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Jedediah Smith was born on June 24 1798 at Bainbridge New York He was the first American to cross west over the Continental Divide rediscovering South Pass and the American to traverse Californias rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains He was also first to open the coastal trade route from California to Fort Vancouver on the Columbia RiverJedediah Smith was the first American to enter California overland from the east and first to cross the Great Basin Desert and return east overland from CaliforniaJedediah and his party of trappers spent the winter of 1823-24 with a band of Crow Indians who told him how reach Utaths Green River In mid March 1824 his company rediscovered the South Pass it was a passage to the Northwest through Wyoming and descended into the Green River area for the spring hunt In July 1825 Jedediah attended the first Mountain Man rendezvous at Henrys Fork then accompanied William Ashley to St Louis with the seasons bounty of furs In route downriver Ashley took Jedediah as partner to replace the retiring Andrew HenryIn August he led seventeen men to appraise the trapping potential of the region south and west of the Great Salt Lake When he and his band arrived at San Gabriel Mission near Los Angeles they became the first Americans to cross overland to California entering from the east They were blocked by the Mexican govenor of California Jedediah had to change is plans to explore Oregon and so he journeyed to the American River near Sacramento insteadHis band reached the Utah Nevada border near Grandy Utah continued on the Skully Valley and reached the South tip of the Great Salt Lake two days later By the time they arrived at the 1827 Mountain Man Rendezvous at Laketown they had become the first American to return from California by an overland route Later in 1827 Jedediah with eightteen men retraced his steps from Great Salt Lake to southern California
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