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Sacagawea's Son: The Life of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau

Overview

Sacagawea's Son: The Life of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau is the exciting, surprising, and sometimes poignant story of a boy born to adventure. At the age of two months, Baptiste experienced the first of his many exploits when his parents, the Shoshoni woman Sacagawea and French Canadian trapper Toussaint Charbonneau, took him along on Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery expedition. Captain Clark called him Pomp, "my little dancing boy." Many people have heard of baby Pomp and his famous journey, but the rest of ...
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Overview

Sacagawea's Son: The Life of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau is the exciting, surprising, and sometimes poignant story of a boy born to adventure. At the age of two months, Baptiste experienced the first of his many exploits when his parents, the Shoshoni woman Sacagawea and French Canadian trapper Toussaint Charbonneau, took him along on Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery expedition. Captain Clark called him Pomp, "my little dancing boy." Many people have heard of baby Pomp and his famous journey, but the rest of his life story has been largely untold -- until now.

Educated in St. Louis by Captain Clark, Baptiste went on to live in a royal palace in Europe and to speak many languages. Returning to the United States, he headed west to become a mountain man and scout alongside Jim Beckwourth, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Jim Bridger, and Kit Carson. During America's war with Mexico, he helped lead the Mormon Battalion to California, where he later became a prospector during the gold rush.

Readers ten and up will be enthralled by this engaging and thoroughly researched biography of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau -- a child chosen by history.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
Newborn Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, son of Sacagawea and Toussaint Charbonneau, accompanied his parents on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Clark, later, paid for Baptiste's care and education, but he lived an impersonal, boarding house existence. After visiting Europe, Baptiste returned to the Rocky Mountains, and followed in his father's footsteps as trapper, hunter, and guide. Baptiste befriended the governor of California, briefly held a political position at a mission until he could no longer abide the poor treatment of the Indian laborers; then he settled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Since 1941, Marion Tinling has worked as a compiler, editor, and author of several historical books. She received the Guggenheim fellow in 1960, and is cited a Woman in History in the Sacramento History Museum. Although Tinling describes Baptiste as a many faceted character (i.e., he commanded respect, spoke several languages, could be cultured as well as enjoy a good brawl), the major theme appears based on legend and hearsay, rather than fact. Instead of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau emerging as the main focus, he pops in and out of this busy historical account. The index and Web site sections are mostly accurate and helpful. Black and white illustrations are nice, but there are none of Baptiste as an adult, only as a babe on Sacagawea's back and his grave markers. Recommended as a secondary classroom source. Category: Biography & Personal Narrative. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2001, Mountain Press, 124p. illus. bibliog. index., Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Kim Harris; YA Libn., Newman Riga Lib., Churchville, NY
VOYA
Relatively little is known about Charbonneau, the son of the Shoshoni woman who helped guide the Lewis and Clark expedition. Tinling's research required scouring the writings of Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, John C. Fremont, Francis Parkman, and a variety of less well-known Western characters to catch glimpses of Charbonneau's life. He was born on the Knife River in North Dakota on February 11, 1805, and traveled to the Pacific Ocean mostly on his mother's back. His sleeping face appears along with that of Sacagawea on the new golden dollar coin. Early on, Charbonneau was a favorite of Captain Clark, who nicknamed him Pompey and eventually named Pompey's Pillar after him, now one of the most famous natural landmarks in Montana. As a young man, he was befriended by the Duke of Wurttemberg, a wealthy explorer who took him to Europe, where he stayed for several years. Later, the mountain men Jim Bridger and Jim Beckwourth called him a friend. By his death in 1866, Charbonneau had led an exciting and varied life as a trapper, hunter, guide, gold miner, public administrator, and judge. Still, with his life so poorly documented, he moves like a shadow through Tinling's book. Knowing that Charbonneau was present at a wide range of important events, the author can only speculate about his actions, giving the biography an oddly attenuated feel. Charbonneau's life undoubtedly was fascinating, but there just is not enough known to allow the author to create a book that is entirely worthy of that life. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Biblio. Source Notes. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P M J (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8;Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, Mountain Press, 124p,
— Michael Levy
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878424320
  • Publisher: Mountain Press Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/3/2009
  • Pages: 136
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
A Note on Spelling and Pronunciation vii
Introduction 1
1 Born to Travel, 1805 to 1806 5
2 Indian Boy, 1806 to 1809 15
3 School Days, 1809 to 1823 21
4 Princely Years, 1823 to 1829 31
5 Greenhorn Mountain Man, 1830 39
6 Rough Living and Rendezvous, 1830 to 1839 51
7 Changing Times and New Adventures, 1839 to 1843 63
8 Bent's Fort Hunter, 1843 to 1846 75
9 The Long March, 1846 to 1847 83
10 California Years and the End of the Trail, 1847 to 1866 95
Epilogue 105
Guide to Charbonneau's West 109
Bibliography 115
Index 121
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