“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Reedley in Fresno County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Major James D. Savage

Major James D. Savage Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Lester J Letson, August 16, 2015
1. Major James D. Savage Marker
Picture taken on the 163rd anniversary of the death of Major James D. Savage.
Inscription.  James D. Savage was born in 1817 in Cayuga County, New York and moved to Illinois as a a child. He was described as a strong man with blue eyes and a magnificent physique. It was said that he was smart as a whip, shrewd in business and adept with languages. Savage arrived in California in 1846 where he volunteered for John C. Fremont's California Battalion and fought in the Mexican-American war. After the war, he moved to San Joaquin Valley settling among the local Indian tribe, he learned to speak the language becoming accepted and even selected Chief of several Tribes earning the nickname "El Rey Tularenos". Legend says he took from 3 to 33 chief's daughters as wives. When a flood of prospectors and wealth seekers entered the valley Savage established trading posts where he traded for gold and huge profits.

Despite his relationship with the Indians Savage joined a band of men to fight them after several attacks and rumors of war. Governor John MacDougal eventually commissioned Savage as Major in the California Militia forming the Mariposa Battalion to fight the Indians. In 1851 a tentative surrender agreement was reached. While
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trailing renegades, Savage and his men ventured into the mysterious Yosemite Valley becoming some of the first white men to enter and behold its beauty.

On the 16th day of August, 1852, Major Savage rode to Campbell's trading post located approximately 1/2 mile SW of here near Poole's Ferry on the Kings River. Inside was newly elected Tulare county Judge, Walter Harvey who Savage had publicly denounced for his part in the massacre of innocent natives by white squatters. Harvey was reported to have declared, Savage would never return alive if he was ever seen there. Savage called Harvey out and remarked "I understand Major Harvey, that you say I am no gentleman" to which Harvey replied "Yes, I have frequently made that statement". Savage slapped Harvey dropping his pistol. Harvey then shot the unarmed Savage at least four times. Savage fell, mortally wounded. Harvey was tried but never convicted to the murder. Although differing accounts of the event exist, it is certain that Major James D. Savage; pioneer, entrepreneur, explorer, soldier and hero, died that day leaving a legacy to the generations who followed.
Erected 2015 by Jim Savage Chaper 1852, E Clampus Vitus.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native AmericansSettlements & Settlers
Major James D. Savage Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Lester J Letson, August 16, 2015
2. Major James D. Savage Marker
Picture taken from across Reed Avenue, marker can be seen on the left below the tree.
Wars, US Indian. In addition, it is included in the E Clampus Vitus series list. A significant historical date for this entry is August 16, 1852.
Location. 36° 37.831′ N, 119° 27.469′ W. Marker is near Reedley, California, in Fresno County. Marker is on Reed Avenue, ¼ mile south of East Adams Avenue, on the right when traveling south. Marker is in the outside parking area for the Hillcrest Christmas Tree Farm. A related marker put up by Rotary sits a half mile in on private property and is not accessible from the road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6943 South Reed Avenue, Reedley CA 93654, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Wagon Bridge (approx. 1.9 miles away); Poole's Ferry (approx. 3.2 miles away); Alta Irrigation District (approx. 7.1 miles away); Kings River - Centerville (approx. 7½ miles away); Sanger (approx. 7.8 miles away); The History of the Town Kingsburg (approx. 9½ miles away); Libby, McNeill and Libby Cannery (approx. 9½ miles away); Frank Dusy (approx. 9½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Reedley.
Regarding Major James D. Savage. Major James D. Savage is recognized for leading the Mariposa Battalion into Yosemite Valley in 1851 in
Major James D. Savage Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Lester J Letson, August 16, 2015
3. Major James D. Savage Marker
Clampers and friends gathered for the dedication of the marker on the 163rd anniversary of Savage's death.
search of the "Yose Mite Indians". Led by Native American guides that knew the area well, the members of the battalion are believed to be the first non-natives to view Yosemite Valley. Although he was an extremely rich man from his mining and trading operations, he lived a simple life among the natives and died defending local tribes he had befriended.
Reed and Adams intersection image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Lester J Letson, August 16, 2015
4. Reed and Adams intersection
The marker is a quarter mile south of where Adams Avenue dead ends into Reed Avenue.
Granite stone used for marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Lester J Letson, August 16, 2015
5. Granite stone used for marker
The stone itself is a re-purposed certified Mechanic's Table, no longer needed in a world of computers and lasers now used for precise measurements.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 27, 2018. It was originally submitted on March 9, 2017, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. This page has been viewed 1,244 times since then and 96 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 9, 2017, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 20, 2024