Jessie Benton Frémont

image for Jessie Benton Frémont
Exhibition Label
The daughter of the influential Missouri senator Thomas Hart Benton, Jessie Benton Frémont inherited her father's political acumen and his interest in the West. In 1841, the seventeen-year-old Jessie defied her family and eloped with the young military officer John C. Frémont. When he returned from expeditions into the West, she helped him draft the official reports that soon became vital guides for emigrants headed west. Throughout their nearly fifty-year marriage, Jessie was a powerful advocate for her husband, defending his career when necessary and actively supporting his rise in politics. In 1856, while he was campaigning for president, she appeared in public alongside him, a first among candidate's wives. She spent her life in the shadows of great men, yet she was effective in making herself heard. After her husband's retirement, she supported the family as an author, selling short stories and sketches to popular periodicals.
E. & H. T. Anthony & Company, active 1852 - 1901
Jessie Benton Frémont, 31 May 1824 - 27 Dec 1902
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
c. 1865
Object number
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Seating\Chair
Photographic format\Carte-de-visite
Jessie Benton Frémont: Female
Jessie Benton Frémont: Literature\Writer
Jessie Benton Frémont: Literature\Writer\Magazine article
Albumen silver print
Image/Sheet: 8.3 x 5.3 cm (3 1/4 x 2 1/16")
Mount: 10.1 x 6.1 cm (4 x 2 3/8")
Mat: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14")
National Portrait Gallery