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Yount, George Calvert

by Robin A. Puckett, 1996

4 May 1794–5 Oct. 1865

George Calvert Yount, trapper and pioneer settler of California, was born near Dowden Creek in Burke County. His grandfather, John Jundt, a native of Alsace, moved to Lancaster County, Pa., in the mid-1700s when he was a child, changed his name to Yount, and settled in North Carolina. George C. was the son of Jacob, who served with General Nathanael Greene in the American Revolution, and Marillis Killian Yount; in 1804 the family moved to Cape Girardeau, Mo.

In 1818 Yount married Eliza Cambridge Wilds and became a cattleman in Howard County, Mo. In 1825 after a neighbor embezzled his savings, he set out on an expedition to Santa Fe. In 1827, after arriving in the West, Yount led a party that hoped to trap along certain rivers in Arizona, but the expedition failed when part of the group turned back after reaching the mouth of the Gila River. During 1828–29 he trapped in the northern part of the country, and a mountain at the mouth of the Yellowstone River was named Yount's Peak to commemorate his activities in the area.

After meeting Jedidiah Smith while accompanying William Wolfskill, Yount became interested in the exploration of California. In 1831 he traveled along the Old Spanish Trail to Los Angeles and three years later moved north to Sonoma and San Rafael. At this time he converted to Roman Catholicism and adopted Spanish forenames: Jorge Concepción. He also became a Mexican citizen. Receiving a grant of land for a ranch in 1836, Yount settled in the Napa Valley and guarded the northern frontier of California against Indian attack. After an American emigrant party arrived in the area in 1841, he sent for his family. His two daughters joined him in California, but during his long absence his wife, thinking he may have been dead, sued for divorce in 1829 and married someone else.

In the 1850s Yount began to produce wine on his ranch in the Napa Valley, and in 1855 he married Mrs. Eliza Gashwiler. A Mason, he died at his home on the outskirts of the town of Yountsville, named for him. He was buried in the Yountsville cemetery, where his grave is marked by a monument with primitive carving.

Update from N.C. Government & Heritage Library staff: 
Although this entry indicates that Yount's Peak was named for George C. Yount, the peak may have been more likely named for Harry Yount, who was hired as the first gamekeeper of Yellowstone in 1880 and who is also considered the first park ranger of the national park. Various sources have attributed the naming of the peak to both of the men. Some sources have also made a family connection between George Yount and Harry Yount: George was Harry's nephew. Both men did follow similar trajectories as frontiersmen and in exploring the west. Please see this article on Harry Yount from the National Park Service. Footnoted sources for the article include mention the naming question for Yount's Peak: https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/hisnps/npshistory/yount.htm. (This source also appears in the "References" for this NCpedia entry under "Additional Resources.") Additionally, some sources indicate that George Calvert Yount may also have been called George Concepcion Yount. This detail has not been confirmed. -- Kelly Agan, N.C. Government & Heritage Library

References:

Dick Byrd, "N.C. Connection in Napa Valley," The State magazine, November 1985 (portrait).

Charles L. Camp, ed., George C. Yount and His Chronicles of the West, Comprising Extracts from his "Memoirs" and from the Orange Clark "Narrative" (1966).

DAB, vol. 10 (1936).

James D. Hart, A Companion to California (1978).

Edith Warren Huggins, The Yount (Jundt) Family in Europe and America (n.d.).

George F. Wilson and Maryhelen Wilson, Early Missouri Ancestors, vol. 1 (1987).

Additional Resources:

Supernaugh, William R. "Enigmatic Icon: The Life and Times of Harry Yount." National Park Service. https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/hisnps/npshistory/yount.htm (accessed August 17, 2016). [Originally published in the Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal, Spring 1998 , Vol. 70 No. 2
©1998, Wyoming State Historical Society.] 

Origin - location: 

Comments

Yount's Peak is not named for George C Yount. He never traveled in that area although he did join the Wolfskill party to California. He is the first recorded settler in the Napa Valley and played an important part in early California History.

Hi Richard,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking time to share this post and alerting us to this question.  I have done some preliminary searching and I see that the naming of the peak has been attributed to both Harry and George Yount.  I also see that Harry may have been George Yount's nephew and that both men had similar trajectories.  This is very interesting! Given Harry's time in Yellowstone and the Tetons and his significance there, it certainly seems to be a reasonable inference.  If you have any additional sources that you can share, please feel free to post back here.  I am including an update to the entry in the box below the article text that is titled "Update from Government & Heritage Library Staff."

Thank you again for visiting and sharing this!

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library

 

 

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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