Hundred Peaks Emblem Sierra ClubHundred Peaks SectionSierra Club

Home

About Us

Meetings

Newsletter

Outings

Peak List


Emblems

Archives

Awards

Climbing Guides

Register Box

Summit Signatures

7I Sewart Mountain

Location: Ventura County, California

Named for unknown reasons. The best guess is that the spelling was unintentional. Laura Downey of the USGS GNIS, and many others believe that this name is most likely a typographical error. Variant names include Stewart Mountain on the State Mining Bureau Geological Map of California (1916), and Seward Mountain on a USFS Los Padres N.F. map (1944), as well as on the original HPS List (1946). The name tends to skip around on and off other early maps. After its first appearance (1903), it's absent from the Proclamation of Santa Barbara Forest Reserve map (1905), USGS Southern California Sheet #3 (1910), and Santa Barbara National Forest withdrawal map (1914). However, it again appears as Sewart on an unnamed map found in a folio describing the Santa Barbara National Forest (1909).

Steve Horn, Los Padres N.F. Archaeologist, noted that the old Castaic Trail (now Hwy 5) passes near by and since there were prospectors and other mountain men here, he suggests that "Sewart" could have been given and accepted by local tradition so early that the reasons were forgotten. However, the US Census (1860) lists no Sewart, Stewart or Seward in the area. Neither the USBGN, Ventura County Historical Society, nor the USGS have any record of a "Sewart" living or working nearby prior to this century, nor is there any information anywhere thus far found relating to the origin of this odd spelling of this peak name.

On the other hand, if we conjecture that it might have originated as a mental slip that compromised the name of someone named Stewart and another named Seward, many more options are possible. For example, Williarn H. Seward (1801-72) who helped found the Republican Party, served as Secretary of State under Lincoln and Johnson, and purchased Alaska (1867), or any of many proud Stewart names. The least tenuous connection would be George W. Stewart (ca.1850-1920), editor of the Visalia Delta. He would have been known far better known when this peak was named, because of his part in protecting the "Big Trees", and creating Sequoia National Park and (1890)-a contribution comparable to what John Muir did for Yosemite. He could therefore have been on the mind of the surveyor who first gave this peak its name. Today, peak names are given for a variety of reasons, but at the turn of the last Century they were almost exclusively given by government surveyors who most often chose names from men concerned with the then new idea of forestry. But sometimes they just accepted local tradition and named summits for nearby residents. Pointing to this, evidence was found recently by Ventura historian Fritz Cahill. He discovered a tantalizing reference to a Sam Stewart who patented land as a grazing allotment east of the peak in nearby Peace Valley (T8N18W, Section 20). This was a plot next to one claimed by James McDonald who perhaps was the source of the name given to the peak adjacent to Sewart. (1897). Perhaps this is the source after all, but we may never be certain.

Name first appears on USGS Tejon quad (1903).

Peak was on the original 1946 HPS Peak List.


Hundred Peaks Section, Angeles Chapter, Sierra Club
© Copyright 1998-2003 - All Right Reserved

Updated 25-February-2003