trapper Rufus Sage gave, that Fallon had shot Exervier “in a drunken frolic on the 4th [of July].” 

Figure 6: Two Roads in California (San Francisco: Britton & Ray, between 1854 and 1858). Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society.

The journal placed Fallon’s killing of Exervier, and his justification of the deed, front and center. It appeared in the first entry and the final one (“Did I kill Xervier and start this journal for this moment?”). In McEnery’s hands the murder in defense of Exervier’s wife operated as a pivot point in Fallon’s life, turning him from the casual violence of the fur trade to his purposeful new life in California. Fallon’s entries thereafter display a sense of compassion and fair play, especially toward oppressed people. Passing Pike’s Peak on his westward journey, Fallon wrote, “Indians have used this land as a crossing for years and years—the center of the world, they call it, Crow, Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Sioux and others. Perhaps we should have left it so.” When a white boy’s head was shaved as punishment for cutting off the tail of a horse, Fallon opined, “I find this judgement more to my liking than the twelve lashes . . . laid on the Mexican last week for fighting. Few friends are made with a whip.” And when he witnessed protests against Chinese laborers in San Jose, Fallon lamented, “out with the Chinese! There are any number of people I would rather have out than those poor souls.” Fallon was admirably—even anachronistically—tolerant.

He was also deeply respectful of the Californios who lost power when he raised the American flag over the Juzgado. Repeatedly, the journal references his relationship with the Californio leader whose humble adobe house sat across from Fallon’s Italianate mansion: “Don Luis Peralta, my friend.” At one point, Fallon recorded a conversation with Peralta that reads like a patriarchal transfer of birthright from the Californios to the Americans: “Don Luis took me aside and in a moment of confidence told me not to put my faith in gold but in the land. Of his sons and his Rancho San Antonio he expresses great fears. Keep the land, Don Tomas . . . keep it always.” Here Peralta honors Fallon (“Don Tomas”) as a more wise and worthy steward of the land than his own sons. McEnery included these reflections as examples of Fallon’s “true” character: “It is by what one creates and what one writes that we best know them.” The journal would allow readers “to view him not as history or contemporary prejudices would have us do, but as he really was.”

Figure 7: Raising US Flag during Bear Flag Revolt (1846) in Sonoma. Sonoma Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Notwithstanding the sympathetic depiction in the journal, both the stubborn facts of Fallon’s personal story and a growing demand for the untold stories of early California became major obstacles for Tom McEnery’s project to make Fallon a unifying symbol for San Jose. By the time McEnery became mayor in 1983, he had already participated in the restoration of Thomas Fallon’s and Luis Peralta’s houses. McEnery’s next plan was to restore the plaza at the heart of San Jose, and its centerpiece was to be a bronze statue of Thomas Fallon on a horse, carrying the American flag that he had raised over the Juzgado. The statue was commissioned in 1987 and was scheduled to be erected in 1990 in the central plaza of the city. It was to be the first in a series of three statues celebrating San Jose’s multicultural history, one of Thomas Fallon, the next of Luis Peralta, and the last of Saint Joseph, the city’s namesake. McEnery envisioned an educational curriculum centered on these figures that would teach San Jose students about their local history.

If McEnery had chosen Peralta as the first subject of his sculptural troika, things might have turned out differently. When news broke that the $711,000-dollar statue of Fallon was completed and on its way from an Italian foundry to San Jose, all hell broke loose. Latinx residents of the city, many of them descendants of the Californios or more recent immigrants from Mexico, saw the Fallon statue as an insult, deeply disrespectful to the cultural heritage of half of the city’s population. In response to the plan, they packed City Council meetings with protesters, picketed the proposed site of the statue, and lined up support for blocking the statue from teachers’ associations, labor organizations, and the Pueblo Unido de San Jose. Protesters’ objections to the statue were both general—the statue celebrated an “immoral war of conquest” that privileged a “white supremacist” narrative—and specific—Thomas Fallon was peculiarly undeserving of immortalization in bronze.

It hadn’t taken much research for opponents of the statue to uncover the unsavory aspects of Fallon’s character that McEnery had tried to explain away in the journal. Not only had Fallon shot my grandfather Exervier in the back, but he had cheated on and abused his own wife, resulting in divorce proceedings reported in lurid detail in the newspapers. These stories included accusations of habitual drunkenness, deceitful land dealings, and verbal and physical abuse.

It is hard to miss the irony of the last charge: Fallon had been abusive to his own wife, a woman of color. That was precisely what the fictional Fallon of the journal accused Exervier of doing. Fallon’s murder of the fur trader—“I would do it again”—was presented in the journal as an honorable act in defense of an Indigenous woman. By placing that rescue on the front page of the journal, McEnery anticipated and rebutted the charge that Fallon himself was abusive to women of color.

McEnery and San Jose historian Clyde Arbuckle did their best to counter the charges against Fallon. Arbuckle downplayed the reports of Fallon’s abusive behavior, fraudulent land dealings, and drunkenness, claiming that nineteenth-century newspaper reports had been “magnified.” McEnery insisted that his “one objective regarding Fallon and the other planned commemorative statues was to achieve an accurate portrayal of past history.” How, he asked, could Fallon represent oppressive white conquerors when he didn’t even arrive in San Jose until after Mexican troops withdrew from the city? McEnery also emphasized Fallon’s strong friendships with Luis Peralta and other Californios, declaring that “opposition to the statue . . . was fomented by opportunists who ignored the fact that Fallon was a positive symbol of the joining of the American and Californio communities.”

For opponents, “accuracy” was not the point. Once Fallon had been enshrined in bronze, he stood for all settler colonialists and was accountable for their acts of dispossession, violence, and oppression.

Contentious council meetings, protests, and letters to the editor continued for months, forcing City Hall to delay erecting the statue. In a conciliatory move, Mayor McEnery appointed a Historic Art Advisory Council to come up with a plan of action. The council decided that before the Fallon statue could be displayed, the city would commission and erect four other pieces of art that better reflected the city’s diversity. One by one over the next decade these works of art appeared throughout San Jose. During all that time, Fallon and his horse were moldering in an Oakland storage facility, at a cost exceeding $200,000.

In 1999, after the last of the four art-committee-planned sculptures was erected, modern San Jose’s first Latino mayor, Ron Gonzalez, decided to end Fallon’s exile. Removing the statue from storage, he placed it in an obscure pocket park in a run-down section of town. Picketers still appeared at the dedication, but it was a relatively tame affair. In acknowledgment of the controversy, the art council placed a plaque alongside the statue that briefly summarized the views of both supporters and opponents, concluding with the bland understatement: “This artwork is a reminder that a community’s historic events can be interpreted in many ways, depending upon one’s perspective.” Fallon’s statue was on display, but so were the four more diverse sculptures, providing a balance in artistic representations of the past that city leaders hoped would mollify protesters.

The approach worked for a time; the statue attracted neither protests nor much attention from 1999 to 2020. Then two developments reignited the controversy: the revitalization of the area around the statue, making it much more visible; and the nationwide reckoning with police brutality and white supremacy in the aftermath of the May 2020 murder of George Floyd. Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and other groups with histories of oppression identified with the revitalized Black Lives Matter movement, and Fallon’s statue became a target once again. Every week protesters doused it with red paint symbolizing “the blood on Fallon’s hands during the Mexican American War,” spray painted words like “genocide” across it, or attempted to burn it. While most protests focused on the statue as “a deeply offensive example of systemic racism,” some of the more personal charges also resurfaced: Fallon was a murderer, a wife-beater, a land swindler, the very worst sort of white settler colonialist.

Costs for cleaning and protecting the statue piled up along with protests. By 2021, San Jose’s government had become much more representative of its diverse population; when Latina City Council members Maya Esparza and Sylvia Arenas joined those in the community calling for the statue’s removal, they met little opposition. After two traumatic years of isolation, political division, and reckoning with racism, city leaders wanted a more unifying message. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo wrote, “Since this is a public work of art, in a prominent, public place, we should ask ourselves whether it’s really worth tormenting our neighbors with a daily reminder of an image that they view as oppressive.” In November of 2021, the City Council voted unanimously to remove the statue and return it to storage.

*          *          *

The Fallon statue controversy revolved around competing ways of remembering the history of San Jose and clashing versions of Thomas Fallon’s life. The history of San Jose that Tom McEnery promoted was a “master narrative,” which, as Daniel Richter defines it, is a story that explains “who a people are, where they have been, and what they hope to be.” It is “a serious, essentially mythic business of defining group identity.” 

Figure 8: Bird’s Eye View of the city of San José, Cal (1869). Gray (W. Vallance) & C. Gifford; Nagel, L. (Louis); Hare, George H., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

For McEnery, San Jose’s identity, and his own, was linked to the myth of the great American melting pot, in which diverse peoples came together to form something new and better. In his view, the historical events that supported this myth included a peaceful transfer of power from Mexican to American governments and cooperation between Californios and Americans afterward. Such a story laid a firm foundation for modern San Jose’s vibrant multicultural community.

Of course, that narrative, like all master narratives, was selective. Supporting details were chosen by people with the power to impose their version of history, leaving out details that would, if told, support different stories and different identities.

The selective process of historical mythmaking is universal. It is vividly illustrated in the Confederate monuments dotting the South, which represent white Southerners’ power to impose a master narrative—the “Lost Cause”—and to exclude other narratives, such as the suffering of enslaved people and their efforts to free themselves. The nation’s reckoning with the continuing violence against and untold stories of Black Americans is now shifting that master narrative. About a tenth of the more than 700 Confederate monuments in existence have recently been or are in the process of being taken down.

That same process of historical reckoning led to Fallon’s statue being removed. For descendants of Californios and more recent Latinx immigrants, the Fallon myth whitewashed the violence of the Mexican-American War and a century and a half of exclusion from political power. The majority of San Jose’s citizens wanted a different narrative, one that acknowledged that painful history and included Latinx stories. It is entirely appropriate that communities get to decide which aspects of history they will embrace at particular times and what their master narratives will be. 

Figure 9: Fallon Statue, San Jose, CA. City of San Jose, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

But what about the real individual behind the heroic bronze? Let’s face it, had Fallon’s story not been put in service of a myth, no one but his descendants and the descendants of those he wronged would remember him. For such people—people like me—the accuracy of the story does matter. When the narrative clashes with the memories of family and community members, whether because of selection bias or outright invention, we owe it to them to listen and revise.

Figures 10a and 10b: Historical reconstruction of Fort Lupton (originally Fort Lancaster), in Fort Lupton, Colorado, Photographs by the author.

Tom McEnery seems to have had good intentions. His Fallon, had he existed, would have been an admirable figure to include in a multi-cultural curriculum. But McEnery’s characterization of Fallon collapsed under the weight of the personal and community stories that made it unbelievable, for good historical reasons. Triumphalist tales of white heroes on horseback deserve to be complicated, and there are few better ways to do it than telling the long-overlooked stories of people who lost their power, land, and lives. People like the Californios and Indigenous people of early California, and like my grandparents, Baptiste and Sally Exervier.


Further reading

The first version of the “journal” of Thomas Fallon was published in 1978: Thomas McEnery, editor, California Cavalier: The Journal of Captain Thomas Fallon (San Jose, CA: Inishfallen Enterprises, 1978). The second was published nine years later: Thomas McEnery, California Cavalier: The Journal of Captain Thomas Fallon (San Jose, CA: San Jose Historical Museum Association, 1987). The second version lacks a publication date, but it can be inferred from information on the book jacket, contemporary news accounts, and WorldCat.

Numerous articles on the Thomas Fallon statue controversy appeared in the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other news outlets in 1990, 1999, and 2020-2022. Thomas McEnery’s daughter Erin McEnery produced a documentary film about the controversy in 2004: “The Search for the Captain,” Impulse Films, San Jose, CA, 2004. Sam Liccardo, the current mayor of San Jose, published an overview and commentary on the controversy on his blog in 2021: Sam Liccardo, “Viewing Yesterday’s Symbols with Today’s Eyes,” Feb. 1, 2021.

On historical forgeries and the culture surrounding them, see Alea Henle, “Theodore Dwight and the Publication of Sarah Kemble Knight’s Journal: Establishing Historical Authenticity in the Early United States,” Early American Studies (Winter 2022): 152-84; and Mary Beth Norton, “Hetty Shepard, Dorothy Dudley, and Other Fictional Colonial Women I Have Come to Know Altogether Too Well,” Journal of Women’s History, 10 (Autumn 1998): 141-54.

On history, memory, and cultural identity, see Daniel K. Richter, “Whose Indian History?”  William and Mary Quarterly 50 (April 1992): 379-93; Ari Kelman, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013); Carol Gluck, “Memory in Hypernationalist Times: The Comfort Women as Traveling Trope,” Global-e: A Global Studies Journal, 12 (May 2, 2019): 1; and Lisa Blee and Jean O’Brien, Monumental Mobility: The Memory Work of Massasoit (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019).

On Indigenous women and their white fur trader husbands, see Jennifer S. H. Brown, Strangers in Blood: Fur Trade Company Families in Indian Country (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1980); Sylvia Van Kirk, Many Tender Ties: Women in Fur Trade Society, 1670-1870 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1983 [1980]); Karen Anderson, Chain Her by One Foot: The Subjugation of Women in Seventeenth-Century New France (New York: Routledge, 1991); Susan Sleeper-Smith, Indian Women and French Men: Rethinking Cultural Encounter in the Western Great Lakes (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001); and Anne F. Hyde, Empires, Nations, and Families: A History of the North American West, 1800-1860 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2011).

Primary accounts of Thomas Fallon’s murder of Baptiste Exervier appear in Leroy R. Hafen and Ann W. Hafen, eds., Rufus B. Sage: His Letters and Papers, 1836-1847, vol. 5 of The Far West and the Rockies Historical Series, 1820-1875 (Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1956), 268; John Charles Fremont, Report of the exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the year 1842, and to Oregon and North California in the years 1843-‘44 (Readex Microprint, 1966), 120-21; and Charles H. Carey, ed., The Journals of Theodore Talbot, 1843 and 1849-52: With the Fremont Expedition of 1843 and with the First Military Company in Oregon Territory, 1849-52 (Portland, OR:  Metropolitan Press, 1931), 24.


This article originally appeared in July 2022.

Jenny Hale Pulsipher is Professor of History at Brigham Young University. The author of Subjects unto the Same King: Indians, English, and the Contest of Authority in Colonial New England (2005) and Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England (2018), she is currently working on a biography of her Shoshone foremothers, Sally Exervier Ward and Adelaide Exervier Brown.

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