Of all the many colorful personalities forever residing at Historic Union Cemetery, the prize may go to this man, Alexis Godey. He was one of the great frontiersmen, friend of Kit Carson, guide for Gen. John C. Frémont, variously befriended or fought with the Indians and occasionally danced with them, and had a Frenchman’s way with the ladies.
Godey was born around 1818 in St. Louis, Mo, of French parents. Handsome, with piercing eyes and silky black hair, he became a trapper and scout, joining Frémont’s second expedition in 1843. His exploits and bravery were legendary. Frémont wrote of Godey that he was the most thoroughly insensible to danger of all the brave men I have known.”
When war broke out with Mexico in 1846, Army Lieutenant Alexis Godey participated in the capture of the tiny pueblo of Los Angeles. In later years, he became a miner, a rancher, an Indian interpreter, jumping from one marriage or affair to another, his last wife just 14 years old. Only a man like this could die, in 1888, from a scratch he received while petting a lion at a traveling circus. Alexis Godey now rests in the Pioneer Section of Historic Union Cemetery, space 272-2, forever a part of the story of our community.