Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


John Charles Fremont made five exploring expeditions through Kansas. The first three expeditions were made at the expense and under the direction of the United States Government. The two later ones were private ventures financed principally at the expense of Senator Thomas H. Benton, Fremont's father-in-law, and himself. A full account of the five exploring expeditions could almost form a complete history of the Trans-Mississippi West during that time--June, 1842, to February, 1854. The purpose of the study was to examine these five expeditions as they apply to Kansas, and to determine what results were achieved by his travels and subsequent reports. Special emphasis was given to his accounts of the Kansas scene, especially his influence in changing the concept of '"the Great American Desert." A study was made of the available Fremont papers. The bulk of the Fremont personal papers were destroyed many years ago in a warehouse fire in New York. In writing the account of his five expeditions through Kansas various sources were used. Of the first two Fremont wrote official reports; the third he described in full in his Memoirs of My Life (1886); the fourth and fifth he left without official record, although his letters and documents help reconstruct the expeditions. Bigelow’s Life of Colonel Premont (1856) and Upham's Life, Explorations, and Public Services of John Charles Fremont (1856) help, as secondary sources, to give us a graphic account of the fourth expedition. S. N. Carvalho in his Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West gives the most complete and authentic account of the fifth expedition.


Committee Chair

Date of Award

Summer 1960

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1960 Lilburn H. Horton


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