Fremont Cannon Collection
Scope and Contents
The Fremont Cannon Records consist of correspondence from the Kennecott Copper Corporation, historical notes about the original cannon, two copies of the "Mountain Artillery" booklet, a set of specification drawings used to make the replica cannon, and newspaper clippings.
- University of Nevada, Reno (Creator, Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.
Permission to reproduce drawings must be obtained from James G. Hudkins, Jr.
Captain John C. Fremont brought a howitzer cannon along on his 1843-1844 expedition through Nevada, California, and Oregon. He was forced to abandon the cannon in deep snow near the Nevada-California boundary, and it has never been recovered. The Kennecott Copper Corporation donated a replica of the cannon to the University of Nevada on November 26, 1970, in Las Vegas during the homecoming football game between the UNLV Rebels and the UNR Wolf Pack. The seven foot long replica cannon became the largest and most expensive trophy in college football -- a revolving trophy going to the victor of the annual football game between the Reno and Las Vegas campuses. The UNLV Rebels Club and UNR Wolf Pack Boosters announced the new trophy, along with the student body presidents of both campuses, on November 19, 1970. UNLV won the 1970 game, earning the right to keep the cannon on its campus until the the following year's game.
John C. Fremont was born on January 21, 1813, in Savannah, Georgia, the illegitimate son of Anne Beverly Whiting Pryor and her tutor, Charles Fremont (Louis Rene Fremont). John Fremont attended Charleston College, but did not graduate. He changed his name to his father's true surname, Fremont, while in his twenties. In 1838 he was appointed second lieutenant in the Corps of Topographical Engineers, assisting and leading several surveying expeditions in the western territory of the United States. He was trained in mapping and mapped portions of the Des Moines River. Starting in 1842, he led four expeditions in the American West. He became a celebrity with the success of his first expedition and the newspaper publication of his "A Report on an Exploration of the Country Lying between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains on the Line of the Kansas and Great Platte Rivers." Kit Carson was his guide for the second expedition in 1843, which took them through what is now Minden, Nevada, and then west to Lake Tahoe. They were among the first white Americans to see Lake Tahoe, and Fremont named the Carson Pass in honor of his guide. Their return path took them through what is now Las Vegas, then north to Utah, going through what is now Reno and Salt Lake City, verifying the Great Basin region was land-locked, with no outlet to the Pacific Ocean. His 1845 map served as a guide for thousands of overland immigrants going to Oregon, Utah, and California from 1845-1849. His work led to military promotion to captain in July 1844. President James K. Polk commissioned him as a lieutenant colonel in 1845. His third expedition in 1845 was to Sutter's Fort, Monterey, and Sacramento Valley in Mexican controlled California. He went north to Klamath lake in Oregon, saving Kit Carson's life during a battle with Klamath Indians in 1846. He was appointed Major in command of the California Battalion, also called U.S. Mounted Rifles. His military expedition in late 1846 captured the presidio and Santa Barbara. Fremont then accepted the surrender of Mexican leader Andres Pico, signing the Treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847, which ended the Mexican-American War in upper California. He was appointed military governor of California on January 16, 1847, by Commodore Robert F. Stockton. Controversy over Stockton's authority to make the appointment and Fremont's initial refusal to step down from military governorship led to his court-martial and conviction for mutiny later that year. In 1850, he was awarded the Founders Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for his exploration efforts. After California became a state in 1850, Fremont was elected to the United States Senate, serving as a Democrat from September 10, 1850 to March 4, 1851. He became the first presidential candidate for the new Republican Party in 1856 on an anti-slavery platform. His involvement in killing three unarmed Californians in June 1846, and the eyewitness account published in the "Los Angeles Star" by architect Jasper O'Farrell, helped end Fremont's bid for the United States Presidency in 1956. He returned to mining in California. In 1861, he was promoted to Major General and Commander of the Department of the West by President Abraham Lincoln, but Lincoln dismissed him for insubordination and corruption charges in November 1861. President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed Fremont as Governor of the Arizona Territory, serving from 1878 to 1881. He resigned, spending his last years with his family on Staten Island in retirement. He died on July 13, 1890, in New York. The United States honored Fremont in 1898 with a commemorative stamp as part of the Trans-Mississippi Issue. Fremont Street in Las Vegas is named in his honor, as well as Fremont Street in Reno. Fremont Elementary School is in Carson City, Nevada. The U. S. Army's 8th Infantry Division (Mechanized) was called the Pathfinder Division in his honor.
0.25 Linear Feet (4 folders)
Language of Materials
The replica Fremont Cannon was donated by the Kennecott Copper Corporation to the University of Nevada on November 26, 1970, in Las Vegas during the homecoming football game between the UNLV Rebels and the UNR Wolf Pack. The seven foot long cannon became the largest and most expensive trophy in college football and a revolving trophy going to the victor of the annual football game between the Reno and Las Vegas campuses. Collection consists of correspondence from the Kennecott Copper Corporation, historical notes about the original cannon, two copies of the "Mountain Artillery" booklet, a set of specification drawings used to make the replica cannon, and newspaper clippings.
Arranged without hierarchy.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Thomas R. C. Wilson in August 2003. Contemporary newspaper clippings added by University Archivist, 2015.
- Guide to the Fremont Cannon Records
- Betty Glass
- October 5, 2015
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description