Old West Christmas 1848

Christmas Trails West

John  Fremont born in 1813 in Savannah , Georgia was the math teacher turned explorer who history remembers as "The Pathfinder".
In the 1830's he joined the  Topographical Corps of the U.S. army - during his years with the military he led five expeditions West.  Three of his missions were to chart migrant routes, the remaining two were railroad system surveys.
It was in December 1848, on his fourth expedition while searching out passes for  the Pacific Railroad, that Fremont and company found themselves stranded far
far from anything resembling Christmas. For a week, a blizzard had trapped them in the La Garita mountains of  Colorado, they were ill equipped, cold and close to starvation - frozen mule meat became their only dining option as was noted by one of his men preserving in his diary this Christmas dinner menu from what has now become known as Camp Desolation.


Christmas Dinner Menu Camp Desolation, 1848

Recorded by
Thomas E. Breckenridge, member of Colonel John Fremont's 4th expedition west.

Fried Mule                Mule Chops      Boiled Mule                Stewed Mule           Scrambled Mule
Shirred Mule                 French Fried Mule                    Minced Mule
Damned Mule                    Mule on Toast(without toast)
Short ribs of Mule with Apple Sauce (without Apple Sauce)

Beverages:  Snow     Snow Water    Water

"It really makes no difference how our meat was cooked. It was still the same old mule".