671 South Oakglen Avenue, Nipomo, CA 93444 dana@danaadobe.org 805.929.5679

The Story of James P. Beckwourth, a Legend of the American West

One historic figure that was at Rancho Nipomo was Jim P. Beckwourth, former slave turned mountain man and Crow Indian chief. The Dana family, or as Jim called “Captain Denny”, knew him as one of the first military mail couriers who rode the dangerous trails between Monterey and Nipomo to deliver mail. Few men could handle this perilous job, but Jim was most suited.

James P. Beckwourth was a trapper, explorer, Indian war-chief, Army scout, barkeep, trader, horse-thief, gold miner, mounted courier, gambler, trailblazer and a husband to many wives, — mountain man James Pierson Beckwourth’s resume spans early California frontier history from its dawn to its conclusion.

Jim was “a cross between a voyageur and a Crow Indian and was in my estimation, one of the best chroniclers of the Plains I have ever encountered … although his reputation for absolute veracity was not unchallenged,” as described by Juan Francisco Dana in the book, the Blond Ranchero.

Not many on the Central Coast know about Jim. Although he is well known and celebrated in the gold country of Plumas County, not many recognize him as a significant historical figure in our County’s history. There is one terrible incident that occurred at San Miguel Mission that etched Jim’s name into our County’s local history. The incident made big headlines in the two California newspapers at the time.

Jim’s reputation as a reliable guide, mountain man, courier rider, trader, and Crow chief followed him wherever he went. His memoirs, which Thomas B. Bonner recorded, tell of his harrowing escapes from hostile Indians in the Rockies, Taos, and in the Florida Everglades. They also weave the tale of his long connection with the Crow nation.

Come to the DANA Adobe Cultural Center on February 25th at 1:00 PM to hear Helen Daurio tell the story of Jim P. Beckwourth, a life filled with adventure, drama, loss, love and regret, a momentous historical figure.

Sunday Speaker Series: Jim Beckwourth

Helen Daurio will host a talk on the legendary figure Jim Beckwourth. He characterized the rugged individualism that made America. Rose out of slavery, and traveled west to become the most notorious mountain man. He is generally known as a fur trader and explorer.

The talk will take place on Sunday, February 25 at 1:00 PM at the DANA Adobe Cultural Center. Talk is free for Members, $5.00 admission otherwise.

DANA Volunteer Force

If you would like to volunteer at the Dana Adobe, then join the DANA Volunteer Force! We are seeking volunteers to aid in cleaning, help with our education and museum programs and generally helping out where needed. Volunteers meet at the Dana Adobe every Thursday at 9:30 AM.

If you are new to the DANA Volunteer Force, then please attend our orientation and training, which occur every Wednesday at 10:00 AM.

Nature Trail Preview

Join us on Sunday, February 11 for a guided tour that will showcase the newly built trails around the Dana Adobe. Come explore the wilderness and learn about the ecological history surrounding the Rancho Nipomo!

The first tour will start at 1:30 PM and the second tour will start at 2:30 PM.

Docent Information Session

We are looking for history lovers, educators, retired professionals, who wish to volunteer and share their passion for cultural heritage, and the protection of cultural and historical sites on the Central Coast. No previous background in history or education is required.

DANA volunteer docents fill a vital role in the museum by giving museum tours, supporting educational and museum programs, giving presentations at community centers and schools.

Docents attend a monthly meeting and training classes with master-docents.
If you are interested please join us on Monday, January 8th at 3:00 PM at 671 South Oakglen Avenue, Nipomo, CA 93444 to learn more about us and our docent program.

For more information, contact Education Program Manager Taneesha Heck at (805) 929-5679 or taneesha@danaadobe.org.