Correspondence, records, notes, and
diaries related to the American frontiersman and pioneer James Clyman.
James Clyman (1792-1881) was a typical frontiersman and pioneer settler. Born in Virginia,
he moved first with his parents to Pennsylvania and then to Ohio. He early manifested a
roving disposition, and an eagerness to take part in exploring expeditions. The ascension of
the Missouri River, the Discovery of South Pass in 1824, and the circumnavigation of the
Great Salt Lake in 1826 were among the early pioneering exploits in which he participated.
In partnership with Goulding Arnett, he started one of the first stores in Danville,
Illinois. He served as a mounted ranger in the Black Hawk War, enlisting and remaining for a
time in Jacob Early's company, in which Abraham Lincoln also was a private. In 1844 he again
set out for the West, this time with a party of emigrants from Independence, Missouri, which
was bound for Oregon. He returned to Missouri in 1846, and in 1848 accompanied another
emigrant party across the country. He then settled in Napa, California, where he married and
spent the remaining thirty-three years of his life.
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