George Nidever

December 20, 1802 - March 24, 1883

Nidever, George, mountain man, pioneer (Dec. 20, 1802-Mar. 24, 1883). Born in Tennessee, he joined a hunting and trapping party in 1830 at Fort Smith, Arkansas, after years spent roving and adventuring from Missouri to Texas. Although some turned back, the core of the party reached Taos and in the fall of 1831 set out for the headwaters of the Arkansas River. Nidever took part in the battle of Pierre's Hole, July 1832, accompanied Joe Walker to California in 1833, and remained there, joining George C. Yount in a sea otter hunt which had some success. From Santa Barbara he renewed sea otter hunting, pursuing that profession, along with farming and Pacific piloting for the remainder of his life. He joined Fremont at Santa Barbara in 1846 and accompanied him as interpreter to Cahuenga where a treaty was signed. Nidever tried the gold fields briefly, but with not important success, ranched for a time on San Miguel Island, and rescued Juana Maria, the "lone woman of San Nicolas Island," after she had been many years in involuntary exile there. He died at Santa Barbara.


The Life and Adventures of George Nidever, 1802-188, ed. by William H. Ellison. Berkeley, Univ. of Calif. Press, 1837.